|Volume 54 Number 2, February 10, 2024
Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index : ShareThis
Stop Israel! Stop the Genocide!:
Continuing Actions Demand Ceasefire and Condemn Attack on UN Aid Agency
Aim of Official Disinformation about Hamas and its October 7 Operation
Vital Questions for the Anti-War Movement:
On Britain's Warmongering Propaganda for War against Russia and the Urgent Necessity for an Anti-War Government
Grant Shapps' Declaration that the Era of the "Peace Dividend" is Over:
Stand with the Peoples of the World against the Anglo/US Warmongers
No to the Destruction of Port Talbot!:
The Tata oligopoly plans to destroy productive forces, while Port Talbot Steel workers demonstrate that enough is enough - maintain its operations!
In January, the Party held a social evening at the John Buckle Centre in London. John Buckle led RCPB(ML) from its founding in 1979 until his untimely death in 1983 at the young age of 34. The social evening was an opportunity for RCPB(ML) to affirm its line of march for 2024, and to share the friendship and comradeship of the Party's friends, supporters and circles. It included a toast given by General Secretary Michael Chant, looking forward to what 2024 has in store for the people's forces as they strive to bring about the deep-going transformations of society which are being demanded by history. In the toast, Michael Chant said:
One can consider 2024 as the year of John Buckle and the Party. John would have been 75, though it is hard to imagine. He was so youthful and such a vibrant character. But he devoted his whole existence to the revolution and working for a new society, a socialist society. So that is how we dedicate our work in this year 2024. John's birthday is in July, so we will see in due course how to mark the occasion.
Clearly the world is in turmoil. The people are in motion against the aggression and destructive activities and warmongering of the imperialist powers, and those that deny humanity counts. Clearly the people are in motion and the ruling elites are in crisis. Nevertheless, there is a role for the Party, and it is an indispensable role. given the intensification of crisis, aggression, militarism, and on the other hand the movements of the people demanding to speak in their own name and combat aggression.
One has to mention the mass actions on Palestine, which are showing that the world's people actually stand with Palestine and the Palestinian peoples, and this is against and in stark contrast to the stand and activities of the US-led imperialism, and the Israeli war of destruction and genocide, causing total devastation. One might say that this encapsulates the historic combat which is going on in the world at this time. At the same time, our line of march to a new socialist society also encapsulates the struggle, and this struggle is that of between the New and the Old, the New against the Old, the necessity for people's empowerment, and the necessity to leave the Old behind. As we say, our guide is that we have fidelity to the ensemble of human relations, and to what is being revealed by these indispensable relations, most importantly the need for political power. And that can be seen in the fact that the world's people are demonstrating every single day against Israeli genocide , for a ceasefire. And yet the imperialists and their allies are continuing their destruction.
It is important that as a Party we work with a plan: put simply, our plan for 2024 is to advance the work of the Party. This is in the context of the role of the Party in making conscious the line of march, that there is a future we can be optimistic about and presupposes that we are not just marking time, but making advances on the Party's fronts of work. This means building on our intervention in the political life of the country, as well as, as far as the Party goes, to further professionalise the fronts of work that the Party takes up, further strengthening its revolutionary practice while strengthening the Party according to its norms, its democratic centralism, the forms of the Party which safeguard and encapsulate its content. The Party has its programme which deals with the problems of society and how to join the streams of all the fronts of work into a torrent to lead society out of the crisis, which is how we ended up our general line, published in 1994, that these torrents should be united into one kind of mighty flow that will sweep reaction, the ruling elites away. Our practical programme is summed up in Stop Paying the Rich, Increase Investments in Social Programmes. This still guides our day-to-day struggles, our fighting call, our draft programme for the class.
Within this, I want to draw attention to a couple of things. One is the crucial role of modern definitions in our work. And what this means in a nutshell is the necessity to settle scores with the old conscience of society. And there is the issue of the mechanisms for discussion amongst the people. And these mechanisms are necessary so that particularly the working class can share their experiences and work out their own positions. So these are topics for discussion within the Party for implementation in its work.
