Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 51 Number 25, November 13, 2021 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Defend the Rights of All against State Racism!

Opposition to Inhuman Programme of Deportations

Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index : ShareThis

Defend the Rights of All against State Racism! Opposition to Inhuman Programme of Deportations

Defend the Rights of All against State Racism!:
Creative Initiative to Demand that the Rights of Refugees are Respected

Empty Promises at COP26:
People's Actions Exposing the "Global Greenwashing Festival"

Health and Care Bill 2021-22:
The Pay-the-Rich Direction of the Government in the NHS Continues to be Opposed

No to Anglo-US Militarism in the Asia Pacific!:
The British Military Must Be Withdrawn

Friends of Korea Hold Seminar on Developments of the DPRK in 2021:
The Importance of Taking a Stand in Support of the DPRK's Right to Be

Emergency protest against US Intervention in Cuba


Defend the Rights of All against State Racism!

Opposition to Inhuman Programme of Deportations

A deportation flight took off on November 10 from Birmingham Airport at 1.20a.m. The chartered plane, an Airbus A350-900, which can take up to 350 passengers, had just four people on board who the Home Office were deporting to Jamaica. That only four out of an original more than 50 were on board is testament both to the outrage and opposition from the friends and families of those detained to be deported and the movements throughout Britain against this inhuman treatment. It is also revealing the modus operandi of the government, which appears to be to trawl for people to be deported and then see who they are left with after the popular opposition, legal moves and direct action have blocked this outrageous programme.

Even those who have not been placed on the flights are left in limbo, having to report to the Home Office at regular intervals, with the threat of deportation constantly hanging over their heads. So in addition to being traumatised by the treatment which regards them not as human beings but as "deportees" or "criminals" who have overstayed their residency, they cannot go about their lives without a state of apprehension constantly over their heads. It is not even clear from the government's rules and regulations what it considers the status of residency of these people, many of whom are women with families born in this country, or have been in this country in a young age with a community and family here, to be. Should they have lived here for five, ten, twelve or some other number of years to be allowed to claim permanent residency? The mere act of applying seems to have been a trigger for detention and the threat of deportation in a number of cases.

The treatment of these people is the essence of racism coming from the state. Asked to attend the Home Office for an interview, a number were then summarily sent to Yarl's Wood, which is operated by Serco, to be detained. Here they were treated worse than criminals, without any regard for their rights, or any presumption of the possibility of grave injustices to those detained or their friends and families. For instance, Jacqueline McKenzie of Leigh Day solicitors, said she had been informed that the wrist of one of the persons detained was believed to have been fractured during a restraint episode in the detention centre. Those detained had their phones removed, were threatened and bullied, denied food, and so on.

These deportations and threats of deportations must stop. It is reported that the number of people on the last four charter flights deporting them to Jamaica has decreased from 17 to 13 to seven and now four. There is a double injustice here, in that recent governments have been issuing honeyed words regarding the racist mistreatment of the Windrush generation and their descendants, promising to right the wrongs these generations have suffered and are suffering. It now is evident what little meaning these words have in reality. The racism of the state is even more entrenched.

Seeking to justify these actions, Home Secretary Priti Patel made an outrageous and completely unfounded statement which is an insult to these people who have been contributing so much to the life and human relationships of this country. In the statement which makes the blood boil, she said on the evening of the flight: "I make no apology for removing foreign national offenders who have committed crimes which will have had a devastating impact on their victims. The people removed to Jamaica today are convicted criminals who have been found guilty of a range of serious offences. They have no place in our society. It is absolutely galling that, yet again, last-minute legal claims have stopped the removal of 33 people, including those guilty of abhorrent crimes such as murder and child sexual offences."

Speaking from immigration detention, a young man, who spent part of his adolescence in care, told The Independent: "They're trying to remove me for a mistake I made when I was a teenager. I was around older guys who were influencing me. I was young and dumb. It's been five years now since I served my sentence. I have changed. I've moved away from that kind of thing. But I haven't been given a second chance in my adult life to turn things around. I don't know anyone in Jamaica. I will probably die if I get sent there."

To add insult to injury, it is reported that the British government plans to threaten to stop granting visas to citizens of countries that are "not co-operating" with attempted deportations from the UK, as outlined in proposals in the reactionary and racist Nationality and Borders Bill.

Seth Ramocan, Jamaica's high commissioner in London, said: "From a human rights perspective I am deeply concerned about cases in which persons are being removed having lived in the UK since childhood and have no known relations in Jamaica or familiarity with Jamaica. There are clear examples of these cases and I implore the Home Office to give due consideration to this concern."

As a report in the Guardian, one among many similar reports, elaborated, one lawyer who represented several people who were on the list for the Jamaica flight but did not ultimately fly said: "Some due to fly had been unable to access legal advice prior to being detained due to the cost and others had obtained poor-quality advice. Most cases were deferred by the Home Office themselves, and in those brought to court it was independent judges who ruled that there were legal grounds why many on the flight list needed to remain in the UK while their cases were considered further."


