WORKERS' WEEKLY Vol. 29, No. 11, May 15, 1999

 Image Improve the Content, Extend the Readership

Home Page

WW Index Page




Newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

170, Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2LA. Phone 0171 627 0599

Article Index

Condemn the Bombing of the Belgrade Chinese Embassy! No to Ground Troops! Stop the Bombing! Workers Cannot Accept the Hitlerite Lies!

May 6 Election Results: Aspirations of Scottish and Welsh People Are Opposed by New Labour

Mounting Opposition to NATO’s Criminal War of Aggression against Yugoslavia

Demonstration against Bombing of Belgrade Chinese Embassy

From the 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML)Message of Sandra Smith, National Leader and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), to the 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML)

People of the North Condemn the Bombing of Yugoslavia
Strike and picket of low paid workers in West Midlands

Forthcoming Actions on Yugoslavia
Peace Movement Policy Forum

Statement by the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Britain

Socialist Labour Party Condemns NATO and New Labour for the Murderous Bombing of Yugoslavia

MPs visit Chinese Embassy to Condemn NATO Bombing

No War in Our Name!

Growing Concern about NATO Violating the Laws of War

Tide starts to turn against NATO bombing

DPRK on NATO’s Bombing of Chinese Embassy

NATO Use of Cluster Bombs Must Stop

NATO Is in Contravention of International Laws

Appeal of the Communist, Workers’ and “Left” Parties of the NATO States on the Aggression of NATO against the FR of Yugoslavia

Strengthen Anti-Imperialist Struggle For Peace

Condemn the Bombing of the Belgrade Chinese Embassy!

No to Ground Troops! Stop the Bombing!

Workers Cannot Accept the Hitlerite Lies!

WORKERS’ WEEKLY vigorously condemns the further escalation and prosecution of the war against Yugoslavia by NATO, and particularly the criminal role played by Tony Blair and the Labour government. It condemns the criminal and wanton bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7 and the consequent loss of life.

NATO is daily adding to its list of war crimes. To give just one example, according to reports, on the same day that it bombed the Chinese Embassy, NATO dropped cluster bombs on the hospital and market place at Nis, killing 15 people and injuring a further 70. Despite these atrocities, Tony Blair declares that morality is on NATO’s side. What kind of morality is this?

Workers cannot accept that the bombing is the work of “democrats” and a crusade against the “fascism” of Milosevic. Workers must learn the lessons from the history of the 20th century that aggressor states have always invoked a “greater good” for their aggression. When Hitler invaded Poland, it was he who invoked the pretext that Poland was the warmonger and that his aggression was for the dignity of the German nation. Thus began the second world war as an inter-imperialist war for the redivision of the world, for the seizing of territory for imperialist ends. Millions were likewise slaughtered in the first world war in the name of a “just cause” in a conflagration which was ignited initially in Sarajevo. This same contention between big capitalist powers is at work in the aggression in the Balkans today. There is the same contempt for international law, for the sovereignty of peoples and for the right of nations to self-determination. When the basic human needs of the refugees from Kosova are so clearly ignored, when these people are in such distress, when the peoples of Yugoslavia are in the front line in taking the brunt of the war, humanitarian concerns clearly could not be further from the calculations of the big powers. Very soon the total damage caused by the air strikes will exceed that inflicted during World War II.

Yet Tony Blair and NATO wish to go further. Tony Blair, in particular, is attempting to prepare public opinion for the invasion of Yugoslavia by ground troops. This is a further dangerous factor in bringing a catastrophic third world war closer. For Tony Blair, it would come as the culmination of an ideological offensive over many years to stir up jingoism and national pride, part of the programme of “Making Britain Great Again”, in reality a programme to swing the workers behind the enterprises in which they are employed so that the monopolies can be made successful in the global marketplace. Dismembering Yugoslavia and taking complete control of the Balkans as a means to control Europe and further afield is integral to these plans.

Social democracy is putting pressure on the workers not to take a stand against the NATO and British aggression in the Balkans and make a break with the chauvinism and reaction of the British ruling circles. Workers’ Weekly issues an ardent call to the workers to take a stand against the aggression and lawlessness, to reject the Hitlerite lies and propaganda of the Labour government, and to reject the pressure of the apologists for the war in the workers’ movement. Workers should unite with all progressive and democratic people to oppose the war and the imperialist schemes, as part of their internationalist duty to open the door to a world where such violations of international norms and human rights as are being carried out by NATO in the name of humanitarianism are consigned to history.  

Article Index

May 6 Election Results:

Aspirations of Scottish and Welsh People Are Opposed by New Labour

The final results of the May 6 elections in Scotland and Wales show that in both countries, the Labour Party has been denied an overall majority. This is a positive result for the people. It shows that the Labour Party has not been able to have things its own way in manipulating the national aspirations of the Scottish and Welsh people to its advantage, neither has it been able to use its divisive propaganda about the “break-up of the UK” to enable it to gain a majority where it can push through its conception of “devolution” as a further layer of government unopposed.

The Labour Party fought this election campaign on the central plank of a bogus issue of “devolution” versus “separatism”. The “devolution” they have championed is part of their raft of “constitutional reform” which is designed to put in place arrangements to consolidate the status quo. That they will still continue to push that the issue is “devolution” is confirmed by the words of Tony Blair and Donald Dewar following the elections. It is also confirmed by the manoeuvres in both Scotland and Wales to enter into a coalition with the Liberal Democrats where the SNP and Plaid Cymru will assume the role of official “opposition”.

