|Volume 49 Number 15, September 28, 2019||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index : ShareThis
Striving of the Youth for Change:
Global Climate Strike
Developing the Movement towards an Anti-War Government:
Stop the War AGM
On depriving people of an outlook which favours their interests:
The Munich Agreement and the Falsification of History
Developing the Movement towards an Anti-War Government:
Integrated War Exercises of US Air Force and RAF
More than 100,000 Postal Workers Begin Voting in Strike Ballot
The unanimous decision of the eleven judges of the Supreme Court that the Prorogation of Parliament amidst wide-scale opposition was unlawful, together with the subsequent acrimonious and frankly farcical shenanigans when Parliament was reconvened, has once again served to underline the complete dysfunctionality of the old political forms and institutions.
It is not as though the Supreme Court judgment has sorted out any issue for the establishment. It has served rather to put in an ever-brighter spotlight the irrevocable character of the crisis of the old system of representative democracy, a system in which in the real world it is not the people who are represented, but the person of state. This system is at a cross-roads, but the forces of the establishment are trying to stand in the way of the people taking the broad high-road of establishing new forms, of working to bring into being an Anti-War Government.
The present government is not acting in a way which respects the form and content of the old system of Westminster parliamentary democracy. It has suffered a defeat on every issue that MPs have voted on, and the Attorney General himself, a Cabinet member, has contemptuously dismissed Westminster after the prorogation was decreed null and unlawful as a "dead parliament". There is the suspicion that this is precisely what the government is organising for it to be.
In this situation, the people are organising to bring into being new forms in which they not only express opposition to what the establishment is trying to impose on them but also voice their own concerns and work out how to empower themselves so as to be able to make the decisions to safeguard these concerns and what favours them, and to themselves participate in setting the agenda as to what these concerns actually are. In other words, the people's movement is striving to bring into being and to strengthen where they exist the kind of forms and forums in which their decisive participation is fundamental, in which they speak themselves in their own name.
In a reflection of this, there have also been calls for a Citizens' Convention to decide on a written Constitution. It has also been expressed in Parliament that there is an aspiration that the people should be, or indeed are, sovereign. These calls can only have meaning in the context of the working class and people's movements making the work for democratic renewal and an Anti-War Government a way of life in itself. This is what our organising work is directed towards.
We reprint below the September 13 statement of RCPB(ML), which sums up our position on the dysfunctional parliamentary system and the practical programme for democratic renewal which is the call of the times.
The decision of the Court of Session, Scotland's Supreme Civil Court, that the prorogation of Parliament was unlawful, coming after the chaotic and farcical scenes in the House of Commons on September 9, underline how dysfunctional the parliamentary system has become. It marked the culmination of the spectacle of the old norms being torn up.
The old political arrangements as represented in Parliament and the Westminster system have become irrevocably shot through with crisis. They have ceased to be able to sort out the differences and contradictions in the ruling elites, and to cope with how political power is exercised.
The political system is not working as a party in power and a party in opposition. The rule of law has become a phrase. The system simply does not operate as parties functioning as representatives of different factions of the ruling elites, capable of sorting out their differences through elections and other means.
Yet in this system the people are cast as observers to the goings-on, despite the outrage and protests. It is not simply that it is rule by executive fiat, but that the shenanigans are demonstrating that these political institutions are not consistent with the needs of the times. They are an obstruction to the people having the power to challenge the control of the financial oligarchy which is blocking the exercise of the rights of the people and refusing to recognise their needs. The spirit of the people's opposition to what is happening is that none of these arrangements are going to serve their interests.
Events have made clear that the parliamentary system is completely dysfunctional. It is not that this can be remedied but that the system itself is obsolete. Something new is required. The establishment is not the answer. Working people cannot afford to get embroiled in the call that parliamentary democracy must be restored to resolve the situation, or to get divided on the basis that the fight is parliament versus the people.