Oxford International Women's Day

Karen Doyle, of the organisation Movement For Justice, said: "These unjust flights rip families apart. Of the 34 detainees we spoke to many had no or inadequate legal representatives."

Bella Sankey, the director of Detention Action, said: "All of those removed from this flight were removed because either the court or the Home Office decided their removal would be unlawful. Yet still those removed may have had inadequate legal advice as a result of the shambolic operation of the legal advice system in detention. The high court has now given permission for Detention Action's challenge to these shortcomings to be heard next month."

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady had also said that the flight should be called off, adding: "There have been far too many miscarriages of justice in the immigration system. All deportation flights should be suspended while the Home Office addresses its failures to adequately check the circumstances of those targeted for deportation."

Hours before the flight, activists of the movement Stop The Plane had also locked themselves to metal pipes outside Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick airport. A spokesperson for Stop The Plane said: "We reject the legitimacy of the entire deportation regime. It is premised on racist notions of black, brown and racialised people."

At least five people due to be on the flight had had their deportation deferred because they had been identified as potential victims of trafficking, with indicators that they had been groomed by county lines gangs and that this had played a role in crimes they had committed. It is now reported that an "Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority" has been given the power to decide whether or not someone is a victim of human trafficking. Since the sole purpose of "Immigration Enforcement" is deportation, this will effectively end victims of county lines and exploitation from getting a fair hearing for their case.

But the issue is not really to assess whether such circumstances warrant deportation to a different country, but to recognise the inherent violation of the rights of those affected by the racist model that the government implements, as well as making the process a source of private profit to vested interests such as Serco.

Workers' Weekly adds its voice to all those outraged by the programme, and the violation of the rights of its victims. We salute all those in action, whether family and community, or the various movements against injustice. The government's inhuman programme of deportations must stop.

Article Index



Defend the Rights of All against State Racism!

Creative Initiative to Demand that the Rights of Refugees are Respected

Written by: Frances Webber


Little Amal, the 12-foot puppet of the young Syrian refugee in Folkstone.

Little Amal, the 12-foot puppet of the young Syrian refugee, has in The Walk taken the story of refugee journeys across Europe, from south-east Turkey to Manchester, by way of Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. In the cities and towns she has passed through, from July when she set off from Gaziantep to November 3, when she arrived in Manchester, she has been greeted by thousands of people, in events co-ordinated with hundreds of local creative, artistic and refugee groups. She was welcomed by the Pope and by mayors and dignitaries, but mostly by large crowds of local people, some themselves former refugees. Preparations for her welcome have often involved local schools, with children learning songs of welcome, making flowers such as Damascus roses from plastic bags, and sometimes learning to ask questions like: "Why can't refugees get on planes and boats? Why do they have to walk?"

The idea for Little Amal, a production of the Good Chance Theatre Company, came from the company's earlier production "The Jungle". In 2015, Good Chance had built its first theatre in the Calais Jungle as a space for residents' and visitors' creativity and as respite from the harsh living conditions. The play "The Jungle", commissioned by the National Theatre and staged at the Young Vic and then the West End and on to the US, told the stories of some of those stuck there, with actors who had themselves made the journey and had been granted asylum. One of the characters in the play was a young Syrian girl, Amal (whose name means Hope). Thousands of young refugees have made the arduous and frightening journey across Europe, and the company decided to have Amal do it, producer David Lan said, "to take the experience of people who are quite brutally marginalised and put it in the centre", for people to "imagine what it would be like to be her". To make her visible, they made her big: t he Handspring Puppet company, makers of the War Horse puppets, made Little Amal, the girl whose Aleppo home was destroyed and who is looking for her mother, who she believes is in Manchester.

Amal was not welcomed everywhere: far-right protesters in Greece pelted the puppet with stones; local councillors in northern Greece refused entry to a monastery village for the "Muslim puppet"; and the right-wing mayor of Calais objected to her presence. But hostility was confined to a small minority.

The Walk celebrates resilience, courage, creativity and humanity. It does not purport to be political. But it has become political in the sense that what it is built around - refugees' odysseys across Europe, and the networks of solidarity that have grown up to support them - have increasingly been criminalised. It is bitterly ironic that in Greece, the coastguards welcoming Amal with a fanfare perform violent pushbacks of refugees into Turkish waters, and those acting in solidarity with refugees, like Seán Binder and Sara Mardini, are prosecuted. Binder and Mardini face trial on November 18 on charges related to their rescue and first-responder activities on Lesvos.

At an Oxford reception, Lan expressed the hope that the 8,000km marathon of street theatre would "change the weather" for refugees in Europe. In its spectacle, the delight it brought to many thousands and the connections it made between artists, refugees, local schools and communities across the continent, such a hope does not seem unrealistic.