On the theoretical front, the Party will continue building on its analysis which was put forward particularly since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and particularly during the coronation, last year 2023, opposing the thesis of handing over our name to representatives, the necessity for this Covenant Thesis to be superseded by mechanisms for empowerment, where people can speak in their own name, and have decision-making power themselves.
The context for our work of course is in Britain particularly the defiance of the mass of the workers, their stand that Enough is Enough, and implicit in this is that the people must lay their claims on society. For instance, this can be made conscious in various activities, strikes and so on. So we bring out the problems that can be solved by the working people, the necessity for a change in direction of the economy, the necessity to safeguard the future of the health service, and similarly with education and other social programmes. We highlight also the struggles to defend the rights of the people, what can be called the battle for democracy, for the rights of all, including migrants, against all the legislation against the people's rights. Of course, in the news recently is the outlandish Rwanda Act. There is also the Public Order Act, and there is this motion against the legislation against the right to strike, in the sense that the government has put forward this Minim um Service Level Act in various public services and the workers' movement is determined to nullify this legislation. And also a front of work that the Party is taking up and is developing, and has been taking up and is making advances is that against war and aggression which the ruling elites are undertaking in essence to destroy the immense productive forces of today. Our overall battle is onward towards an Anti-War Government, which is a government which is clearly anti-war but has a modern democratic personality, in opposition to rule by police powers and the executive, and this can be called the battle of democracy, that is against the old forms and content and for the new.
So it looks like this is very exciting in 2024 because it will be very likely an election year. And this gives us the opportunity to intervene in elaborating these positions, and calling for and fighting for the people's empowerment in the context of this election.
I want to mention our journalism which is crucial for all this work. In 2024 we will bear in mind also the slogan that we have had from 1997, which is to improve the content and extend the readership of our journalism, of our Workers' Weekly. The practical implications of this are to increase the subscription to the email editions, and make sure that Workers' Weekly lives up to its name, in other words, that it is weekly, and our views are the views of the working class! And on all these fronts to further professionalise and hitting at where to intervene in the movements of the working class and people. These are two guidelines for the journalism work.
The Party aims also in 2024 to pay further attention to student work, particularly around the need for democratic renewal and that the youth take this up as their mission.
Furthermore, there is our proletarian internationalism, our friendship and standing as one with the struggles of the people throughout the world to bring about or to consolidate their revolutions.
As we said in paying tribute to John Buckle in this year, RCPB(ML) calls on everyone to channel the human power which is without limitations so as to bring the reactionary forces of the ruling circles under control!
This is a really important guideline, and this in fact can be seen to be the kernel of the struggles of the people in 2024, to express and have confidence in this human power, whatever the ruling elites who reduce the people to things to serve their factional and vested interests will try and throw at the people's forces. And we hope to bring out this essence in our work.
The fact is that profound transformations are being demanded by history to overcome the block to the progress of society. The Party has always accepted to take on this challenge from its earliest days, and particularly since the 3rd Congress of the Party in 1999. The strengthening of the Party is and always has been the key step. It is crucial at this historical juncture.
2024 will see the Party working to advance its work on all fronts to bring these transformations about, and inspired by the example of John Buckle, who dedicated his whole existence to this work, to break through what is obstructing these mighty movements of the people with their torrents from becoming the ocean, from constituting a revolutionary transformation of society, from being the future. As we say, every step is a victory!
So, to conclude, best wishes and success to everyone in 2024, as everyone stands in their place in advancing this work!
Long Live RCPB(ML)! Success in 2024!
MORE than 250,000 workers with their trade union banners, students and youth marched for Palestine through central London on Saturday February 3.
Actions took place worldwide on February 3 to demand an immediate ceasefire and to stop the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people. In London the national demonstration marched from the BBC in Portland Place to Whitehall. The demonstration, reflecting the sentiment of all who took part, was jointly organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestinian Forum in Britain, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. It condemned Britain's heinous role in backing Israeli Zionism and its complicity in Israeli forces' war crimes, and affirmed the Palestinians' right to be, and their right of return. Saturday, February 10, will also be a national day of action with actions taking part in many parts of the country.
Local actions have been taking place on practically a daily basis. Cities and towns involved included Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Brighton, Canterbury, Ramsgate, Ipswich, Newport IoW, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and many others. A #StandWithGaza Workplace Day of Action took place on Wednesday, February 7, with the support of unions including the NEU, PCS and UCU.