The issue is not “devolution” whereby under the guise of having “more of a say in government” the historic injustice of the trampling on the national rights of the Welsh and Scottish is not addressed. The issue is, as Plaid Cymru for instance has maintained, that of self-government. That is, the rights of the Welsh, the Scottish and the English peoples to govern themselves, to be able to exercise their sovereignty must be recognised. Only if this principle is firmly grasped can the issue then be addressed of whether the respective governments of England, Scotland and Wales should enter into a free and equal union in one state.

The hatred that Tony Blair and the Labour Party have for the national rights of the Scottish and Welsh peoples has been shown for example in the way they immediately have negotiated with the Lib Dems to form the administrations. The Liberal Democrats “hold the balance of power”, according to the doctrine where it is the political parties that come to power. Thus, Plaid Cymru and the SNP, despite the fact that as parties they received the second biggest numbers of seats in the respective governmental bodies, have been relegated to the “opposition”. This is a travesty of democracy and a flagrant disregard of the wishes of the electorate. In doing so the Labour Party has declared that it will pursue the old model of “representative democracy” which aims to keep the people as far away from government, from making decisions which affect their lives, as possible.

Workers’ Weekly hails the Welsh and Scottish peoples who have taken a step towards their aspirations of self-government. It condemns Tony Blair and the Labour Party for their attempts to ride roughshod over these aspirations and for their manoeuvres to head off this movement and keep the fountain-springs of government firmly at Westminster. It calls on the working class and people to further break the stranglehold of the big Westminster parties over the politics of Scotland and Wales. Modern sovereign states are the future for all the peoples of Britain, including the people of England.

Election Results


Article Index

Mounting Opposition to NATO’s Criminal War of Aggression against Yugoslavia

NATO’s criminal war of aggression against Yugoslavia has now been taking place for over fifty days. During that time the opposition to the war has been growing not just in Britain but throughout the world.

15,000 demonstrate against NATO

On 8 May, over 15,000 people took part in a national demonstration in London to protest against NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, and further national protests are planned for the future. Similar protests have been taking place in other NATO countries. Even the media has been forced to admit that what it refers to as “public opinion” in Britain is firmly opposed to the bombing of a sovereign country and that this opposition is mounting. This week The Times bluntly stated that “the war of public opinion is being lost”. It has also been reported this week that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, has strongly criticised NATO’s air strikes which are thought to have already led to over 1000 civilian deaths in Yugoslavia.

Following NATO’s bombing and destruction of China’s embassy in Belgrade, which the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, cynically referred to as “an error”, and which the US government blamed on “an outdated map”, there has been even greater opposition to NATO’s air strikes and its war against Yugoslavia. In addition to condemnation and protests in Britain and China there are reports of protests throughout the world and increasing demands that the war be ended. But Britain and the other big powers in NATO have actually stepped up the air strikes not only in Serbia but also throughout Kosova itself, and the US government announced that it now plans to launch some 800 bombing missions each day. NATO has made strenuous efforts to justify its actions by claiming that it is seeking a diplomatic solution “by keeping up the military pressure”. But it is evident that on the contrary all the conditions are being prepared to escalate the war by introducing ground troops at some future stage and to carry out the plan of Britain and the other big powers to invade Yugoslavia and establish an “international protectorate” in Kosova. At the same time NATO has also stepped up the pressure on Russia and especially on China not to be obstructive in the UN Security Council, to accept the war in Yugoslavia and NATO’s plan for an occupation of Kosova or face the consequences.

Despite all the propaganda about the plight of the Kosovan refugees, which NATO’s actions and bombing helped to create, it is the battle for territory and spheres of influence that is the main reason for Britain, the US and the other big powers’ interference in the Balkans and the waging of the war of aggression against Yugoslavia. They have already brought Albania, Bosnia and Croatia under their influence and now aim to make Yugoslavia submit to their demands. The US government has already spoken about the implementation of a new Marshall Plan for south eastern Europe. By such means it aims to bring these countries under the economic control of US imperialism and its drive for a “uni-polar world”, and to use its dictate over Europe as a springboard in its expansionist plans towards Asia and Africa.

It must be recognised that behind the expansionist aims of the US and the other big powers lies the drive of the monopolies and mega-monopolies for world domination and control of new markets and spheres of influence. It is the monopolies and financial oligopolies which gain from the continuation of the war, which is said to cost the US alone $1bn each month. Britain’s expenditure on the war is said to be about $100 million each month, about $3 million each day. It is estimated that the deployment of ground troops would cost NATO about $2bn each month. Any “Marshall Plan” for reconstruction at the conclusion of the war would also serve the interests of the monopolies. It is thought that rebuilding Kosova alone would cost over $5 billion, while the Yugoslav government estimates that the cost of reconstruction in Serbia could be as much as $100 billion.

What has to be questioned is not just why the war is being waged but also who gains from it and who is being made to finance it. It is vitally important that the working class and people see through the propaganda of Blair and company, that they analyse the situation and the facts for themselves and draw the appropriate conclusions. There is a need to see beyond the talk of “humanitarian concern” and the so-called fight against “fascism” and totally oppose the interference of Britain in the affairs of other countries. With the war in Europe for the conquest of the Balkans the contradictions between the imperialist powers are sharpening and the war for the redivision of the world has started in earnest. The working class and people must respond by stepping up their opposition to imperialist war and by fighting for a society that ends the dominance in the life of society of the monopolies and their interests, a society that has a modern foreign policy, that ends Britain’s membership of NATO, which stands for the democratisation of international relations, the sovereignty of peoples and the equality and rights of all nations big and small.  