(Institute of Race Relations, November 4, 2021)

Article Index



Empty Promises at COP26

People's Actions Exposing the "Global Greenwashing Festival"

The UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) was held in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12. It adopted the slogan "uniting the world to tackle climate change". The Opening Ceremonies on November 1 revealed the agenda of the rich and powerful countries which dominate the climate change narrative. Talk centred on the urgency of the situation and the need for every participating and non-participating country to reduce carbon emissions, increase carbon capture and develop renewable sources of energy to prevent the world's temperature increase going above 1.5°C by 2030. There was also a lot of talk about the "developed countries" fulfilling their commitment to fund the "developing countries".

But the claims of humankind are being expressed not by these leaders, but by the peoples themselves in their mass demonstrations and protests which were taking place during COP26. Whatever measures are promised by the leaders in the name of addressing the climate crisis, they will not entail the mobilisation of the human and natural resources of each country in a manner that puts the needs of the peoples in first place, beginning with their need to take the decisions which affect their lives.

Governments representing the interests of the oligopolies are in their service to make super profits from "greening the economy". That is the bottom line. They have put forward a clear framework: "the private sector" must unite to do the job that they have declared the "public sector" cannot do. It serves to cloud the fact that the public sector has been taken over by the private sector in a world marked by the politicisation of private interests.

COP26 will stand as a big internationally co-ordinated fraud to push schemes to pay the rich, both the corporations positioned to seize the day and the financiers who will reap the interest payments on funding the new "green economy" while exercising control over who will or will not be allowed entry into the projects they finance.

The peoples will continue to pay the price from having no say on the matter. They will pay in various forms - interest on financing, whether it is funneled through governments or through supranational bodies, and increased costs for goods and services plus the results of the damage being done to the environment. The peoples are nonetheless refusing to be reduced to spectators. They oppose the shameless patronising and condescending references and homages to the courage and determination of the youth in demanding climate crisis action. What the youth are demanding is their right to decide, their right to have a say and a bright future built by the peoples of the world in their favour.

COP26 has been a concentrated expression of the ongoing politicisation of private interests and destruction of national sovereign governance. The peoples must discuss among their peers and establish their own independent political positions - positions which unite the people to make way for democratic renewal.

Role of Global Financiers and Royals

We reproduce below extracts from an article by Pauline Easton in TML Monthly dated November 7.

[Look at] the wheeling and dealing and agreements that will come out of the COP26 Summit and the role of the global financiers led by Mark Carney, [1] UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance. Carney, former governor of the banks of both Canada and the UK, was tasked with the job of amassing the trillions of dollars controlled by various private entities for the green deals that are to be rolled out. Going back decades, the financial oligarchs have been building the regulatory and organisational structures to put the financiers squarely in charge and turning national governments into their enablers.

When Carney was appointed to the role, he says he put together a team to accomplish "a simple but vital task ... to have in place by COP26 ... all the necessary foundations so that every financial decision takes climate change into account." He describes the aim of the task as "a fundamental reordering of the financial system so that all aspects of finance - investments, loans, derivatives, insurance products, whole markets - systematically take the impact of their actions on the race to net zero. The objective is a financial system in which climate change is as much a determinant of value as creditworthiness, interest rates or technology, where the impact of an activity on climate change is a new vector, a new determinant, of value."

Carney launched two finance capital organising projects: the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA). There is also a Net-Zero Insurance Alliance. Carney boasts that some "1,300 of the world's largest companies ... supported by financial institutions controlling balance sheets totalling over $170 trillion, including the world's largest banks, pension funds, asset managers and insurers" have committed to this new financial system. This system will include things such as new standards for Enron-style corporate annual reports and prospectuses to show who is worthy and who is not of being the recipient of the funds flowing for the "net zero" economy.

[...]

The takeover of climate policies by the world's financial oligarchs was declared at the Opening Ceremony of COP26 by Charles, Prince of Wales, who is being paraded nowadays as the forthcoming "King of Canada," and hopeful to head the Commonwealth, not a "hereditary" position, in the not too distant future. He told the gathered world leaders that "independent initiatives running in parallel" would not do to tackle the climate crisis. "The scale and scope of the threat we face call for a global, systems-level solution," he declared.

Unabashed, the Prince told the assembled leaders: "Here we need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector. With trillions at its disposal - far beyond global GDP and - with the greatest respect, beyond even the governments of the world's leaders - it offers the only real prospect of achieving fundamental economic transition."

As to the question which loomed large in the background: "Who pays, and how?" the answer given was: "to align private investment behind these industry strategies to help finance the transition efforts, which means building the confidence of investors so that financial risk is reduced."

"More than 300 of the world's leading CEOs and institutional investors have told me that, alongside the promises countries have made ... they need clear market signals, agreed globally, so that they have the confidence to invest, without the goalposts suddenly moving," the Prince announced.

It is clear to the peoples of the world that it is up to them to settle scores with this new more extreme anti-people financial order that is in the making, which is going to impact their lives in a very big way. Everyone must lay the claims on society which they must and not permit decisions being made behind their backs and at their expense to decide the outcome of the crises which are taking place due to the fact that ruling elites have become a huge weight that is unsustainable. The solutions that favour the working class and people are sensible and must prevail.

