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Year 2001 Number 9, January 19, 2001Archive Search Home Page

Demonstrators Mark Gulf War Anniversary

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Demonstrators Mark Gulf War Anniversary

Vigil in Newcastle

Anti-Sanctions Protesters Demonstrate Inside UN

Readers' Forum: No. 5: The Mass Party Press, the Press of the Mass Party

Defend the NHS

West Midlands News In Brief
Teachers Ballot on Working to Rule at Sandwell School
Midlands at Risk over Micra

"Fascist Turkish State Orders Police Operation on 20 Prisons in Turkey Adding New Page to its Bloody History"

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Demonstrators Mark Gulf War Anniversary

Hundreds of demonstrators militantly gathered outside the House of Commons on January 16, marking the 10th anniversary of the start of the Gulf War, and protesting against the sanctions against Iraq.

The protesters battled through police lines demanding that the British government heed the call to end the criminal and genocidal sanctions and the undeclared war against Iraq.

Those demonstrating included campaigners from groups including Reclaim the Streets and CND, calling for MPs to "account for their complicity in the suffering of the Iraqi people under sanctions".

Tony Benn addressed the demonstrators, calling on them to step up their campaigning, together with those all round the world who demand an end to this continuing crime against humanity.

Four activists from Voices in the Wilderness, who have broken UN sanctions by taking medical supplies and toys to Iraq, handed in a letter at Downing Street demanding that the Prime Minister end the sanctions, pointing out that as a result of the sanctions children are dying of malnutrition, lack of medicine and contaminated water. The cost of the ongoing bombing of Iraq by British war planes is £4 million a month, the activists point out. They expose that the sanctions have led to a deterioration of health conditions across Iraq, including chronic malnutrition among 800,000 children under five.

Milan Rai, of Voices in the Wilderness, who was making his third trip to Iraq with supplies, said: "Children are still sick and malnourished as a result and the supply of basic drugs to treat them is still inadequate." Fellow activist Richard Byrne said: "We cannot co-operate with a system which 10 years after the Gulf War is still causing so much suffering to ordinary people."

Another of the organisations participating in the demonstration, the Institute for Independence Studies, commented: "The presence today of many who have been campaigning against capitalism and environmental degradation, and of many experienced in campaigns of direct action, should warn the British government that if it does not reconsider its stupid and reckless policy of supporting the US, then it will be taught a lesson on the streets of London and other cities in Britain that it will never forget."

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Vigil in Newcastle

There was a vigil for Iraq in Newcastle, at Gray’s Monument, on January 16. The action was to coincide with and show support for the London actions on the same day.

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Anti-Sanctions Protesters Demonstrate Inside UN

Among the demonstrations world-wide to mark the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War and demand an end to the sanctions against Iraq was one inside the UN headquarters.

Seven people staged a protest as part of a week-long demonstration over the US policy against Baghdad.

The protesters wore T-shirts with the slogan "Nations must unilaterally break the siege of Iraq".

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Readers' Forum

No. 5: The Mass Party Press, the Press of the Mass Party

All the recent work of the Party, from the time of the 3rd Congress culminating in the recent National Consultative Conference 2000, has been informed by the necessity of developing the Mass Party Press. This task goes hand in hand with the work to intervene in the political life of the country and both aspects, Mass Party Press and political intervention by the communists, are strengthened and crucial experience gained.

The NCC 2000 confirmed the compatibility between mass work and the Party’s revolutionary tasks, and one of crucial aspects of the present work is to unleash the energy of a class politicised through discussion of its concerns, defining the issues for solution and setting the agenda, tactics and strategy to deal with the problems identified – that is, being political. The Mass Party Press communicates this work – voicing the concerns embedded within the pro-social programme of the working class and the agenda taken up to implement it.

The logic of recent work is reinforced by the importance of the working class having a press that reflects its sentiments, interests and activities; media which documents the struggles for a Socialist Britain. Elaborating this point further, then the Mass Party Press addresses the concerns of the masses of people. It pinpoints the leading role of the working class, highlighting the vision and programme of the working class. It speaks for the class, for the workers, provides a vision of society, using Workers’ Weekly/Workers’ Daily Internet Edition as weapons in the work to organise the working class, the communists, the advanced and progressive forces to occupy the space for change. The Mass Communist Party at the head this process, bringing consciousness and organisation to the movement, is the cohesive link between such a press and the consolidation of the communist party for Britain on the new historical basis – that is that everyone engages in politics through discussion of their concerns and setting the agenda.

