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One Union

On the same day that the E.U.'s ''parliament''
backed unelected self-proclaimed president
Mr. Guaido, the A.U., (African Union) gave
their unanimous backing to the elected
president, Maduro..
.


...perhaps their experience of colonial
looting, helps their understanding?






41st annual "Original"
MLK Jr. Parade held
 in Houston, U.S.
 January 22nd, at 2:26pm

Third ward's Jack Yates high school marching band
performed in the 41st annual "Original" MLK Jr.
Parade, along with thousands of attenbees,
in Houston, Texas, in the United States,
 on January 21st, 2019.

Various activities are held on the third Monday of
January each year throughout the United States,
to honour Dr Martin Luther King Jr., who was
assassinated on April 4th, in 1968, at the
 age of 39.

(Source: Xinhua)

_________________________________________




Italian deputy PM calls on EU
 to sanction France for its
 'continued colonization'
 of Africa
January 21st, at 7:48am

The Italian deputy prime minister has blamed France
for the European migrant crisis, accusing it
of
impoverishing African nations, with 
"colonialist" policies. He promised
to take the issue to the EU and
other international bodies.

Luigi Di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star
Movement and Italy's Deputy PM, launched a scathing
attack on France, which he argued is to blame for the
inherent causes of the ongoing migrant crisis at the
 EU's borders.

Di Maio was speaking at a rally on Sunday, when he
touched on recent mass migrant drownings in the
Mediterranean. It is believed that up to 170
migrants who left Libya and Morocco on
ramshackle dinghies, may have
drowned in the sea, last week.

Three migrants were saved by the Italian Navy on Friday
 off the cost of Lampedusa. The survivors said they
 were a part of a group of 120 people that sailed
 from Libya on Thursday.

Their boat started to sink, after they were at sea for about
10 hours. The victims, according to migrant organizations,
include a two-month-old child and at least 10 women.

Separately, another boat carrying 53 migrants
capsized in the western Mediterranean,
according to the sole survivor of
 the incident.

The tragedies have reignited the debate on the hardline
migration policy championed by Italy's right-wing
 government.

"We would be hypocrites, if we just continued to talk about
the effects, without looking for the causes. If today, we
have people coming from Africa, it's because some
European countries, like France, never stopped
 colonizing Africa in their heads," Di Maio
 told the crowd.

The politician, who also serves as the minister of economic
development, referred to the CFA franc, a currency which
 is used in 14 former French colonies, in West and
Central
Africa.

The currency is guaranteed by the French Treasury and has
 a fixed rate of exchange with the euro. While it is credited
 for providing African countries with financial stability, it
has often been criticized, as a relic of colonial times, 
by proponents of Africa's full independence
 from France.

 They argue that the CFA franc, created in 1945, impedes
 their economic development --- as they have no say in
French or European monetary policy.

"There are dozens of African states in which France prints
its own currency, the franc of the colonies, and with that,
 it finances the French public debt," Di Maio said, adding
that France should be subjected to sanctions by the EU,
 and potentially, the UN, for "impoverishing those states
and triggering those people."


"The place of Africans is in Africa and not
at the bottom
of the sea," he stated.

Di Maio further argued that France would fall far
back in
the international economic rankings ---
if not for its
leverage over its former colonies.

"If France did not have the African colonies, which it is
 impoverishing, it would be the 15th international
economic power and, instead, it is among the
 first, for what it is doing in Africa," he said.

 France is currently the world's seventh-largest economy,
according to World Bank data for 2017, and the third-
biggest economy in Europe - after Germany and
 the UK.

Di Maio said that his party would submit a proposal to
 parliament, to punish France, in the coming weeks.

In a swipe at French President Emmanuel Macron, Di Maio
said that he should stop lecturing Italy on morals, while
his government continues to exploit African nations.

Last summer, Macron chastized the Italian government
 for its refusal to pick up migrants stranded at sea,
with his spokesman calling the policy,
"sickening"
and "unacceptable."

Italy brushed off the criticism, accusing
the French government of hypocrisy.

Relations between the French and Italian governments
 were already strained, with Di Maio – along with anti-
immigrant Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini –
voicing their support for Yellow Vest protests
 that have plagued Macron's government
 since November.

(Source - RT)


___________________________________________






Fight to replace Frank Field
- kicks off in Birkenhead
by Marcus Barnett
Thursday, January 17th, 2019

The fight to replace Frank Field as MP for Birkenhead
kicked off today, as veteran trade unionist Mick
Whitley, announced his candidacy.

Mr Whitley, formerly a long-standing convener at the
 Vauxhall car plant in nearby Ellesmere Port, was
born in the area and is the former north-west
regional secretary of the Unite union.

He has gained the support of Momentum, which holds
 a powerful presence in north-west England, while
 left-wing MPs such as John McDonnell, Rebecca
Long-Bailey and Dan Carden, have voiced
 their support.

The local branches of Unite, FBU, RMT, BFAWU and
Aslef have also formally endorsed Mr Whitley’s
 candidacy.

Sources in the Labour Party have told the Star that
right-wing, former MEP, Theresa Griffin, is likely to
also contest the seat.

Mr Field, first elected to Parliament in 1979, has
 been unpopular among local Labour members,
 since the 1980s.

He lost a vote of no confidence in August last year,
 before resigning the Labour whip - and thus
automatically leaving the party - a
month later.

(Source - Morning Star)

______________________________________________



John McDonnell:
Mass action
is essential
to ending austerity

by Marcus  Barnett
Thursday, November 29th, 2018.

John McDonnell warned campaigners “we may
be the last generation that can save the welfare
state” at the launch of a major new anti-
austerity campaign.

Appearing by video at the launch of the People’s
Assembly’s Britain is Broken: We can’t afford
the Tories tour, on Wednesday night, the
shadow chancellor reminded an
audience of hundreds, that
the
stakes are high.

“Every day brings new victims of universal credit,
homelessness, of overstretched emergency
services and councils that can no longer
fund even a basic safety net," he said.

“We have a pressing need for us to do everything
 in our power to defend and extend the services
 on which our lives and livelihoods depend.”

Mr McDonnell said it was necessary that Labour
 members, trade unionists and community
activists throw their energy into building
an anti-austerity social movement.

“A Labour government will play its part — ours will be
a Labour government committed to defending our
NHS, education and welfare services," he said.

“Any progressive government can only succeed if it
has a solid base of active support. We need every
single one of you to be active in a mass
movement
against austerity
— right now.

“In the future, every single one of us will be able to
 reverse austerity, and rebuild the social fabric of
our society.”

Labour shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, who
attended the event, said: “Austerity is clearly not over
 for millions of people when people are in poverty
while working, or attempting suicide when their
benefits are cut.

“Only by working together with millions of people
across the country, will we actually
change things.”


Other speakers included PCS general secretary Mark
 Serwotka, Labour parliamentary candidate Faiza
Shaheen, TGI Friday’s striker Lauren Townsend
and Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack.

The launch of the campaign, which will now be toured
nationally, coincided with Labour leader Jeremy
Corbyn writing to Prime Minister Theresa May
 to warn that rising poverty in Britain,
amounts to a “national emergency”
 and that government policies
“shame our nation.”


__________________________________________________




Britain's enemy is not Russia
but its own ruling class,
UN report confirms
by John Wight
November 19th, at 2:48pm

John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers
and websites, including the Independent,
Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counter-
punch, London Progressive Journal,
 and Foreign Policy Journal.

As the UK political establishment rips itself to pieces
over Brexit, a far greater crisis continues to afflict
millions of victims of Tory austerity.

A devastating UN report into poverty in the UK provides
incontrovertible evidence, that the enemy of the British
 people, is the very ruling class that has gone out of its
way these past few years to convince them it is Russia.

Professor Philip Alston, in his capacity as the United
 Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and
human rights, spent two weeks touring the United
Kingdom. He did so, investigating the impact of
8 years of one of the most extreme austerity
programs among advanced G20 economies
in response to the 2008 financial crash
and subsequent global recession.

What he found was evidence of a systematic, wilful,
concerted and brutal economic war, unleashed by
the country's right-wing Tory establishment, 
against the poorest and most vulnerable
section of British society – upending the
 lives of millions of people who were not
responsible for the aforementioned
financial crash and recession, but
who have been forced to pay
the price.

From the report's introduction:

"It…seems patently unjust and contrary to British values
 that so many people are living in poverty. This is
obvious to anyone who opens their eyes: to see
the immense growth in foodbanks, and the
queues waiting outside them, the people
sleeping rough in the streets, the
growth of homelessness, the
sense of deep despair - that
leads even the Government
to appoint a Minister for
Suicide Prevention - and
civil society to report in
depth, on unheard of

levels of loneliness
and isolation."

Though as a citizen of the UK, I respectfully beg to differ
 with the professor's claim, that such social & economic
carnage, seems "contrary to British values,"(on the
contrary - it is entirely in keeping with the values of
the country's Tory establishment, an establishment
for whom, the dehumanization of the poor and
working class, is central to its ideology), the
point he makes about it being "obvious
to
anyone who opens their eyes,"
is
well made.

For it is now the case that in every town and city centre in
 Britain, it is impossible to walk in any direction for more
 than a minute, before coming across homeless people
begging in the street. And the fact that some 13,000
of them, are former soldiers, casualties of the
country's various military adventures in
recent years, undertaken in service
to Washington, exposes the pious
platitudes peddled by politicians
& the government as reverence
for the troops & their 'sacrifice,'
 as insincere garbage.

As inequality increases, the wealthy and powerful
become more desperate to cling onto their gains
and distract us - with imagined threats and
political sideshows - such as Jingoism,
Russophobia and red-baiting...

Overall, 14 million people in the UK are now living in
poverty, a figure which translates into an entire fifth
 of the population. Four million of them are children,
while, according to Professor Alston, 1.5 million
 people are destitute – that is, unable to afford
the basic necessities of life.

And this is what the ruling class of the fifth largest
economy in the world, a country that parades itself
on the world stage, as a pillar of democracy and
 human rights, considers progress.

The values responsible for creating such a grim social
landscape, are compatible with the 18th, not the 21st
century. They are proof positive, that the network of
elite private schools – Eton, Harrow, Fettes College
 et al. – where those responsible for this human
carnage are inculcated with the sense of
entitlement and born to rule ethos that
defines them, are Britain's hotbeds
of extremism.

Professor Alston: "British compassion for those who are
 suffering, has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited,
 and often callous approach, apparently designed to
instill
discipline where it is least useful, to impose
a rigid order
on the lives of those least capable
of coping with today's
world, and elevating the
goal of enforcing blind
compliance, over a
genuine concern to
improve the well-
being of those at the
lowest levels
of British
society."

Here, set out above in bold relief, is the barbarism that walks
- hand in hand - with free market capitalism. It is the same
 barbarism that was responsible for pushing post-Soviet
Russia into a decade-long economic and social abyss, 
in the 1990s, and the values that have pushed 14
million people in the UK into the same economic
 and social abyss, in our time.

Austerity, it bears emphasizing, is not and never
has been,
a viable economic response to
recession, in a given
economy.

Instead, it is an ideological club, wielded on behalf of the rich
and big business, to ensure that the price paid for the said
economic recession, is borne exclusively by those least
 able to bear it - namely the poor and working people.
It
is class war by any other name, packaged and
presented, as legitimate government policy.

However in Britain's case in 2018, this is a war like no other, 
because, as Professor Philip Alston's report lays bare, one
 side in this war has been throwing all the punches
and
one side has been taking them.

As the saying goes, wars take place when the government
 tells you who the enemy is; revolutions take place when
 you work it out for yourself.

(Source - RT)


________________________________________________________





COSATU President
Urges S. Africa's Gov't
to Downgrade Relations

with Israel

Friday September 21st, at 12:07pm

FNA - The newly-elected president of the Congress of
South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Zingiswa Losi,
has called on South Africa’s ANC-led government to
immediately downgrade diplomatic relations
with Israel.

Losi - who became the first woman to lead South Africa’s
 largest trade union federation - made the remarks on
Thursday at COSATU’s 13th National Congress in
Johannesburg, the Palestine Information Centre
 reported.

In her first public speech after being elected president,
Losi reminded delegates that South Africa had with-
drawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv, indefinitely.

She also called on the ANC-led government to be “decisive”
and fully implement a resolution made at the ruling party’s
December congress that called for the immediate and
unconditional downgrade of the South African
embassy in Tel Aviv, to a liaison office.

The resolution was a practical expression of the ANC’s
support to the Palestinian people, and a means to
pressure Israel to comply with international law
and end its occupation of Palestine.

Losi also called on the South African government to do
more to “push back against the corrupt advances”
that Israel was making at the African Union (AU).

Her remarks were a reference to Israel’s attempt at
gaining observer status at the AU, in an attempt to
improve the Netanyahu regime’s relationship with
African states, with the ultimate aim of influencing
their voting at the UN, to block resolutions critical
of Israel’s occupation.

Palestinian political parties have welcomed
 Losi’s remarks and COSATU's support.

 “Together with the delegates at the COSATU conference, we
also call on the South African government to heed the
 call from the ruling party’s members and downgrade
 its diplomatic links with the Zionist apartheid state,”
 said Hamas Spokesperson Hazem Kasim, in
an interview with the Afro-Palestine
Newswire Service.

Kasim also praised Losi for highlighting Israel’s financial
and diplomatic charm offensive in Africa, and at the AU.

Palestinian Authority (PA) ambassador to South Africa,
Hashem Dajani, attended the COSATU conference,
and reiterated the PA leadership's support for the
downgrading of diplomatic relations with Israel.

Speaking on behalf of the National Coalition for Palestine
 (NC4P), an umbrella body representing more than 40 civil
society groups in South Africa, Edwin Arrison thanked
Losi and COSATU for urging the government to act on
 their resolution.

“This is a way to express the South African people’s
 strong opposition to Israeli apartheid and its
 military occupation of Palestine,”
 Arrison said.

Representing over two million workers, COSATU and its
affiliates have expressed consistent solidarity with the
Palestinian struggle, and support for the world boycott,
divestment and sanctions, against the Israeli state.

In 2009, members of the South African Transport and
Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in Durban, refused to
offload a ship that was carrying Israeli goods.

In 2010, the South African Municipal Workers Union
(SAMWU) agreed to engage every municipality in
South Africa, to boycott Israel.



_____________________________________________________


Keiser Report: Reality
of Creditor Jubilees

- fantastic - asks ''why don't we act like
Jesus preached - and forgive debt?''

When what we do now,  is what led to the slavery
of feudalism: by refunding the creditors, instead!

Starts properly, in the 2nd half
of this video., at 12':48''



free or slaves? uk workers could choose better


 
TUC 2018 Backing
‘the people's vote’
 could undermine
the Corbyn project

by Conrad Landin
Monday, September 10, 2018

RMT's Mick Cash issues warning
- against joining the Blairite's call.

Unions could undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s agenda for change
if they back a referendum on the EU exit deal, Mick Cash
warned today.

The RMT leader said the labour movement should refuse
to “line up” with Blairites and Tories, in backing a
 “people’s vote.”

But delegates at TUC Congress voted to ratify a general
 council statement saying the option of a “final say”
referendum should not be “ruled out.”

General union GMB has publicly backed a vote on the
Brexit deal, but other unions would prefer to push for
an early general election.

Backing the consensus position, Unite general secretary
 Len McCluskey told the hall: “I understand the argument
for a so-called ‘people’s vote’ on the deal — not on
leaving the EU. That people’s vote has
already happened.”

He said the referendum option “must be left on the table,”
 arguing: “Let’s focus on the prize — sweeping this
government away in a general election and giving
a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn the
 chance to repair two wasted years of
Tory wrangling.”

Mr Cash, whose union represents transport staff, seafarers
 and oil workers, said: “We need to understand those in the
 Westminster bubble are calling for a people’s vote for the
sole reason of a second referendum on the EU. They are
your Chuka Umunnas, your Chris Leslies, your Peter
Mandelsons your Tony Blairs, the Lib Dems.”

He said these politicians “want us in the EU so that the EU
 can stop Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for nationalisation and
for state aid and for workers’ rights.”

He stormed: “We, the trade union movement, will be lining
 up with people who are seeking to force the hand of
Jeremy Corbyn and with people who want to attack
 the socialist leadership of the Labour Party and
who want to attack socialist policies.”

But public sector union PCS leader Mark Serwotka argued:

“We are not with Chuka Umunna, but neither are we with
Jacob Rees-Mogg.

“We are an independent working-class movement.”

Addressing Congress earlier in the day, TUC leader Frances
 O’Grady described EU laws as “the rock that national laws
 and union agreements build on.”

She said the TUC would “throw its full weight behind a
campaign” for a “popular vote”, if the government
 “comes back with a deal that doesn’t put
workers’ first.”

Communication Workers Union general secretary Dave Ward
 said he wanted “a people’s government” rather than a
 “people’s vote,” warning: “We have got absolutely
 no reason to support a second referendum that
re-runs the debate that divides our country
at the moment.”

Royal College of Midwives policy director Jon Skewes
suggested an election was unlikely, arguing: “They
will change the guard, rather than do that.”

At a fringe meeting, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union
 official Sarah Woolley said: “We need to embrace, that the
 UK is leaving the EU. A decision was made, and we need
to be proactive, and make sure that our members
 are protected.

"The only thing that is certain is that next April
 we won’t be a member of the EU.”

She said unions should threaten PM Theresa May with
a general strike “if you are not going to do the deal
we want.”

Mick Whelan, who leads train drivers’ union Aslef, told
the same meeting, that the EU Fourth Rail Package
could enforce UK-style privatisation across Europe.

“We don’t apologise for being protectionist about
where we want to be for our railway,” he said.

And economist Costas Lapavitsas, a former Syriza
member of the Greek legislature, said: “There’s 
 considerable ignorance in this country,
about
what the European Union is.

“[The] Maastrict [treaty] basically created
 a union, which is a neoliberal machine.

“We need an internationalist position on this ... but
the internationalism of labour, is not the same as
the internationalism of capital.”

(Source - Morning Star)


_______________________________________________




TUC 2018: Labour 'ready to
hit the ground running,'
says John McDonnell
at IER fringe
by Ben Chacko
September 10th, 2018.

Packed meeting hears plans to revolutionise the world of work.

Labour is ready to hit the ground running, with a programme
 to irreversibly shift power and wealth to working people,
John McDonnell said last night.

The "depth of insecurity" for millions of working people,
 means people are crying out for radical change, the
shadow chancellor told a packed Institute of
Employment Rights (IER) fringe at the
TUC Congress, in Manchester.

The party will bring water, transport, postal services and
 energy into public ownership because "we don't want
people being ripped off, the way they are, at
the moment."

Mr McDonnell said Labour had plans to double the size of
 the co-operative sector, and legislate to make companies
distribute shares to their workforce, "not individually but
 on a collective basis," so that, over time, workers would
come to own companies, and the economy would be
democratised.

While not wishing to rule out a second referendum on
Brexit, he said the preferred option, was a general
election. "I don't want to let the Tories off the
hook," he said.

Since a Jeremy Corbyn government would face "significant
 opposition from various parts of the Establishment," it was
 vital that the party was in a position to take radical action
 quickly, he argued, calling himself the "secretary of
 the [Keith] Ewing, [John] Hendy and [Carolyn] Jones
 fan club" because of the effort the IER has put into
 shaping a legislative programme for workers' rights.

John Hendy QC outlined the legislation by which Labour
could get rid of zero-hours contracts, establish a
universal definition of "worker" to ensure all
workers enjoy equal rights and explained
how sectoral collective bargaining could
be restored, over several years, via
national joint councils for each
sector, with equal employer &
 employee, representation.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey
 said people were crying out for a new deal.

"Four million people are currently in insecure work.
I've had families come to me, with both parents in
 full-time work, asking where the nearest
foodbank is.

"We can't go on with Amazon workers feeling they
 have to urinate in bottles, because they can't
afford a toilet break."

Trade unions were "under siege" in a country where
 even existing employment law, was not enforced,
she pointed out.

And she saluted fellow speaker Lauren Townsend, a
TGI Friday's worker from Milton Keynes, for showing
the way, for a new generation of trade unionists.

Ms Townsend, addressing the rolling strike action by
 Unite members, at the restaurant chain, over the
company's decision to redistribute their tips to
kitchen staff, said the difficulties faced by
workers in the sector, trying to organise,
 were formidable.

"Most colleagues had no idea what a trade union
 was, what a trade union does," she said.

"If things are going to change, unions
need to become the norm."