Note

1. Mark Carney is one of the world's largest finance brokers, he himself a minor wealth holder with a net worth of US$35 million. He is currently a Vice Chair of Brookfield Asset Management and Head of Transition Investing. His work at Brookfield is described as "the development of products for investors that will combine positive social and environmental outcomes with strong risk-adjusted returns". From 2013 to 2020, he served as the Governor of the Bank of England, having served as the Bank of Canada's Governor from 2008 to 2013. He was Chairman of the Financial Stability Board from 2011 to 2018. Prior to 2008, he worked at Goldman Sachs, and in the Canadian Department of Finance. He is a member of the Global Advisory Board of the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), which is in turn owned by Allianz SE, whose major holdings including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, United Healthgroup, Alphabet and Tesla.
Carney was taken on as a board member of Stripe, a global technology company building economic infrastructure for the internet. It welcomed Carney to the board in February 2021 as someone who would benefit the company "as it rolls out its climate efforts globally, enabling millions of businesses to bring more funding to emerging carbon removal technologies". It adds that Carney's UN role has allowed him to "galvanise climate action and private finance ahead of the forthcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow".
Carney is also a member of the Group of Thirty and the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, and sits on the boards of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Hoffman Institute for Global Business and Society at the European Institute for Business Administration.
Quotes attributed to Carney in this article are from his book, "Value(s): Building a Better World for All", published in March 2021 by McClelland and Stewart.

Article Index



Health and Care Bill 2021-22

The Pay-the-Rich Direction of the Government in the NHS Continues to be Opposed


Protest in July outside Parliament against the Second Reading of the Health and Care Bill

Opposition to the Health and Care Bill 2021-22 continued on Saturday October 30 [1] with Keep Our NHS Public North East and "We Own It" actions on Halloween in towns and cities particularly delivering letters to MPs in opposition to the Bill. The petition against the Bill now stands at 108,000 [2] and over recent weeks many trade unions, medical associations, other organisations and individuals have continued their opposition by presenting their evidence in opposition to the Bill to the sessions of the Parliamentary Public Bill Committee (PPBC) [3]. Now is the report stage of the Bill in which some amendments will be presented to Parliament in the third and final report stage reading in Parliament on November 22 and 23. At the same time, the Health and Social Care Levy Act 2021 received the Royal Assent and was passed by Parliament on October 20. This Act imposes a new temporary health and social care levy [4] on most people who pay national insurance from April 2022 to April 2023. Then f rom April 6 2023 it will become a separate permanent tax levy that will include those over pensionable age.

Over the last year this opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill has centred around opposing this wrong direction for a system of health care, which has further taken the NHS from a public system to one that is increasingly dedicated to paying the rich. This has become very marked during the pandemic with vast sums being handed out to the private companies whilst the public NHS system has continued to be starved of the investment it needs in human and material resources. At this time, as the waiting lists increase for routine operations and procedures, NHS bodies are increasingly being forced to give over to the private sector less complicated elective surgery and diagnostics enabling those companies to profit and even pay more for professional staff and attract theme from the public bodies. This leaves an increasingly underfunded and understaffed NHS to pick up the costly and complex emergency surgery and diagnostics. At the same time, the Health and Social Care Levy Act 2021 will impose a further tax levy next year to ensure that the rich who privatise and profit from the NHS get paid. This Act should also be opposed as it is part of government pay the rich schemes for the NHS.

In the written evidence to the PPBC Professor Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick, Population Health Sciences Institute, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University point out that [4]: "The Bill is a 'hands-off Bill' which goes in the wrong direction. It fails to address the serious challenges facing the NHS, public health and social care. We cannot see it making any difference to reducing waiting lists and waiting times for services, to reducing staff shortages, or to providing adequate funding to rebuild and restore capacity in public health services." In further bullet points they highlight among other things that the Bill "replaces the principles of universal and comprehensive coverage throughout England with the limited concept of 'core responsibility' for specified groups of people and the conferring of 'discretions' on providers" as to what health services they provide and how they provide them. It will "lead to some 40+ integrated care boards (ICBs) which will cover ar eas that are too large to ensure local and public accountability which has already been degraded over many years" and "allows private companies to make decisions on allocating public expenditure through their membership of ICBs, reduces provision and access to medical services and emergency services, further undermines the rights to life and health and conflicts with the NHS constitution."

In the face of this opposition to the Health Bill Health minister Edward Argar told MPs in the debate on the Bill last month that the government would introduce an amendment "to protect the independence of Integrated Care Boards (ICBs)" by preventing individuals with "significant interests in private healthcare" from sitting on them". However, he said the government will not extend the same prohibition to the Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs). Yet, the new legislation is precisely about the ICPs working in close partnership with the ICBs and so this means very little if nothing to the aim on this Bill. As one commentator [5] put it the "bill would also remove the procurement of healthcare services for the purpose of the health service from the scope of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. As a result, contracts could be handed out to the private sector without the stringent arrangements one would expect in the awarding of public money. This is a recipe for cronyism." This was a lso highlighted by when Sajid Javid, the new Secretary of State for Health when he said in the previous debate on the Bill: "We have seen bold new ways of working, of overcoming bureaucracy and of people working seamlessly across traditional boundaries. New teams were forged, new technologies adopted and new approaches found." In other words, the cronyism that has been seen by government Minsters during the pandemic is to be enshrined in this new Bill to further enable this pay the rich direction for the NHS.