Two dimensions of constant work are revealed through this summation. Firstly, taking up practical politics, by which the class is organised, worker politicians emerge and the groups of writers and disseminators become enlivened. Secondly, the journalism of a strengthened Mass Party Press reports on and is a component of these practical politics to politicise and empower the working class and people. The particular talents of individuals as journalists materialise and their potential is both fully utilised and at the call of the pro-social movement and a feature of the documentation of and propaganda battles of the line of march to a new society. Creating Groups of Writers and Disseminators also amplifies the voice of the class and confirms its role as the leading social force with the requisite organisation, numbers, and hostility to all forms of exploitation and oppression. The establishment of the Workers’ Resource Centre, established for Writers and Disseminators, is a crucial victory in this respect.

As a minimum, the aim of this journalism is to cover the workers’ defence of their interests and the society’s different collectives defending their rights. Party journalism counteracts the monopoly-controlled media’s depoliticisation of the people through disinformation that aims to render people passive and apolitical in the face of all-round political, economic, cultural, and social crisis.

The constant work of the Party and the work taken up by the basic organisations and Regions in their specific circumstances is invigorated and given coherence by establishing units where the work of the Party takes place. Since the period of the 3rd Congress, Party activists involved in journalism have implemented this line by strengthening the basic organisation in the journalistic work. Upholding the axiom that the basic units act as organs of class struggle fighting for the interests of the working class and oppressed and exploited people – the unit’s arena of struggle is journalism, a vital element being the contest with the monopoly controlled media in the battle of ideas. The unit has continued the work to Improve the Content, Extend the Readership of Workers’ Weekly as the cutting edge of building the Mass Party Press with the aim of consolidating the Party on the new historical basis. Occupying the space for change in this sense evolves from its theoretical conception to a task taken up for solution.

The journalism unit has led the initiative of writing for Workers’ Weekly and Workers’ Daily Internet Edition, reporting on the peoples struggles in the political, economic and other spheres both from a national and international perspective. Practically the work has included regular contributions to Workers’ Weekly and Workers’ Daily Internet Edition, together with the coverage given to workers’ struggles in News in Briefs and in the Regions’ reports on their work and activities.

The journalists’ experience in this period has confirmed that coverage of workers’ struggles involves more than reports of strikes and economic issues but involves a political aim – the emergence of worker politicians who fight for and defend the interests of their class, who raise the issue of "Who decides?" and who comprise the human resources of the Mass Communist Party. The character of the newspaper as the scaffolding around which the Party is built in the heart of the class and people is also affirmed in this way.

The work of the start-up period in the arena of journalism, the crystallisation of the Party’s tasks, the continuation and consolidation of its work discussed and agreed at the NCC 2000, has also highlighted the need for professional journalists. However, developing the Mass Party Press entails more than professionalising the work; it comprises building the Party Press and the journalism of such a Press as the means through which the workers’ interests, lives and concerns are reflected. It entails that the communists and advanced forces from the workers’ movement are organised to become worker politicians, that forces arise who write for and disseminate Workers’ Weekly, and any other journals of the different collectives, as part of the work to consolidate the Communist Party on the new historical basis and advance along the line of march to a socialist Britain.

Activist in the Journalism Work

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Defend the NHS

The UNISON Dudley Group of Hospitals is calling on everyone to demonstrate solidarity with NHS workers on strike.

They point out that the hospital workers are fighting against plans to transfer over 600 members from the NHS to a private consortium, Summit Healthcare. 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.

The demonstration is on Saturday, January 27, assembling 11.30 am at Dudley Leisure Centre, Off Wellington Rd., Dudley.

The UNISON Dudley Group of Hospitals website is to be found at: http://www.dghunison.org.uk.

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West Midlands News In Brief

Teachers Ballot on Working to Rule at Sandwell School

Teachers in the West Midlands are deciding to take industrial action because of the crisis in education. A Great Barr high school in Sandwell is entering into a dispute, which could result in classes being cancelled.

On January 13, it was decided by the NASUWT to ballot 40 teachers at Dartmouth High School with a view to carrying out a work to rule. It would ban teachers from covering for colleagues who are ill or taking extra classes. The NUT and ATL unions are also going to ballot their members. The school is suffering from lack of applicants to fill vacancies and a number of long term sick teachers. Peter Cole, Sandwell branch secretary of the union, felt that teachers were being put under enormous pressure, which has now become unacceptable.

These actions are occurring at a time when teachers in many parts of the country are considering taking action over pay. There are also grave concerns over the growing number of schools having to operate over four days instead of five because of teacher recruitment and retention.

There has been an overall drop of 10% in applications to train as French teachers, the Graduate Teacher Training Registry showed. Maths registered a 3.8% fall, English was down 2% and History down 2%.

