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Year 2001 No. 36, February 26, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

Terrorism Act Aimed Against People’s Struggles

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Terrorism Act Aimed Against People’s Struggles

The Work of the Party:
North East Regional Forum on the Mass Party Press Focuses on Developing its Work

Dudley NHS Strike Continues
DEMO and LOBBY of Gisela Stuart MP, Health Minister

KFSC Meeting Hears Report of NCP Visit to North Korea

The Occupied Territories:
Coalition of Women for a Just Peace Protest Again against "Closure"

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Terrorism Act Aimed Against People’s Struggles

The so-called Terrorism Act came into force last Monday, February 19.

The government’s definition of terrorism is "violence for political ends", taken over from the Prevention of Terrorism Act. This Act was brought into existence as part of the arsenal of the state in suppressing, and criminalising the support for, the struggle of the Irish republican movement for a united Ireland. As such it was also an integral part of the wider arsenal of the bourgeoisie to maintain its class rule. The Prevention of Terrorism Act was widened to include "international terrorism". With the latest Terrorism Act, the government’s definition of "terrorism" has itself been widened to include other "motivations" besides "political", namely "religious or ideological", and to include actions other than overt violence but which in a modern society could have a devastating impact, according to the drafters of the Act. Furthermore, whereas the previous legislation had to be renewed annually, the Terrorism Act is permanent legislation.

In the name of "fighting terrorism," pretexts are being established to justify depriving certain sections of the people of their rights. This is an attack on the rights of all, and also goes hand in hand with the stepping up of state-organised racist attacks and interference and aggression abroad. The criminalisation of the people’s struggles is becoming the norm, and the Terrorism Act is a stage on the road to this norm. It is designed to put a further block on the people’s struggles to open the door to progress and, with such Acts as the Criminal Justice Act, is part of putting in place a counter-revolutionary state apparatus so as to prevent the political renewal of society.

This attack against the rights of the people encompasses the notion that those forces active for national and social liberation must be designated as "terrorists". This move to label those who are politically active as criminals and "terrorists" is part of the whole campaign against everyone who becomes politically active in order to criminalise their struggles. This is coupled with the media promotion of isolated acts of violence, and actions which may well be the work of agents provocateurs. At the same time, repressive police violence, which is straightforward state terrorism, is justified under the pretext of being tough on all the actions which the Act now defines as "terrorist".

Furthermore, the whole issue of such "terrorism" becomes a device to divide the working class and people, by diverting them from opposing the anti-social offensive and into siding with opposing some perceived threat to law and order as the problem, as well as promoting backwardness and chauvinism.

Those that take any action, such as demonstrating or raising money, in support of organisations fighting for national and social liberation, especially who are in the throes of armed struggle, will be subject to the measures of the law. Once an organisation has been added to the banned list, it will be an offence to support it financially, to display its emblems in public or to share a platform at a meeting of three people or more, either public or private, with someone belonging to it.

All democratic people must oppose this attempt to criminalise the people’s just struggles and to target all those who do not share the same values as the British state, while the bourgeoisie itself carries out the most terroristic actions under the name of high ideals and opposing terrorism.

Article Index



The Work of the Party:

North East Regional Forum on the Mass Party Press Focuses on Developing its Work

Meeting last week, the North East Regional Forum focused on developing its work. This is the second meeting it has held this year, the first being concerned with discussing its work in the light of the resolutions of the Party’s National Consultative Conference 2000.

The Regional Forum adopted the proposal to produce a regional bulletin. The character of such a bulletin would be that of the Workers’ and Politics page in Workers’ Weekly/WDIE. This is the column on the conditions of the workers and on the agenda the workers themselves are setting to overcome their marginalisation and to take up politics. Its aim is to contribute to the politicisation of the workers. The North East Regional Forum discussed the proposal for a regional bulletin in some detail, in particular that it could be produced either for a particular struggle or in intervening in the political life in the region, for example. The Regional Forum assessed that it was an initiative that it could sustain collectively.

The North East Regional Forum also discussed the consolidation of its work of expanding the readership of Workers’ Weekly. In this context it decided that the next step would be the forming of a readers’ group.