The answer is for working people to create their own political organisations. They should empower themselves by working out their own stands. The fight of the working class and people for their rights and interests is itself a part of the fight for empowerment. Those who are fighting for empowerment and are favoured by it are working to strengthen the concrete organising work for this aim. The working class and people are determined to persist in speaking in their own name, not handing over their voice or their initiative to another force which claims to represent them, or speak in their name, but in reality represents the person of state that rules over them. In other words, the working class and people reject this whole obsolete political process which is the instrument of the elites for keeping them out of power themselves, denying them their right to rule. New forms, new arrangements to empower the people are required.
This is the practical programme for democratic renewal which the working class and people must take up, looking towards establishing their own anti-war government. Let us all join in this fight!
Global Climate Strike in London
From September 20-27, people across the world have been organising demonstrations to demand action to safeguard the natural environment, which is being devastated by narrow private interests, particularly those of the monopolies and oligopolies and the states representing those interests.
These actions, the largest actions over the natural environment in history, have been led by the youth, in particular in the form of their international School Strike for Climate movement to take time off school to organise around their demands. The demonstrations have been held to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Peace under the theme of "Climate Action for Peace" and associated UN climate change summit.
The actions have been truly global, in almost all countries in the world and involving millions of participants. A reported 800 separate events were held in the US and 400 in Germany.
In Britain, as many as 350,000 people took part in over 200 demonstrations around the country, with upwards of 100,000 rallying in London. 20,000 marched in Edinburgh and 10,000 in Brighton, according to reports.
Global Climate Strike in Edinburgh, Scotland
As elsewhere, most were youth and students. Co-organisers the Student Climate Network said that, for the first time, adults were encouraged to join striking school students, opening the way for the major unions, such as the University and College Union and Unite, to mobilise behind them. The TUC also gave support to the school strikes.
Reflecting that youth are taking matters into their own hands, taking control of their future, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the London rally that "you and a whole generation have brought the issue centre stage and I am absolutely delighted about that".
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said, "It feels like there is a real sense from young people in particular that they simply won't wait any longer."
Meanwhile, the position of the government was to lend a veneer of support to the cause while making the issue one of law and order. School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said that, while "we share the passion... of young people for tackling climate change", this did not warrant missing school: "even one extra day of lost school can affect a child's GCSE results and their future".
Global Climate Strike in Manchester
"I am not going to endorse people leaving school," said Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng similarly, "because I think education, time spent in school, is incredibly important."
These words came as teachers were threatened with the possibility of disciplinary or even court action if they were to support the school strike, such as by failing to record absences.
In contradiction with the government, Oxford City Council, who are holding the Oxford Citizens Assembly on Climate Change over the weekend of September 28-29, lent its support to "the voices of young people participating in Global Climate Strike".
The Oxford action, centred on a march from Broad Street in the centre of the city, was particularly large. One activist reported that the march lapped itself, encircling the town centre, the route being extended to accommodate. Members of CWU, Unite, Unison Health, and workers from the Oxford University Press and postal workers all participated alongside the region's youth and students.
Global Climate Strike in Islamibad, Pakistan
These actions, and other upcoming demonstrations, which are growing in size and militancy at this time, express the need for the youth and all people to take matters into their own hands.
Environmental degradation is part of the deepening all-sided crisis caused by the insatiable drive of privately-owned monopolies and oligopolies to accumulate vast amounts of socially-produced wealth in their state of mutual competition. This degradation does not only affect the natural environment, but also the social environment, as this oligarchy has usurped control of all decision-making, depriving the world's people of playing any role in the decisions affecting them and the Earth on which we all live.
Their competing private interests erect an insurmountable barrier between "the economy" - from their perspective, a synonym for their interests - and the interests of the environment. They are even losing control over the very forces of production that they control, reflected in their loss of ability to predict anything and manifested in the growing conditions of prevailing chaos.
Global Climate Strike in Derry, Ireland
The oligarchs increasingly resort to straightforward destruction and plunder in these conditions. Their pro-war governments representing their interests mobilise war production and actual war itself, and foster the generalised militarisation of the economy. This pro-war outlook and activity is the single most important contributing factor to the degradation of the environment.