The union had to notify bosses two weeks before
 holding a strike ballot, she said, meaning
management were able to go into stores
and use various methods, to talk
people out of it.

"There are stories of union members being screamed
 at, being pulled into freezers or boiler rooms and told
 by managers 'do you know how hard this is making
 my life'?"

Ms Townsend was herself suspended for three weeks
 earlier in the year, for a speech she made to Unite
 policy conference.

"If I hadn't had a supportive family and the support
of Unite, I would have quit the job," she said.

"It's scary, being young, in the hospitality industry."

The meeting also heard from RMT general
secretary, Mick Cash.

"To thrive as a movement, we've got to make
some fundamental changes," he warned.

While most people thought of the railway industry as
highly organised, alongside the 39,000 people
directly employed by Network Rail, there
were 50-60,000 employed indirectly,
through contractors, and here,
zero-hours contracts and
minimum wages, 
were rife.

When it came to seafaring, just 40 per cent of mariners
 in EU waters were EU nationals, he pointed out, as
shipping employs a race to the bottom, by hiring
workers from other parts of the world, on worse
 wages and conditions. The result was super-
exploitation and the severe decline of sea-
faring, in countries like Britain.

CWU leader Dave Ward said it was time for the
trade union movement to "stand up with Labour.

"We face one of two futures – one where Google,
Amazon, Apple and Microsoft grow in wealth
and power, beyond any country in the world,
and own work, so they can impose
whatever they want.

"Or one where trade unions come together."

Mr Ward paid tribute to Mr McDonnell and Ms Long
Bailey for "standing firm behind Jeremy Corbyn."

Hitting back at right-wing MPs out to demonise their
 leader, he said: "These people are all about
 themselves.

"They look down their noses at people like me
and those I represent."

And he said he was "sick and tired" of figures
trying to "make Brexit the biggest issue.

"We sound brave, standing up for rights in Europe,
 but we need, first, to come together in Britain,
and fight here."

He called for a day of action organised by the movement
 next year, where all unions worked together to promote
 the idea of a new deal.

"The IER are doing it. Labour are doing it. What
 are we doing as a movement?" he demanded.


___________________________________________________



UVW claim victory
after RBKC commits
to
London living wage
for cleaners

by Sam Tobin
Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Cleaners at Kensington and Chelsea council claimed
a major victory today, after the council finally
committed to pay them the London
living
wage (LLW).

The United Voices of the World (UVW) union announced
 that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
(RBKC) had agreed that its cleaning staff, currently
 paid the legal minimum wage of £7.83 an hour,
would receive the LLW rate of £10.20 an hour
from January 2019.

During a meeting attended by council leader Elizabeth
Campbell and chief executive Barry Quirk, RBKC also
pledged to “review their current terms and conditions
on early termination of a 10-year contract with Amey
who the cleaners are currently outsourced to,” the
union said.

It added that Ms Campbell had “personally agreed to try
to bring about a retrospective payment of the difference
in wages from October until the cleaners are paid
the LLW.”

In a statement, UVW said: “VICTORY! Last night, UVW met
 with Kensington and Chelsea council and secured a full
commitment to pay all cleaners the London living wage
and improved working conditions from January 2019.
Direct action works! All power to the workers!”

Former UVW general secretary and current rep Petros Elia
said: “UVW has done it again. We have beaten RBKC
through unprecedented co-ordinated strike action,
which has led to the cleaners securing a 30 per
cent pay rise to the [London] living wage.”

Kensington MP Emma Dent-Coad said: “Solidarity with the
 employees of Amey to RBKC. Your determination (and a
bit of salsa) has earned you an impressive victory. Now
we fight for justice at the Ministry of Justice! Respect.”

The cleaners’ victory follows three days of unprecedented
 co-ordinated strike action last month by cleaners at RBKC
 and the Ministry of Justice, which was well supported by
other unions and Labour politicians.

Shadow justice minister Richard Burgon told striking cleaners
on the picket line that it was “an absolute scandal that you
are not being paid £10.20 an hour.

“£7.83 an hour is the legal minimum they can get away
with paying you. They should value you more than that.”

An RBKC spokesman said the council had held “positive
 talks and we hope that the dialogue continues,” but he
was unable to confirm any details of proposed changes
to pay and conditions.

(Source - Morning Star)



moscow communist party meeting to stop pension reforms

Thousands of protesters demand higher public sector pay in Polish capital
September 22nd, at 4:02pm

"Yellow vest" protest enters 11th week
as Macron launches national debate
 to defuse anger
January 27th, at 11:56am

Xinhua - Thousands of "yellow vest" protesters, took to the
streets in France on Saturday for the 11th weekend in a row.

Protesters in the high-visibility jackets, gathered on and
around the Champs Elysees, some of whom, were
waving banners denouncing the government.

Similar situations were reported in France's main cities
 where about 69,000 people took part in the fresh round
of protests, the Interior Ministry estimated, down from
last week's 84,000.

In Paris, 4,000 protesters had been counted, compared
 to the 7,000 on January 19th, signaling that the broader
social movement appeared to be waning, days after
Macron launched a series of talks on January 15th,
 to address the protesters' demands.

In Evreux, northern France, demonstrators
set vehicles on fire.

On the Bastille square in Paris, a group of hooded men in
black, used construction materials to form barricades
 and set them ablaze. Riot police fired water cannons
and tear gas after being pelted with stones, with 52
 people arrested.

"I condemn with the greatest firmness the violence and
degradation made this Saturday, in Paris and the
provinces, by thugs camouflaged in yellow
vests," Interior Minister, Christophe
Castaner, tweeted.

"The mobilization of the police, again this Saturday, was
 necessary to contain the excesses and to challenge
the troublemakers," he added.

About 80,000 police were mobilized nationwide
against protest violence, including 5,000
 in Paris.

Officers equipped with armored vehicles secured the Arc
 de Triomphe in Paris, after it had been vandalized on
 December 1st, as Paris saw its worst trouble
 in decades.

As darkness fell, hundreds of protesters converged to the
Republic Square, in Paris, to take part in an evening
gathering, dubbed "yellow night," proposed by
Eric Drouet, one of the movement's
representatives.

Scuffles flared once again when rioters torched many
 motorbikes and overturned several others. Officers
fired tear gas to push back demonstrators and
clear the square.

The "yellow vest" movement was triggered in November
last year amid public discontent with a rise in fuel tax
 that French President Emmanuel Macron said, is
necessary to combat climate change.

The spontaneous movement remains amorphous, with
 no leader and agenda. Some "yellow vests" have
proposed a list of candidates to run in the
 election for the European Parliament
next May, a move other supporters
call a betrayal.

The division within the movement coincides with a boost
 in Macron's approval ratings. A BVA poll, carried out on
January 23rd-24th, and released on Friday, found 31%
of 1,023 interviewees were satisfied with Macron,
up 4 percent from November.

After weeks of violent protests that plunged Paris into
chaos, Macron on December 10th, 2018, announced
"an economic and social emergency plan,"
 including boosting the minimum wage
and easing tax increases on
pensioners.

To further defuse the anger, he launched a series of
 public debates that he promised would lead to
 concrete measures.

"I think we will come out of this debate only with very
 strong, powerful decisions, because we need them,"
Macron said during a recent exchange with a group
of mayors and "yellow vests" in the southeastern
commune of Bourg-de-Peage. "There must be
very deep decisions about the state, about
our institutions, about our collective
organization."

"We must implement the decisions on the ground.
 We must get out of aberrant structures in which
 we have stayed ..." Macron said. "I'm ready to
 go that far."



_______________________________________________






French Majority Dissatisfied
with President's Administration
January 20th at 4:40pm

Prensa Latina - A large majority of French people are
 said to be dissatisfied with the management of
French President Emmanuel Macron, a survey
of the French Institute of Public Opinion,
released on Sunday, indicates.
 
According to the survey, 72 per cent of citizens
are dissatisfied with the president's policy,
which includes 40 per cent of very
dissatisfied' people.

On the other hand, only 27% say they are satisfied,
and only five per cent say they are 'very satisfied'.

In the case of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, acceptance
 is at 30 per cent, and the majority of citizens are also
dissatisfied with his management.

The poll appears in the midst of a national crisis because
 of the protests of the yellow vest movement, which
demands greater social and fiscal justice for the
entire population.

In this context, numerous polls have reflected the collapse
of Macron's popularity, which, since 2018, has followed
an
incessant, downward trend.


________________________________________





1,000s of police on guard
 as Yellow Vests hit streets
 in France for 10th week
in a row
January 19th, at 12:08pm

For the 10th week in a row, Yellow Vest protesters filled
 the streets of Paris and other cities in France, with
 thousands of police standing guard. Earlier,
President Emmanuel Macron, launched
his
“national debates” on the crisis.

In what is being called ‘Act 10’ of the nationwide protests,
the Yellow Vests gathered in French cities on Saturday.

In Paris, they occupied the Champs-Elysees and the
Esplanade des Invalides near the nation’s
parliament. People were seen waving
national flags and setting off
firecrackers.

Some protesters brought cardboard coffins, in memory
 of the people who have died, since the beginning of
the protests (a majority in traffic accidents during
 road blockades). They marched under a large
banner reading “Citizens in danger.”

The Yellow Vest processions took place in Caen and
 Rouen, both in northern France. The rallies were
also held in Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Toulon,
Dijon, Beziers, Avignon, among
other places.

The authorities deployed 5,000 police officers
 in Paris, and 80,000 nationwide, according to
 local media.

Armored police cars were filmed moving through
 the streets of the southern city of Toulouse.

There were also reports of armored
vehicles stationed in the capital.

Twelve people have been detained in Paris for
carrying weapons, police told BFMTV. They
 were apprehended during “random checks.”
 But overall, the rallies in the capital have
so
far, remained peaceful, police said.

Some protesters carried placards, reading "Freedom,
Equality, Flash-Ball," referring to the type of ‘less-
lethal’ guns used by law enforcement to quell
the protests.

The placards also contained pictures of Marianne –
 a national symbol of liberty – with an injured eye.

That was apparently an allusion to a high-publicized
 incident in December when a young woman was
hit in the eye by a projectile the activists say
was fired from a Flash-Ball.

The Yellow Vest protests began in November as a
 movement against planned fuel tax hikes, but
eventually grew to include wider demands,
including the resignation of President
Emmanuel Macron and his
government.

Previous rallies have seen violent clashes with police.
There have been injuries on both sides, and over
1,000 people have been detained in connection
with the unrest, which has, at times, spilled
out into street battles.

Saturday’s rallies take place days after President
Emmanuel Macron launched “grand national
debates,” a series of public discussions
about the government’s policies.

 He hopes the debates will help in reaching a
compromise with the protesters, but many
have expressed skepticism regarding the
 format and intentions. As a result, some
 protesters appeared with placards
denouncing the debates as
a “scam.”

(Source - RT)


_________________________






Police employ tear gas
& water cannons - as
Yellow Vest protests
enter 9th week
January 12th, at 3:54pm

Yellow Vest demonstrators returned to the streets of
 Paris and other French cities on Saturday, and some
 were met by police, with tear gas and water cannons
 as the authorities pledged zero tolerance to violence.

Thousands of people, both locals and those coming
from other parts of the country, are rallying in the
 French capital. Around 5,000 riot police with
special equipment and armored vehicles
oversaw the protests.

Clashes eventually erupted at the iconic Champs
Elysees and Arc de Triomphe, with police using
tear gas and water cannons, to calm the angry
 crowds. At least 43 people were detained,
for
carrying prohibited items, the city
authorities
confirmed.

"We've come to Paris to make ourselves heard,
and we wanted to see for ourselves, at least
once, what's going on here," a man, who
 travelled to Paris from western France
to attend the protest, told AFP.

Around 1,000 demonstrators also made their way
 to the hippodrome and caused a delay of races
 in the horseracing town of Chantilly, north
of Paris.

Outside the capital, major Yellow Vest protests
 engulfed Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon,
Strasbourg, and other cities.

In Nimes, rioters attempted to storm city hall
- and police deployed tear gas against them.

Clashes were also reported in Bourges in central
France, where the local authorities said that
 5,000 were rallying.

The French government, earlier, vowed zero tolerance
for violence at the protests, with 80,000 security
personnel deployed across France, on
the weekend.

The Yellow Vest movement, which took its name from
the high-visibility jackets worn by the demonstrators,
 kicked off in November over a government-proposed
 hike in fuel taxes. As the weekend protests saw
more people participating and started turning
violent, the government dropped the
planned increase.

But the demonstrations continued, as the movement
 morphed into wider discontent with President
Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business agenda,
a
decline in living standards, and
growing
inequality.

(Source - RT)


________________________________________________






‘Elected officials' worst nightmare’?
Yellow Vests hope to trigger bank
run with financial protest

January 9th, at 8:32pm

Yellow Vest protesters are hoping to trigger a bank run
with a nationwide coordinated cash withdrawal. By
 threatening the French financial system, protesters
say, they want to peacefully force the government
to pass their reforms.

“If the banks weaken, the state weakens immediately,”
said Yellow Vest “sympathizer” Tahz San on
Facebook.


 “It’s elected officials' worst nightmare.”

Protesters plan to empty their bank accounts on Saturday,
withdrawing as much money as possible in a bid to
undermine the French banks – if not the euro itself.

The plan is to “scare the state legally and without violence,”
 forcing the government to adopt the movement’s Citizens’
Referendum Initiative, which would allow citizens to
propose and vote on new laws. 

“We are going to get our bread back…you’re making money
 with our dough, and we’re fed up,” said protester Maxime
 Nicolle in a video message,shared on YouTube.
,
A well-coordinated financial action has the potential to
 bring the French banking system – and by extension
 the euro – to its knees, as banks always hold only a
 fraction of the funds the country’s citizens have in
their accounts. However, most banks limit ATM
withdrawals to a relatively low amount,
 meaning protesters would have to line
 up inside the banks to withdraw the
rest of their money, giving the state
plenty of time to place restrictions
on withdrawals: though this would,
 no doubt, spark further protest.

The financial demonstration is a novel means of
circumventing Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s
 proposed crackdown on “unauthorized protests,”
 announced earlier this week - after a particularly
violent weekend of clashes with armed riot police
 – including an unexpected appearance by boxer
Christophe Dettinger.

Philippe has promised 80,000 security forces
 will be deployed for the next protest.

Meanwhile, there is tension within the movement
itself, as some former protest leaders call for
 a political solution.

The government has urged the protesters to make
 their voices heard in a national debate instead of
 demonstrating in the streets, as they have done
for the last two months. The debate, scheduled
for next week, will cover climate change,
“democratic issues,” taxes and
public services.

(Source - RT)


______________________________________________




‘President against his people’:
 Salvini openly backs Yellow
 Vest protesters, lashing out
 at Macron
January 7th, at 3:50pm

In an extraordinary public EU feud, Italy’s Matteo
 Salvini, and his coalition partner, have thrown
their support behind France’s Yellow Vest
movement, while Salvini also accused
President Emmanuel Macron of
being against his people.

“I support honest citizens - who protest against a
governing president [who is] against his people,”
 said the Italian deputy prime minister.

However, the leader of the Northern League added
that he “firmly” condemns the recent violence
that has marred the protests.

Di Maio said that politics, in both France and Italy,
"has become deaf to the needs of citizens, who
 have been kept out of the most important
decisions affecting the people."

The cry that rises strongly from French squares,
is, ultimately, one of 'let us participate!'

The Yellow Vest movement began in mid-November 2018
 as a protest against a proposed hike in fuel costs. It has
 since grown, to encompass wider discontent among
 French people, over living standards and Macron’s
 policies. At its peak, more than 280,000 people
gathered to protest on the Champs-Elysees
on November 17th.

Macron and Salvini have a well-documented rivalry
and history of public name-calling. Most recently,
in December, Salvini mocked the French
president as a “lab mouse elected to
 keep the elitist political system
in place.”

The pair have often locked heads over immigration policy
during the Mediterranean migrant crisis. In typical
fashion, the disagreement descended into a war
 of words, with Salvini calling Macron an
“international embarrassment” last
October --- after policemen were
spotted dropping migrants off
in an Italian forest, on the
countries shared border.

(Source - RT)


_______________________________





Thousands rally against
Hungary’s overtime
work law, PM Orban
January 5th,  at 6:46pm

Thousands have marched through Budapest's city
centre, to protest against a new law, that allows
employers to ask staff to work up to 400 hours
 per year, of overtime.

Opposition groups have staged several rallies in
 the past weeks, in the Hungarian capital and
other cities, against what they said, was
the
authoritarian rule of the
conservative
nationalist,
Viktor Orban.

Saturday's rally, organized by opposition parties,
trade unions and civic groups, mainly targeted
the new labour law - dubbed by critics, as the
"slave law."

The protesters marched in snowfall from the historic
Heroes Square to the parliament building on the
 bank of the Danube river, carrying banners
such as "Sweep away the regime."

"We disagree with almost everything that is going
 on --- since this government got into power (in
2010), from corruption to pseudo-democracy,"
 said 50-year old housewife Eva Demeter.

She said more Hungarians were pouring onto
 the streets, because the slave law "affects
a bigger crowd."

Some of the protesters posted on social media
 or carried banners calling for a "national strike."

The modification to the labour code passed by
 parliament last month, has faced intense
 criticism and sparked the biggest
street protests, in over a year.

Potentially, it could add two extra hours to an
 average work day, or the equivalent of an
 extra workday per week.

Zoltan Mucsi, head of steelmaker Dunaferr's Vasas
trade union, said it was undemocratic, that the
government did not discuss the labour
code
changes, with the unions.

Some of the main trade union groups may resort
to a strike
,
if the government does not sit down
with them to
negotiate, he told Reuters.

Trade union membership in Hungary is estimated at below
 a tenth of the workforce, about half the level in Germany,
according to data from the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development.

The past weeks' anti-government rallies were also against
a law that sets up new courts which critics say, could be
politically manipulated, and against bias in the state-
controlled media.

The earlier protests have been mostly peaceful, though
there were some clashes with police who used tear gas.

The ruling Fidesz party reiterated in a statement on Thursday
 that the protests were part of a campaign for the European
 Parliament elections in May, to help those who support
mass migration into the European Union.

Fidesz won the Hungarian elections with a
landslide, last year,
with the ticket of
resisting mass immigration into
the EU.

(Sources: Reuters/PressTv)


______________________________________________




Scuffles break out as
‘yellow vests’
return
to streets, for 1st
protest
of 2019

January 5th, at 4:04pm

Defiant Yellow Vest protesters have engaged in scuffles
with police during the eighth weekend of protests in
Paris. Law enforcers hit demonstrators with pepper
 spray and tear gas, as they tried to breach a
police line.

Videos from the scene showed hundreds of protesters
 in their iconic yellow vests, facing off with law
enforcement near the National Assembly
building. The crowd then tried to walk
 through a line of riot police, but
 was pushed away.

Officers fired several smoke grenades, and tear gas
 was also used. The cameras caught some of the
protesters rubbing their eyes and coughing.

However, police also took beatings, as several
 protesters were seen punching officers,
including one, right in the face --- 
(although they were protected
 by a helmet).

Demonstrations in other cities across France have
 remained mainly peaceful, but some scuffles did
 break out in the city of Nantes, prompting police
 to fire tear gas.

French authorities deployed 3,600 officers including
 riot police to oversee the rallies nationwide.

However, law enforcers in Paris refrained
from deploying the water cannon and
armored vehicles, that were seen
at
previous marches.

Ahead of the clashes, several thousand yellow vests
 marched peacefully through the city from the
Champs Elysees singing the national
 anthem, “La Marseillaise.”

Others held banners calling for President
Macron
to resign, and to “Abolish the
privileges of
the elite.”

The Yellow Vest movement started in mid-November
 as a protest against a proposed hike in the cost of
 fuel, but quickly broadened, to include wider
discontent against the policies of President
 Emmanuel Macron, and a fall in living
standards. At its height, some
 282,000 protesters gathered
on the Champs Elysee,
on
November 17th.

After initially refusing to give into Yellow Vest demands,
Macron backed down on the proposed fuel hike, as
well as promising more money for France’s
 lowest earners and pensioners.

Yellow Vest organizers hope this year will rejuvenate
 the movement, following the festive period. In a
three-page manifesto addressed to the
 president on Thursday, they did not
 mince words, saying:

“Anger will turn into hatred --- if you continue,
from your
pedestal, you and your associates,
to look at little
people, like beggars.”

On Wednesday, Eric Drouet – one of the leaders of
the movement – was detained over organizing an
unsanctioned rally. His supporters called the
 police action, a sign of “dictatorship.”