Student walkouts took place in Oxford, Bristol and colleges in London, and elsewhere. Events included a gathering at Victoria Tower Gardens outside Parliament organised by Parents for Palestine, which featured children's activities, a picnic, a children's press conference and speeches. A school strike took place in Glasgow, a lunchtime meeting of council workers in Portsmouth, a rally of lecturers and students at Manchester University, with similar action at the University of Suffolk and an event organised by NUJ members outside the Sheffield Star offices. In central London, civil servants and other workers joined a lunchtime demonstration in Parliament Square called by the PCS union. Media Workers for Palestine have also organised a protest and rally outside BBC Broadcasting House. There was also a trade union rally in central London on the eve of the day of action, with speakers from Unite, NEU, UCU and RMT. On January 1, a meeting highlighting how the discussion of Palestine is often censored from classrooms and general life, took place at Kings College London attended by as many as 400 people. Speakers included Prof Neve Gordon, Prof Yasmin Gunaratnam, Prof Laleh Khalili, Prof Daanish Mustafa, Dr Muna Dajani, and Dr Rafeef Ziadah, and the speakers were followed by student poetry readings.
The Stop the War Coalition in its newsletter of February 2 said:
The genocide in Gaza continues with over 27,000 people now having fallen victim to Israeli violence since Oct 7th, at least 11,500 of those children. The response of the British government this week has been to cut its funding for UNWRA - the major relief agency in Gaza and the West Bank. In the face of overwhelming humanitarian disaster such a move is nothing short of criminal.
This week has also seen further attempts by the Metropolitan Police to make draconian moves against the right to protest over these crimes. The Met tried to stop tomorrow's demonstration marching on Whitehall but they have now yielded and agreed that the march will finish in Whitehall, the seat of government. As the statement by the organisers went on to say:
Those marching for justice and peace, for over three months, have had to encounter intimidation and the imposition of repressive measures, designed to suppress support for the Palestinian people's struggle for freedom and justice.
We will not allow this to stop us marching or to distract us from our central message. On Saturday, hundreds of thousands will be marching through the centre of London to Whitehall against Israel's genocide, against the UK's complicity in that genocide, and in support of the Palestinian people's struggle for liberation.
We call for #CeasefireNow, for an end to occupation and for Israel's system of apartheid to be dismantled.
Join us on Saturday. In our thousands and our millions, we are all Palestinians.
Regarding the National Demonstration on February 17, the Stop the War Coalition writes:
Half of Gaza's population is living in Rafah - once an Israeli designated safe zone - including over 600,000 children, many without parents or family. It is the most overcrowded city in the world. The population is struggling against starvation and disease, desperately trying to stay alive.
Women and children fled to Rafah seeking refuge and now they are under attack. The civilian infrastructure is being destroyed as Israel prepares for a ground invasion. The refugees have nowhere to turn.
This attack on the last "safe haven" in Gaza comes after Netanyahu rejected outright the ceasefire proposals put forward last week. Bent on the destruction of Gaza and its people, Netanyahu is ignoring warnings from the US against attacking Rafah. An attack that can only result in a massacre of the civilian population.
We cannot stand by while this genocide is taking place before our eyes. This is why we must once again get onto the streets. We are asking all our supporters to join us on February 17 in central London and take part in a Global Day of Action, demanding an immediate ceasefire.
On February 17 millions will take to the streets across the world. We know London is as an important focal point for the international Palestine movement, so we must fill the capital's streets in our hundreds of thousands to demand a ceasefire and an end to our government's support for the murderous Netanyahu regime.