For people to take matters into their own hands, for the youth to take control of their future, means depriving these forces of their ability to deprive the people of their decision-making power. The interests of individuals, collectives, society and humanity as a whole can be harmonised with each other and with those of the natural environment, but this can only be achieved to the extent that people empower themselves. This harmonisation is the content of humanising the natural and social environments. It means giving rise to a fundamentally anti-war form of government based on a renewed democracy in which this self-empowerment is directly expressed. Such a form of government will be able to take the measures required to overcome the destructive effects of climate change and end the pernicious practices of the monopolies and oligopolies.
Sources: Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group, Guardian, Metro, Oxford City Council, Renewal Update, Telegraph, various activist reports.
The Stop the War Coalition newsletter of September 9, 2019, reports that Stop the War held a very useful and successful annual conference on September 7.
It states: "The conference addressed the dangers of a Johnson-led foreign policy, the critical levels of instability being created by Trump's serial aggressions and the importance of strengthening the anti-war movement. There was discussion of how best to push for an anti-war government, stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia, collaboration with the climate change campaigns, the protests at the London NATO summit in December and the spread of US-led hybrid wars.
"The central focus was on the growing threat of war with Iran. The final panel discussed the latest situation and outlined the case against war on Iran in detail. Conference called for people to step up campaigning in every area over Iran on an urgent basis and to participate in a membership drive being launched from the head office."
The issue of the struggle of the people of Kashmir for self-determination was one of the first topics raised at the conference. The autonomy of the people of Kashmir has been arbitrarily suspended by India with thousands imprisoned through the imposition of "black laws", with their resources plundered and youth killed in the name of prosperity and security. The same government of India promotes "Brahmin supremacy" and incites hatred on every conceivable basis with impunity, yet nonetheless is called the world's largest democracy. For the Stop the War statement on Kashmir, see below.
The resolutions passed at the conference can be seen here [seen here].
The key campaigning points for supporters from the conference were as follows:
1) Organise Don't Attack Iran meetings everywhere.
2) Circulate the Don't Attack Iran petition - including organising street stalls to widen public support.
3) Approach Labour Party and trade union groups in your area to pass our resolution on Iran and to affiliate to Stop the War.
4) Build the anti-war bloc on the September 29th demonstration at the Tory Party conference in Manchester.
5) Start organising now for the NATO counter summit and counter demonstration on November 30 and December 3 in London.
To become a Stop the War member, go to: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/get-involved/join-stop-the-war
Stop the War Statement on Kashmir - 20/08/19
Written by Stop the War on 20 August 2019. Posted in News & Comment
Stop the War condemns the actions of the Indian government in revoking Kashmir's autonomy and mounting a military clampdown in the region
Stop the War condemns the actions of the Indian government in revoking Kashmir's autonomy and mounting a military clampdown in the region. Its actions breach UN agreements regulating the status of Kashmir. As well as leading to severe restrictions on human rights, the action of the Indian government has increased tensions with Pakistan in a disputed area which has been a flashpoint for war in the past. Both sides are nuclear powers. We call on our government to publicly oppose the Indian government's moves and to demand restraint on all sides. Kashmir's future should be decided by the people of the region themselves as advocated by the United Nations soon after partition.
September 29-30 marks the eighty-first anniversary of the infamous Munich Agreement signed between the governments of Britain and France, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in 1938. The Agreement, which handed over Czechoslovakia to occupation by Nazi Germany and dismemberment by other powers, was the culmination of the reactionary appeasement policy followed by the British government and its allies. This policy was designed to encourage and reward fascist aggression in general, such as Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, and particularly to encourage Nazi Germany to expand eastwards, to occupy territories such as the Ukraine, as well as the Soviet Union. The British government had long hoped fascism would crush Bolshevism and the construction of the world's first socialist state. The Soviet Union, faced with Nazi aggression, called on Britain and France to sign a mutual assistance pact with military clauses, based on its long held and principled policy of collective security against such aggression. The governments of Britain and France refused this offer, preferring instead to appease Hitler and Mussolini. They met in Munich without the participation of the governments of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, having already demanded that the government of Czechoslovakia should not invoke its mutual defence agreement with the Soviet Union.