(Source - RT)


_______________________________________





Arrest of Yellow Vest leader Drouet
slammed as ‘abuse of power’ &
 ‘dictatorship’
January 3rd, at 3:06pm

Shouts of “dictatorship” were heard as one of the leaders
of France’s anti-government Yellow Vest movement was
 arrested in Paris late on Wednesday, after authorities
charged him with organizing and leading an
 unauthorized protest.

Eric Drouet was detained by police as some of the
movement’s supporters gathered in the capital’s
Place de la Concorde, near the iconic Arc de
Triomphe monument. People left candles in
 remembrance of the movement’s wounded
in clashes with police.

Drouet was detained while reportedly en-route to the
 memorial. Footage of the arrest shows several
French riot police escort him away from the
 crowds, while supporters chant his name
while he is being led away.

After that, several other protesters were
grabbed
from the crowd and led away
by police, while
remaining Yellow
Vests sang the national
anthem.

Despite having a decentralized structure, Drouet has
become one of several key figureheads in the Yellow
Vest movement, rallying support on social media and
 giving media interviews.

Tweeting his support for the man, left-wing politician
 Jean-Luc Melenchon, called the arrest an “abuse of
power,” and the target of political policing.

“Enough of violence, condemnation and arrests against
 the #YellowVests. Free Eric Drouet. Make peace with
the leaders of the people,” he added.

Aside from charges over the unauthorized rally, the
activist will also stand trial in June, for carrying a
“prohibited category D weapon [includes pepper
 spray, blank guns]”

So-called because of the high-visibility jackets they wear,
the Yellow Vest protesters sprung into action in November.

They initially rallied against a proposed hike in fuel prices
 by the government of Emmanuel Macron.

The planned increase was later dropped, yet people
 continue to demonstrate against a decline in living
 standards and growing inequality. As a result, the
 movement has morphed to voice wider discontent
against Macron’s pro-business agenda, which
protesters claim, favour the country's rich.

Actions across the country have frequently seen
 violent clashes with police, with some
 demonstrators even attempting to
storm Macron’s Mediterranean
retreat, last month.


________________________________________


Yellow Vest protests in France
planned for Saturday, to
 continue into new year
 – sources
December 28th, at 11:47am

The Yellow Vest anti-government protests that have rocked
 France, will be held on Saturday and New Year's Eve, and
 continue into 2019, AFP reported on Friday, citing
several sources in the movement.

The Yellow Vests “are still mobilized,” said Laetitia Dewalle,
 a spokeswoman of the protest movement which does not
 have a traditional leadership structure.

Several of the movement’s representatives said a seventh
 straight Saturday of protests will take place across the
country this weekend.

Yellow Vest representative Benjamin Cauchy warned that
if the concessions made so far by President Emmanuel
Macron did not add up, “we will end up with a large-
scale mobilization in late January.”

(Source - RT)


____________________________________________




Protests turn violent
as Yellow Vests
clash with police
December 15th, at 3:51pm

The Yellow Vest rally in Paris began relatively calm,
but later saw protesters clash with the police. Over
66,000 people gathered nationwide, but Paris saw
 less than 3,000 people take to the streets - a huge
 decline from previous weeks.

Several clashes and scuffles broke out at the iconic
 Champs-Elysees avenue and near the Opera House
 as protesters called for Emmanuel Macron's
resignation.

Police were seen using pepper spray
and tear gas, against protesters.

At least 95 people were detained in the capital,
with 63 being placed in custody.

More than 66,000 people gathered across the country
for protests, the Interior Ministry said. Less than
3,000 of them rallied in the capital – around
five times less than last Saturday.

One person was hurt in the head during
 clashes at the Champ-Elysees.

An RT correspondent suffered an injury to the face
 and has been taken to hospital, RT's editor-in-
chief Margarita Simonyan confirmed
on Twitter.

Toulouse and Bordeaux had some of the biggest
turnouts in the country, with tens of thousands
 of demonstrators taking to the streets there, 
on Saturday.

(Source - RT)


____________________________________________




Yellow Vest Rally: 90+ Arrested
 in Paris, French Police Use
 Tear Gas
Saturday December 15th, at 3pm

FNA - At least 92 people have been detained and 53
taken into police custody in Paris while the French
capital looks less yellow on Saturday, as only
several hundred people descended on the
 avenue, amid a heavy police presence.

French police deployed tear gas at demonstrations in
Paris on Saturday, as tens of Yellow Vest protesters
swarmed into the heart of the capital on the 5th
weekend of unrest, while tens of people were
detained prior to and at the rallies, World
News reported.

Police had flooded Paris to contain the rallies, and the
security forces had placed around 8,000 officers on
the streets of the capital to quell fears of rioting.

Armored vehicles belonging to the Gendarmerie
– France’s military police – were spotted near
the Arc de Triomphe, the site of the fiercest
confrontations between yellow vests
 and police.

A man was trying to drive around the barriers, mounted
by
protesters in Soissons, and collided with another car
in
oncoming traffic, France info reported. A 44-year-old
woman who was in his car, died, due to the accident.

The organizers, consisting of some 15 groups, had
outlined their list of demands on Facebook, saying
they will continue their action against French
President Emmanuel Macron, until all
their
demands are met.

“Our organizations support the demands of tax and
social justice brought by the movement of yellow
vests. They call for demonstrations on Saturday,
December 15th, for social justice and tax, for
 a real democracy, for equal rights, for a true
ecological transition…” the planners said, 
in
a statement, as quoted by Le Parisien.

“We need to be prepared for
worst-case scenarios,”

he added.

Delpuech told RTL that authorities are aiming to be
in “better control” of the situation than they were
last weekend, when more than 125,000 people
hit the streets of France, 10,000 of whom
protested in Paris.

Those demonstrations saw clashes between protesters
and police, with officers deploying tear gas and water
cannon on people who threw Molotov cocktails,
burned cars, and vandalized stores. Over 260
people were injured and 1,700 detained
across the country.

Ahead of the demonstrations planned for Saturday,
Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, said it was
time for the Yellow Vest protesters to scale down
 their demonstrations, and accept that they had
achieved their aims, as Macron has granted
concessions, as a result of the rallies.

“I'd rather have the police force doing their real job,
chasing criminals and combating the terrorism
threat, instead of securing roundabouts where
 a few thousand people keep a lot of police
busy,” he added, just days after an attack
at a Christmas market in Strasbourg
killed four people and injured
around a dozen others.

Earlier this week, Macron spoke to the nation in
a televised address, saying he understood the
concerns of protesters. In addition to cancel-
ing fuel tax increases that were scheduled to
 kick in next month, he said he would raise
 the minimum wage by 100 euros a month
from January & reduce taxes for poorer
pensioners, among other measures.

Even despite those concessions, Macron's critics
are still demanding that he resign, continuing to
 refer to him as “President of the Rich”.

Violence at the protests, especially in the capital,
has hit record levels, with several dead and
hundreds of protesters injured. Police
officers have also suffered injuries.

The number of those detained
throughout the protests has
surpassed 4,500.


_______________________________________________





Hungary: 'Anti-Government Protesters'
 Invade City Centre of Budapest
for Third Night in A Row
Saturday, December 15th, at 11:53am

FNA - The anti-government demonstrations in Budapest
entered into the third day, Friday, which ended with 51
people arrested and 14 policemen injured, according
to official figures.

Surrounded by numerous police officers, a few thousand
 people listened to speeches by opposition leaders in
front of the parliament, and began a march in the
centre of the Hungarian capital, on Friday,
Xinhua
reported.

The call for the demonstration was the adoption by
the Hungarian Parliament, on Wednesday, of two
 controversial laws: one on the labour law,
 increasing overtime of workers from
300 to 400 hours on a yearly basis,
 and one on the creation of a new
administrative judicial system,
which would hinder the
independence of the
 Hungarian judiciary.

The protesters complained about low wages,
the corruption of government members,
and a
biased public media.

At the end of the demonstrations, a hard core of a
thousand people tried to invade the stairs of the
parliament, colliding with the police, who, after
 being attacked with stones, bottles, and other
objects, responded with tear gas.

The protesters, mostly young and liberal, have also
marched around downtown Budapest, blocking
access to various bridges in the
Hungarian capital.

Some of them, wearing masks and football sweaters,
have tried to set fire to the massive Christmas tree
erected in front of the Parliament's building.

On Sunday, trade unions will participate in a major
demonstration, which has already received the
support of all the opposition parties.
 

_________________________________________________




French Police Heavily Deployed
to Contain Rallies Across Country
 Sunday, December 9th, at 12:44pm

FNA - A massive police operation has got underway across
France amid huge protest rallies by tens of thousands of
 “Yellow Vest” demonstrators, as the number of people
detained in nationwide rallies on Saturday, has
reached a staggering 1,723.

This Saturday, was the fourth consecutive weekend of
protests, with authorities calling in reinforcements to
 beef up security. That included sending armoured
vehicles of the country’s military police
 (Gendarmerie) to Paris., which
deployed near the iconic Arc
 de Triomphe, the scene of
 previous clashes, World
 News reported.

French riot police fired tear gas and water cannon in
Paris on Saturday, trying to stop tens of thousands
of people from converging on the presidential
palace to express their anger at high taxes
and President Emmanuel Macron.

 Protesters smashed store windows and set fires
around Paris and clashed with police, who fired
 tear gas and deployed water canon throughout
 the day in the French capital.

At least 135 people were injured in the protests
on Saturday, including 17 police officers, while,
throughout France, over 1,700 demonstrators
were detained.

A total of 1,723 people were arrested across France, 
during the latest round of "Yellow Vest" protests, in
which demonstrators clashed with riot police, the
interior ministry said on Sunday, adding that, of
these, 1,220 were ordered held in custody.

A total of 136,000 people demonstrated across
 France, including more than 10,000 in Paris.

Yellow Vest mayhem hit the country for the 4th consecutive
 weekend. Despite the repeated skirmishes, Saturday’s
anti-government protests appeared less chaotic and
violent than a week ago, when crowds defaced the
 Arc de Triomphe, set vehicles ablaze and looted
high-end stores in the city’s worst rioting
since 1968.

The protest over the tax hike have been plaguing Paris and
other major French cities since mid-November. The action,
spearheaded by activists wearing yellow vests, has been
 mired in violence, last Saturday, and has seen over 130
people injured and at least 412 arrested. Four people,
ncluding an elderly woman, have died, amid fierce
 clashes between rioting demonstrators
and police.

Following last weekend’s riots in central Paris and dozens
of other cities and towns across France, the government
decided to abandon its plan to raise a fuel tax next year.

But protesters want the French president to go further to
 help hard-pressed households, including an increase
to
the minimum wage, lower taxes, higher salaries,
cheaper energy, better retirement provisions.

Some of them have demanded Emmanuel
Macron’s resignation. They say he is part
of an elitist coterie that neither under-
stands, nor cares, how they live.

The Yellow Vests' leader said the French government’s
six-month moratorium on fuel tax hikes wasn’t what
the Yellow Vests wanted, adding that people want
"the baguette", not crumbs, and will take to the
streets again on Saturday.

“We didn’t want a suspension, we want the past rise
 in the tax on fuels, to be canceled immediately,"
Benjamin Cauchy, the organizer of the
Yellow
Vests movement, told BFM TV.

By announcing the half-year moratorium, government
 is “taking the French people for a ride” in an attempt
 to win time, he stated.

"The French are not sparrows, and don’t want the
crumbs the government is giving them. They
want the baguette," he stressed.


 _________________________________________________




100s detained, tear gas fired:
Yellow Vest mayhem hits
Paris
on 4th weekend

December 8th, at 1:23pm

French police fired the first batches of tear gas on Saturday
as massive crowds of Yellow Vest protesters swarmed into
the heart of the capital, on the 4th weekend of unrest.

Hundreds were detained, prior to and at, the rally.

Police detained at least 700 people across the country,
including 575 in Paris, during the rallies, Secretary of
State to the Interior Minister Laurent Nunez
confirmed, as cited by French media.

 The official added that a total of 31,000 people
have been demonstrating in France.

The rally on the iconic Champs-Elysees avenue turned
violent right after 10:00 am (local time). Videos from
the area show people coughing and sneezing after
tear gas canisters were fired into the lines
 of demonstrators.

Several hours into the protests, trucks armed with
water cannon arrived in the heart of the capital.
The violence unfolded in the capital as several
Yellow Vest protesters built barricades in the
 city centre and set them on fire.

Beefing up its presence, law enforcement also deployed
armored vehicles belonging to the French Gendarmerie
– the military police. The hardware was stationed right
next to the Arc de Triomphe,which last week saw one
 of the fiercest battles between police and rioters.

This is the fourth consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vests
protests, with levels of violence between police and
demonstrators that has not been seen in decades.
Last week, the unrest peaked again, resulting in
over 400 arrests. Scores of people were also
injured during the heavy-handed police
 response. Officers also suffered
injuries, while trying to
handle
the situation.

The French government says for now it has abandoned
the plans for fuel price hikes and a higher tax, which
triggered the rallies. The unrest, however, is still far
from losing steam. The demonstrators are billing
their action on Saturday, as: “Act IV. Stay on the
course” and are demanding more concessions,
including lower taxes, a higher minimum wage
and, for some, even the resignation of
Emmanuel Macron.

(Source - RT)


__________________________________________





Paris set for lockdown
amid wave of gilets
jaunes protests

Friday, December 7th, 2018.

Paris and other French cities are effectively under
lockdown this weekend, in anticipation of further
“gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) protests, that the
authorities deem potentially violent.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Musee d’Orsay
will be closed, as will shops on the chic Boulevard
Champs-Elysees.

Among museums affected by closures are tourist
magnets such as the Paris catacombs and the
Grand Palais, with its Miro exhibition. The
Museum of Modern Art and the Science
 Museum Palais de la Decouverte, will
also be closed, while performances
in both Paris operas, on Place de
 l’Opera and Place de la Bastille,
will be cancelled.

The National Students Union said that, as of this
morning, 700 high schools across the country
were swept by protests and 400 of them
were closed.

Over 90,000 police officers will be deployed
 throughout the country.

Police overreaction to protests, was exemplified
 by social media coverage of masked and armed
 police in Mantes-la-Jolie, near Paris, standing
over dozens of high school students on their
knees, hands on heads, some lined up
against a wall.

The Violences Policieres (Police Violence) Twitter
group attracted thousands of angry comments,
suggesting that the images looked like “the
 execution of children by firing squad.”

Militant trade union centre CGT secretary general
Philippe Martinez declared: “You don't beat up kids.”

The CGT urged its energy workers to stage a 48-hour
walkout on December 13, adding that its members
wanted to join the “yellow vests,” while the
farmers’ union said it will hold
demonstrations every day
 next week.

(Source - Morning Star)


_______________________________________




French Parliament’s Left Parties
to Discuss Vote of No Confidence
 Against Government
 Thursday December 6th, 2018, at 1:35pm

FNA - At least three left-wing parties at the French
parliament have agreed to discuss a vote of no
confidence against the government, amid
 sweeping protests, against President
Emmanuel Macron’s policies, which
 have gripped the country.

Among those planning to question Macron’s leadership
 is La France Insoumise party, whose leader, Jean-Luc
Melenchon has long been a vocal critic of the current
 government. The French Communist Party and the
Socialist Party, which ruled the country before the
2017 presidential elections, have also confirmed
to be in on the plan, RT reported.

“We’ve decided to work together to file a no confidence
vote [to the government] next Monday. During the
coming days, we will seek to increase the
number of signatories. We have to show
that other ways, are possible,” First
Secretary of the Socialist Party
Olivier Faure wrote on Twitter,
using the hashtag
#GiletsJaunes
 (Yellow Vests).

France is currently in turmoil, after almost three weeks
 of unending rallies. What started as a spontaneous
 rebellion against fuel price hikes and unpopular
 reforms carried out by Macron, has gradually
grown into one of the most stubborn
challenges for the president, and
swallowed up the whole country.

The rallies held under the motto “on the way to Macron’s
resignation”, caught the president off-guard, in his 18
months in the top job. His approval ratings stand at
barely 25 percent, as many French citizens view
him as elitist and out of touch with the common
 folk, who are unhappy with many of his reforms,
 such as tax relief for businesses and cuts to
pensioners’ benefits.

A rally on December 1 was mired in violence and saw
over 130 people injured and more than 400 arrested.

Four people, including an elderly woman, died amid
the fierce clashes between rioting demonstrators
and police.

Finally, the French government had to concede and
dropped the fuel tax hike plan – at least for the
 2019 budget.

Macron’s handling of the protests and his proposed
reforms, have angered many opposition parties in
the parliament. Melenchon has repeatedly called
upon the presidency, to abolish the fuel tax.

“It’s time for the rich to be in solidarity
[with people],” he said, earlier.

Faure also lashed out at the government on several
occasions, calling for “tax justice” and a “fight
against social and territorial inequalities”.
 

__________________________________________________



French PM Confirms Fuel Tax
 Suspensions, Calls for Calm
December 4th, at 12:36pm
 
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced Tuesday
 new concessions to “yellow vest” protesters, saying the
planned increases in the price of fuel would be
suspended for six months.

“No tax merits putting the unity of the nation in danger,”
 Philippe said in a televised address, adding that the
anger on the streets “originates from a profound
injustice: of not being able to live with dignity
from one’s work”.

He added that any future protests should be
declared in advance and “take place calmly”.

(Sources - AFP/al Manar)


____________________________________________





Fuel Supplies, Schools Hit
 on Week 3 of ‘Yellow Vest’
Protests
December 3rd, at 1:31pm

Dozens of French “yellow vest” demonstrators blocked
access to a major fuel depot and several highways on
 Monday on the 3rd week of anti-government protests
 which led to major riots in Paris at the weekend.

Around 50 people blocked the fuel depot in the port
of
Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille, where police have
 repeatedly intervened to dislodge demonstrators
since small-town
and rural France erupted in
protests over rising living costs, on
November 17th.

Traffic was also backed up on the highways leading to the
southern cities of Aix-en-Provence, Orange, Montpellier,
Nimes and Sete, as the movement, which began over
fuel tax increases, but has morphed into a broader
wave of resistance to Macron’s pro-business
policies, rumbled on.

On Monday, the protests spread to around a hundred schools
nationwide, which were partially or totally blocked by
teenagers piggybacking on the demonstrations, to
air frustration over new university entrance
requirements.

Around 1,000 students shouting “Macron resign!” — some
clad in the high-visibility vests that have become the
emblem of the movement — demonstrated in the
city of Nice, on Monday, according to an AFP
 reporter at the scene.

(Source: AFP/al Manar)


_______________________________________________





France to Consider State of Emergency
after ‘Yellow Vest’ Protest Turned Violent
December 2nd, at 12:21pm
 
The French government, is to consider imposing a state
of emergency to prevent riots, government spokesman
Benjamin Griveaux said, on Sunday, following the
arrest the day before, of more than 400 people,
when a “Yellow Vest” protest turned violent.

“We have to think about the measures that can be
 taken so that these incidents don’t happen again,”
 Griveaux told Europe 1 radio on Sunday morning.

When asked whether a state of emergency could be
imposed, Griveaux replied: “All options will be
 examined.”

This comes after a dozen cars were set on fire, buildings
were torched, tear gas was fired and water cannons
were deployed in the French capital on Saturday
in scenes reminiscent of guerilla warfare.

The heavy clashes started on the Place de l’Etoile,
at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, when groups
of
people tried to force their way through a
police
checkpoint set up to prevent a
planned
“Yellow Vest” protest from
turning
violent, like it had the
previous week.

The situation escalated quickly, with some of the
1,500 protesters ripping cobblestones out of the
 paved road, to throw at police officers.

Protesters, who chanted for President Emmanuel
 Macron to resign, also sat down under the Arc —
a significant symbol of the French Republic —
to sing the national anthem.

Police wrestled control of the area shortly after
lunchtime but groups of men then roamed
central Paris, leaving wrecked cars and
destruction behind them.

Overall 412 people were arrested and 133 were wounded
 including 23 law enforcement officers. According to the
Ministry of Interior, firefighters dealt with 190 blazes
 including six buildings which were set on fire,
Euronews reported.

Meanwhile, dozens of peaceful protests got
 underway throughout the country.

The citizen “Yellow Vest” movement wants Macron
to reverse his decision to increase taxes on fuel.

The nationwide protest has been ongoing for more
than two weeks with protesters setting up road
blocks to significantly slow down traffic
 and the delivery of goods.

Discussions between the authorities and the “Yellow Vest”
 protesters have been difficult because the citizen
movement is not affiliated to any political group
or union and has no leadership structure.