For details of the February 10 day of action, see: Day of Action for Palestine - Stop the Genocide in Gaza | Stop the War (stopwar.org.uk)
For details of the February 17 national demonstration, see: National Demonstration: Ceasefire Now - Stop the Genocide in Gaza! | Stop the War (stopwar.org.uk) National Demonstration: Ceasefire Now - Stop the Genocide in Gaza! | Stop the War (stopwar.org.uk)
Edinburgh, Scotland February 3rd (left)
Ireland, Belfast, Black Mountain (left)
In the US, Britain, Canada and countries of the European Union, the political resistance movement Hamas is termed a terrorist organisation. All kinds of crimes are attributed to it and the claims repeated so that official circles and their media accustom the citizenry and their readers and listeners to associating the resistance movement with terrorism. There is no clearer case of this officially sanctioned disinformation than the narrative endlessly repeated according to which Hamas conducted a terrorist attack against civilians in southern Israel on October 7, 2023. According to this narrative, Hamas raped women, murdered babies, wantonly killed and decapitated civilians as well as taking civilian hostages. The number of victims given is commonly set at 1,200 people and this is quoted every time attempts are made by the media and official circles to justify the crimes Israel is committing against the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the name of the need to eradicate Hamas.
Disinformation does not refer mainly to the spread and repetition of lies. It is neither the manipulation of lies per se, although it does that, nor is it a matter of attempting to manufacture consent although it does that also. Disinformation also uses methods such as decontextualization of facts to deprive them of sense and meaning, and the presenting of facts which are themselves random. This is also done to mislead. However, the essence of disinformation and the promotion of false narratives is to set up false alternatives. False alternatives keep the problem within the framework established by the official circles which are dead set against any discussion which they cannot control. In the case of the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza, everything is done to wreck the ability of a polity to analyse developments by establishing their own vantage point so as to provide solutions to the matter at hand.
When dealing with the unfolding events in Palestine, the portrayal of Hamas as a terrorist organisation and the attribution of a litany of crimes to it and now cutting funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), on the basis of condemnation by association, are for purposes of denying the right of the Palestinian people to be, and their right of return. Providing these rights with a guarantee is the alternative to what is taking place. The resistance movement keeps its focus on providing these rights with a guarantee and, at every stage, its strategy and tactics are geared towards ensuring a way forward for these rights to be realised.
Despite all attempts to make Hamas the issue, the entire resistance movement worldwide has not permitted this. It has persisted in targeting the murderous campaign Israel is carrying out against the Palestinian people and upholding their right to be and right of return. It is not likely that the official circles will succeed in their aim to exhaust and smash the unified resistance of the Palestinian and world's people affirming the Palestinians' right to be and right of return.
It is crucial to make sure discussion amongst the people does not fall into the trap set by reactionary official circles and their media, pundits, academics and alleged experts. For instance, the claim that Hamas is terrorist extends to other similar claims such as saying that all the resistance forces are Iranian proxies, or that everything must be done to make sure Hamas cannot exist when a two-state solution is implemented, or the accusations that UNRWA is Hamas' civilian arm and thus must not be funded, and the like. Arguing con vis à vis the narrative which fills the print and social media of countries which support Israel's declared aims in its aggression against the Palestinian people plays the role of ratifying their premise. The only premise which should be ratified is the one which furthers the cause of upholding the Palestinian people's right to self-determination without conditions, based on the principles of guaranteeing their right to be and their right of return.
(TML Monthly Supplement, January 31, 2024)
Yemen protest against US/UK airstrikes on Yemen, January 12
These days it has become clear that the British government and much of its media are trying to prepare public opinion in Britain for an open Anglo-US/NATO war in Ukraine against Russia. On February 5, The Telegraph ran an article "Wasteful Britain Needs to Buy a New Arsenal for War with Russia". Taking its cue from a recent speech of Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, the article declared "that the time for Britain to start rearming is now. The peace dividend is over: finished. We are in several new Cold Wars now."  Talk of "new Cold Wars" is clearly a reference to Britain's support for Israeli genocide in Palestine, the Anglo-US bombing of Yemen and the escalation of the "cold war" against, Iran, and the DPRK and China in East Asia.
This propaganda that the "Peace Dividend is over: finished" follows decades of British government Russia-phobic propaganda claiming there is a Russian threat to the West. The so-called "Peace Dividend" following the collapse of the Soviet Union had previously been a cover to justify the Anglo-US and NATO's expansion eastwards and into Ukraine and up to the borders of Russia. This interference in Ukraine, the arming of Ukraine and training of Ukraine's officer class and soldiers had gone on long before the US Maidan-backed Coup of 2014. Following this coup, the support for the Kiev regime's civil war in Ukraine against the Russian-speaking population was fostered and supported by the Anglo-US powers and the EU leaders. It was this and their refusal to support the UN-backed Minsk agreements that would have given some autonomy to the people of eastern Ukraine and the Kiev regime's military build-up that finally provoked Russia into its military operation in February 2022. This was also followed by the refusal of the Anglo-US leaders to de-escalate the war before it started and to escalate the war once it did.