Article Index



Dudley NHS Strike Continues

Dudley health workers began another three-week strike on February 11. A national demonstration and lobby of Health Minister Gisela Stuart MP is to be held in Birmingham on March 3. See ad below for details.

Striker Angela Thompson will stand against Labour in the General Election under the banner of the Socialist Alliance. For their part, the NHS Trust are paying out £2.25 per hour bonus to loyal employees, have issued a 90 day notice and claim to be about to sign contracts with Summit Healthcare.

The strikers point out that the dispute cuts to the heart of Labour’s plans for the NHS. Everyone can now see the risks of past and present privatisations for the railways, tube, and air traffic control, they say. But the government is quietly pursuing an equally dangerous project for the health service through the Private Finance Initiative. The Dudley health workers are fighting a PFI scheme to transfer 600 workers to the private sector, disrupting the teamwork which links porters and domestics to nurses and surgeons while losing 170 jobs and 70 beds. They point out that government Health Minister John Denham backs the deal.

The strikers at the Dudley Group of Hospitals declare: We are not going to go away!

Article Index



Dudley Group of Hospitals

600 striking NHS workers need your solidarity

DEMO and LOBBY of Gisela Stuart MP, Health Minister

600 NHS workers, members of UNISON Dudley Group of Hospitals have been on strike for over 100 days since last August against plans to privatise their jobs.

This is planned as part of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project which involves the closure of one hospital and all wards at another leaving Dudley with 70 fewer hospital beds at a time when the Government has identified the need for more.

Defend the NHS

Saturday 3 March, Assemble 10.30am, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham

March to Gisela Stuart's constituency surgery, Woodview Community Centre, Spring Rd, Edgbaston for 12 midday

Please note times and venues subject to confirmation.

Please contact the branch

Donations payable to UNISON Dudley Group of Hospitals, Union Offices, Wordsley Hospital, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 5QX. Tel/ Fax 01384 244350. Mobile 07970 788873

E-mail: MarkNew3@aol.com dghunison@ic24.net

web site: http://www.dghunsion.org.uk

Article Index



KFSC Meeting Hears Report of NCP Visit to North Korea

The Korea Friendship and Solidarity Campaign (KFSC) held a meeting on February 15 to mark the 59th birthday of the great leader of the Korean people, Kim Jong Il. The meeting was chaired by Andy Brooks, General Secretary of New Communist Party (NCP) and committee member of KFSC.

The main content of the meeting was reports by two members of the NCP delegation which visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea last October.

Dorothy Legg said it had been her first visit. She had found the mood very upbeat following the historic North-South Summit and Joint Declaration of June 2000, with great support for reunification and the correctness of the policies of Kim Jong Il. She described the visits to farms, hospitals, schools, museums and other aspects of the life of the people. She said she had been very impressed by the long-term planning evident in such vast projects as the West Sea Barrage. She spoke of the beauty of Pyongyang and other areas as well as of the deep impression made by seeing the US-built concrete wall which still divides Korea and the site of the terrible massacre at Sinchon. She said that as secretary of KFSC she had met the head of the friendship committee with Britain. She had been very inspired by the visit which had underlined the importance of the work of KFSC.

Robin Smith said this had been his second visit, having been on a delegation to DPRK to attend the International Festival of Youth and Students in 1989. He was very impressed by the changes since then, by the way in which the natural disasters and other difficulties had been overcome, and how the people there were facing the future with such confidence. He spoke of the significance of the historic Summit and Joint Declaration, of Madeleine Albright’s visit, and of the British government’s decision to open diplomatic relations with the DPRK. He spoke of the importance given to ideology and to all aspects of life being based on the collective. He said that the issue of reunification in the form of a Confederal Republic of Koryo stood out above all others, and that KFSC had important work to do campaigning in support of reunification, for the removal of US troops and an end to all foreign interference.

Chris Coleman of RCPB(ML) from the floor said how much he appreciated the reports, which brought back memories of the visit of the delegation of the Central Committee of RCPB(ML) shortly before. He said it was important to recognise the significance of the momentous events of the recent period while acknowledging the difficulties which lay ahead: the Joint Declaration had been signed but US troops remained as the main obstacle to reunification; Blair’s government had opened diplomatic relations but openly proclaimed it would use the opportunity to interfere in the DPRK’s internal affairs under the pretext of "human rights". So there was much work to do.