Furthermore, what started as a protest
 over the price of petrol has now
 mutated into a crisis about
spending power and
inequalities.

(Sources - Euronews/al Manar)


_______________________________________



Dozens injured as Paris
turns into battlefield
amid fresh Yellow
Vest rallies
December 1st, at 12:36pm

Police deployed tear gas and water cannons against
firecracker-hurling Yellow Vest protesters in Paris.
Over 100 arrests have been made and 65 people
injured amid mayhem, triggered by fuel price
 hikes and higher taxes.

December 1st rallies are being held with the slogan
 “on the way to Macron’s resignation.” As the unrest
 gained momentum, the area close to the iconic
Champs-Elysees avenue, has been covered
by
thick smoke.

While pelting law enforcement with various projectiles,
protesters have also resorted to symbolic yellow paint
during the standoff. To their delight, quite a few shots
have landed on the shields of riot police.

Adding more symbolism to the rally, a man has been
seen on his knees with arms stretched to both
sides,
in front of the city’s key landmark –
the Arc de Triomphe.


Another demonstrator stands right behind him,
holding two French flags, while both are
 facing a line of officers in full riot gear.

As some of the Yellow Vest supporters lined up
next
to the site, police unleashed a water
cannon,
knocking down at least two
of them, who
have been
carried away.

Surrounded by smoke both from firecrackers & tear
gas, a group of Yellow Vest protesters, grabbed
 dozens of large pieces of cardboard, to use
as a massive ‘shield wall’ against police.

Meanwhile, Lucas Leger, and another RT France reporter
covering the rally, have been injured by a tear gas
canister and a flash-ball gun. Leger posted a
selfie, with a bleeding cheek, on Twitter.

Videos from the unrest, also showed people grasping
 their legs, presumably injured by the very projectiles.

Hours into the clashes, Interior Minister Christophe
Castaner, tweeted that at least 1,500 “disruptors”
were on the outskirts of the Champs-Elysees.

According to police figures, more than 60
people, including 11 security officers,
were injured and 129 arrested
during Saturday's chaos.  

On Friday, negotiations to settle the issue failed after
only two of the protesters’ representatives turned up
for a meeting with Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe.

One of them walked out, after he was told he could
not have TV cameras covering the negotiations.

A recent poll shows that despite the mayhem,
two-thirds of people in France still back the
Yellow Vest cause.

The movement has also inspired rallies in neighboring
 Belgium, where protesters on Friday called on the
prime minister to resign. A standoff there, also
 ended up in clashes with law enforcement.

(Source - RT)


______________________________________________





Arrests, water cannon
and a burning car:-

Yellow Vest protests
spread to Brussels

November 30th, at 5:46pm

France's ‘Yellow Vest’ protests have now made their way
 to Belgium, with demonstrators in Brussels calling on
the prime minister to resign. Some threw rocks and
firecrackers at officers, prompting them to deploy
water cannons.

Crowds of people protesting fuel prices and living
standards, disrupted traffic and walked the
streets for around 3 hours, on Friday.

A total of 60 people were arrested before any violence
 began, mostly for blocking roads or carrying large
fireworks, Reuters cited police as saying.

The violence took place, after several hundred people
marched to Prime Minister Charles Michel'S office,
demanding that he resign. Some threw rocks,
fire-crackers, and road signs at police,
prompting officers to deploy water
cannons. One photo online
showed a police vehicle
set on fire.

Responding to the demonstrations, Michel voiced
sympathy for people's financial troubles --- but
noted that “money doesn't fall from the sky.”

The unauthorized demonstration, news of which
spread mostly on social media, was inspired by
 the ‘Yellow Vest’ protests in France against
 fuel price hikes imposed by President
 Emmanuel Macron. The increases
are part of the government's
effort to reduce emissions
causing global warming.

While the ‘Yellow Vest’ protests have taken place
across France over the past two weeks, they
became violent in Paris, with the French
capital being compared to a war zone
as demonstrators set barricades
 alight and clashed with police.

(Source - RT)


____________________________________




Night rage: Furious ‘Yellow Vest’
protesters turn Paris into
 ‘war zone’
November 25th, at 11:01am

The night descending on Paris has brought no ease of
 tensions over fuel price hikes. ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters
set more barricades ablaze, turning the French capital
into a kind of war zone.

The filmed scenes resembled street battles, with rioters
engaging in scuffles with police, which struggled to
bring the situation under control.

The video shows brazen protesters setting barricades
 and tents on fire, as well as riot police using tear gas
 and water cannons to disperse the crowds. People
have been venting their anger for the past two
weeks, over rising fuel prices and a
government-proposed fuel tax,
which is due to come into
 force, in January 2019.

(Source - RT)


_____________________________________




Flared tension, tear gas, as
"Yellow Vests" protests

against higher fuel tax
reach Paris
November 24th at 2:23pm

Xinhua - A new round of "Yellow Vests" movement in Paris
on Saturday was marred by violence after several hundred
 people had converged on the Champs-Elysees, defying a
police ban on protests in the capital's main avenue.

A group of protesters removed the cobblestones from the
streets and took down constructions barriers to form
barricades while trying to move to the Place de la
Concorde, which is close to the National
Assembly and the Elysee Palace.

Police fired tear gas and used water
cannons,
to disperse the crowd.

One person was arrested following the standoff, Paris
prefecture said, adding that hundreds of far-right
extremists infiltrated the demonstration.

Some protesters, waving tricolor flags, sang
the
national anthem, while others chanted
"Macron,
resign."

Authorities have permitted a gathering next to the Eiffel
Tower, on Saturday, but rejected requests for a
demonstration on the Place de la Concorde,
for fear of escalating violence.

In this second round the social action, 8,000 of angry
 motorists and discontented citizens flocked to the
French capital to protest against President
 Emmanuel Macron's plan to introduce
high taxes on the most commonly
 used car fuel in France, the
French Interior Minister,
Christophe
Castaner,
said.

The movement is experiencing "a strong weakening",
said
Castaner, adding that 23,000 people took part
in the
protests across the country at midday,
compared
with 124,000 reported for the
same period,
last week.

Last Saturday the "Yellow Vests" anti-Macron social
movement, which got its name from the high
 visibility vests drivers keep in their cars,
 drew about 288,000 protesters, who
blocked roads across France.


___________________________________________




Total’s fuel depots blocked
 amid nationwide fuel price
 rallies
November 19th, at 9:51am

A number of Total’s fuel depots were blockaded by
‘yellow vest’ protesters, angry over skyrocketing
gasoline prices in France, as massive
 demonstrations continue to rage
across the country.

Protesters have blocked access to three fuel depots,
 a spokesman for the company told Reuters on
 Monday. Two facilities, one near the north-
west city of Rennes, and the other in
Fos-sur-Mer in the south, are
operated by Total, the
spokesman said.

The third depot blocked by the demonstrators is
 partially owned but not run by the corporation
and is located in La Rochelle.

Aside from the fuel depots, France’s major motor-
ways and roundabouts remain blocked by dozens
of barricades. Other protesters continued to
camp out in parking lots, outside
supermarkets.

Many demonstrators wear distinctive yellow vests
 which became a recognizable symbol of a grass-
roots movement behind the protests.

A new wave of protests erupted this Saturday with
 almost 300,000 people taking to the streets of
French cities, to spew anger at President
Emmanuel Macron and the French
government, who recently chose 
 to raise fuel prices, by passing
an extra environmental tax.

“Gasoline prices never stop rising. It’s the straw
 that broke the camel’s back. Macron and his
buddies just let… things go from bad to
worse,” one protester told RT
 this weekend.

The measure, meant to combat air pollution, was
predictably, met with little praise by the French
people. At one point, the protests even turned
 violent, leaving over 400 people injured,
according to France24.

The movement first emerged on social media
last month, over a surge in fuel prices this
year, and quickly snowballed, into a
broader umbrella organization.

Police deployed numerous officers to protests-hit
 areas, but bringing the situation fully under
control, proved to be quite a challenge.

(Source - RT)


smoke and blood as french police beat back peaceful union demo


Smoke & blood as French riot
police
charge union protest
against
Macron’s reforms

October 9th, at 5:41pm

Violence erupted in the streets of Paris on Tuesday
 as protesters demonstrating against the French
government’s “ideological policies” and its
reforms,
clashed with a riot police squad.

Dramatic footage captured by RT’s video agency
Ruptly, showed people in the crowd turn and
attempt to scramble back through the
throngs of protesters, as police in
riot gear, armed with batons and
tear gas, charged into the
demonstration to clear a
 path through the street.

After the charge, several officers of the French anti-
riot
CRS squad stood guard with shields as others
detained a protester. The situation only heated
 up, as protesters lit flares, while police
 launched another charge. Running
through the plumes of smoke,
the police pushed the crowd
back, and dragged away
 another young protester.

The young man appeared to be dazed by what could be
 a blow to his forehead, with blood pouring down his
 face, and on to his jacket. People attempting to
 take photos or offer the man some help, were
blocked by police. More scuffles ensued,
with demonstrators keeping police back
 with projectiles, fireworks and flares, 
before being eventually dispersed.

Organized by trade unions the General Confederation of
Labour (CGT) and Workers' Force (FO), as well as
student groups and retirees, the marchers
were voicing their discontent at
government reform policies,
which they say damages
France’s social model,
promotes inequality,
& damages workers
bargaining rights.

Clashes between riot police and protesters during
this year’s May Day rally in Paris, gained world
notoriety, after footage emerged, of a
presidential aide to Macron, who
was videoed, partaking in the
 beating of a protester.

Alexandre Benalla, who was off-duty at the time, was
 first given a slap on the wrist by the Elysee Palace,
but was later fired, amid public outcry, after the
scandal was made public.

(Source - RT)


_______________________________________________




France’s Macron appoints
new environment, sports
ministers, in reshuffle
September 4th, at 12:35pm

French President Emmanuel Macron appointed a former
Green lawmaker as his new environment minister on
Tuesday. The president was forced into the move
after Nicolas Hulot, a popular eco-campaigner,
resigned live on radio last week over “hollow
 commitments on environmental policy.”

The nomination of Francois de Rugy to replace him, reflected
 Macron’s desire to give the portfolio, which includes energy,
to a career politician, with experience balancing ideals with
political realities, Reuters said, citing energy analysts. The
president also named Roxana Maracineanu as the sports
minister, to replace former Olympic fencing champion,
 Laura Flessel, who said she was quitting for personal
 reasons. Hulot’s resignation was a blow for Macron.

The president is still reeling from a bodyguard scandal
in July, as he prepares to embark on reforms: to cut
public sector jobs, tame the budget deficit and
streamline the pension system.

(Source - RT)


_________________________________________________



French Trade Unions Call
Mobilization
against
Government Policy

September 2nd, at 12:20pm

Prensa Latina - Several trade unions have called
a mobilization on October 9th, to protest against
the French government''s policy, particularly in
the social sector, local media reported.

Organizations like the General Labour Confederation,
Workers' Force and the National Students' Union,
 issued the call to stage an inter-professional
 and students strike, according to the
 communiqué.

The objective is to express opposition to the government's
policy, which implies 'an explosion of inequalities and the
violation of collective rights', they denounced.

The demonstration will be the first in this new cycle in
which the Executive is trying to implement new and
polemic reforms, like the ones on unemployment
 insurance and pensions.

Over the past few days, polls have shown a drastic fall
in the popularity of French President Emmanuel macron,
 who is supported by 34% of citizens.


i dont mind you being rich...

 
Railway workers announce
 wave of September strikes
on Arriva Rail North
by Marcus Barnett
Saturday, August 25th, 2018

Railway workers in the north have announced a wave
 of strike action throughout September, as today’s
planned walkout goes ahead.

RMT members on Arriva Rail North will be downing
 tools to defend the role of the train guard, today.

But a new roll-out of strikes will see train conductors
 striking, on every Saturday in September.

The union says that the threatened expansion of
driver-only operations on northern trains poses
 a threat to jobs, public safety, and the welfare
 of disabled passengers.

However, the union also says company representatives
 have “refused point-blank” to enter into meaningful
discussions with the union.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said that bosses are
 frustrating workers with their “pig-headed” attitude,
adding that “a genuine opportunity to reach an
agreement has been kicked back by
the company.”

Mr Cash went on to stress, that the union’s
representatives remain open to discussions.

(Source - Morning Star)


__________________________________________


Industrial Northern and eastern
railway stations take up strike
action in defence of train guards
May 9th, 2018

Pickets were in action at railway stations in northern
and eastern England today as workers took strike
 action in the long-running dispute to defend the
 jobs of guards on trains.

Privateer rail operators Northern Rail and Greater Anglia
 want to remove safety-critical guards to increase profits,
despite evidence of guards’ key role in incidents
 including derailments and violent passengers.

Operators in Scotland and Wales have reached settlements
 on the issue with the Rail Maritime and Transport union
(RMT) following involvement of the Scottish Parliament
 and the Welsh Assembly.

But in England the Tory government is supporting and
encouraging operators’ attacks on the guards’ jobs.

RMT said today’s strikes were “rock solid.”

General secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members on
Northern Rail and Greater Anglia stand rock solid and
united once again this morning in separate disputes
which are ‎about putting public safety and access
before private profit on our railways.

“It is ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate
agreements in Wales and Scotland that lock in the
 guard guarantee, but we are being blocked from
reaching the same settlement across the North
and Greater Anglia.

“A solution to these disputes is within our grasp, but
the rail companies need to stop sticking their heads
 in the sand, get back round the table and work
with the union to bolt it down.

“RMT members have shown extraordinary resilience
 and determination in the fight for rail safety and we
thank the public for their continuing support and
 understanding.”

(Source - Morning Star)

watching bbc news go through the motions


Neocons have taken over Committee:
UK's FCO Committee Report
'Through the
Looking Glass'

by Neil Clark

''The decision not to intervene in Syria
has had very real consequences for
Syrians, their neighbours, the UK
and our allies. We believe the
Government needs to under-
stand the role the UK's
inaction has had, and
learn the lessons
from it,
for
the future.''

Between December 2015 and June 2016 there were a total of
 51 British air strikes in Syria. This year, there has been
 further bombing, including the targeting of military
bases near Damascus and Homs in April.

"We believe that the consequences of inaction can be every bit
as serious as intervening," the Foreign Affairs committee
report states.

How can we explain this extraordinary attempt to portray Britain's
 extensive and well-documented operations in Syria as 'not
intervening'? After all so much is on the public record,
 including, on the Ministry of Defence website,
details of RAF air strikes.

A look at the membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee is illuminating.
 Its chair, Tom Tugendhat, Tory MP for Tonbridge and Malling, is a hard-
core neocon and a former member of the Intelligence Corps. Peter
Oborne, the highly respected political commentator, wrote about
the 'neocon coup' that took place on the committee last year
and warned us of its consequences. But how many were
paying attention?

Other members of Tugendhat's committee include Ian Austin, the
Labour MP who likened Russia's holding of the World Cup to Nazi
Germany's hosting of the 1936 Olympic Games, and who told
Jeremy Corbyn to "sit down and shut up" when he was
criticizing the Iraq war.

Then we've Chris Bryant, a signatory to the statement of principles
of the uber neocon, Henry Jackson Society, and Priti Patel, who
stepped down from the Cabinet, in 2017, when it was revealed
she had undisclosed, unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers.

In fact, if we look at the composition of the committee and compare it
to the far more balanced one under the chairmanship of Crispin Blunt,
(which produced a critical report on the UK government's intervention
 in Libya in 2016) it's no surprise we've got the document we have.

Neocons know that after the disasters of Iraq and Libya, 'interventionist'
foreign policies have been utterly discredited. So, the only way out is to
portray Syria, however ludicrously, as an example of UK 'non-intervention',
in the hope that some people might fall for it and support 'rectifying' the
'inaction' at some point in the near future. Perhaps in response to a non-
independently verified chemical weapons attack in Idlib, later this month?

The Foreign Affairs Committee report, which makes George Orwell's 1984
 look quite understated, is perfectly timed for that.

(Source - taken from longer article
on RT, Beyond Orwellianism') :

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/438276-uk-syria-non-intervention/



_____________________________________________________________




 Corbyn as PM would overhaul BBC
 & tax tech giants - in bid to make
 mediahold power to account’
August 23rd, at 1:06pm

Britain’s Labour Party would tax tech giants and shake
up the BBC, as part of a media strategy to be
 announced by leader Jeremy Corbyn.

 It aims to build “a free and
democratic media for the
digital age”, if the party
wins power.

Corbyn is expected to outline the plan during a speech
at the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh
TV Festival on Thursday, where he will call for radical
reform of the UK media landscape, and claim
 journalists are being “held back” by media
 tycoons or, in the case of the BBC, by
excessive state influence.

“We need to set journalists and citizens free, to hold
 power to account, by breaking the grip of tech
giants and billionaires on our media,”
Corbyn
said, Wednesday night,
on Twitter.

Outlining his vision for the future of the BBC, the
Labour leader’s speech will promote complete
transparency about the diversity makeup of
the BBC’s work force, and allow for the
 election of some BBC board members
by the corporation’s staff, as well as
license fee payers. Labour would
also remove the government’s
powers of appointment.

Another measure would see Labour impose a digital
top-up to the license fee, payable by tech giants or
 internet providers in order to supplement the
existing licence fee with a view to reducing
 the cost for poorer households.

Public interest journalism would be supported by Labour,
with Corbyn expected to say that, without it, a “few tech
giants and unaccountable billionaires will control huge
swathes of our public space and debate.”

To this end, Corbyn will advocate that not-for-profit
news
organisations, like the Bureau for Investigative
 Journalism, should be given charitable status, 
while “news co-operatives” could be created
with a remit to report on local government,
 private contractors operating public
services, and regulated bodies.

“The best journalism takes on the powerful, in the
corporate world as well as government and helps
 create an informed public,” Corbyn’s text says.

“This work costs money. We value it, but
somehow,
that does not translate into
proper funding and
legal support.”

The plan has already been slammed by the ruling Tories,
with the party’s deputy chair James Cleverly saying the
measures were only going to result in more charges for
 the consumer.

“Tech companies would just put up their prices and pass
this internet tax straight onto families and businesses
 across the country — adding more pressure to
weekly bills,” he said.

Labour’s media plan comes amid an ongoing battle between
 the Labour leadership and British media outlets, including
 the BBC, which have been accused of bias in their
 coverage of stories about Corbyn.

Last week, the party filed a complaint to the Independent
Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), over reporting by
several British right-wing newspapers, many owned by
 Rupert Murdoch’s News International, over “misleading”
 coverage of a wreath-laying event Corbyn attended at a
 cemetary in Tunis, in 2014.

In March, a report by BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ program was
 accused of “extreme bias” against Corbyn. after it
produced a mocked-up image of him wearing a
Bolshevik-style hat, superimposed in front of
St. Basil’s Cathedral.

(Source - RT)


_______________________________________________



Palestinians show
solidarity
--- with
US prison strike

by Steve Sweeney
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018.

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Inmates strike across 17 states on anniversary
of Black Panther George Jackson's murder.

Palestinian prisoners sent a message of solidarity to their
US counterparts who went on strike in jails across 17
states on Tuesday, over conditions that they have
branded “modern slavery.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
released a statement in support of the US prison strikers
 “fighting exploitation, racism and capitalism from within
 the heart of imperialist prisons.”

The Palestinians, who were jailed for their participation
“in struggle for the liberation of our land and people
 from colonialism and occupation,” hailed the
prison strike as “a struggle of oppressed
 and exploited workers, first & foremost,
confronting the unmasked brutality
of
capitalism behind bars.”

The US prison strike started on August 21st, the
47th anniversary of the murder of Black Panthers
 member, George Jackson, by prison officers, in
San Quentin jail.

Organised by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a group
of prisoners providing help and training to other
inmates, the strike aims to end the conditions
of “modern slavery” in US penal institutions.

Prisoners across at least 17 US states are refusing
 to work, holding sit-ins and going on hunger strike
to highlight the “human rights abuses” behind bars,
where inmates say they are being treated like
 “animals.”

They issued a list of 10 demands, including improved
 prison conditions, an end to sentences of life with-
out parole - or “death by incarceration,” increased
budgets for rehabilitation programmes; an end to
the disenfranchisement of roughly six million
people who are not allowed to vote, and an
 immediate abolition of compulsory labour,
which the strike organisers describe, as
 a modern form of slavery.

The US incarcerates more of its population than any
other country in the world, with 2.2 million people –
 one in 110 of the population – in jail, according
 to government statistics.