However, with the present failure of the Anglo-US-backed Ukrainian campaign to defeat Russia, and even many thousands of Ukrainians and Russians dead as a result of the war, Britain is now in the forefront of preparing public opinion in Britain and Europe with their military circles openly talking about "sending its Special Forces to Ukraine's rescue".
But why is British government and the imperialist oligarchy it represents in the forefront of this criminal warmongering campaign? According to one weapons and strategy analyst from the US : "British enthusiasm for war is thanks to pressure from Washington. It is well to remember that the British military is an unholy, underfunded and undermanned mess. The British forces lack materials, lift, and cover to do much of anything, and it is foolish to think the Russians won't retaliate. That leaves the impression that British enthusiasm for war is simply fake news, intended to scare the Russians somehow."
At the same time, the analyst goes onto says that when "Victoria Nuland, who is directly responsible for US and NATO Ukraine policy, rushed to Kiev" last week in the face of Zelensky's reported sacking of his Commander in Chief "there was real worry that Zaluzhny might turn the army around and use it to go after Zelensky" and that Biden's real concern was "stability" even though the US had claimed that it was an "internal matter".
Whether this is in fact fake news, or is simply desperation that the Anglo-US warmongering policy in Ukraine against Russia is failing, it is a matter of huge concern for the people of Britain and the world. Britain is already engaging in the NATO's Steadfast Defender 2024 Europe and exercises from this January and up to May. They claim it is the "largest military exercise in Europe since the Cold War with approximately 90,000 troops from all 31 NATO countries". They also claim that "Steadfast Defender 2024 will demonstrate their ability to deploy forces rapidly from North America and other parts of the Alliance" to eastern Europe on the borders of Russia. "It will show that we can conduct and sustain complex multi-domain operations over several months, across thousands of kilometres, from the High North to Central and Eastern Europe, and in any conditions. It will be a clear demonstration of our transatlantic unity and strength and our determination to continue to do all that is necessary to protect each other, our values and the rules-based international order."
However, Britain's role in NATO has been that of US chief propagandist in Europe. Grant Shapps in his recent Lancaster House speech admitted that "British leadership" aims at having "galvanising effect" among European powers alongside the US. But they also have been helping to transfer the US army rapidly across Europe in recent years . In fact the Ministry of Defence has just prioritised the procurement of 500 support trucks in a contract worth £282 million to transport military equipment and army personnel.
Britain's interference in Ukraine is not just down to almost £12 billion pledged in overall support to Ukraine since February 2022 . "The UK is providing both lethal and non-lethal weaponry", including tanks, air defence systems and long-range precision strike missiles. The government has committed to training Ukrainian fast jet pilots, hosting a training programme (Operation Interflex). Over 30,000 Ukrainian personnel have been trained so far, with the aim of training a further 10,000 by mid-2024. It has also been reported throughout the conflict that Britain's specialist forces and military air and ground intelligence has been involved deeply in the conflict already.
Such criminal propaganda is attempting to see how far the ruling elites can go in preparing public opinion for a world war with Russia as a major power. However, the people of Britain and the world have continued to take just stands against the Anglo-US escalation of the war in Ukraine, against the Israeli genocide that the Anglo-US support in Palestine, and against the Anglo-US bombing of Yemen and their escalation of war everywhere.
The world's people alongside the youth are demanding an end to this warmongering and are fighting for an immediate ceasefire and the just resolution to these conflicts in Palestine and Ukraine that uphold the rights of all and that favour the peoples of those countries and the world. The alternative that the people's forces base themselves on is that of step-by-step fighting for an Anti-War Government where it is the people's interests that prevail, not those of the warmongers.
Not a single youth for imperialist war!
Fight for an Anti-War Government!