The Health and Care Bill is continuing the wrong direction for a system of health and social care in England. It is the wrong direction towards a corporate-led and privatised system of health and social care being rolled out on the back of the present health crisis. The new legislation is designed as a new corporate-led model of handing out contracts with their new ICBs and ICPs, covering in some cases some 2 million people with no accountability to those communities, cities and towns. These bodies will have no statutory duty even to make their decisions in public, but are said to be tasked with "overcoming the bureaucracy" of the regulatory systems of procurement and market bureaucracy."

Whilst building the resistance of the people to the attacks on health services the necessity is for a new direction where public authorities involve health staff, and the people in the communities they serve, empowering them to speak directly about their needs and participate in making the decisions. This is the direction to take our NHS forward as a human centred system providing a universal and fully funded public health and social care system which is free to all humans as of right. This is the requirement of a modern society today.


Notes

1. "We Own It" national day of action against the Health and Care Bill
Keep Our NHS Public North East
https://konpnortheast.com/news/
2. Protect the NHS: Scrap the health and care bill
https://www.change.org/p/health-secretary-sajid-javid-protect-the-nhs-stop-the-health-and-care-bill
3. Written Evidence to the Parliamentary Public Bill Committee
https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3022/publications
4. Policy Paper Health and Social Care Levy.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-social-care-levy/health-and-social-care-levy
This measure provides for a temporary 1.25 percentage point increase to both the main and additional rates of Class 1, Class 1A, Class 1B and Class 4 National Insurance contributions for the 2022 to 2023 tax year and revenue raised will go directly to support the NHS and equivalent bodies across the UK. From April 2023 onwards, the National Insurance contributions rates will decrease back to 2021 to 2022 tax year levels and will be replaced by a new 1.25% Health and Social Care Levy where the revenue will be ringfenced to support UK health and social care bodies.
Individuals above State Pension age will not be affected by the temporary increase to National Insurance contributions for the 2022 to 2023 tax year but will be liable to pay the levy from April 2023.
The new Health and Social Care Levy will be subject to the same reliefs, thresholds and requirements of the qualifying National Insurance contribution (Class 1, Class 1A, Class 1B or Class 4) in respect of which the Levy is payable.
The levy doesn't include Class 2 contributions that are fixed weekly amounts paid by self-employed people, or Class 3 contributions which are voluntary NICs paid by people wanting to fill gaps in their contributions record.
5. Vote looms on health bill that would subject English NHS to cronyism and cuts - Margaret Greenwood, Open Democracy
https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ournhs/vote-looms-on-uk-health-bill-that-would-subject-nhs-to-cronyism-and-cuts/
6. Continuing the Wrong Direction for a System of Health and Social Care
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wwie-21/ww21-22/ww21-22-03.htm

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No to Anglo-US Militarism in the Asia Pacific!

The British Military Must Be Withdrawn


The Korean Friendship Association picketing the British Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office in Whitehall in August to protest against the dispatch of the British aircraft carrier strike group to Korean waters, the ongoing US south Korean military exercises as well British sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The US has entered into several known military agreements to surround and threaten China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and indeed all the peoples in the Asia Pacific region. Already the US stations tens of thousands of troops and war materiel and equipment in Japan, south Korea and several south Pacific islands. The US military regularly sends warships and planes to prowl the waters surrounding China and the Korean Peninsula to probe and test the defences of both countries.

The warmongering has become particularly intense with the US and British militaries entering this strait separating mainland China and the island of Taiwan, which at its narrowest point is only 80 miles wide. The US is inflaming the situation by appearing to want to station troops, warplanes and ships in Taiwan as a close staging ground for an attack on China. The US imperialists are doing everything they can to inflame passions over the issue of Taiwan reuniting politically with China. The One China policy was settled a long time ago. The US is refusing to permit peaceful political settlements of any issue in the Asia Pacific region.

In a Commons debate in Westminster Hall on October 20, Daniel Kawczynski, Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, gave the most reactionary and warmongering account of the policy of the ruling elites on the impact on Anglo-Chinese relations of AUKUS. This is the pro-war naval alliance of Australia, Britain and the US [1]. The MP elaborated his pro-war, anti-China, anti-Russia outlook: "There is no doubt in my mind that both Russia and China are threats to the United Kingdom. Make no mistake: Russia and China are both grave threats to freedom, to the western world in particular and to true democracy in general. The discussion is not about whether they are a threat but about the type of threat they present and the degree to which they endanger us." He added: "With regard to AUKUS, we need to celebrate."