Some of the worlds biggest multinational companies,
including Microsoft, American Airlines, Starbucks,
BP, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart and McDonald's
 use prison labour schemes, to boost
their profits.

Organisers warned that many of the strike leaders
are being placed in solitary confinement.

“Other inmates have been warned that if they continue
 to contact advocacy groups, they will be moved to
the
most brutal camps,” said Karen Smith, of the 
Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee.

The PFLP statement said the victory of the US prison strike
 would be a victory for Palestine, & “for all of the struggles
 against imperialism, racism and oppression, in the US
 and globally.”

(Source - Morning Star)



_______________________________________________




America’s Prisoners
Striking in 17 States
 over Prison Conditions
Sunday August 19th, at 12 midday.

FNA - Prisoners across 17 states are planning to strike
 for nearly three weeks, starting later this month, to
protest over prison conditions, according to a report.

The demonstrations are planned to take place from
August 21st to September 9th, marking the
anniversary of a bloody prison uprising
in upstate New York, in 1971,
Vox reported.

Protesters are “demanding humane living conditions,
 access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the
 end of modern day slavery”, according to the web-
site for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing
Committee (IWOC).

Protesters will refuse to report to assigned jobs,
engage in sit-ins and begin hunger strikes,
according to a press release tweeted out
 by a group supporting the strike.

“Every single field and industry is affected on some level
by prisons, from our license plates to the fast food that
we eat to the stores that we shop at. So we really
need to recognize, how we are supporting the
prison industrial complex through the dollars
that we spend,” Amani Sawari, a spokes-
person representing organizers of the
protests, told Vox.

The strike is in direct response to an April riot at Lee
 Correctional Institution in South Carolina, in which
 seven inmates died, according to organizers. The
 IWOC claims “prison officials turned their backs
 on a riot they provoked”.

The use of inmate labour has come under closer scrutiny
in recent weeks as prisoners have been used to fight
California’s most recent wildfires, often for paltry
 wages. Vox reports that inmate firefighters
make $1 per hour plus $2 per day.

The planned strikers also address labour directly,
on the strike website, demanding: “An immediate
end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in
any place of detention, under United States
 jurisdiction, must be paid the prevailing
wage in their state or territory, for
their labour”.



  

A timely call from John McDonnell
for ‘a new Anti-Nazi League’
Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

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John McDonnell’s clarion call for a new wave of
 nationwide opposition to racism and the rising
tide of far-right violence, is timely.

Mainstream media and Labour’s opponents have
embarked on a feeding frenzy, with no sign of
slackening, over anti-semitism claims,
personalised on Labour's leader,
Jeremy Corbyn.

All complaints must be examined, of course, but
it is clear that, for some, no reply by Corbyn will
ever suffice.

While he and his party bear the brunt of this campaign,
 with its twin goals of forcing Labour to accept a
definition of anti-semitism that would diminish
criticism of Israel and undermine Corbyn to
 make him susceptible to replacement, the
far right is having a field day.

Why did a group of fascist thugs feel confident of their ability
to ransack the Bookmarks bookshop round the corner from
the Trades Union Congress headquarters and to video and
upload their violent escapade?

Why has Boris Johnson returned to the gutter to make
offensive comments about Muslim women who wear
clothing they regard as appropriate to their
religious views?

Former Tory Party national co-chair Sayeeda Warsi suspects
 that Johnson believes his Islamophobia will be a vote-
winner among the Tory faithful when he bids to
replace Theresa May in due course.

While current chair Brandon Lewis has asked Johnson to
apologise for his insults, the Prime Minister’s silence has
 been deafening.

Opposition to anti-semitism, Islamophobia and all forms
of racism cannot be left to the Westminster village.

The Anti-Nazi League example that McDonnell cites
became a mass movement when the organised
 labour movement threw its weight behind the
 group, along with cultural, religious and
black and ethnic minority forces.

Working openly and honestly with different forces is the
 best way to isolate and minimise the noxious influence
 of those who wish to divide us.

(Source - Morning Star)


_______________________________________________



Labour calls for new movement
since the rise of the far right
by Ceren Sagir
Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

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Labour spoke out today for the launch of a new
nationwide movement: to resist racism and the
growth of the far right in Britain.

The move follows an increase in fascist demonstrations,
the storming of Bookmarks bookshop and Tory MP
 Boris Johnson’s Islamophobic comments.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said anti-racists
should build on the work of the Anti-Nazi League
(ANL), which was founded in the late 1970s in
 response to the growth of the National Front
 and was backed by trade unions and
leading musicians of the time,
such as The Clash.

Mr McDonnell said: “We can no longer ignore the rise
of far-right politics in our society. Maybe it’s time for
an ANL-type cultural and political campaign,
 to resist.”

He said the movement successfully combated the
far
right, through the mass mobilisation of trade
unionists
and anti-racist campaigners.

“The ANL pioneered highly influential cultural movements
 like Rock Against Racism [prompted by the racist
gestures of the likes of Eric Clapton and David
Bowie], which attracted tens of thousands of
people of all ages to anti-racist festivals
 and protests,” he said.

“We should seriously look at emulating the work of the
ANL and Rock Against Racism -- at a time when the far
right once again poses a genuine threat to our society.”

Mr McDonnell gave the example of Mr Johnson’s
inflammatory comments about Muslim women
 who wear face veils.

Mr Johnson stands accused of stoking Islamophobia
for political gain after saying this week that Muslim
women wearing burkas look like bank robbers and
that it was “absolutely ridiculous that people
should choose to go around looking
like letterboxes.”

SNP MP Stephen Gethins said the “grotesquely offensive”
comments were not an “accidental gaffe” but a
“calculated and callous insult” against
 Muslim women.

“It’s about time the Tory Party heeded the calls from former
 co-chair Sayeeda Warsi -- and challenged the open
 Islamophobia being trumpeted within their
 ranks,” he said.

Party chairman Brandon Lewis has asked Mr Johnson
to apologise for the comments.

Mr McDonnell also raised concerns about demonstrations
 over the jailing of ex-English Defence League leader
Tommy Robinson, and pointed to the attack at
Bookmarks in central London on Saturday, 
as proof of a rise of the far right.

Ukip has suspended three party members involved in the
incident, including Luke Nash-Jones, who posted a
Facebook video condemning the action, in an
attempt to shift blame onto “third parties.”

(Source - Morning Star)



______________________________________________



RMT calls on our whole movement
to mobilise against the far right
by Mick Cash
Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Last weekend a group of RMT officials and members
were attacked by fascist supporters of Tommy
Robinson, in a premeditated act of violence,
in
broad daylight, on the streets of London.

It was a brutal assault that left our senior assistant
general secretary, Steve Hedley, in hospital, while
others sustained injuries, as bottles, glasses
and chairs rained down on them.

I will repeat again, this fascist attack was launched
against a group of activists from Britain’s leading
transport union in broad daylight on the streets
of Westminster, as they were enjoying a quiet
drink in the sunshine, after taking part in a
peaceful demonstration.

As Steve rightly said this was an attack on the entire
 trade union movement, proving that the far right
have singled out the organised working class
as a prime target, as they seek to sow
division and hatred in
our communities.

As you are recharging your batteries at yet another
fantastic Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival this weekend
do not be under any illusions — the threat from the
 enemies of everything that we stand for as a trade
 union movement is growing, and we need to be
stepping up our campaigning and organising
work, to stop its poison from spreading
any further.

The threat is nothing new. From the Spanish Civil War,
Cable Street, the rise of the NF in the 1970s and the
BNP in the 1990s, it has always fallen to the trade
union movement to educate and mobilise against
 the far right -- but this modern version comes
 loaded with cash, from the so-called “Alt-
Right” in the USA and with the tools of
social media at their disposal. But the
traditional tactic of street violence
 remains at their core.

They hate us because we offer a vision of an inclusive
& equal society, where the resources are harnessed
 for the benefit of the many and not the few; and they
particularly hate my union because we demonstrate
week in & week out, that workers standing together
in a militant and progressive organisation, can win
on
the issues of jobs, wages and workplace justice.

That threatens the narrow, twisted and divisive
agenda that they seek to promote.

From the guards’ rail safety campaign, to the fight for
genuine a living wage for cleaner’s across the
transport sector and through to the ongoing
 battle for jobs and for pay justice in the
shipping industry, RMT is taking our
 message out on all fronts, and
we
are enjoying massive
public support.

Just look at the polling on public ownership of the railways
where nearly three quarters of the British people have
taken a look at the shambles of privatisation, with its
rip-off fares and unreliable services, and decided to
back the trade union campaign for nationalisation
 instead. That massive groundswell of public
 opinion has been won over through sheer
hard work and determination.

Our members at the Train Operating Companies who have
 fought for over two years for the guard guarantee and
safe and accessible railways for all, deserve the
support and solidarity they have received from
 across the trade union movement which has
 helped sustain them in a battle that is far
from over. I know that we can rely on you
to continue to stand shoulder to
shoulder with us.

But I started off with last weekend’s events in plain sight
on the streets of London, and I want to ask you to
remember, that it wasn’t just a brutal attack on
 a small group of transport workers — it was
an attack on us all.

So I’m using this column in the Morning Star this weekend
as an opportunity to send out an appeal to the entire trade
union and labour movement: to recognise the threat that
confronts us and to call for an urgent united campaign -
 engaging workplaces & communities the length and
breadth of the country - that mobilises in the same
 way that our forebears mobilised when faced
with
the same hate-filled mobs.

Let that work begin right now.

(Source - Morning Star)


__________________________________________________


Splintering the JC9 will
 only damage Corbyn
and the Labour left
Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Labour party supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have a
responsibility to vote in a disciplined way, in the
ongoing national executive committee (NEC)
election for the JC9 candidates.

Comrades may have misgivings about how the group
came about or about individuals on it, but the fact is
 that splintering that list plays into the hands of
Corbyn’s opponents.

This reality renders all the more surprising the decision
 by the Momentum national co-ordinating committee
 not to support Pete Willsman, a lifelong
campaigner for party democracy.

Aside from the consideration that transforming the JC9
 into JC8 could weaken the Corbyn-backing left on the
NEC, there is widespread and well-justified disquiet
over how this decision was taken.

Neither Welsh Labour Grassroots nor Scottish Labour’s
 Campaign for Socialism, which predate Momentum’s
establishment and provide a political home for its
supporters in these countries, was consulted.

Nor did this divisive decision win the approval
of
Corbyn himself.

Failure of democratic consultation isn’t the only
problem. Political misjudgement lies at the
 heart of this wrong decision.

Anyone listening to the brief recording of Willsman’s
contribution to the latest NEC meeting would have
detected anger and frustration in reaction to wild
claims that Corbyn’s Labour poses an existential
threat to Britain’s Jews and that there is an
inexhaustible well of evidence of serious
incidences of anti-semitism in Labour.

There was certainly no anti-semitic prejudice in what
Willsman said, yet a small group of people is
 effectively tarring him with this brush.

Momentum NCG ought to have questioned how
 Willsman’s comments came to light, and been
 guided by this awareness.

An NEC member recorded proceedings and then
 approached the anti-Labour media, which lined
 up the usual suspects to underline how shocked,
appalled, disgusted they were, & to urge Corbyn
 to accept the false anti-semitism charges, & fall
 in line with the usual demands --- to couch his
opposition to prejudice, in pro-zionist terms.

This member’s disloyalty to the NEC and the wider
 party has passed, virtually unremarked, in the
rush
to condemn a Corbyn supporter.

Similarly, Louise Ellman’s declaration that she was
“shocked” to find that Corbyn had attended the
2010 House of Commons event addressed by
Holocaust survivor Hajo Meyer, passed
unchallenged, by the mass media's
 reporters.

Didn’t they know it could have been no surprise,
 since she was in attendance for the whole
 meeting, including its disruption by
Zionist Federation hooligans.

These latest instalments in the campaign to smear
Corbyn & Labou,r as anti-semitic, have persuaded
some anti-Corbyn elements who ducked below
the
parapet, after last year’s encouraging
general
election fightback, to raise
their heads again.

Stephen Kinnock’s reference to “a full-blown crisis
for our party” mirrors BBC correspondents’
comments that the Labour anti-semitism
 controversy “shows no signs of
going away.”

Both he and they have a vested interest in making
 damn sure the fires of controversy are stoked
 continually, to ensure the party is paralysed
by crisis.

Labour is under unprecedented attack for having
elected a socialist leader, for the first time in
decades, and powerful interests are
ranged
against it.

Imagine how the entire Establishment will react
 when a general election votes to send Corbyn
to Number 10 and what would happen if flaky
elements bail out at the first broadside.

Labour can only prevail if the left is united. That means
 not throwing Willsman under a bus, or retaliating, by
reciprocating to Jon Lansman.

Every left vote in the NEC election should be cast
 for the JC9, in their entirety.

(Source - Morning Star)


__________________________________________________



Unison says Welsh Labour must
democratise leadership contest
by Peter Lazenby
Friday, July 27, 2018
 
Labour’s biggest trade union affiliate in Wales
 is demanding that the party democratise the
process of electing its Welsh leader.
 
At present, there are three blocks of voters
in leadership elections – party members,
affiliated trade union members and
elected members of legislative
bodies (the Westminster
Parliament, the Welsh
Assembly, and the
European Parliament).

Each block of votes carries the same weight.

The Labour Party in Wales has around 25,000
individual members and 76,400 affiliated
 union members.

It has 58 legislators - 29 Welsh Assembly members,
28 MPs and one MEP - whose combined voice
 counts for one-third in leadership elections.

Unison says the voice of MPs, AMs and MEPs in
a leadership election “is completely out of
proportion,” compared with party and
 trade union members.

The union wants a 50-50 split between party members
and union members, with legislators simply have
one
vote each.

Unison Cymru/Wales Labour Link chair, Dan Beard, said:

“We cannot support the disproportionate voting bloc
of elected members continuing in its present form.

“The Labour Party is the fastest-growing political party
 in western Europe, and it’s time we agreed a more
democratic method of electing our leaders.

“It’s vital unions retain a significant voice, when
electing the leader and deputy leader of
Welsh Labour.

“Unions helped establish the Labour Party at the
beginning of the last century and we have
supported it through some very
difficult times.

"Our members help to keep the Labour Party’s feet on
 the ground, and in touch with its natural supporters.

“Reforming the electoral college will mean that,
whoever becomes the new leader of Welsh
Labour, will have a firm mandate from the
members and trade unions --- to work
together, to deliver the policies
contained in the manifesto.”

(Source - Morning Star)


__________________________________________________




Wales' Corbyn supporter is  
new Welsh Labour leader
by Lamiat Sabin
Wednesday, April 25th, 2018.
 
Darren Williams, a member of Labour’s national executive
committee, who jointly founded Welsh Labour Grassroots,
said: “I can think of no-one who would make a better
Welsh Labour leader and first minister, than
Mark Drakeford.”

(Source - Morning Star)


__________________________________________________________




Defence diversification
 Scrapping Trident nuclear weapons
‘could create thousands
of engineering jobs’

A pioneering new report argues that thousands more
engineering jobs could be created, by stopping the
 renewal of the Trident missiles system.

The report, Defence Diversification: International Learning
 for Trident Jobs, was published today by the Nuclear
Education Trust. It examines various government
and Civil Service initiatives in Britain, western
Europe and the United States.

It argues that an internationally led programme to diversify
the work of Trident’s workers, would cost far less than it
would to renew the cold-war-era nuclear weapons
 system — estimated to be between £180 billion
 and £205bn over the next several decades.

The authors claim that further jobs — particularly in the
skilled engineering sector — may be created by ditching
Trident, and point to the decline in British arms industry
employment, in which 263,000 jobs have vanished
 since 1980.

CND general secretary Kate Hudson said that the report
demonstrates, from real-world examples, how the
scrapping of unpopular projects such as Trident
doesn’t have to mean the loss of high-skill
employment.

“Far from it, in fact — if there is the political will to fully
 engage with defence diversification, far more high-
skilled jobs can be created in the engineering
sector,” she said.

Shadow minister for peace & disarmament Fabian Hamilton
 commented that while it is not Labour’s policy to get rid of
Trident, “a defence diversification strategy would go hand
in hand with Labour’s plan to invest in our economy.

“We do not lack the talent, we simply lack the funding.

“There is no denying that Trident is a major employer
in
some parts of the country, so proper funding must
be
made available so those in high-skilled work stay
in
high-skilled work.

“High-skilled jobs are good for our economy and, if we
decide to transition away from Trident, defence
diversification is the only way to ensure that
the vital skills used in the development of
Britain’s nuclear weapons, are not lost.”

The study argues that workers and local communities must
be lead decision makers in diversification decisions related
to nuclear weapons, and that serious government
intervention - at every level - must be taken in
their support.



_________________________________________________
 


 BFAWU Conference ’18
Labour movement urged
 to double membership
by Marcus Barnett
Monday, June 11th, 2018

Food workers’ leader Ronnie Draper called on the labour
 movement today to strive to double union membership.

In his address to the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union
 (BFAWU) conference in Southport, the union’s general
secretary called on the movement to recruit six-and-
a-half million more members.

The last time that union membership stood at 13 million
was in 1979, before the election of Margaret Thatcher’s
Tory government.

Mr Draper slammed press attacks on unions, portraying
them as wanting to bring back the “winter of discontent”
 of 1978-9, a period of widespread industrial disputes
prompted by pay caps imposed by Jim Callaghan’s
Labour government.

He said that there was no mystery why that era was
labelled the winter of discontent — “Because we
were discontented!

“The Labour Party under Callaghan tried to play at
capitalism, and that is why the government fell.”

After lamenting Ms Thatcher’s aggression against the unions,
Mr Draper pointed to recent industrial fights to highlight that
much more could be done to build up the power of unions
and to “struggle for the 24 million workers currently
without a union.”

Tipping his hat to the McStrikers, Mr Draper also pointed to
the example of Hovis bread workers, who successfully
fought zero-hours contracts in 2013.

“When they had their dispute, they were an inspiration,
 not just to our union, but to the nation,” he said. “Their
struggle was something that captured the imagination.”

Union membership in Britain stands at about 6.2 million.
Although membership dipped in 2016, the number of
union members rose by 19,000 in 2017.

Mr Draper’s rallying cry followed publication in the Star
the previous day of research by the Institute for Public
Policy Research, revealing that a fall in trade union
 membership, has seen a massive surge in pay
inequality.

Concluding his address to the conference, the centenary
meeting of the BFAWU, Mr Draper listed the victorious
battles of the union.

From successfully lobbying the government to register
asthma as an industrial disease, to fighting for the
minimum wage, Mr Draper reminded delegates
that “these ideas of justice started their lives
 in our branches and at our conference.”

He urged delegates to take Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s
 message of hope from the conference hall, and back into
their workplaces, and to fight to rebuild the working-
class movement.

(Source - Morning Star)


stop & scrap universal credit



Unite Community rallies against
Universal Credit across Britain
by Peter Lazenby
Friday, May 25th, 2018

Union activists staged events across Britain today
 in a day of action against the government’s
Universal Credit benefit system creating
a “hostile environment.”

Unite Community members were in action in 65 towns
 and cities raising public awareness of how the
system is plunging hundreds of thousands
 of people into poverty and misery.

Unite Community is a section of the Unite union for
those people not in paid employment, including
 retired people, carers, students and jobless
workers.

Universal Credit replaces six different benefits, and
involves assessments by private companies who
notoriously can, and do, impose “sanctions” on
claimants by withdrawing payment.

In areas where Universal Credit has been imposed
amid a national rollout, foodbanks have seen a
50 per cent increase in use.

Liane Groves, Head of Unite Community said:
 “Universal Credit is creating a hostile environment
 for people who claim it and is not fit for purpose -
and should be stopped.

“Despite knowing that Universal Credit causes serious
 problems for those claiming it, the government is
 ploughing ahead regardless while claimants
 are descending further into debt, relying
on foodbanks and getting into rent
arrears and, in many cases, are
being evicted from their homes.”

Among yesterday’s actions was a protest in Old Palace
Yard outside Parliament, followed by a march on the
government’s Department for Work and Pensions
offices.

In Yorkshire and north-east England, union organiser
John Coan said: “Our welfare rights activists in the
north-east, have seen an increase in poverty, debt
and homelessness amongst the people we
support --- as a result of this calamitous
system.”

(Source - Morning Star)



_______________________________________________________




Vatican calls for more regulation
of markets, financial systems,
condemns ‘economic
cannibalism’

May 17th, at 10:52am

The Vatican called on Thursday for more regulation
 of markets and financial systems.