Article Index

Demonstration against Bombing of Belgrade Chinese Embassy

AROUND 100 demonstrators gathered from 6.00 to 7.30pm on May 11 opposite the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, to express their outrage at NATO’s terrorist bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. The demonstrators demanded: Hands off China! Disband NATO! End the bombings now!

A press release from the Institute for Independence Studies, which called the demonstration, pointed out that, abandoning all pretence of acting according to international law and morality, the US has taken advantage of its genocidal war on the people of Yugoslavia to conduct a terrorist attack on the Chinese Embassy. It characterised the bombing as a cowardly attempt to terrorise the most populous country on earth and turn the clock back to the old days of China’s humiliation at the hands of the old colonial powers. Meanwhile the British government and the colonialist British media have attracted the ridicule and contempt of the world’s people for their slavish support for US terrorism and their stupid parroting of NATO’s snivelling “excuses” for the “accidental” terrorist action.

The demands being raised by the organisers of the demonstration reflected the demands put forward by the Chinese authorities:

* The US and its NATO allies should apologise.
* There should be a full inquiry into the incident.
* The results of this inquiry should be published.
* Those found responsible should be punished.

The demonstrators included peace campaigners, representatives of the Chinese and other Asian communities in Britain, and representatives of the Yugoslav community, as well as journalists, students, members of the National Union of Journalists and other trades unionists, religious people, and other concerned members of the public.

Addressing the demonstration, organiser Hugh Stephens, who is Secretary of the Institute for Independence Studies, asked why the British government is so set against the idea of an inquiry into the Embassy bombing, and whether it has something to hide. He called on the demonstrators to intensify their campaigning in solidarity with the justified demands of the Chinese authorities, as well as all their activities in favour of an end to the NATO attack on Yugoslavia and in favour of world peace.  

Article Index

From the 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML)

With this issue of Workers’ Weekly, we are beginning a new column, “From the 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML)”. It will deal with important themes and issues taken up by the 3rd Congress, which was held in London from March 19-21. We are very pleased to begin this regular column with the message presented to the Congress by Sandra Smith, National Leader and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). See Workers’ Weekly, May 1, Vol.29, No.9, for Special Supplement “Historic 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML) Successfully Held”, and May 8, No.10, for messages which were sent to the Congress.

Message of Sandra Smith, National Leader and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), to the 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML)

Sandra Smith delivering the message of CPC(ML)Dear Comrades,

On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), I would like to express how happy we are to have been here to share this occasion with you and participate in your deliberations. We express our warmest congratulations for the success of your work. We are overjoyed at the quality your Party has created based on the refusal to conciliate with the old, with the pressure that there is no way forward, no alternative to the crisis-ridden capitalist system and its inability to provide for the people.

One of the things that has created the close relations between our two parties based on proletarian internationalism is the understanding we have that besides settling scores with the bourgeoisie in our own countries, we have common tasks which we do together, the problems that face the international communist and workers’ movement. This is, in the opinion of our two parties, the essence of proletarian internationalism, the basis for the fighting unity we have established over the years. Identifying the work which we have in common has established very close working relations which we treasure and pledge on this occasion to further strengthen. Just as in the past few years we have worked together to establish the general line for this period of retreat of revolution and to provide the movement with modern definitions, we are certain that in the coming period we will together contribute to providing the problems left over by the 20th century with a solution. As the new millennium approaches, all the contradictions inherent in society and on the world scale are sharpening and the demands which the life and death class struggle makes on us are increasing. I am confident that on the basis of the quality which you have given rise to, based on the refusal to conciliate with the old, you will successfully lead the struggle in Britain for a consistent democracy and open society’s path to progress.

Dear Comrades, it is a matter of great sadness for all of us that Comrade Bains, who was at your side in 1994 when this phase of the work that you have entered was started in all earnest, is not here to share this occasion with you. I know the pride that we feel that the element that Comrade Bains held most precious, which was to have fidelity to one’s principles, fidelity to one’s cause, has been demonstrated by the British Party. In my opinion, it is because it has demonstrated that fidelity that the problems which it has taken up for solution in the last few years, the difficulties it has faced, have been tackled successfully. Your 3rd Congress is testimony to this.

Comrade Bains used to say that we should look at problems with affection because they are of our own making. The easiest thing to do, especially in the face of the liquidationist pressure, is to simply not do anything because there is no dearth of excuses why it is not possible to do various things. But to have the courage of one’s convictions means to open up the path to society’s progress and this means that we are creating a lot of problems for ourselves. Comrade Bains taught us never to be stymied by the real problems of life but to face them with affection and march on.

Our main assets are our principles and basing our line on reality and the concerns of the people. In this regard, Comrade Bains pointed out, “A theory must be linked with practice but to actually do so, to actually carry out action with analysis, to give it a broad and profound character, to fight any narrowing or diminishing of the question, is the crucial task.” I think that we have seen at this Congress that this is precisely the character that the work of the British party has begun to assume. On this occasion, besides wishing the British comrades further successes in their work, we also greatly appreciate the fact that your work is of great assistance to us as well.

Comrade Bains pointed out that an event is analysed and the conclusion about it is drawn not by detaching it from the conditions in which it occurs but in its context. The work is then carried out further based on the conclusions. In other words, such events have become the source of our line and the basis of our theory. The conclusion that without line there can be no organisation and that the work to develop the line has begun in all earnest is what will stand us in good stead in the coming period.