There then followed a prolonged and detailed discussion on the prospects for reunification, on US and British imperialist policy regarding Korea, on developments in the DPRK and on other topics.

The meeting ended with the adoption by acclaim of a message of greetings to Kim Jong Il.

Article Index



The Occupied Territories:

Coalition of Women for a Just Peace Protests Again against "Closure"

Another successful demonstration against the "closure" of the occupied territories was held by the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace on Saturday.

About 300 Israelis, mostly women but with a growing contingent of men, showed up at the Jerusalem-Bethlehem border crossing to protest against the so-called "closure". This "closure" is sometimes called a "blockade" or "siege", because the Israeli army actually encircles Palestinian towns and prevents residents from freely leaving or entering.

Gila Svirsky of the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace writes of the protest: "Imagine how frustrating it must feel to have your freedom of movement obstructed – picture yourself prevented from leaving your own city because foreign soldiers have bulldozed the roads and set down concrete slabs. But beyond the insult, there are serious problems – access to medical care, food and supplies, education, and jobs. Several sick Palestinians who were held up at these barriers, pending a decision by the young Israeli soldiers on duty about letting them through, actually died as a result of the delay, including a baby. It is also shocking for me as an Israeli to realise that the closure provides virtually no security dividend to Israel; it is simply a deliberate act of intimidation.

"The Coalition of Women for a Just Peace held its first ‘closure’ protest opposite the Defence Ministry in Tel-Aviv three weeks ago (ending in police violence, the arrest of 17, and practically no media exposure). Today's event was fairly quiet, no one was arrested, but the Israeli media announced that we ‘tried to force our way through the barriers’. Well, not quite.

"It was a sunny day, and many Israelis had come from Tel-Aviv and other cities. Soon after the demonstration began, both sides of the road were already lined with demonstrators carrying or wearing signs ‘Closure kills’, ‘Closure starves’, ‘Closure creates enemies’, and the usual ‘Stop the Occupation’. Our presence, of course, caused the quick mobilisation of a larger contingent of soldiers, who now manned the barrier. At the signal, the protesters stepped off the sidewalk and filled the road, marching quietly toward the checkpoint. We walked slowly and in a dignified manner. The soldiers began to scramble to prevent our getting through. At the checkpoint, they formed a cordon across the road, and our forward movement was stopped. We stood there facing them and began to chant the powerful, rhythmic slogan, which rhymes in Hebrew:
End the closure in the territories –
Get out of their bloodstream.
End the closure in the territories –
Give jobs to the workers.
End the closure in the territories –
Give food to the children.

"We continued chanting for quite a while, and journalists from Israel, Europe, and the States had some good photo opportunities of this confrontation. One young man in our group was forcefully shoved to the ground by a soldier, but after we pointed out to the soldier that he was on candid camera, he controlled himself much better. Other than that, it was a completely non-violent action, and therefore powerful. From there, the entire group walked 100 meters back to hold up our signs to the drivers headed to the ‘bypass roads’, which lead to the settlements.

"Our demonstration today was scheduled to take place simultaneously with a parallel demonstration on the Palestinian side of the border, but there was deep concern that Palestinians demonstrating at this location would provide a pretext for army violence, regardless of how quiet and dignified they were. Nevertheless, 50 or so brave ‘internationals’ who were visiting Israel and Palestine for the Sabeel ‘peace and justice’ conference did manage to come through the border from Bethlehem and join us. They told us that the Palestinians knew of our demonstration, and expressed their solidarity. A day earlier, these internationals had joined us on a Women in Black vigil in Jerusalem, bringing our total yesterday to about 200.

"On the way to the event today, a friend of mine complained that no one had called her about the demonstration, but she had fortunately read about it in the newspaper ad. ‘You're making a revolution,’ she said, ‘and I don't want to be left out.’

"The news this evening had good shots of the confrontation. The soldiers were armed with their M16s and we were armed with our signs and determination. In the long run, it's not much of a contest. The subjugation of a people is always doomed to failure - sic transit tyrannis. Ultimately the closure and all the apparatus of occupation will be dismantled. It's only a matter of time...and of how many more people will have to suffer first."

For more information visit the web site: http://www.batshalom.org

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