Although the thrust of Daniel Kawczynski's remarks was that the government should do more to recognise the "threat", particularly of China, and specifically of the Communist Party of China, the fact is that this outlook is the one behind the government's warmongering, its brinkmanship and its militarism, and it is clear who is threatening whom. As the MP said: "I pay tribute to our own Navy, which has been at the very forefront of pursuing freedom-of-navigation exercises through the South China sea." One can imagine the reaction if the Chinese navy engaged in freedom-of-navigation exercises through the Channel.

Lest we should be in any doubt, Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, said: "It is in that spirit ['to deter aggressive and bellicose behaviour that threatens British interests and those of our allies and our liberal democratic values'] that Labour Front Benchers welcome AUKUS and its increased defence co-operation with our allies."

Such remarks show the nature of the Westminster consensus of the cartel parties on a pro-war government. No path to peace can be found through the actions and outlook of these parties. The people must step up their fight for an anti-war government that represents their desire for peace and a decision-making power to implement it. The militarism of "Global Britain" must be ended, and the British military withdrawn from their participation in all such adventures as in the Asia Pacific.

Note

1. AUKUS is a trilateral military pact announced on September 15 involving Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The pact includes war preparations to attack China and the DPRK, and an agreement for Australia to buy nuclear powered submarines from the US war economy. This unilaterally cancels an earlier contract for Australia to buy non-nuclear powered submarines from France. The three war partners will co-operate in sending warships and planes throughout the Asia Pacific region and co-ordinate spying and cyber-activity directed at China, the DPRK and all peoples of the region. Britain recently ordered its Royal Navy/Royal Air Force Carrier Strike Group led by the new multi-billion dollar HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to sail close to China.

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Friends of Korea Hold Seminar on Developments of the DPRK in 2021

The Importance of Taking a Stand in Support of the DPRK's Right to Be

Friends of Korea would once again like to emphasise the importance of taking a stand in support of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's right to exist and choose its own path of development, striving for peace and for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula; and of supporting the just stands of the DPRK internationally at this crucial time in the face of hostility from the United States and other big powers, including Britain.

For us, the priority is to provide information, combat disinformation and defend the DPRK's right to be and the right to of the people to decide their own future. We have that duty in Britain, and that is the programme of the Friends of Korea. Thus we hope this seminar today, with its speakers and participants, will contribute towards this aim.

The first thing to grasp is who is hostile to whom. The US and Britain make wild accusations against the DPRK but any sober assessment of the situation shows that the danger comes from the US and its allies. The US stresses its role as the "indispensable nation", and lashes out to combat any challenge to this. The US has entered into several known military agreements to surround and threaten the DPRK, China and indeed all the peoples in the Asia Pacific region. Already the US stations tens of thousands of troops and war materiel and equipment in Japan, south Korea and several south Pacific islands. The US military regularly sends warships and planes to prowl the waters surrounding China and the Korean Peninsula to probe and test the defences of both countries. The US is refusing to permit a peaceful political settlement of any issue in the Asia Pacific region.

These are not only measures against the DPRK, China and the whole Asia Pacific region, but are in fact directed against the interests of the peoples everywhere, and all these hostile measures are an affront to all who take an anti-war stand. This is a stand that Friends of Korea firmly takes. In fact, the US maintains a large military presence of bases, troops and war equipment in south Korea that is used to intimidate and blockade the DPRK, as well of course as threatening China. This is also aimed at suppressing the people's democratic movement in the south of the Korean Peninsula for the peaceful reunification of the Korean nation.

Of note in this context is the AUKUS military pact. AUKUS is a trilateral military pact announced on September 15 involving Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The pact includes war preparations to attack the DPRK and China, and an agreement for Australia to buy nuclear powered submarines from the US war economy. The three war partners are to co-operate in sending warships and planes throughout the Asia Pacific region and co-ordinate spying and cyber-activity directed at the DPRK, China and all peoples of the region. Britain recently ordered its Royal Navy/Royal Air Force Carrier Strike Group led by the new multi-billion dollar HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to sail provocatively close to China through the Taiwan Straits on September 27, mirroring the US move in August.

Britain is also participating in the illegal sanctions the European Union has imposed against the DPRK, despite having withdrawn from the EU. It is doing so specifically with the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations".

These hostile activities have constantly been addressed by the DPRK, and it is this that provides the aim of its defence and military capabilities. In the face of this hostility, the DPRK has waged its struggle for its right to be during the last 70 years and more in the face of US aggression, war and brutal sanctions. The principled stand of the DPRK is to uphold its sovereignty and dignity under all conditions.


Friends of Korea Hold Seminar on Developments of the DPRK in 2021

The 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea held in January addressed this question. The main thrust of the 8th Congress in this regard was that it reiterated the DPRK's determination to uphold its self-reliant Juche outlook, strengthen its independent economy to counter the brutal sanctions regime of the Anglo-Americans, and defend itself against threats and aggression from the US and others.