A Congress, of course, is the time for summation. It is a very exciting time because it not only has the satisfaction of work accomplished but it also begins to present the prediction of what lies ahead. From having reached a particular stage you start seeing the new zero; and the work begins all over again. There is an excitement in the air which comes from the eagerness to tackle the tasks set by the Congress so as to make the advances required by our times. The excitement we feel in the air at this Congress is real because it is based on a summation which has taken place as part of life. This summation or analysis of the developments is then worthy of guiding our actions and our actions enrich our analysis and the consciousness of the organisations and cadres deepens in a dialectical fashion.

When Comrade Bains guided us in the analysis of the present period of retreat of revolution in the 1989-1990 period, and I know when he stood with the British comrades in 1994, he pointed these things out. It is of tremendous satisfaction to all of us here to have carried out the work and begin to really understand what this means. In this regard, he also taught us to pay the utmost attention to the form, that is the level of organisation and the tactics of struggle. He pointed out that “an organisation which does not correspond to the level and the needs of the movement will be of no use to anyone. This much is very clear. But when it actually comes down to paying attention to building an organisation, only then does the hankering come for another life. This is where the chaff is isolated from the wheat.” This shows the close relationship between the form and the content, which is a dialectical relationship. The crucial thing is to establish that force which is capable of embodying it and doing it in real life; otherwise it is just knowledge, a weapon without much use.

Clearly at this Congress we have seen such a force and this is a matter of great joy to all of us. Since their founding, our two parties have been opposed to system-catchers, to those who seek to divert the movement in a manner that goes against its interests. But the movement is with us. It represents the drive for the creation of a society that respects and recognises the rights of all. This demand has put the solution of the question of rights on the agenda and it is the key to opening the path to progress. This movement faces all kinds of disruptive influences from forces which try to divert it to some other aim, which is the preservation of the status quo. We are fully convinced that it is by providing the line for that movement, that banner, that demand that society recognise the rights of all, which will give it its coherence and provide it with its organisation. We are fully convinced that we will solve this problem of having the working class develop its independent role so that we can end the status quo and avert the dangers which imperialism, the bourgeoisie and all reaction are preparing.

Comrades, the feeling which is engendered in the developments at this time, not only the feeling but the certainty, is that during these days the whole future is being conceptualised. Comrade Bains pointed out that this world is not going to remain the same. Something is telling us again and again, he said. He called it a voice coming from the heart of humanity: the world is not going to remain the same. And he said that we are that force which is all too anxious to see it change, to become its willing instruments. This is what we have seen at the 3rd Congress of the RCPB(ML)!

Long Live the 3rd Congress of the RCPB(ML)!
Long Live the Fighting Unity Between Our Two Parties, CPC(ML) and RCPB(ML)!  

Article Index


Northern Region:

People of the North Condemn the Bombing of Yugoslavia

Concern and opposition of the people in the Northern Region to the criminal bombing of Yugoslavia is further developing as the war enters its eighth week. On May Day hundreds of people demonstrated their opposition to the War at the traditional May Day march and rally and thousands of people have signed the petition of the Newcastle Stop the Bombing Campaign which have been collected in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, every week since the bombing started. In the workplaces people are expressing their concerns and discussing the increasingly dangerous situation that is being created by NATO’s bombing campaign.

None of these and other actions of the people against the war have been reported on in the media and neither have the concerns of the people been discussed in any serious way. Instead, news has been manufactured continuously to give the impression that people in the Northern region fully support the NATO military action. At most, the genuine concern of the people for the plight of the Kosovan refugees and offers of help to them has been manipulated to try and put a “human face” on the ugly reality of this war and do propaganda in support of the NATO bombing.

On Thursday, the Northeast Journal reported that Armed Forces Minister and Newcastle North MP Doug Henderson, who is on a three-day tour of British forces involved in the NATO operation, visited H.M.S. Newcastle and its 280 crew. Utilising the links that this and other warships have with the shipyards on the Tyne, the Newcastle MP was also reported as visiting the nuclear submarine HMS Splendid, which has been launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at Serbian targets. This report was used to emphasise his insistence that NATO could achieve its objectives through increased air power and said that the Newcastle, Splendid and Invincible were providing a vital service to NATO.

Such a report in the media and call by the Newcastle MP for the intensification of the bombing campaign is a provocation against the people of the North, aimed at hiding the truth, and inciting the people to support the bombing of a sovereign country. On the same day as this report NATO hit Yugoslavia by a record 327 air strikes in 24 hours and it was reported that eight missiles struck Pristina, the capital of Kosova, hitting the airport and two suburbs. Already by the end of April, the Yugoslav authorities reported that more than 500 civilians and scores of children had been killed by NATO bombs, about 4,000 others had been wounded and 25 bridges, 17 hospitals and 200 schools had been destroyed. More that half a million people have been left without a livelihood. NATO is using cluster bombs that are banned under international conventions and its weapons of mass destruction are creating an environmental disaster for the people of the region, destroying and contaminating water supplies and creating deadly hazards for future generations.

One of the most important questions for the people in the region is how to develop their opposition to the war and the dangers it poses. Organising and taking action cannot have a sectarian aim. It must serve to unite all those who are opposed to NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia. It must serve to increase the understanding and consciousness of the people as to all the dangers the war, of any plan by NATO to escalate the war into a ground war and impose their “peace plan” that includes the occupation of Kosova.