 A major document says economic crises showed
they were not able to govern themselves, and
needed a strong injection of morality and
ethics.

‘Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding
Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial
System,’ jointly prepared by the doctrinal office
and the department on human development,
appeared to take aim at the plans to further
de-regulate markets in some countries,
such as the US, Reuters said.

The document attacked the “economic cannibalism” of
some financial practices, saying profit for the sake of
profit and not for the greater good, was “illegitimate.”

The Vatican condemned an “amoral culture of waste”
that has created oligarchies in some countries, while
 leaving great masses of impoverished people
 “without any means of escape.”

The pronouncement is considered official teachings of
the Catholic Church and could affect the attitude of
 the church’s 1.2 billion members.

(Source - RT)



______________________________________________________




 Marx's theory still
shines with truth: Xi
May 4th, at 10:53am

Xinhua - Two centuries on, despite huge and profound
changes in human society, the name of Karl Marx is
 still respected all over the world and his theory
still shines with the brilliant light of truth,
Chinese President Xi Jinping said
on Friday.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China
(CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central
Military Commission, made the remarks at a grand
 gathering in Beijing to celebrate the 200th
 anniversary of Marx's birth.

Xi said Marx is the "teacher of revolution for the proletariat
and working people all over the world, the main founder of
 Marxism, creator of Marxist parties, a pathfinder for
international communism and the greatest
thinker
of modern times."

"Today, we hold this grand gathering with great veneration
to mark the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth, to
remember his great character and historic
deeds and to review his noble spirit and
brilliant thoughts," Xi said at the event.

''With noble ideals and no fear of difficulty or adversity,
throughout his life, Marx devoted himself to
perseveringly striving for the liberation of
humanity, scaling the peak of thought in
his pursuit of truth, and the unremitting
fight to overturn the old world and
establish a new one'', according
 to Xi.

''Marx is not only a great figure who bore the weight
of the world, but also an ordinary person with a
passion for life, who was sincere and true to
his friends'', Xi said.

''The most valuable and influential spiritual asset that
Marx left us is the scientific theory named after him
 -- Marxism. Like a spectacular sunrise, the theory
 illuminated the path of humanity's exploration of
 the law of history, and humanity's search for
 their own liberation'', Xi said.

"The thought and theory of Marx are of his times and
go beyond his times," Xi said. "They are the essence
of the spirit of that times and the essence of the
spirit of all humanity."

Xi said Marxism is a scientific theory that reveals the
rules of human society's development, in a creative
 manner.

Having developed the materialist conception of history
and surplus value theory, Marx showed how humanity
would leap from the realm of necessity, to the realm
of freedom, and also showed the road for people to
realize freedom and liberation, Xi said.

Marxism, the first ideology for the liberation of the
 people themselves, is a theory of the people.

"Marxism, for the first time, explored the path for humanity's
 freedom and liberation from the stance of the people, and
 pointed out the direction, with scientific theory, toward
an ideal society with no oppression or exploitation,
where every person would enjoy equality and
freedom," Xi said.

Stressing that practicality is a prominent characteristic of
Marxism that makes it different from other theories, Xi
 said Marxism is a theory of practices that directs
 the people to change the world.

It is an open theory that is constantly developing and
always stands at the frontier of the times, Xi said.

"That is why it is always able to keep young,
explore the new issues in the development
of the times and respond to the new
challenges for human society."

The general secretary said that over the 170 years
since publication of The Communist Manifesto,
Marxism had been spread around the world,
 unrivaled in the history of human ideology
 in terms of the breadth and depth of its
influence.

After the end of World War II, a large number of socialist
countries were established, Xi said, stressing that the
founding of the People's Republic of China, especially,
has greatly increased the socialist strength in the world.

"There might be setbacks in the development of socialism
in the world, but the overall trend for human society's
 development has never changed, and it will never
 change," Xi said.

"Marxism has not only profoundly changed the world,
but also China," Xi said.

The reverberations of the October Revolution in Russia
brought Marxism-Leninism to China, pointing out the
direction forward, offering a brand new choice for
 the Chinese people in their struggle to survive,
and setting the scene for the birth of the CPC.

Since the CPC's birth, it has combined the fundamental
principles of Marxism with the reality of the Chinese
 revolution and construction, transforming the
Chinese nation from "the sick man of East
Asia" to one who has stood up, by
uniting and leading the people
through long-term struggle.

"This tremendous transformation serves as cast iron proof
 that only through socialism, can we save China," Xi said.

Since reform and opening up, the CPC has combined the
fundamental principles of Marxism, with the reality of
China's reform and opening up, and the nation who
 stood up, has grown rich.

"This tremendous transformation serves as cast iron proof
that only through socialism with Chinese characteristics, 
can we develop China," Xi said.

In the new era, the CPC again combined the fundamental
principles of Marxism with the reality of China in this
new era, uniting and leading the people in "under-
taking the great struggle, building the great
project, advancing the great cause and
 realizing the great dream."

The Chinese nation has come to embrace a tremendous
transformation, as the one who has grown rich, now, is
becoming strong.

"This tremendous transformation serves as cast iron proof
 that only by adhering to and developing socialism with
Chinese characteristics, can we realize national
rejuvenation," Xi said.

"It is perfectly right for history and the people to choose
 Marxism, as well as for the CPC to write Marxism on its
 own flag, to adhere to the principle of combining the
 fundamental principles of Marxism, with China's
 reality, and continuously adapt Marxism to the
 Chinese context and the times."


_____________________________________




 China lifts 740 mln rural poor
out of poverty since 1978
September 3rd, at 12:57pm

Xinhua - China lifted 740 million people in rural areas
out of poverty from 1978 to 2017, roughly 19 million
each year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
 said on Monday.

The poverty ratio in rural areas dropped 94.4 percentage
points during the same time period with an average
annual decrease of 2.4 percentage points,
 according to the NBS.

NBS data shows that China's poverty relief achievements
have contributed more than 70 percent to global poverty
 alleviation work, in the past 40 years.

The average annual income of rural residents in impoverished
areas rose an average of 10.4 percent each year from 2012
to 2017, up 2.5 percentage points from the average for
rural residents.

Over the past five years, over 68 million people were lifted out
of poverty in China. The country aims to further lift 10 million
 people out of poverty this year and eradicate poverty by 2020.

China recently released guidelines on winning the battle
against poverty in the next three years, in order to
prepare the nation for eradicating poverty
by 2020.

According to the guidelines, the impoverished people
should be guaranteed food & clothing, and children
from poor families should be guaranteed a 9-year
compulsory education. Basic medical needs and
living conditions of the impoverished, should
 also be guaranteed.

People whose annual income is lower than 2,300 yuan
(337.3 U.S. dollars), are defined as living below the
 poverty line, in China.


international community thugs


'Russia is poor' remark causes
heated row
between father
of Russian capitalism

 & FM spokeswoman
January 22nd, 2019, at 9:28am

Maria Zakharova attacked controversial veteran economist,
Anatoly Chubais, over his claim that Russia is poor. She
said the man, who oversaw the country's switch to
 capitalism, should know how it happened.

Russia is “one of the most energy-wasting countries
in the
world” and electricity prices must be raised, 
to stop
this, Chubais, a key member of President
Boris
Yeltsin's team in the early 1990s, and the
current head of Rusnano, the state owned-
company, said at an economic forum,
 last week.

However, he specified that "Russia is a poor country. A
significant part of the population lives poorly or very
poorly, so raising prices right off the bat, would
 be wrong."

It was a strong statement from the man regarded as the
 father of modern capitalism in Russia - as he came up
with a swift, but painful switch to a market economy, 
after the fall of the USSR. The problems currently
encountered by the country, are seen by many,
 as the consequences of the mistakes made
 by Chubais, back then.

Zakharova, whose job is to defend Russia from
attacks
coming from aboard, was so outraged
by the
statement, that she decided to
comment
on an internal issue... 
and she
didn't mince words.

“Russia is a rich country,” she proclaimed, in a Facebook
 post before asking Chubais a very inconvenient question:

''As for why 'a significant part of the population lives poorly
or very poorly,' I would like to hear a detailed answer from
someone, who, for decades, has been a member of the
government, and a top manager in key areas of the
domestic economy and industry.'' 

But, after serving as Deputy Prime Minister on two
occasions,
under Yeltsin, heading the Unified
Energy System of Russia,
and occupying
a host of other important positions,
Chubais
is no stranger... to
inconvenient questions.

The red-headed political veteran issued a wordy
 response to Zakharova's jab, on his Facebook
account.

“I got a chance to work in four or five governments…  and in
none of them it was acceptable to offend or call to account, 
their predecessors. It was also not acceptable to sink to
the level of populist rhetoric and replace a serious
discussion with childish arguments,” he wrote.

The 63-year-old then defended his policies as part of the
 cabinet, reminding his opponent that “when she started
 her career, the economy was growing in the country,
 the ruble was convertible, the inflation sharply
decreased and the food deficit was
eradicated completely.”

But Zakharova used the argument as a perfect platform
for a counterattack, as she informed Chubais that she
started working in 1998, when Russia was hit by the
 harshest economic crisis, and the ruble defaulted.

“I'm shaking when I recall your so-called 'economic
achievements,'" the spokeswoman wrote, adding
 that she still wanted her principal question
answered.

At that point, Chubais apparently realized that it was
an argument he was unlikely to win. In a short post,
t
he man specified that he wasn't talking about 1998,
 but about 2003, when, according to his data,
Zakharova began working for the
 government.

“When it comes to falsifying facts – you're the best in
 your generation. Therefore, I give up in advance,”
 he wrote, thus leaving the question which
started the discussion, without
a response.

The internet almost unanimously backed Zakharova
 during the argument, with one commentator
expressing regret - that Chubais was
questioned by the representative
 of the Foreign Ministry, but not
the Ministry of the Interior.

The people recalled the horror they felt during the 1998
 crisis when all of their saving disappeared in an instant
 and wondered where the money from the privatization
of government property, which was spearheaded by
the controversial economist in the early 1990s,
 had gone.

Chubais's work in the government and in charge of the
 national electric power holding company, has not only
 made him one of the most despised politicians in the
country, but a hero of folklore jokes as well.

One popular joke was that “Chubais has switched off
the light at the end of the tunnel for non-payment”,
while another quotes him as saying “Russia must
 be a strong country, I'll teach it not to be afraid
of the dark.”

 Of course, these jokes are just a few of
 the G-rated ones.

(Source - RT)


______________________________________________





Almost half of Russians
 see USSR collapse as
 shameful – poll
January 17th, at 12:11pm

The collapse of the Soviet Union is considered a reason
 to be ashamed, by 45 percent of Russians, according
to
a recent opinion poll. The only option that scored
higher, is Russia’s failure to eradicate poverty.

The poll, conducted in late 2018, by the Levada Center
is
its latest study of what Russians are proud and
 ashamed of, about their nation. The demise of
the USSR, saw a rebound in popularity from
a
low point of 28 percent in mid-2015, and
is
at a level comparable with the late
1990s
and early 2000s.

The only more popular answer is Russia’s failure to
eradicate poverty, which was named as a reason
 to be ashamed, by 61 percent of the people
 polled. This answer has topped
Levada’s
polls, for decades.

Russians are also ashamed of fellow countrymen
 treating each other disrespectfully (37 percent),
Russia’s failure to catch up economically with
the Western powers (24 percent), the out-
come of Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms
 (24 percent), and Joseph Stalin’s
 reign of terror (21 percent).

On the opposite side of Russians’ national identity
 are the qualities and events, people are proud of.

Defeating Nazi Germany in World War II remains the
 one thing Russians are overwhelmingly proud of
 (87 percent).

There is also the role that the country played in
space exploration – about half are proud to
belong to a space pioneering nation.

The third most popular option is accepting Crimea
(the breakaway former Ukrainian region) as part
of Russia again, which is seen as a point of
 national pride, by 45 percent.

Many people are also proud of Russian literature,
 science, and martial prowess, Soviet-era
industrialization and the best qualities
of the Russian character, like
resolve and patience.

A record 75 percent said Russia is definitely, or most
 likely, a great nation today, while 88 percent believe
that it should be one.

There was no apparent
correlation between wishing
greatness for
Russia and regretting the USSR’s
collapse,
the agency noted, suggesting that
Russians expect a great nation to - first
and foremost - provide
social
justice, and protection.

Sixty-two percent said the Russians are a great people.

Levada remarked that about 80 percent of the people
polled, identified themselves as Russians.

When asked what makes them feel connected to their
 people, most respondents named national history
(53 percent), Russia’s land (35 percent), their
place of birth (33 percent), and the nature
 that they call their own (25 percent).

The formal national symbols, including the flag,
the coat
of arms, and the national anthem,
was the least popular
option (5 percent).

Interestingly, religion is a relatively small factor
in Russian national identity (9 percent).

(Source - RT)


____________________________________________





More than half of Russians
 want government to resign
 over growing prices – poll
January 14th, at 1:56pm

Over 50 percent of Russians are disappointed in the
 government of Dmitry Medvedev, which, they
believe, is unable to curb growing prices
and provide jobs for people, a new poll
 has revealed.

Some 23 percent said they were absolutely sure that
the government must resign, with another 30%
telling Levada-Center that they were also
 eaning toward this opinion.

This means that a total of 53 percent would like the country
 to have a new cabinet. Trust in the government has
crumbled since September, when only 23 percent
advocated its resignation.

Meanwhile, the proportion of people who believed the
 government should stay in charge, was 40 percent,
with 14 percent expressing full confidence in the
cabinet, and 26 percent saying that resignation
wouldn’t be the best idea.

The 1,600 people who took part in the research were
given a chance to provide multiple answers
regarding perceived shortcomings in
the
performance of ministers.

A total of 57 percent were unhappy about growing prices
 and decreasing household incomes, while 46 percent
accused the cabinet of failing to create jobs.

The government was criticized for not caring about social
 protection (43 percent), its inability to deal with the
 economic crisis (36 percent), acting solely in its
 own interests (32 percent), lacking a program
 for economic development (28 percent), and
 only caring about corporations (28 percent).

The results of the poll “don’t indicate a political crisis, but
speak about the need for the government to change its
priorities,” Dmitry Zhuravlev, head of the Institute of
Regional Problems, told RIA Novosti.

The cabinet got “carried away solving macroeconomic tasks,
filling the budget, in the hope that it’ll automatically lead to
 an increase of living standards,” he said. “This is going to
 work in the future, but people have to live now and it’s
only fair that they want to see improvements in the
present day.”

Zhuravlev pointed out that the public support of 40 percent
 was a number that “many governments could only dream
of,” but urged the Russian cabinet to pay more attention
 to the lives of ordinary people and better explain its
decisions to citizens.

The poll was held in mid-December, shortly after
Russian
state statistics agency, Rosstat,
announced that
consumer prices had
increased 3.5%
in 2018, exceeding
the government’s
forecast.

The experts warned, that
costs would continue
to rise in 2019,
due to growing fuel prices and
the
decision to increase the goods
 and services tax, by 2%.

Complaints regarding a perceived lack of jobs,
appear to
be misdirected. The Economy
Ministry announced in
November, that
the unemployment rate in Russia,
had reached a historic low of
just 4.7 percent.

(Source - RT)


__________________________________________________






Back to USSR: Record number
of Russians regret collapse
 of Soviet Union
December 19th, at 4:14pm

The number of Russians who want to go back to the USSR
 reached 66 percent in 2018, setting a 15-year record,
 a fresh poll revealed.

It’s an 8 percent increase compared to last year when 58%
 of those surveyed said “yes” to the question, if they
regretted the fall of the Soviet Union, the Levada-
Centre poll said.

The numbers have never exceeded 65 percent since 2004,
while the absolute record was set in 2000, when 75%
gave
an affirmative response. Levada-Centre
started asking
the population this question
in 1992, a year after the
USSR fell apart.

The majority of those nostalgic for the Soviet Union were
people older than 55. However, in recent years, such
moods have also been growing among those aged
between 18 and 24 years, the pollster said.

60 percent of the respondents also expressed the belief
 that the collapse of the USSR could’ve been prevented.

The people mainly miss the Soviet Union because of
the destruction of the joint economic system of its
 15 republics (52 percent); the loss of a sense of
belonging to a great power (36 percent) and
the
growth of mutual distrust and enmity
among
former countrymen (31 percent).

The increase in the number of those missing the USSR
was triggered by this year’s pension reform, which
increased the retirement age by five years, Karina
 Pipiya, a Levada-CentRE researcher, said.

“The people usually explain their nostalgia for the Soviet
Union, with - mainly irrational - perceptions about the
strong economy and prosperity during that period,
 completely forgetting about the lack of essential
 goods and the food stamp system,” she said.

“A romantic attitude towards everything Soviet and a lack
 of historic knowledge” among the younger generations
 may lead to dangerous consequences, including a
“rehabilitation of Stalin’s Purge, rewriting history
and complete devaluations of the democratic
 reforms [in Russia],” Pipiya warned.

1,600 people from 136 towns and villages in Russia took
 part in the survey, which was carried out by Levada-
Centre, between November the 22nd and 28th.

(Source - RT)


___________________________________________________





Audit Chamber chief says
 ‘shameful to have such poverty’
under current per capita GDP
October 8th, at 11:21pm

TASS - Russia’s current level of poverty is "shameful"
given the nation’s current per capita GDP, Chairman
 of the Russian Accounts Chamber, Alexey Kudrin,
 said on Monday.

"I would applaud this rather bold plan to reduce poverty
 that has been put into place in the forecast. This goal
and these objectives for the budget, do exist, and I
think this is very positive. I have said before, that
 it is shameful to have such poverty, as we do in
 our country, at our level of per capita GDP,"
 he stated.


______________________________________________



Duma unanimously passes
Putin’s amendments to
pension reform bill
September 26th, at 12:20pm

The Russian parliament has approved amendments
 by Vladimir Putin to the bill providing for a gradual
 rise in the age of retirement. The changes are
expected to soften the impact of the
 unpopular measure, for
ordinary citizens.

The nine amendments drafted by President Putin reduce
 the proposed increase in the retirement age for women,
guarantee that pensioners keep all current tax benefits
until the reform is fully completed, and offer additional
payments to several categories of citizens, such as
pensioners living in remote rural areas and
representatives of indigenous peoples
in northern Russia.

The amended bill will see the retirement age for men
raised from 60 to 65 years by 2028. The increase for
women will be from 55 to 60 years by 2034.

Putin’s initiative also includes the introduction of a pre-
retirement age, which will be five years before the
retirement age. Citizens who reach this age would
 get higher unemployment benefits and enjoy
additional guarantees of employment, as
companies will be punished for sacking
 or not hiring them without valid reasons.

 On Tuesday, the State Duma approved changes
to the Criminal Code providing for these penalties.

Along with the presidential amendments, the lower house
 also passed several alterations to the pension reform bill, 
drafted by the parliamentary majority party United Russia.

These were mostly technical and concerned such issues
as indexing of pensions for inflation, and the interaction
between the state and private pension funds.

The State Duma approved the bill ordering an increase in
 the age of retirement in mid-June this year. The bill has
 been greeted with public discontent, as expected, and
opposition politicians have been fast to capitalize on
these sentiments. The motion was criticized in the
media and on the internet, while large Russian
 cities saw several protest rallies, some
attended by thousands of participants,
mostly organized by Russia’s largest
opposition party – the Communists.

Vladimir Putin personally addressed the situation, in a
special televised address to the nation on August 29th.

 He asked ordinary people to understand the
necessity of the reform and also promised
to make some changes to the proposals
 that would soften the impact on the
 most vulnerable groups of citizens.

As State Duma MPs were discussing the presidential
amendments on Wednesday, another protest rally
took place near the parliament’s headquarters
 in Moscow. The event, organized by leftist
opposition parties, started as a series of
single-person pickets (the only protest
format that does not require a license
from the municipal authorities), but
quickly
turned into an impromptu
demonstration, with the
estimated number of
participants, ranging
 from 30 to 500.

Two Communist Party MPs have also expressed their
 opposition to the measures, by wearing t-shirts
depicting the numbers 63 and 65 crossed out.

 However, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, 
mocked them, saying that a lawmaker’s salary was
much higher than those of ordinary voters and, in
 his opinion, his colleagues could afford a jacket
 and a tie.

Also on Wednesday the State Duma passed the bill
providing for an increase in the retirement age in
the second reading. The third and final reading
of the motion, is scheduled for Thursday.