Noting in January that whoever became the US President, the real intentions of its policy toward the DPRK would never change, the report to the Congress stressed the need for an adroit strategy towards the US, at the same time as steadily expanding solidarity with the anti-imperialist, independent forces. The report also referred to the need to frustrate the reactionary offensive of the enemy and raise the prestige of the DPRK by enhancing the role of the external information sector. It stressed the need for the field of external work to further develop relations with the socialist countries, consolidate unity and co-operation with the revolutionary and progressive parties which aspire for independence, and for launching a dynamic joint struggle against imperialism on a worldwide scale so as to make the external environment of the DPRK ever-more favourable, it was reported.

The report expressed the steadfast determination of the WPK to reliably defend the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula as well as of the rest of the world. There is no country on this planet, it said, which is permanently exposed to the threat of war as is the DPRK, nor a country as strong in its people's desire for peace. Friends of Korea is fully behind these affirmations and sentiments expressed in the WPK report.

More recently, on October 11, in his commemorative speech at the Defence Development Exhibition, respected leader Kim Jong Un noted that the exhibition was an opportunity to see how the defence capability of the DPRK had developed. The DPRK is holding fast to the principle of self-defence, and developing military science and the munitions industry in this context, especially over the past five years, he emphasised.

Kim Jong Un said: "The core of our Party's defence policy is to defend our country and people by our own efforts, and contain any threat and challenge. It is to reliably and steadfastly safeguard peace by means of a steadily-developing, powerful defence capability."

He pointed out that historically the Korean nation had suffered invasion by foreign forces, and has had to build socialism under the constant threats by hostile forces. In view of this lesson of the history of the nation and the demand and special character of the Korean revolution, he said, the building up of national defence is an indispensable and vital state affair which the Workers' Party of Korea, together with the DPRK government and people, must not neglect for even a moment.

The DPRK leader underlined that the rapid development of military techniques and hardware is changing the aspect of military operations and the security environment of states in every region of the present world. "The military danger facing our state due to the military tension prevailing around the Korean peninsula is different from that ten or five, nay, three years ago," he said.

"Seeing the contents of various military exercises the United States and south Korea frequently wage on the pretext of coping with what they call threats while talking about peace, cooperation and prosperity in public and south Korea's attempt to modernise its armaments which has recently become intolerably undisguised," he said, "we can easily guess how military environment will change in the region of the Korean peninsula tomorrow. Recently, south Korea has been trying to upgrade the fighting efficiency of its army under the powerful sponsorship of the United States, bringing in a large number of cutting-edge weapons of various kinds including stealth joint strike fighters and high altitude unmanned reconnaissance aircraft."

In fact, as the speech explained, the south is focusing on modernising its strike weapons of different kinds. It is developing various warheads and extending the range of its missiles so as to upgrade its overall missile capacity. The military objective of these strike weapons is clear. It is the DPRK. The south is also working to develop the combat efficiency of its submarines and is developing fighter aircraft. "South Korea's attempt," the speech said, "is too dangerous to be left to itself, but what is more dangerous is its justification for modernising its armaments and its hypocritical double-dealing attitude."

What of relations between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea in this context? It can be said that whenever the Korean people have made headway in building inter-Korean relations and strengthening the movement for reunification, the US imperialists have intervened to sabotage these efforts. This remains the case.

The 8th Congress of the WPK had noted that in terms of its relations with the US, the DPRK has no illusions and will engage in relations on the basis of "goodwill for goodwill and power for power". The Congress had laid down that the DPRK will be developing and strengthening its international relations in support of the cause of peace and justice everywhere, extending a hand of friendship to all who reciprocate. As Kim Jong Un said at the Defence Development Exhibition, "Our arch-enemy is war itself, not south Korea, the United States or any other specific state or forces."

In conclusion, it can be said that the DPRK conducts its foreign relations on the basis of principle and upholding its right to be. Contrary to the disinformation carried by the imperialist system of states that the DPRK is a violator of human rights, it is the draconian sanctions imposed by the US, Britain, and others that constitute gross human rights violations, acts of war and collective punishment against the people of the DPRK, which is doing its utmost to defend the rights of its people against this aggression.

The decisive factor in the future of Korea is the Korean people themselves, not anyone or any other power, and their drive for peace and reunification is bound to eventually succeed.

Finally, Friends of Korea would like to emphasise once again the importance of speaking out in defence of the DPRK and its right to be. This is crucial in the context of the continued attacks on it by the US imperialists and their allies including the British government.

We stand as one with the DPRK in its right to pursue its own path of social development, which they must be allowed to do without the threat of war, aggression, sanctions and interference of any kind. We have every confidence in the resilience of the DPRK and the justice of its cause. Friends of Korea will redouble its efforts in its work to embody the friendship and solidarity of democratic people in this country in support of the DPRK's right to be. This is a matter of war and peace, with the DPRK contributing to the cause of peace on the Korean Peninsula, in the Asia Pacific region and internationally.

Thank you.

(Presentation by Michael Chant at Seminar of Friends of Korea, November 6, 2021)

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Emergency protest against US Intervention in Cuba

Sunday 14 November 1-2pm
Outside the Cuban Embassy,
167 High Holborn, London WC1
End US funding for intervention!
End the US blockade!