The working class and people of the North must take a stand against the aggressive NATO war, demand that Britain and NATO not only end their interference in the Balkan region but end their interference in the affairs of other countries once and for all. They must demand that Britain withdraws from NATO and stands for democratisation of international relations, the sovereignty of the peoples and equality and rights of nations big and small. Such a stand will be an impetus to real progress towards peace and security and a blow against the drive of the NATO and other imperialist powers in launching further wars of aggression. It is vital that the working class and people make their contribution to the preparations of the world’s people to stop the launching of an inter-imperialist world war, a road on which these imperialists are presently headed.
North East Correspondent  

Article Index

Strike and picket of low paid workers in West Midlands

Workers at the Summers chicken processing factory in Tanworth in Arden, West Midlands, have been on strike since May 4, and have been picketing their place of work. These workers have decided that “enough is enough” and have taken a united stand against low pay. Some workers have been paid as little as £1 per hour. This strike exposes the fraud of the Labour government’s low pay legislation which is not being enforced. The workers at this plant, who are mainly of Asian origin, have militantly decided to express their opposition to capitalist exploitation.

This strike is part of an undercurrent of developing class struggle. Low paid workers will continue to demand their rights as a section of the working class and demand social justice.
Midlands Correspondent

Article Index


Thursday 20 May, 6.30pm:

Call for Truth from the Ministry of Lies

Protest for media accuracy and against NATO's attempts to force the media to repeat its claims uncritically. At the Ministry of defence, Whitehall

Sunday 23 May:

Bring Peace to Yugoslavia

A benefit concert for the Committee for Peace in the Balkans. With Jeremy Hardy, John Hegley, Linda Smith, Germaine Greer, Tony benn, Diane Abbot and others.

At the Hackney Empire, Mare St, Londond E8

Article Index

Peace Movement Policy Forum

THE Peace Movement Policy Forum convened a meeting in Conway Hall on May 6. Its aim was to sum up the experience of organising the April 17 national demonstration against sanctions and war on Iraq. Its aim in this context was to develop a policy for the peace movement by bringing a wide range of experience to bear in building a movement that stays in place and can measure up to the task of preventing the outbreak of a new world war.

Many views were given, all converging in opposition to the war schemes of the imperialist powers. The proposal to continue holding the Peace Movement Policy Forum on a regular basis was supported, in which the participants can develop discussion to counter the propaganda of the big powers and the government, and provide the peace movement with background and facts.

It is very necessary to build the movement in opposition to the imperialist war schemes. Inter-imperialist rivalry for domination of the world is sharpening at a rapid rate, and the struggle for the redivision of the world has begun in earnest. It is in this context that NATO has put forward its “new strategic concept” according to which “human security” has precedence over the right of nations to self-determination.

The Peace Movement Policy Forum is holding a public meeting
Thursday, May 20, 7.30pm.
Conway Hall (Brockway Room)
Red Lion Square, London WC1 (tube: Holborn).
What the peace movement can learn from campaigns to resist racist attacks, with Suresh Grover of the Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign.
The Peace Movement Policy Forum is called by the Institute for Independence Studies 0171-436 4636.


Article Index

Statement by the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Britain

May 9, 1999

After more than a month of bombing, NATO seems intent on rejecting any hope of a peaceful settlement to the crisis in the Balkans. Diplomatic efforts by the United Nations, Russia and other countries are being blocked, as NATO’s strategy of bombing Yugoslavia into the dust becomes clearer.

NATO promises that only “military targets” would be hit have been shown to be lies, as refugee convoys, trains, buses, TV stations and housing have been destroyed. The so-called “smart missiles” have rained down all over Yugoslavia ­ and even hit Bulgaria! The attack on the embassy of the people’s Republic of China is the latest outrage.

The NATO war is a clear breach of international law, it is an act of aggression against an independent, sovereign state. It is part of the campaign to create a “New World Order” dominated by the military and economic power of imperialist powers.

The Communist Party of Britain –

• Calls for an immediate end to the NATO bombing and opposes any ground invasion of any part of Yugoslavia.
• Calls for the resolution of the Kosovo conflict by peaceful negotiation, not the sham “Rambouillet Accords”.
• Believes that all issues of ethnic conflict must be resolved internally, without foreign intervention.
• Supports the right of all Kosovan refugees to return to their homes and to live free from threats of forcible expulsion. • Supports economic aid, without strings, for the reconstruction of all the Balkan countries. Blair has promised pathetic amounts of “humanitarian aid” for refugees while spending at least £4m a day on the war.
• Opposes the IMF’s and Western banks’ programmes to take advantage of the war to offer “loans” and grants in return for dictating economic policy. These are designed to drive the Balkan countries further into debt and ensure economic dependency on the Western powers.
• Believes that there should be no changes to the frontiers of the Balkans without the agreement of all affected parties. • Supports the restoration of autonomy for Kosovo, within the framework of a Yugoslavian federation. The KLA have openly expressed a desire to extend their territory into Montenegro and Macedonia, as a prelude to a Greater Albania, which can only lead to further wars and conflict and more pretexts for further Western intervention.

NATO is not interested in the Kosovars and will not accept any “independent” state in the Balkans. That is why they are waging war on Yugoslavia ­ to bring it to its knees.  

Article Index

Socialist Labour Party Condemns NATO and New Labour for the Murderous Bombing of Yugoslavia

Wednesday, 24 March, 1999 - 7.30 p.m

.The Socialist Labour Party has condemned the unlawful and immoral bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO forces with the support and involvement of Britain’s New Labour Government.

Speaking on behalf of the SLP, General Secretary Arthur Scargill branded Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair as a murderer who stands condemned for an action that will lead to the killing of innocent men, women and children throughout Yugoslavia, including Kosovo itself.

Neither NATO, Britain or the United States has any right to interfere in the internal affairs of Yugoslavia. “This unwarranted action which will lead to bloody slaughter must be stopped. It is for the people of Yugoslavia to sort out the problems of Kosovo or any other part of their own country,” he said.