Midlands at Risk over Micra

Up to 1,000 West Midlands car jobs would be put at risk if the Nissan car plant in Sunderland were closed, according to AEEU National Political Organiser and member of the Rover "Taskforce", Tom Watson.

Tom Watson is at present in Brussels talking to Maria Rebbinder, head of the European Commission's State aid department. A figure of £40m in state aid to Nissan is being considered. Tom Watson said: "Jobs across the region depend on the plant. It may be hundreds of miles away but it still counts for Midlands car workers." He informed the European Commission that up to 1,000 car component jobs in the Midlands depended on the Sunderland plant. He pointed out that it was the highest concentration of jobs linked to the Nissan plant outside the Sunderland area itself.

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"Fascist Turkish State Orders Police Operation on 20 Prisons in Turkey Adding New Page to its Bloody History"

WDIE has received the following message from ÖZTUDAK, the Freedom Prisoners' Solidarity Committee, on the massacre of the protesting prisoners carried out by the Turkish state.

On December 19, 2000, at 5 am, police attacked 20 prisons murdering 32 political prisoners and injuring hundreds more. The Turkish State's intention was to transfer all political prisoners to isolation cells found in the new "F Type Prisons" and to discontinue the Death Fast of 200 political prisoners who had been fasting for 60 days by taking them to hospital to force feed them. Early in the morning, police entered the prisons by demolishing all the walls with work machines and dropping gas bombs from the roof. The police did not let anyone within a 2km radius of the prisons, not even the press or prisoners' families. The prisons were filled with smoke fumes and gunshots reverberated in all directions.

All the solicitors who came to defend the prisoners plus many prisoners' families and members of the press have been arrested. Only ambulances, work machines, and the fire brigade have been allowed inside. During the operation police also raided prisoners' homes and threatened their families. The Turkish Government has forbidden the media from revealing what happened during the police operation and in what state the prisoners are now.

There have been widespread protests against the massacre throughout Turkey, which the police have been quick to quell. Many people have been arrested and even beaten to death, but no one has a clear idea as to who and how many people have been detained or killed.

The day after the bombardment a prisoner, being taken from a prison, was heard to shout "They murdered six women by burning them alive." This is the only true eye witness statement we have and yet President Bulent Ecevit tried to hide the fact the police were burning prisoners, saying that the prisoners were burning themselves.

This is not the first attack against political prisoners by the Turkish State and it will not be the last. In order to improve conditions in Turkish prisons political prisoners have been protesting since the early 1980s. The first four prisoners to take the drastic action of fasting to the death died in Diyarbakir in 1982. Another four prisoners died on a Death Fast in 1984 and in 1986 a further 12 prisoners died on indefinite Hunger Strike and on a Death Fast. In the same year, 10 prisoners were murdered in Diyarbakir prison by forces of the State. There were massacres in Buca and Umraniye prisons in 1999 and in Ankara Ulucanlar Prison, 10 prisoners were tortured and killed. In addition, attacks to Bergama and Burdur Prison led to scores of injured prisoners. Today 32 people have been murdered and hundreds injured.

The aim of the Turkish State is to transfer all political prisoners to death cells called "F-Type Prisons." F-Type Prisons were built to isolate prisoners from each other and from the outside world, making it easier to torture and murder them. After this latest attack, hundreds of injured prisoners were taken to the cells where they are being beaten, tortured, raped, and left to die.

There are now 500 political prisoners on Death Fast and 2000 on Indefinite Hunger Strike in protest against this Solitary Confinement.

This latest massacre of political prisoners reveals once again the real face of the fascist Turkish State which is applying for membership of the EU.

Can you stand by and let the Turkish State commit these atrocities?

Please give your support to political prisoners in Turkey.

We ask Democrats, Progressives, Anti-Fascist, and Human Rights Defenders to write the Turkish Government asking them to:

a. Close "F-Type" Prisons cells.

b. Initiate a full, independent, and imperial investigation into all instances in which individuals have been killed or wounded in the operation, the results of which should be made public.

c. Allow victims' lawyers to observe autopsies and to visit their clients in prisons or in hospital, while ensuring that the wounded receive medical treatment under independent supervision and observation.

Please send protest faxes to the numbers below, with a copy of any fax you send to go to London Solidarity Committee. Tel: +44 207 923 78 47 Fax: +44 207 923 26 01. E-mail: oztudak@postmaster.co.uk

President of Republic of Turkey.......0090 312 213 1616

Prime Minister.............0090 312 417 0476

Justice Minister..............0090 312 411 3434

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