The Munich Agreement was a great betrayal by the governments of Britain and France, not only of the people of Czechoslovakia, but the people of all countries of Europe and the rest of the world. Winston Churchill said at the time: "The partition of Czechoslovakia under pressure from England and France amounts to the complete surrender of the Western democracies to the Nazi threat of force. Such a collapse will bring peace of security neither to England nor to France... It is not Czechoslovakia alone which is menaced, but also the freedom and the democracy of all nations." In Parliament he condemned Prime Minster Chamberlain, who had contemptuously referred to "a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing," saying: "You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war." The Munich Agreement which, amongst other things, ceded Czechoslovakia's important armaments industry to Hitler, sealed the fate of Europe and a year later led directly to the outbreak of World War II in September 1939.
On the eightieth anniversary of the start of World War II great efforts are being made to distort and falsify this history and the causes of war. In September 2019, the European Parliament passed a resolution "on the importance of Remembrance for the future of Europe," sponsored by members on behalf of the European People's Party Group, the Progressive Alliance of Socialist and Democrats, the Renew Europe Group and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group. The main aim of the resolution was to equate communism with fascism and to claim that the Non-Aggression Pact concluded between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, in August 1939, had the effect of "dividing Europe and the territories of independent states between the two totalitarian regimes and grouping them into spheres of interest, which paved the way for the Second World War."
In short, the EU resolution is yet another attempt at the revision and falsification of history and condemns any alternative interpretation of history, most notably "the view that Poland, the Baltic States and the West are the true instigators of World War II." At the same time, the BBC has produced a docu-drama series, Rise of the Nazis, which also obscures much of the relevant history, not least because it largely focuses on the actions of individuals and ignores the fact that fascism in Germany was nurtured not only by the most reactionary circles in that country but also by the ruling circles in Britain, France and the US, which not only appeased Nazi Germany but financed and re-armed Weimar Germany, through such means as the 1924 Dawes Plan and the 1935 Anglo-German Naval Agreement.
The attempt to blame the Soviet Union and the 1939 Non-Aggression Pact as the cause of World War II is yet another attempt to turn truth on its head, to mask the nature of the appeasement policies of Britain and France and the nurturing and financing of fascism by the imperialist powers. It is also conveniently forgotten that Prime Minster Chamberlain also signed a non-aggression agreement with Nazi Germany at Munich in 1938, while the government of Poland not only signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Nazi Germany as early as 1934, but also took part in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia following the Munich Agreement. France too concluded a Non-Aggression Pact with Nazi Germany in the months following the Munich Agreement.
It was the collective security proposals of the Soviet Union which could, if taken up by the imperialist powers, have prevented, or at least limited, the Second World War. Faced with the refusal of Britain and France to take up these proposals, the Soviet Union had no alternative but to sign its own Non-Aggression Pact with Germany in order to give it time to prepare for the inevitable Nazi invasion of its territories. When Nazi Germany invaded Poland, and after the Polish State had collapsed, the Soviet Union's Red Army on September 17, 1939, moved into Ukrainian and Byelorussian territories seized by Poland in 1919-20, thus saving millions from the slaughter visited upon the rest of Poland, and moving its forward defensive line several hundred kilometres west. When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the Second World War assumed an anti-fascist character and the whole world was inspired by the sacrifices made by the peoples of the Soviet Union, as well as the decisive role which the Red Army and the government of the Soviet Union played in the defeat of fascism.
The current attempts at the falsification of this history are not new and are merely attempts by reactionary forces to present disinformation about communism in order to deny the workers and people of an outlook that favours their interests. They also have an anti-Russian character, inspired by the contention that exists between the big powers and the aim of those represented by the EU and NATO to further their geopolitical ambitions. It is vital that the falsifications of history, such as of the causes and lessons of the Second World War, are exposed and combated. This is necessary not as something in itself, but as part of providing all the information, the perspective, the outlook - which only Modern Communism can do - to enable the working class and people to discuss and plan the way forward, what kind of new society is needed, how to take matters into their own hands, to bring about democratic renewal and bring into being a pro-social anti-war government, and solve themselves the problems facing society.