“It would appear, as with the bombing of Iraq, that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have set themselves up as the arbiters of what is right and wrong in the world, apparently oblivious to the fact that Britain still occupies part of Ireland and the United States’ record on human rights and international intervention places that nation in the dock condemned of crimes against humanity.

“No person who wants to live in a peaceful world can justify what is now taking place in Yugoslavia without even the fig-leaf of a United Nations Security Council resolution,” he said. He urged all members of the New Labour Party who still call themselves Socialist to condemn the action of the British Government and demand an immediate cessation to the bombing and intervention in Yugoslavia.  

Article Index

MPs visit Chinese Embassy to Condemn NATO Bombing

MPs Tony Benn, Tam Dalyell and Alice Mahon on May 10 led a delegation to visit the Chinese Embassy in London to condemn the bombing by NATO of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. The MPs delivered a letter addressed to the Chinese Ambassador.
The full text of the letter to the Chinese Ambassador follows:

His Excellency The Ambassador Embassy of the People’s Republic of China 49-51 Portland Place London W1

Dear Ambassador,

We condemn the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by NATO and, as British Members of Parliament opposed to NATO’s illegal bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, extend our deepest condolences to the government and people of the People’s Republic of China and to the families of those killed and injured by NATO’s bombs.

We believe that NATO’s bombing campaign is being carried out in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and as such constitutes a grave threat to world peace; is violating the Geneva Conventions by destroying the civilian infrastructure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and killing and injuring more and more civilians; and has now resulted in the bombing of a diplomatic mission which is a violation of international law unprecedented in recent history.

We are appalled that this outrage against the People’s Republic of China has not led NATO to reconsider its military intervention and that NATO has said it will now intensify its bombing campaign which will inevitably result in more deaths and injuries to innocent people. We believe that the only way for NATO to show the sincerity of its apologies would be by calling an immediate halt to its bombing campaign in order to allow negotiations to proceed under the auspices of the United Nations to seek a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, we believe that the People’s Republic of China has a vital role to play in re-asserting the framework of international law and the Charter of the United Nations as the only basis upon which world peace can be safeguarded and the situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia resolved.

Yours faithfully, Alice Mahon MP Tony Benn MP Tam Dalyell MP  

Article Index

No War in Our Name!

The following has been produced by the Milton Keynes “No War in Our Name!” Group. The Group can be e-mailed at

Help to develop the discussion on British Foreign Policy and prevent these unthinkable actions that are being carried out in our name. The air strikes by NATO on Kosova and Serbia are in violation of international law. They are making things much worse for the people. They are creating a dangerous situation which could escalate into a third world war. NATO’s actions should be ended immediately.

In our opinion the problems of the region have been caused by outside interference, arms sales and the incitement of one faction against another. Free from such interference the ordinary people of that area, like people anywhere are capable of solving their differences peacefully and should be left alone to do so.

In the midst of the hysterical war propaganda it can be difficult to unravel the actual situation. Although we are no experts, we would like to contribute to the opposition to this war by addressing this question of disinformation and by assisting the discussion. Please contact us for information on (to date):

• The legality of NATO’s bombing and the discussion on international law
• Excerpts from Statements and speeches by Blair, Cook, Robertson which have a bearing on the situation.
• Motives behind the war, NATO and the arms trade, British government statements of intent with regard to privatisation programmes in the FRY.

Please contact us also if you can contribute further to the discussion with information you feel to be relevant (quoting sources). We would also like to know your views and opinions.

Article Index

Growing Concern about NATO Violating the Laws of War

The New York based organisation Human Rights Watch on May 13 sent a letter to NATO Secretary General Javier Solana expressing concern at the mounting civilian casualties in the air war against Yugoslavia.

May Day March Trafalgar Square

In particular, Human Rights Watch raised serious concerns about whether NATO is targeting civilian objects or objects that, if attacked, would cause disproportionate harm to civilians. It also questioned whether, even in attacking legitimate military targets, NATO is taking all feasible precautions to avoid harm to civilians.

“NATO says it is fighting a war on behalf of human rights,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “If so, then it’s absolutely essential for NATO to scrupulously respect human rights in its conduct of this war. NATO must do everything feasible to avoid hitting civilians.”

Among recent incidents giving rise to these concerns are: the destruction of factories and other property belonging to political supporters of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic; attacks on Yugoslavia’s electrical transformers; the destruction of several of Yugoslavia’s television and radio stations; several bombings of civilian objects such as the May 7 bombing of the civilian hospital in Nis and the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, and the bombing of civilian vehicles because they were mistaken for military vehicles or were crossing bridges or near other installations at the time they were attacked.

Human Rights Watch called on NATO to investigate each incident in which a civilian target was attacked or civilian loss of life occurred to determine the exact circumstances of the attack and urged that the findings of such investigations be made public and corrective steps taken immediately to ensure NATO’s strict compliance with humanitarian law.  

Article Index

Tide starts to turn against NATO bombing

THE Committee for Peace in the Balkans issued the following statement on May 11:

“China is right to say that, in order for the negotiations necessary to resolve the crisis in Yugoslavia to take place, NATO’s bombing must stop forthwith. We condemn Robin Cook’s bellicose statement that NATO’s demands are non-negotiable.