1. Wasteful Britain needs to buy a new arsenal for war with Russia, The Telegraph, 5 February 2024
2. Biden's New Ukraine Policy - Trying to Rearrange the Deck Chairs on the Titanic, Stephen Bryan, February 4, 2024
3. Provocative Ongoing NATO Military Exercises in Europe, Workers' Weekly, April 11 2020
"Defender Europe 2020 demonstrated that the British army's new role as one of welcoming, transporting and servicing the US army and its equipment and soldiers in Europe."
4. Military assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion
On January 15, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, delivered a speech at Lancaster House in London declaring that the "era of the peace dividend is over" . This was the "peace dividend" that he claimed Margaret Thatcher spoke about in a short speech at Lancaster House 35 years before. But this was no "peace dividend". This was the deception coined by US President George H W Bush and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the light of the 1988-1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, that opened further the ambitions of the Anglo-US imperialists to unilaterally expand and dominate eastern Europe and the world.
Far from being a "peace dividend", this gave rise to NATO's expansion and wars in eastern Europe and the Middle East which is now threatening peace across the world. Today these aims of the "peace dividend" have been replaced by wars of destruction against countries and peoples that they cannot control in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, Africa and Asia. Now they are escalating their dangerous proxy war in Ukraine using Ukrainian lives against Russia, a major power, and actively participating in the genocide against Palestinians alongside Israel, whilst also escalating war tensions on the Korean Peninsula against the DPRK and threatening China in the Asia-Pacific region.
Shapps revealed that he is a dyed-in-the-wool British imperialist, trying desperately to project Britain's role in the world declaring that the "peace dividend is over" and that Britain must again prepare for war, indeed for a World War III, and arm itself against many countries and peoples that he claims are "tearing apart the rules-based international order - established to keep the peace after the Second World War". Desperately he presents "British leadership" as having a "galvanising effect" among European powers alongside the US and that they set the rules of "peace" in the world today whilst in reality they continue to ignore the decisions of the United Nations and international law and promote their warmongering alliance NATO as the decision-maker for the fate of the world.
Far from keeping the peace, Britain alongside the US, leads NATO and other western powers to continue to arm Ukraine so as to escalate the war between Russia and Ukraine. Since October Britain has been arming and supporting Israeli genocide against the Palestinians. This has not been lost on the people of Yemen, who are standing with Palestine. Also, the Ansar Allah movement in Yemen, known as the Houthis, are demanding and implementing a blockade of Israeli ships in their own waters with the aim of forcing Israel to lift the Israeli embargo of food and medicines on Palestine. Britain, instead of seeking peace in the region and a just solution for the Palestinians, has joined the US in continuing the criminal bombing of Yemen and the Ansar Allah movement, increasing the risks of war in the region by supporting these Israeli crimes .
The British people and the people of the world over the last more than 100 days have demonstrated that they stand with Palestine not with Grant Shapps and his imperialist British government. Grant Shapps declaration that "the era of the peace dividend is over" shows that the government is hell-bent on escalating war for Britain's arms based economy and the interests of the western oligarchy.
Westminster continues to be a pro-war government alongside the US. These are the forces continuing to create a more dangerous world. Their refusal to find alternatives to the use of force shows their arguments do not merit consideration. Even long before the era they claim was the era of the "peace dividend" they refused to provide serious problems and conflicts with peaceful solutions that benefit the peoples and countries involved and that serve the whole of humanity. The people of Britain must continue to march in step with the peoples of the world against their Anglo/US warmongering governments and take up the line of march for an anti-war government in Britain and make their contribution to bringing about peace in the world.
1. Defending Britain from a more dangerous world - Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, January 15 2024
2. Britain's Covert War In Yemen - Declassified UK October 5 2022
"The brutal war in Yemen, which has raged since 2015, is the world's worst humanitarian disaster. A delicate truce since April 2022 has reduced some of the horror, but that deal seems to be breaking down. It should be time to reflect about who, on all sides of the conflict, including in Britain, might be indicted for war crimes. Nearly 9,000 civilians have been killed in over 25,000 mainly Saudi air strikes which have been facilitated by Britain's Royal Air Force. Many more tens of thousands have been killed in the conflict. The UN has repeatedly alleged the commission of war crimes but no Saudi, Briton or Yemeni has been held to account, nor is likely to be. Tragically, bombing is history repeating itself, and the price once again is being paid by ordinary Yemenis."