B2-Spirit stealth bombers of the US Air Force conducted integrated flying training with K F-35 Lightning jets of the RAF earlier in September.
The state-of-the-art military aircraft, the most expensive ever built, were deployed to Britain at the Bomber Task Force Europe, based on Gloucestershire, after arriving from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Chief of Staff at UK Air Battle Staff, Richard Yates, said: "We're delighted they're here in the UK and our pilots have the chance to fly and train with them."
The US B-2s joined RAF F-35s on a mission over the English Channel and carried out a refuelling exercise in the Azures.
According to the USAF, the 509th Bomb Wing's mission was to ensure that they "are engaged, postured and ready with credible force to assure, deter and defend the US and its allies in an increasingly complex security environment". While here, they established RAF Fairford as a "forward operation base" in the US European Command area of responsibility.
The deployment has been opposed as demonstrating the lengths to which the US and British governments will go to integrate their warmongering forces to ensure Anglo-US domination, particularly of Europe.
There are at least 23 USAF bases in Britain, according to the list given in Wikipedia.
Sources: Kentonline, GloucestershireLive
Tim Lezard, UnionNews, September 26, 2019
More than 100,000 postal workers have started voting in a strike ballot at Royal Mail.
The CWU members are angry that since the controversial appointment of new chief executive Rico Back, who collected a £6m "golden hello" when he took over, relations have deteriorated with an increase in bullying in the workplace. The union also says a pledge to raise pay and reform pensions has not been honoured.
Union members are holding gate meetings up and down the country to build support for a "Yes" vote and so far, according to a CWU source, the response is extremely positive. The ballot runs until October 15.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: "The current dispute with Royal Mail Group is the fight of our lives. Once again the company is attempting to tell our part-time members this is 'nothing to do with you'.
"The reality could not be more different. The group under more threat than any other in this dispute are our part-time members. Often, part-time members come under more pressure than management than anyone. Forced to stay out on delivery, coming in to none of their walk being prepped and lack of opportunities for full-time work.
"We cannot and will not allow the current attitudes towards all of our members but particularly part- time members to continue. This has to be the dispute that ends bullying in the workplace.
"You will have seen a key part of our disagreement with the company is their refusal to honour the Four Pillars agreement and implement the next hour off the working week.
"This has two major impacts on our part-time members. Firstly for every hour we get off the full-time working week all part-time staff get an automatic pay rise. Secondly, as we reduce the full- time working week it will give our representatives in many offices the chance to increase contractual hours for part-time staff.
"The USO is up for review and the company will join others in calling for it to be reduced by a day. This may sound attractive with many dreaming of that day being Saturday. The reality is different. Saturday is a key parcel delivery day so the company is far more likely to opt for an unattractive mid-week day.
"More importantly though, if we lose just one day off the USO then 20,000 jobs across the pipeline will be wiped out instantly. This will leave thousands of our newer part-time members facing job insecurity.
"The CWU won the legal protection agreement after the privatisation of the company and this has ensured your jobs and futures have been secured.
"The company has triggered the review and their attempt to separate Parcelforce from the Royal Mail Group so exactly where their intentions are.
"If the legal protections go there is nothing to stop them totally breaking up the company into separate areas. Just take a look at the horrific pay, terms and conditions of some of the other delivery companies out there. We will not allow this to happen to you.
"The union and our industry has been built by the hard work of so many over such a long period. This dispute is about protecting what we have so it can be there for both you and the future generations.
"As a part-time member it is absolutely critical you support the CWU by voting and voting YES. You can keep up to date by speaking to your local rep, attending members meetings, reading the home mailings - which will go out next week - or following us on social media. Thank you for your support."
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