On Sunday, November 14, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign will hold a rally in London to protest against US intervention and attempts to destabilise Cuba. The protest will highlight the escalation of US government involvement with, and funding for, opposition groups both on and outside the island. It will call for an end to US aggression and an end to the US blockade which has caused hardship and suffering in Cuba for almost 60 years.

Pro-blockade politicians and right-wing Cuban American groups based in Florida are pushing for increased sanctions, calling for US action, including intervention, and supporting anti-Cuba protests around the world.

While they claim to want to help the Cuban people, they support the tightening of the US blockade - a policy which is directly responsible for shortages of food, medicines and basic necessities for all Cubans, especially the most vulnerable. The blockade has been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly in 29 consecutive votes.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign calls on the US government to end its six-decade campaign of economic warfare and aggression against Cuba. We support the Cuban people's right to determine their own future, free from external attempts to destabilise the country and US intervention. We will continue to fight for an end to the inhumane US blockade which shamefully enters its 60th year in 2022.

If you are able, please join us at the rally in London from 1-2pm on Sunday 14 November. If not, please support the event by forwarding this email and statement to family and friends, and share our social media posts on the day. If you would like to organise something in your area on raise awareness about the situation please contact us for information and resources.

Cuba Solidarity Campaign statement against US intervention in Cuba

Campaign News | Thursday, 11 November 2021

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign condemns the actions of individuals, groups and governments that are attempting to destabilise Cuba by supporting, financing and co-ordinating protests around the world, and in Cuba itself, from November 14-15.

The US government has escalated its involvement with, and funding for, opposition groups both on and outside the island, and is openly supporting anti-government protests in Cuba. Pro-blockade US politicians and right-wing Cuban American groups based in Florida are pushing for increased sanctions and calling for further US action, including intervention. While they claim to want to help the Cuban people, they support the tightening of the US blockade - a policy which is directly responsible for shortages of food, medicines and basic necessities for all Cubans, especially the most vulnerable. The blockade has been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly in 29 consecutive votes.

These latest aggressions are a continuation of the 60-year US policy of economic warfare intended to starve the Cuban people into submission and create unrest and overthrow of the government. In July the mainstream media widely reported on protests in Cuba which arose initially as a result of an economic and health crisis caused by the tightening of the blockade and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, little was reported on the role of US-based politicians and groups in promoting and exploiting these events.

Following the July protests the Biden administration called Cuba "a failed state" due to its Covid-19 rates and offered to supply the island with vaccines, provided they could be administered by "independent" (ie non-state) organisations. This offer was disingenuous and hypocritical given that just months before the US blockade had exacerbated the pandemic and cost lives in Cuba by preventing the delivery of emergency medical aid including ventilators, testing kits and masks. Many countries and international organisations, called for a genuine humanitarian response starting with an end to the US blockade. The international development agency Oxfam said that US sanctions "represented a real obstacle to the procurement of mechanical ventilators, face masks, diagnostic kits, reagents, vaccination syringes, and other necessary materials to address Covid-19."


Mass Rally in Defence of the Revolution, Havana, Cuba, in July

Despite these obstacles, Cuba managed to develop its own successful vaccines against Covid-19 and had fully vaccinated almost 70 per cent of its population by November 9. Its schools also reopened for face-to-face lessons with all children aged 2-18 years fully vaccinated - an amazing achievement for a low income country under cruel sanctions. In contrast, the US stood at less than 60 per cent by the same date, despite starting its vaccination programme months earlier and having significantly more resources.

Although the July protests in Cuba were small, especially when compared to the pro-government rallies which followed, right-wing US politicians and their supporters have seized the opportunity to promote a so-called "soft coup" attempt. They are now supporting protests called for November 15 in Cuba and several cities across the world, including London. The Biden administration has also expressed its support for anti-government groups and demonstrations. It is inconceivable that any country would tolerate such direct interference by a foreign government in its domestic affairs. Yet Cuba is demonised for acting and speaking out against such actions.

The US government spends millions funding anti-Cuban projects and opposition groups every year. Some grant recipients are clearly named on US government websites, but others are kept secret. In the last two months the US government has awarded almost $7 million to twelve organisations for projects to destabilise and undermine the Cuban government. These twelve groups alone are set to receive $18 million over the next three years (an amount Cuba solidarity groups could not come close to matching over three decades let alone three years!).

There is clear and mounting evidence of misinformation, direct US funding and interference, and support from individuals and groups with a history of violence against Cuba in planning or promoting events for November. CSC has compiled an extensive alternative media archive detailing such activities in the run-up to the November protests and the background to the July 11 protests.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign calls on the US government to end its six decade campaign of economic warfare and aggression against Cuba. We support the Cuban people's right to determine their own future, free from external attempts to destabilise the country and US intervention. We will continue to fight for an end to the inhumane US blockade which shamefully enters its 60th year in 2022.

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