“Every concession by Yugoslavia has been condemned and rebuffed by NATO. NATO decried the fact that Ibrahim Rugova, the elected leader of the Albanian opposition, was allowed to travel freely out of the country. NATO failed to respond to Yugoslavia’s release of the three US soldiers. Now Belgrade’s announcement of a partial troop withdrawal from Kosovo has been met not with a similar movement on NATO’s part - to suspend bombing - but by condemnation and a continuation of bombing. NATO appears not to want peace and a political solution but to obliterate Yugoslavia by bombing, a strategy that will inevitably lead to increasing numbers of civilian casualties.

“That is why world public opinion has started to turn against NATO. Tony Blair’s repeated attempts to intimidate the media into uncritically toeing the NATO line merely show desperation to conceal the fact that the tide has started to turn against NATO.”  

Article Index

DPRK on NATO’s Bombing of Chinese Embassy

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea issued a statement on May 11 condemning the barbaric bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia by the aggressive forces of the United States and NATO.

The statement said: The bombing caused many casualties among Chinese diplomats and journalists and seriously damaged the building of the embassy. This shows that the United States and NATO, very satisfied with their bombing policy, are recklessly and arrogantly applying their strong-arm and arbitrary policies to big countries as well as small nations regardless of international law and elementary common knowledge.

When launching air raids, NATO announced that it would only take military objects of Yugoslavia as targets. Contrary to its announcement, NATO instantly began indiscriminate bombings of civilian objects, hospitals, schools and kindergartens, revealing its barbaric nature. In a little more than one month and a half since the air raids, it has killed or wounded more than 6,000 civilians.

The United States and NATO, in an attempt to escape from responsibility, described the bombing of the Chinese embassy as a mistake this time, too, as they did after killing many civilians. However, there is no one who believes that the United States boasting of the world’s best intelligence network and precision bombing technology would so frequently repeat similar mistakes in a systematic way.

The bombing of another country’s embassy is a criminal act, most shamelessly and directly infringing upon its sovereignty. Such an outrageous act of the United States and NATO is comparable to all the war crimes recorded in the current century in its unlawfulness and barbarity.

It is only too natural that the Chinese government and people are strongly protesting against the bombing. We, together with the peaceloving people all over the world, vehemently denounce the outrageous bombing by the United States and NATO which goes against the present trend international relations towards independence and peace, and express solidarity with the measures taken by the Chinese government and people in protest against it.

The present stark reality in which the United States unhesitatingly bombs a country which it claims is its strategical partner eloquently proves that the US diktat that other countries should not possess missiles and other strategical weapons is very ridiculous and shameless.

The United States will not be able to escape from the historical responsibility for having destroyed all the bases of international law and war regulations, products of human civilisation.  

Article Index

NATO Use of Cluster Bombs Must Stop

The New York based organisation Human Rights Watch on May 11 condemned NATO’s use of cluster bombs in the air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The submunitions inside cluster bombs have a high failure rate and can leave unexploded ordnance across wide areas, ready to detonate on contact.

“The duds that are left inside cluster bombs effectively turn into landmines,” said Joost Hiltermann, director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. “And like antipersonnel landmines, they kill civilians even years after the conflict has ended. NATO should stop using them immediately.”

Because of the submunitions’ appearance, the CBU-87 and RBL755 bomblets are bright orange/yellow soda-can sized objects, while the ATACMS bomblets are bright baseball-sized spheres. Children are particularly drawn to the volatile live remnants.

A recent NATO airstrike on the airfield in Nis went off target, hitting a hospital complex and adjoining civilian areas. On April 24, five children playing with colourful unexploded submunitions were reported killed, and two injured, near Doganovic in southern Kosovo.

In the short term, live submunitions pose a danger to civilians and refugees, and impede their movement. In the long term, they inhibit agriculture and economic recovery. The widespread use of cluster bombs can also pose a severe hazard to friendly ground force operations, including peacekeeping forces, as happened to international forces in the 1991 Gulf War.

Cluster bombs have an estimated 5 percent mechanical and fuse failure rate. For Operation Allied Force in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the historical record and testing experience would tend to indicate that for every single CBU-87 used, there will be an average of some ten unexploded bomblets, and for every RBL755, there will be an average of five unexploded bomblets.

It is possible that, if the bombing campaign continues, the US Air Force may start using the CBU-89 Gator “scatterable” mine system, which holds a mix of antitank and antipersonnel landmines. The use of antipersonnel landmines, an inherently indiscriminate weapon, is banned under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which came into force in March 1999. The United States has not signed the treaty, but all other NATO members, except Turkey, have.

Human Rights Watch called on NATO to stop using cluster bombs and refrain from using the CBU-89 Gator mine system.

“The US may not have signed the landmines treaty, but it’s still obliged to carry out warfare according to international humanitarian law,” said Hiltermann.  

Article Index

NATO Is in Contravention of International Laws

The following signed article appeared in Beijing Review, Vol. 42 No. 17, April 26 - May 2, 1999.

The air strikes of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) against Yugoslavia have lasted more than 20 days, and have aroused not only increased resistance from the Yugoslavian people, but also condemnation from more and more countries.

NATO stems from the Cold War. When the Cold War ended, the military bloc found neither a strategic counterpart nor a basis for continued existence. For the United States, in particular, the end of the Cold War meant the collapse of its leading role in the Europe-Atlantic strategy. Furthermore, it meant that Washington is losing control over the security situation in Europe and even the whole world.

As a result, the US decided to launch military action against Yugoslavia. On the one hand, it wants to maintain its hegemony in the world. On the other hand, the US wants to see if its “new strategic concept” will work in the coming century. By examining NATO’s military intervention in international affairs, the tolerance of the United Nations or countries including Russia and the degree of unity among members of NATO, the United States is trying to expand its defence sphere and strengthen NATO’s military function in order to serve US interests around the globe.