(Source - RT)


_______________________________________________




Blip or trend?
Regional elections

 suddenly become less
p
redictable in Russia
by Bryan MacDonald
 25th of September, at 7:35pm

Russia's Far East has given the Kremlin a bloody nose
over the past two weekends. It's a reminder to Moscow
 that the regions can't be taken for granted and blow-
back can be expected over the unpopular
pension reforms.

In the end, it was a landslide. Nationalist opposition candidate
Sergei Furgal of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)
 defeated President Putin's man Vyacheslav Shport by a
 margin of almost 70 percent to just under 28 percent
in the race to become governor of Khabarovsk.

Meanwhile, contests in Vladimir, Khakassia
and Primorye also delivered setbacks to
 the ruling party, United Russia.

But don't get too excited – or worried – just yet, depending
on your political preferences. These were regional elections,
fought mainly on local issues, involving personalities barely
known in Moscow but well-known in their own backyards.
Small town heroes, or villains, as it were.

That said, it's no surprise that United Russia's present troubles
 have kicked off in the Far East. A vast territory populated by
the descendants of dreamers, patriots and forced exiles.
And one of the greatest, and unheralded, ethnic
melting pots in the world. There, a person can
 be part-Ukrainian, Jewish, Korean, Polish,
Buryatian or Tatar (or even all of them at
 once, among others) and still feel as
Russian as any Ivan Ivanov on the
 European frontier.

Pioneer passions

Far Easteners see themselves as a special breed. Nobody's
forefathers came for the weather (winters often make St.
Petersburg look like the tropics, by comparison) or the
tigers or the tundra. Instead, they migrated for
adventure and the promise of a better life.
And there was also a patriotic warm glow
from the feeling they were securing the
 resource-laden lands for Russia.

And they were the lucky ones who had a choice. Others
were forceably exiled by the Tsarist or Soviet regimes.

The district's capital, Khabarovsk, is a city of around
600,000 where Moscow is frequently seen as more
of a hindrance than a help. That's partly down to
distance (8,400km by car, eight hours on a plane,
 or six days on a train) but it's also a reaction to
observing increasingly well-heeled Asian
neighbours. Although this part of Russia
is itself prosperous, boasting the
highest wages in the country.

Because the world looks very different from Khabarovsk and
 Vladivostok. While Moscow and St. Petersburg gaze out
upon the rest of Europe and feel reasonably content,
the Far East is surrounded by some of the most
 dynamic economies in the world. And it's hard
not to feel jealous.

On the other side of the Amur river lies China, Japan is
 across the sea, and South Korea is "down the road."
But the Kremlin is far away. And it's common to meet
people in the Far East who have never been west of
the Urals but know their way around the backstreets
 of Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai or Bangkok.

I know because I lived in Khabarovsk for two and a half years.
And my overwhelming takeaway was that Far Easterners both
 loathe and love Moscow simultaneously. Yet, while they enjoy
flipping the bird in its direction occasionally, they also under-
stand there's no alternative to being an integral part of the
Russian Federation. But this still doesn't mean they are
going to conform or play by the rules.

Auto resistance

Such as driving cars with the steering wheel on the correct side,
for example. When I first arrived in Khabarovsk, it was noticeable
 that the airport carpark exit terminal was on the "British side."

 Or Japanese side, as they would perceive it. Local legend
states how, when Moscow dignitaries come to town, the
payment points are shifted to the other side, temporarily,
and then switched back as soon as the visitors are
wheels-up.

The Kremlin has spent years telling Far Easterners to buy
Russian cars, rather than imports from Japan, but few
have heeded the instructions. "The steering wheel is
on the right, the heart is on the left. Where are the
 passport and the rights?" goes a well-known
 poem by the Vladivostok writer,
Ivan Shepeta.

Nationwide, there is no doubt that one federal issue has
emboldened rivals of United Russia: a planned five-year
increase in the age of pension eligibility. This move is
deeply unpopular, even if the IMF believes it to be
absolutely vital.

And it's not just about the money either; many Russians
 have an a-la-carte attitude to the Soviet legacy. While
 they don't lament the totalitarian state, or the lack of
choice provided by communism, they do miss the
"cradle-to-the-grave" social welfare system they
once enjoyed. And this reform, no matter how
fiscally necessary, is perceived as a further
erosion of the state's duty of care.

While most regions are annoyed by the proposals, they don't
have the litany of other grievances the Far East harbours.
Thus, the pension proposals served as the straw which
broke the camel's back there. And, in turn, inspired
similar protest votes elsewhere.

Fresh vision

The sensational Khabarovsk result came a few days after
the previous weekend's contest in adjacent Primorye Krai
was rendered null and void amid blatant irregularities. As
 a result, the outgoing Governor Andrei Tarasenko hasn't
been returned and his Communist challenger Andrei
Ishchenko is widely expected to win the rearranged
election in a few months' time. If so, that would
leave the two largest Far Eastern provinces
outside United Russia's control.

Elsewhere, the ruling party lost another pair of states at the
weekend. In Vladimir (nr Moscow), the incumbent Governor
Svetlana Orlova was trashed 57 percent-37 percent by
Furgal's LDPR colleague Vladimir Sipyagin.

In Khakassia, Viktor Zimin, who had headed the province for
 a decade, suddenly withdrew from the race two days before
polling, resulting in the run-off being rescheduled for Oct.
6th. Domestic media suggest United Russia ordered him to
 stand aside because party chiefs knew he'd be defeated
by Communist challenger, Andrei Filyagin.

After years of predictability, this month marks the moment
when Russian gubernatorial elections ceased to be sterile.
Whether it's a blip for United Russia, or the start of a long-
term trend, will depend on the state of the economy and
the Kremlin's response to the discontent. But one thing
 is certain: more of the same won't suffice. Especially
 in the restless Far East.


______________________________________________________



Candidates trade rigging accusations
 as polls in Russia’s Far East
 almost end in a draw
September 17th, at 10:09am

Election officials in Primorsky Krai Region, are checking
 complaints by candidates of violations in the run-off
gubernatorial polls, after a preliminary count gave
victory to the incumbent governor, by an
extremely narrow margin.

Preliminary results show that the Communist candidate,
Andrey Ishchenko, lost to the incumbent governor
Andrey Tarasenko, by only around half a point –
49.55 percent against 48.06 percent.

This tentative result was unexpected, as Tasarenko
garnered almost twice as many votes as Ishchenko
in the first round of elections. It was even more
striking, as the Communist challenger
 appeared to be leading the run-off
race throughout the day, and only
started to lose the advantage, in
the closing phases.

The secretary of the regional elections commission told
reporters, that the final result of the run-off elections
would be announced before September 22nd. The
head of the federal Central Elections Commission,
Ella Pamfilova, told RIA Novosti that she was not
excluding the possibility, that the results of
Sunday’s polls could be canceled in some
districts or even in the region as a whole,
if complaints of violations, prove to
 be true.

Complaints of rigging and manipulation were made by
both sides. Ishchenko accused his opponent of
rewriting voting protocols in four major cities
in the region: Vladivostok, Nakhodka,
Ussuriysk and Artyom.

A representative of Tarasenko’s election HQ
retaliated with similar accusations, telling
reporters, that monitors had, reportedly, 
registered violations in favour of the
Communist candidate, in Vladivostok
& Ussuriysk. The violations allegedly
 included attempts to bribe voters
 and obstruct the ballot count.

Ishchenko went on hunger strike on Monday,
in protest against the alleged voter fraud.

The Local Public Chamber said that the rigging
accusations came a surprise to them, as they
had registered no such violations, in the
run-off polls.

An exit poll conducted by the Expert Group think tank
also indicated victory for Tarasenko, by a margin of
53 percent to 47 percent.

In the first round of elections, held on September 9th,
incumbent governor, Andrey Tarasenko, got almost
double the number of votes accrued by the
Communist contender – 46.57 percent to
24.64 percent. However, as none of the
candidates got over 50% of the vote,
the run-off election, was announced.

In the latest regional parliamentary elections, the United
Russia Party took a clear lead, by beating its closest
competitors, the Communists, by almost 20% in the
party ticket voting. United Russia's lead in the
single-mandate constituencies, was even
more impressive, as its candidates won
in 14 districts, while the Communists
gained majority support, in just 3.

(Source - RT)



___________________________________________





Why did Yeltsin
lie to Clinton
about Putin?
by Dmitry Sudakov
August 31st, at 7:17pm

Boris Yeltsin lied when he said that he had been looking
 for a successor in the person of Vladimir Putin for a
 long time, historian Andrei Fursov, told Pravda.Ru.

Declassified transcripts of Bill Clinton's phone conversations
 with Boris Yeltsin, in 1999, show that the late Russian
president says, that it took him a long time, to find
the man
who would be in charge of Russia in 2000.

"I came across him eventually, this is Putin. You will
work
with him," Yeltsin told Clinton, promising that
Putin
would continue his line of Russia's
democratic
development, and expand
Russia's contacts.


Historian and political scientist Andrei Fursov
noted, in an interview with Pravda.Ru, that
Boris Yeltsin was reporting his decisions
and ideas, to Bill Clinton.

"He informed his boss about his choice. It brings up the
 memory of Yeltsin's call to George H. Bush, after the
decision to disintegrate the Soviet Union. Bush was
 the first man whom Yeltsin called. Gorbachev was
hurt by that. In another episode, Yeltsin tried to
assure US Congress, that communism would
never be back on the Russian territory. This
transcript is another evidence to prove the
 fact that Russia used to be a semi-colony
during Yeltsin's presidency,"
the expert said.

"I think that Yeltsin lied, when he said that he had been
 searching for a successor for a long time. From what I
know about the events of the late 1990s, Yeltsin did
not intend to quit his job, but there were several
aspects that forced his US masters to put
pressure on him. First, there was a
conspiracy in Russia's army led by
Rokhlin, to remove Yeltsin from
 power. Rokhlin's murder ruined
 the plan, and people in Yeltsin's
 team realised, that there was
serious discontent brewing
in the army.

"Secondly, not long before that, the parliament had nearly
impeached Yeltsin. In addition, Russia suffered a default,
 in 1998. Those three events drew the line under Yeltsin's
rule, and he had to quickly search for a successor.

 ''Apparently he counted on Stepashin at first,
but then, it turned out that the latter was
ready to compromise with the Primakov
-Luzhkov team,
so the need for another
candidate, arose.


"Today, the Russian leadership should give a moral
assessment of Yeltsin's rule. In today's Russia,
many tend to despise Gorbachev a lot, but
they dislike Yeltsin, to a lesser degree.

''Yeltsin was a product of Gorbachev's rule.
Yeltsin was working within the corridor
of opportunities, set by Gorbachev.

''Gorbachev is still alive, and the man who destroyed
the USSR, should be held accountable for that. At
the same time, I understand that Putin does not
want to criticise Yeltsin, because it was
Yeltsin who made Putin his successor,"
the expert told Pravda.Ru.

(Source - Pravdaa.Ru.)


_________________________________________________


Putin's defeat on pensions
shows the power of
mass protest

Thursday, August 30th, 2018.

President Vladimir Putin’s decision to give ground
 on his government’s plan, to increase the age at
which Russians can access their state pension,
confirms the value of mass protest.

The Russian leader has previously stood aside from
Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev’s unpopular
so-
called “reform” to increase, in annual
instalments, women’s retirement age
from 55 to 63 and men’s from 60 to
65, waiting to assess the fallout.

But no-one can believe that close ally Medvedev would
have floated this scheme, without checking first with
the president or, for that matter, announcing it on
the eve of the World Cup football finals taking
place in cities across Russia.

If the government had hoped to slip this mimicry of
European Union anti-working class state policies
in below the radar, it failed, because of the scale
of public dissent, largely organised by the
Communist Party (CPRF).

Even now, Putin’s determination to stick with the 65 target
 for men, while cutting the increase for women to 60, may
 not prove enough to spike discontent.

While other political forces, including the Left Front and the
 unnamed bloc, known simply as supporters of Alexei
Navalny, have organised protests, the CPRF was
first out of the blocks, demanding a nationwide
 referendum and setting in train a petition that
 gained millions of signatures, together with
protest rallies in over 150 towns and cities.

While the Communists have provided the only consistent
opposition to Putin and his sponsor, Boris Yeltsin, since
 the restoration of capitalism in 1991, the mainstream
media in Britain & elsewhere, designate Navalny as
 “opposition leader,” despite him having no party
organisation, or parliamentary representation.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov’s reference to
 opinion polls showing that the governing parties’ support
 had plummeted 12 per cent in a few weeks, while the
CPRF gained 5 per cent, illustrated the scale of
public anger.

On the rare occasions Britain’s media refers to the CPRF,
it is usually to slander it, falsely, as being in the Kremlin’s
pocket or to deride it as composed of an older generation
nostalgic for Soviet times.

Those old enough to remember that era, before perestroika,
 may well look back fondly to the days when a state pension
was sufficient, to ensure a comfortable
retirement.

But younger Russians have mobilised too, recognising that
poverty awaits them, also, after retirement, unless
they organise.

President Putin’s plea for understanding and his warning
that Russia's pension system could “crack & eventually
collapse” echoes UK government apologists for the
decades-long attacks on the UK pensions’ value,
and the age at which they are paid, in Britain.

There is no iron law of economics that
 makes these policies inevitable.

They are deliberate choices based on neoliberal politics
prioritising state expenditure reductions and the
encouragement of personal provision, even if
the possibility of this, is curtailed, by state
policies' holding down salaries.

The plight of Women Against State Pension Inequality
(WASPI)
- around half of million of whom,will lose out
on their
entitlements, because of earlier bipartisan
parliamentary backing for two separate
increases
in the pensions payment age
— is one of the
great injustices of
our age.

Trade unionists often state, correctly, that pensions are
simply deferred wages, which encapsulates the reality
that these workers’ incomes, are being stolen.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, recognises the scale of
this crime against women deprived of their pension
rights, simply because of when they were born.

Righteous resistance has caused the Russian president
to take an uncharacteristic step backwards. We can
and must, force a similar retreat in Britain.

(Source - Morning Star)


___________________________________________



Russian ruble declines in value
--- because Russia has no
economic sovereignty
August 3rd, 2018, at 5:51pm

Russia should end the sanctions war with the United States
 by creating its own national monetary system, Valentin
Katasonov, an economist, told Pravda.Ru.

This week, a group of US senators submitted a bill on the
introduction of yet another package of sanctions against
 Russia. They include, inter alia, a ban on the purchase of
Russian debt securities (federal loan bonds, OFZ bonds)
by US companies. These securities appear as one of the
 main lending tools for the economy under the conditions
of restricted access to the banking sector.

Given the intention of US Congress to put more and more
 pressure on Russia for interfering in US elections, one
 shall assume that President Trump will sign it. If the
 new sanctions affect Russian federal bonds, the
ruble may decline in value by 5-15 percent.

Professor of the Department of International Finance at MGIMO,
Doctor of Economics, Valentin Katasonov, wonders why Russia
remains so vulnerable to decisions made across the Atlantic.

"Russia is the wealthiest country in the world, but
we depend so much on what American politicians
 say, and do. The ruble declines in value, because
 Russia has no economic sovereignty. In fact, we
 must have our own national monetary system,
we have an opportunity to create our own
money and borrow this money on the
domestic market.

A law regulating the activity of the Russian Central Bank
 says that the Central Bank does not have 'the right' to
grant loans to the Russian Federation's government.

Thus, Russia can borrow only from foreign central banks,
 from foreign ministries, from foreign investors. This is
absolutely idiotic! Are we going to establish law and
order in our own home, or are we going to adjust to
new rules that come from across the ocean?

We have been destroying Russia for 25 years, we
do not produce anything - we sell everything."

(Source Pravda.Ru)


__________________________________________________



 Russia will light up
Africa -
Putin

July 27th, 2018, at 10:48am

The African continent is in huge need of energy investments,
 and Russia could become one of its key partners, according
 to President Vladimir Putin, speaking at the BRICS summit
in Johannesburg.

"I would especially like to note that Russia is planning to
step up its assistance in development of national energy
 in African states," said the Russian president during the
BRICS-Africa Outreach panel, on Friday.

The leaders of governments of BRICS member states
(Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) were
holding a panel dedicated to economic cooperation
 between the bloc and African countries. The
rationale behind the BRICS Plus concept is
to create a platform for greater interaction
 and partnerships amongst countries, to
win more power for the emerging
economies, globally.

According to Putin, Russia is now in talks with Angola,
Mozambique and Gabon, on implementing promising
oil and gas projects. "In the field of nuclear energy,
where Russia is the technological leader, we offer
African partners to build an industry from
scratch,”
the Russian president said.

These projects are crucial for Africa --- since about 600
million people on the continent live without electricity.

Energy is not the only sphere where Russia and Africa
 could cooperate, according to Putin.

"Russian business shows an interest in working
with
African partners in a wide range of areas:-
including agriculture, healthcare, and the
development of mass communications,
geology, and subsoil use," Putin said.

As examples, Putin mentioned Angola, where
Russia’s Alrosa, is interested in mining
diamonds; the joint venture between
Russia and Burundi, on production
of lighting products for exports
to East Africa; and agriculture
projects in Senegal.

(Source - RT)



_____________________________________________




Russian miners waging hunger strike
receive back wages amounting to
$238,000
July 27th, 2018, at 9:23am

TASS - Miners working at the Darasun gold mine in Russia’s
 Trans-Baikal Region, who suspended their work and went
on hunger strike due to unpaid wages, received over
15 mln
rubles (about $238,000), and the protest
action has been
suspended, the Russian
Federal Labour and Employment

Agency’s press service, reports.

"According to current information, the miners from
the Darasun goldmine have received their wages
for May, so the protest has been suspended.
The total amount paid is over 15 mln rubles.
We expect that the remaining debt will be
paid in the near future," the agency
 stated.

It was reported earlier on Friday that the miners had started
 to receive money, and decided to suspend their hunger
strike. However, the miners are still refusing to work,
protestor Andrey Mikheichev told TASS.

"On Thursday evening, we started to receive the May wages,
but not everyone has got it yet. Nevertheless, we decided
to suspend the hunger strike starting 9:00 local time (3:00
Moscow time). However, if the debt is not paid in full, by
Monday, the hunger strike will begin again. And our
strike is still ongoing," Mikheichev said.

The gold mine’s director Evgeniy Rogalev told TASS
that the enterprise had received 16.6 mln rubles
(about $264,000) in wages for May. "At the start
 of next week, we will resolve the issue of June
 wages, then the workers will receive holiday
allowances & advances for July," he added.

According to regional prosecutors, the Darasun Mine
 Company owes 32 mln rubles ($508,600) to the
miners. A criminal case has been launched
against the company under Article 5.27
 of the Russian Administrative Code
(repeated failure of timely
payment
of wages).

The press service of Russia’s Federal Labour and
Employment Agency said on Wednesday that the
 agency’s regional branch was conducting a probe
 into possible violations of the payment of wages
law. The regional branch of the Russian
Investigative Committee, has also
initiated a probe.


____________________________________________________




PUTIN MAKING MOVE FROM
 NEOLIBERAL ECONOMY
- AT LAST!


“On July 25 he mandated that an economic group
 called the Stolypin Club prepare their proposals
 to spur growth revival --- to be presented to the
 government by the Fourth Quarter of this year…

“A broad indication of the kind of proposals the
 Stolypin group will propose to revive substantial
 economic growth in Russia and deal with major
 basic infrastructure deficits that greatly hinder
 productive enterprise...  came in a series of
proposals Glazyev made in September 2015
 to the Russian Security Council, a key
advisory body to the President.

“There, Glazyev proposed a five-year ‘road map’
 to Russia’s economic sovereignty & long-term
 growth. It was aimed toward building up the
 country’s immunity to external shocks and
foreign influence, & ultimately, to bringing
 Russia out of the periphery and into the
core
of the global economic system.

“Goals included raising industrial output by 30-35
 percent over a 5 year period, creating a socially-
oriented ‘knowledge economy’ via the transfer of
substantial economic resources to education,
health care and the social sphere, the creation
 of instruments aimed at increasing savings as a
 percent of GDP, and other initiatives, including
 a transition to a sovereign monetary policy.”

http://journal-neo.org/2016/08/02/putin-nyet-
to-neo-liberals-da-to-national-development/


___________________________________________



Number of Russians who

 regret collapse of USSR
hits 10-year high
December 26th, 2017, at 7:20am

The number of Russians who regret the collapse of the
 Soviet Union has reached its highest level since 2009,
with almost an equal share saying the event could
have been avoided.

A public opinion poll conducted by the independent Levada
Center in late November this year found that 58 percent of
Russians now regret the collapse of the USSR. Twenty-five
 percent said they felt no regret about this, and 16 percent
 could not describe their feelings in one word.