Multinational conglomerate Tata confirmed in January plans to close its two blast furnaces at the massive Port Talbot site in Wales, threatening some 2,800 jobs and the devastation of the local community, with 300 additional jobs being under threat at Llanwern.
Tata's executives absurdly complain that, while the business has been "an incredibly patient investor" in steel, they have made no profit since acquiring the plants in 2007. The company plans to replace some of its Bessemer furnaces with a new electric arc furnace, and switch from producing new virgin steel to recycling scrap steel, reckoning it cheaper to produce. Until such time that the electric arc furnace is operational, planned for 2027, the company intends to import semi-finished steel slabs from India and the Netherlands.
The announcement comes after Tata indicated its intentions earlier last year, and in part is aimed at pressurising the government to provide hundreds of millions or even billions in pay-the-rich schemes euphemistically called subsidies to bolster its accumulation of wealth and rate of return while diminishing the risks borne by itself.
In the House of Commons, at the Welsh affairs committee on January 31, Tata Steel's global CEO, T V Narendran, and British CEO, Rajesh Nair, attempted to wriggle out of the quandary by declaring their openness to invest in a new direct reduced iron plant if only they would receive such additional public money.
In a document recently sent to workers and the government, Tata Steel said that "with the right investment and policy environment, it is open to further investment, such as in a direct reduced iron (DRI) plant. We would look at the case for a potential DRI plant in the UK if the business conditions are right and, if in future, the government supported further investment." 
Labour, for its part, has said that it will force a parliamentary vote on the future of the British steel industry and plans to invest £3bn in the steel industry with hydrogen steelmaking as an option. In short, their policy is to bolster the Tata position all along the line.
Who is this "incredibly patient investor" making "no profit"? Tata alleges that Port Talbot is losing £1m every day. The fact is that the workers at Port Talbot create a massive amount of new value in producing this critical basic material that is ubiquitous in the modern socialised economy. This new value gets appropriated in the main by various sections of the owners of capital, including the owners of Tata's huge debt and equity. Tata bought the plants at Port Talbot at low price, accumulated vast sums out of the value created by its labour force, but now wants to ditch assets and switch to what it sees as a means to offset the falling rate of return on its patiently-made investments. They have no other interest. Talk of the environment is only an attempt to greenwash the impact of their destructive act on labour, livelihoods, and skills.
The plant employs half of Tata Steel's 8,000-strong workforce in Britain; 2,500 are to be made redundant in less than 18 months. The stance of this huge monopoly is to destroy what it cannot control. It is a means to force further tribute to be paid, or workers and communities will face devastation with all its chaotic consequences.
It is the global capitalists and imperialists who are causing chaos by closing markets, restricting trade, and stifling supply chains. They can offer no solutions to diminishing resources and the crisis in extraction, instead destroying productive forces and skills, not to mention the effects of the wars of destruction that are an increasingly defining feature of the present.
Competing private interests are too narrow to be able to provide solutions to the crisis and seek alternatives that pay heed to the relations between human beings and their social and natural environment. There are only temporary measures, demands for ever-increasing finance and empty promises. Though unions have put forward a serious plan to keep the plant running during a period of transition, the company has simply rejected this as not "affordable". Meanwhile, the fate of the community around this massive plant, which is the size of a town, hangs in the balance.
The workers and their communities are faced with what to do. How should they defend themselves? Are they simply to face their masters with stoicism? On January 23, workers demonstrated outside Westminster, and are now considering strike action. The workers know that it is they themselves who hold the solutions. They know the value of their labour, and know that the solution is not destruction. They demand that production be maintained, the plant be kept open, and that this be a basis for seeking alternatives and safeguarding their future. The maintenance of labour, payment of wages, and preservation of skills are the immediate concern. They cannot be simply cast aside and abandoned. They have their claims! They have a right to a say in such crucial matters that affect their lives! Enough is Enough!
1. Jasper Jolly and Alex Lawson, "Tata Steel 'open to more UK investment' despite Port Talbot job cuts", The Guardian, January 28, 2024
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