The air strike conducted by NATO, however, is irrational and illegal. It is a typical expression of power politics under modern circumstances and a new form of the “gunboat policy”, which brutally tramples on the UN Charter and generally recognised international laws.

First, NATO’s action violated the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. A UN General Assembly declaration on the establishment of friendly and co-operative relations among countries claimed solemnly that no country or country group has the right to directly or indirectly interfere in another country’s internal or foreign affairs for any reason. Therefore, military interference, or interference with or attempt to threaten another country’s national dignity or any other factors such as policy, economy or culture, is in violation of international laws. Kosovo is a province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Conflicts between Serbs and Albanians are long-standing. They are absolutely an internal affair of Yugoslavia and should be settled by the country itself. Whatever their excuse is, NATO’s military action has violated the international law.

Second, the principle of finding a peaceful solution to international disputes has been violated. Article II of Chapter I of the UN Charter stipulates that “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.” “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Though the ethnic disputes in Kosovo have something to do with international relations in some aspects, such as the refugee problem, they must be settled in a peaceful way.

Third, NATO’s action is also a violation of the group security in the United Nations. According to the UN Charter, military action in the name of “peace-keeping” shall be carried out by the UN Security Council. NATO’s military strikes against Yugoslavia, that do not have the approval of the United Nations, set a dangerous precedent in the history of international relations. The authority of the UN, an official international organisation composed of 185 sovereign states with representatives from the widest fields, was challenged. Also, the stipulation in the North Atlantic Treaty that military actions “must be authorised by the UN or the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe” was not strictly followed.

Experts said the wanton and indiscriminate bombing in Yugoslavia has not only seriously shaken the present international framework and international relations, but has also had a negative influence on international relations in the 21st century.

The Kosovo crisis shows that in the eyes of the United States, national sovereignty and equality no longer have substantial importance. If one country’s internal or foreign policy is inconsistent with the interests and values of the US, military interference or invasion may be justified with the excuse of “human rights” or a “humanitarian crisis”. As a result, the world will become more destabilised and complicated.

At the same time, it should be noted that the US and developed Western countries have an absolute predominance in the current international relationship system. Therefore, for a long period of time to come, the modification of international rules, the adjustment and replenishment of international laws and the determination of many things, such as the act of invasion, or the degree of the violation against “human rights”, may be incompatible with the parties concerned, or even with the wishes of most countries.

In addition, NATO’s military action in no way helps the realisation of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, ethnic and religious issues may become sharper and more complicated, thereby creating more turbulence in the world.  

Article Index

Appeal of the Communist, Workers’ and “Left” Parties of the NATO States on the Aggression of NATO against the FR of Yugoslavia

In the face of the continuous criminal bombardments and the aggressive intervention of the USA and the NATO forces against the FR of Yugoslavia, an independent and sovereign European state, an act which trampled the UN Charter, flagrantly violated the international law and created the biggest humanitarian catastrophe of the latest half-century in our continent, we call upon peoples, youth, peace trade union and other social movements:

* To condemn and reinforce the protestations by all means against the NATO aggressive intervention and the bombing of innocent civilians.
* To demand the immediate stop of the criminal bombings and to re-establish peace in the area.
* To intensify the efforts in order to achieve a solution to the crises by all the parties involved using political means. The solution should ensure the autonomy of Kosovo, the rights of all minorities and the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the FR of Yugoslavia.
* To express the strongest opposition to the “new NATO”, to the “new strategic role” that allows NATO to operate outside the territories of its member states, outside its operational limits as these were known up to now and to be a more dangerous instrument of imposing the imperialist New World Order.
* Our parties, communist, worker and left parties of countries members of the NATO will deploy by all means actions to counter such a dangerous development and will support every effort in this direction.

1. Communist Party, Belgium
2. Communist Party of Britain
3. New Communist Party of Britain
4. Communist Party of Canada
5. Party of the Communists of Catalunia
6. Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
7. Communist Party in Denmark
8. Communist Party of Denmark
9. Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS)
10. German Communist Party (DKP)
11. Communist Party of Greece
12. Hungarian Workers’ Party
13. New Communist Party of the Netherlands
14. Portuguese Communist Party
15. The Party of Labour (EMEP, Turkey)
16. Communist Party, USA  

Article Index

Strengthen Anti-Imperialist Struggle For Peace

Joint statement of communist parties of the Balkan region condemning NATO intervention


Over the peoples of the Balkans is hanging again the threat of war. The NATO countries’ ruling classes, especially US, following their self - serving imperialist interests, have been, for as long as ten years, kindling conflicts among the Balkan peoples.

At this particular moment, they are bracing themselves for an open aggressive attack against a sovereign state. Tomorrow, they are able to plunge the whole Balkan area in a fratricidal war.

The communist parties of the Balkans condemn the NATO intervention in our region. They express the conviction that both the Serb and Albanian peoples, as well as the other peoples of the Balkans, are able, by themselves and without any foreign intervention, to solve their problems peacefully.

We call the peoples of the Balkans to strengthen their anti-war struggle against NATO and US intervention, against any foreign intervention, to avoid a fratricidal war among the Balkan peoples.

Communist Party of Albania
Communist Party of Bulgaria
Bulgarian Socialist Party-Marxist Platform
Bulgarian Communist Party «G. Dimitrov»
New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
Yugoslav Communists
Communist Party of Greece
Communist Party of Rumania  

Article Index

RCPB(ML) Home Page

Workers' Weekly Index Page