When researchers asked those who regret the end of the USSR
 what the primary reasons were behind their sentiments, 54
percent said that they missed a single economic system,
36 percent said they had lost the feeling of belonging
 to a real superpower, 34 percent complained about
the drop in mutual trust among ordinary people,
and 26 percent said that the collapse had
destroyed
the ties between friends
and relatives.


The same research showed that 52 percent of Russians think
 that the collapse of the USSR could have been avoided, 29
percent said that the event was absolutely inevitable, and
19 percent did not have a fixed opinion on the matter.

The share of those who regret the demise of the Soviet Union
has risen continuously over the past decade, but in 2009 it
was even higher than today – at 60 percent. The all-time
 high – 75 percent – was recorded in 2000.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly addressed the issue of
the collapse of the USSR in his speeches. In an address to the
Russian parliament in 2005 he called the event the greatest
geopolitical disaster of the 20th century and a cause of
 major disruption for the Russian people. In September
2016, Putin said the Communist Party should have
 transformed the Soviet Union into a democratic
state,
rather than see it break into
separate nations.


At the same time, Putin has always emphasized that he and
other Russian officials have no plans to revive the USSR,
and has expressed anger that people cannot accept this.
He's also accused Western governments of deliberately
confusing modern Russia with the USSR and harming
the interests of ordinary people, on the pretense of
preventing an imaginary threat.

(Source - RT)


___________________________________________________



Historian: Russia's October Revolution
 Was Inevitable, Relatively Bloodless
November 10th, at 4:33pm
by Ekaterina Blinova

The October Uprising of 1917 became the logical conclusion
of the February Revolution, Michael J. Carley, a professor of
history at the Universite de Montreal has told Sputnik.
According to the academic, the Russian Revolution
 was inevitable and occurred because evolutionary
 processes of change to benefit the lives of
ordinary people had failed.

"February 1917 marked the beginning of a revolutionary change
in power in Russia, that was accomplished in October," Michael
Jabara Carley, professor of history at the Université de Montréal
and the author of "Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early
Soviet-
Western Relations," told Sputnik, commenting on the
100th
anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

"The tsarist order was bankrupt and doomed. Almost everyone
 at the time said so. The immediate cause of the bankruptcy
was the Great War [The First World War]," the Canadian
 academic stressed, adding that "the result was calamity
marked by millions of casualties, large territories lost
and an economy thrown into chaos, by the
 unsustainable financial and economic
demands of fighting a world war."

Russian Provisional Government:
'Neither Revolutionary, Nor Democratic'

The so-called February Revolution, which is regarded as a
combination of a popular uprising with an elitist anti-
monarchist plot, led to the abdication of Russian
Emperor Nicholas II and the establishment of
 the Provisional Government.

Still, the Provisional Government "was neither revolutionary
 nor democratic," the academic pointed out: The crux of the
matter was that it was largely controlled by the "bourgeois"
 urban and rural elites and old tsarist establishment "that
was opposed to the revolution and attempted to block
its
further development."


October Uprising Was Relatively Bloodless

The professor explained why, contrary to popular belief, the
October Revolution of 1917 that took place on November 7
(October 25 in the Julian calendar) was relatively bloodless.

"Well, in the first instance because the Provisional Government
 was utterly discredited. It had no popular support. It was a head
 without a body. It could give orders or issue decrees, but had no
power to enforce them. In a revolutionary period, power comes
from the support of the insurgent masses and the Provisional
Government had none," Carley told Sputnik.

The professor suggested that 1917 could have been averted if
old elites as well as their forebears had not blocked "political
and economic evolutionary processes" in Russia.

'Provisional Government Became a Cork in the Bottle'

"The Provisional Government became a cork in the bottle
holding back the revolution," the historian said. "The
 revolutionary masses in Petrograd [Saint Petersburg]
and elsewhere put pressure on their socialist leaders
to blow the cork out of the bottle…. It was the
Bolsheviks who put themselves at the head of
the mass movement & articulated its demands,
essentially peace, bread and land."

He pointed out, however, that "the Bolsheviks themselves
 were not united on all the big issues and most importantly
on the seizure of power in October (the Julian calendar)."

"I would propose that the Provisional Government collapsed
 of its own rot. The insurgent masses led by the Bolsheviks
only had to kick it over," Carley remarked.

Was the October Revolution of 1917 Inevitable?

"It is a question impossible to answer except in this way:
popular revolutions come about because political and
economic elites over time are too selfish to share
 wealth and power with the masses," Carley
responded. "Like the tsarist autocracy, they
treat the masses as a resource to be
exploited and rung dry. When
evolutionary processes of
change fail, revolution is
often the result."

According to the academic, it is wrong to think that such
revolutions succeed "because of the evil genius and
cruelty of a small revolutionary elite"

"They succeed
because of mass support
and effective, responsive
leadership."


The question then arises as to whether it was possible
 to follow an evolutionary path, rather than go through
 a revolution.

"A revolution occurred because evolutionary processes
of change to benefit the lives of ordinary people had
failed," the professor responded. "Serfdom, inequality,
exploitation, violence, continued unabated until 1917."

October 1917: 'Driver of Transformations Across the
 Globe'. Revisiting the October Revolution of 1917.

Addressing the 14th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion
Club, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that "the largely
 utopian social model and ideology" the Soviets tried to
implement initially following the 1917 revolution became
 "a powerful driver of transformations across the globe,
caused a major revaluation of development models,
and gave rise to rivalry and competition, the benefits
 of which were mostly reaped by the West."

The Canadian professor disagrees that the term "utopian"
could be used with regards to the "Communist model,"
for instance.

"Is free, public education for everyone, no matter what their class,
nationality or religion, utopian? Is the elimination of illiteracy, utopian?
 Are women's rights, or universal health care, utopian? Was the desire
to create a more equal society, socially, economically and politically,
utopian?" Carley asked, adding "in fact, that Soviet society was
eventually able to withstand and then to destroy almost single-
handedly, the so-called invincible Nazi 'colossus.'"

Still, he believes that the 1917 revolution certainly was "a powerful
driver of transformations" around the world since it "inspired
successful revolutionary movements in China, Vietnam,
Korea, and Cuba."

As Putin noted during his Valdai speech "many Western achievements
of the 20th century were an answer to the challenge posed by the
Soviet Union," such as "raising living standards, forming a strong
middle class, reforming the labour market and the social sphere,
 promoting education, guaranteeing human rights, including the
rights of minorities and women, overcoming racial segregation."

Red October: Allied Intervention and 'Beginning of Cold War'

The October Revolution became the trigger for the Civil War
(1917-1922) and prompted the Allied intervention of major
foreign powers in Russia.

The Canadian academic pointed out that the October Uprising
 "produced an immediate violent reaction by the United States,
France and Britain, whose elites attempted to overthrow the
Soviet government."

"The foreign intervention against Soviet Russia fed a civil war
and exacerbated the violence of the counter-revolution by
many times over," Carley said. "On its own, the former
tsarist elite could never have mounted such violent
resistance to the October Revolution."

The professor underscored that after their failure to overthrow
the Soviets, "the Western powers spent the next 70 years,
with the exception of a truce between 1941-1945, in
trying to harm or bring down the USSR and all
those
revolutions to which it had given birth."


According to the academic, the Cold War
started in October (November) 1917.

"Just ask the Chinese, Vietnamese, Cubans, or N. Koreans
 about the frightful price of resistance to US and Western
hegemony," Carley remarked. "Or for that matter, we
might ask, if we could, the soldiers, sailors and
workers of Soviet Russia, what price they had
to pay, to defend their revolution."

(Source - Sputnik)

_______________________________________



Communist leader dispels
new Russian budget as
"oligarch orientated"
October 28th, 2017
 Fort Russ News - KtovKurse
translated by Inessa Sinchougova

Communist Party leader, Gennady Zyuganov, called the draft
federal budget for 2018-2020,  "a budget of the oligarchy",
which will increase stagnation and poverty.

On Friday October 27th, the State Duma considered the first
reading of the draft budget for 2018 for the planning period
 2019-2020. According to the draft of the Ministry of Finance,
the budget deficit in 2018 will be 1.3 trillion rubles or 1.37%
 of GDP, in 2019 it will be 867 billion rubles or 0.84% of GDP,
and in 2020 - 960 billion rubles or 0.87% of GDP.

Such a budget Zyuganov considers "a budget for the oligarchy,
 where further stagnation and deepening of poverty in the
country will occur."

In his opinion, the draft budget does not meet the current
challenges and can only aggravate the split in Russian
civil society.

The Communist Party leader stressed that incomes and
expenditures are constantly declining. Zyuganov noted
that "in plain language" this means that the "share of
the national pie" created by the working people is
 constantly shrinking in the budget.

Zyuganov's main issue with the budget was the reduction in
government expenses for 14 out of 13 articles listed within.
He explained that for eight of these articles, expenses are
simply cut, and for four other articles, a small increase is
 offset by inflation, and as a result, real costs are below
the ones prophesized.

According to Zyuganov, the current budget policy "creeps
of the old Gaidar-Chubais reforms. It does not smell of
modernization, nor a breakthrough for the future."

"I do not know why the president has not reacted to this
helplessness, to this impotence of the financial and
economic blockade on behalf of the government,"
Zyuganov said.

President Vladimir Putin does not oversee forthcoming bills
until they pass all the stages of parliamentary negotiation -
that is until his signature is required. It remains to be said
that a majority of Russia's parliament and governmental
organs, are liberal representatives, both economically
and culturally, whereby it is only the President that
stops certain bills being passed.

Without looking at the document in detail (which is not yet
available to the public) it makes sense to assume that the
Communist Party leader has every right to become
concerned at this early stage.

Zyuganov's Communist Party enjoys the second most
popular rating in the Russian political sphere, after
United Russia (Vladimir Putin.)


_____________________________________________



And a Record Number of Russians
 Want Socialism Back !!!

First published in Komsomolskaya Pravda
Translated by Kristina Kharlova

The number of those nostalgic for the
 Soviet Union, is now growing steadily.

According to the findings of sociologists,
56% of respondents now express regret
 for the collapse of the Soviet state.

A majority of Russians regret the collapse
of the Soviet Union, and do not mind if it's
restored — conclude the sociologists of
"Levada-centre".

2016 sees a record number of respondents
 nostalgic for the Soviet Union, in the whole
history of public opinion surveys.

 At the same time, the percentage of those who
 don't long for the Union, decreases over time:
 if, in November of last year it was 37%, today
 only 28% do not feel any pity.

58% of Russians would like a socialist system
and the Soviet Union to be restored, and 31%
say they don't want the Soviet Union back.

Over half of respondents, 51%, believe that it
was still possible to save the country in 1991
while 33% of Russians say the collapse was
'inevitable'.


Experts, meanwhile, note that those most
nostalgic for the Soviet Union don't yearn
 so much for the Soviet ideology, as for the
 stability, justice, confidence in the future,
 secure jobs, free education, medical
care
and housing.



serbs say no to NATO


Serbia: Mass anti-NATO demonstrations silenced
 
Nothing has been the same since NATO brutally
bombed
Yugoslavia 17 years ago. The 5th column,
trained by
NATO, took over the destroyed country
to continue
the job that the West had started.

The economy
collapsed, the country was
ripped apart, and the
Army, dismissed.


Year by year, malicious plans brainstormed by
NATO, and executed by the government, are
 pushing all of the Balkans into the deep maw
 of the West's 'modern' imperialism.

 The latest move was the Agreement with NATO
 about logistics. Parliament has approved, and
the President has signed, an agreement which
 gives NATO soldiers immunity and freedom of
 movement on the territory of Serbia. The same
 people who killed thousands of innocent Serb
 civilians are now given freedom and immunity.
 
NATO personnel rule the roost in Serbia

NATO personnel are exempt from paying taxes,
VAT and/or customs duties. The adoption of the
 Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), lets
 NATO soldiers use Serbia's infrastructure, with
free transit across the whole territory of Serbia,
as well as protection from the law -- being given
 'special status' while staying in Serbian territory.

However, although almost two decades have
passed since NATO's cruel attack, most Serbs
 have not forgotten how important freedom is --
 which is the main problem for the ruling elite.

 In the mainstream media, news about signing
the agreement with NATO, was published as
small & irrelevant. In a couple of sentences,
 mainstream journalists wrote about it, as if
 it was tomorrow's weather forecast, but
 they couldn't fool people.

Boiling situation hidden by Government

The situation was boiling. A few patriotic parties
 and war veterans managed to organize a protest
 -- & expected no more than a thousand people in
Belgrade, to show their disagreement with the

ruling party's decisions.

On the 20th February, more than 15,000 Serbs,
mostly youth, came onto the Belgrade streets 
 to join in with the protesters. Even the police
were surprised, quickly trying to reinforce --
  fearing nonverbal shows of disagreement.

The mainstream media weren't at all interested
 in massive protests in the capital city. They just
 reported, after the protest, that there were only
a couple of hundred demonstrators.

 Amongst all media, just one, the alternative
 patriotic website, Srbin info, sent reporters
to the vicinity, to cover the whole protest.

 It was the only media that had pictures and
 videos of the massive protests, showing the
 huge number of protesters.

During the protest, over 2,000 readers per
 second were following their live streaming
 of the demonstrations. Each minute, their
website was gaining more followers.

 Just a couple of minutes after the end of the
peaceful protest, huge cyber-attacks began.

The weak website couldn't defend itself from
 the biggest attacks in its history, & the web-
site eventually crashed. Attacks continued
 for 24 hours, never letting the website repair.

The only possible source of the attacks on
 the website & freedom of the speech, is the
ruling elite. There is no one else who would
 be able to manage such strong attacks.

 The main problem for the alternative, free media
in Serbia is that the web providers, most of them
 belonging to the SBB company, part of the Soros
 foundation, don't want to reveal who was behind
the attacks. However, some opposition forces,
also attacked by hackers, discovered that the
IP address of the hacker belongs to one of the
 directors of SBB company.

It is also interesting that 25% of web providers
 and some mainstream media in Serbia - belong
 to David Petraeus, former director of the CIA.

Despite their crashed website, Srbin info reporters
 managed to find way to send the real story & used
 Facebook to spread the truth. A video showing the
 masses of people protesting, was viewed by over
1,700,000 Facebook users --- a huge number for
 Serbia, with its 7 million population.

For 48 hours after the attack, the website was
 closed.

Thanks to its loyal readers, who appreciate Srbin
 info's fight for freedom of speech, donations were
 collected to make a new website, with better
 protection.

But the problem of having a neutral web provider
 who will not sabotage the website -- after orders
from the Government -- still exists. A much worse
 problem.... is that the once proud and honorable
 Serbia, is now under the boots of imperialists.




The Glory of Syria is too powerful for
 the weak hearted to comprehend
By Paul Antonopoulos
 April 17th, 2018.

The victory of Syria only matters to those who refuse
to put a smile on the faces of Zionists, terrorists and
 Imperialists.

Syria is only the concern of those who appreciate its
rich culture, its astonishing history & its determined
support for the resistances in the region, while the
other side’s only concern, is Assad and not Syria.

If you truly cared for Syria you would’ve known what is
best for the country and its people and not justify any
western aggression there from the same regimes that
you and I know want Syria to be another Libya or Iraq.

It amazes me that you think we believe the “I care for
Syria” rubbish coming out of your mouth, while we
all know it is a disguise to either your sectarian or
political loathing for Assad - whom you heard of
when Al-Jazeera and CNN orchestrated your
daily news consumption.

After seven years of a Global and Destructive war, some
still choose to be blind & hold on to their unexplained
 grudge towards Syria and its people. Yes its people.
 Because the few refugees you met days ago, with
 political affiliations & no proof of their allegations
 against the government, do not represent the
resistant people of Syria. It’s just their word
 against the other. & the 2.5 million Syrians
held in “rebel” territories, don’t speak
on behalf of the 18 million Syrians
in Government held regions.

The people of Syria you claim that you care for, 
democratically elected Assad as their president
(of the 15 million Syrians eligible to vote almost
11 million voted for Assad) legitimately, under
 UN law, you know -- the same organisation
 that you refer to as a source, when it came
to “Assad's crimes”. Feel like a hypocrite
yet?.

And what? You have videos of “Assad's
crimes” from Al Qaeda linked groups?

We have videos of “Rebel” crimes against civilians.

So that’s just your evidence against mine. The battle
 in Syria goes beyond your limited stances on a
President, it is a battle between chaos and
stability, between the Zionist axis and
the resistance axis - whether you
believe so, or not.

You choose your camp.

One day you will regret being part of the media war
against the liberation of Syria. If you don't question
yourself after all these years, then you are either in
denial, or an enemy of resistance and you belong
in the Zionist camp.

#StandWithSyria

The article originates from a Facebook post made
by Hadi Nasrallah, an independent political
commentator and researcher.

(Source - Fort Russ)


____________________________________________




SALFORD WATER WORKERS STRIKE
OVER UNITED UTILITIES PENSION GRAB
WATER WORKERS COULD LOSE UP TO
£10,000 A YEAR FROM PENSION

The water workers at the United Utilities plant on
Peel Road, Barton, joined the first of two days of

strike action in the North West, centred on the
company wanting to impose changes to its
pension scheme from 1st April, which
could see younger staff losing
£10,000 a year in retirement.

Full details here...
http://salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=4406

As Salford University lecturers concluded 14 days of action
 in defence of their pensions today, hundreds of North West
United Utilities workers began the first of 2 days of strikes
 in defence of their pensions.

United Utilities' management wants to impose changes to a
staff pension scheme from April 1st, which will reduce
scheme members' pensions significantly, with
younger members of staff due to lose as much
as £10,000 per year of their guaranteed income
 in retirement.

The plan seems particularly ludicrous as the company's
pension scheme was reported to have a surplus of
£248million in March 2017.

Members of UNISON and Unite unions, who repair pipes, treat
waste water and resolve queries from the public were amongst
 those on strike today. They were joined on the picket line at
United Utilities Waste Treatment Plant on Peel Road in Barton
by sympathisers, including Salford councillor and UNISON
Branch Secretary, Michele Barnes...

"People work hard all their life contributing into pension schemes
 to be able to enjoy their retirement, as and when they decide"
 Michele explained "If these proposals are implemented,
people may have to reconsider their future plans, which
 isn't fair given the fact that the defined benefit scheme
is still in a financially healthy position."

Vic Walsh, UNISON North West Regional Organiser added:

"United Utilities are making an unnecessary and unjustified
grab for the retirement incomes of their workers. The pension
 scheme is in good financial health and there is no need for
these changes to be made. It is not too late for management
to see sense and stop the strike action, by halting their plan."

United Utilities has paid out more than £1.25billion to share-
holders over the past five years and has a target of increasing
 its dividend payments each year by at least the rate of inflation.
The company paid its Chief Executive, Steve Mogford, £2.8million
 last year.

All this in the midst of United Utilities having to pay out around
£20million in compensation and fines following the crypto-
sporidium outbreak at Franklaw in Lancashire in 2015;
which left 700,000 people unable to drink tap water
 for three weeks.

"Our members are asking whether they are being made to pay
the costs of the company's failings out of their pensions" said
Vic Walsh "While executives and shareholders are doing nicely,
attacks are being made on the staff who deliver an essential
service to the public. It is wrong that a public utility is being
 run in this way."   



dail mail cleaners strike - support them



BREAKING NEWS!


Cleaners at the Daily Mail - all of whom
are migrant workers and members of UVW
- are set to strike over poverty wages!

They are demanding the London
Living Wage of £10.20 p/hour!

Stay tuned for strike dates.


keep the guard on the train


Leftwingers decry the
‘total
lack of transparency’
in the NUS
March 30th, 2018

Leftwingers condemned a “total lack of transparency”
 in the National Union of Students (NUS) today, as the
organisation’s annual conference came to a close.

The three-day gathering saw the re-election of a number
of candidates backed by the organised right wing of the
NUS, including the incumbent president, Shakira Martin.

The only leftwinger to win a key position was vice-
president for union development Ali Milani,
another re-elected incumbent.

Tensions between the union’s factions peaked yesterday
 afternoon, when scores of activists occupied the stage
at the SEC Armadillo conference centre in Glasgow.

The activists were protesting at the refusal of conference
organisers to allow extra time to debate motions.

Among the motions dropped from the agenda... 
were calls
for abortion rights in Northern Ireland
- where
pregnancy terminations remain illegal - 
and
the decriminalisation of sex work.

Supporters of the occupation said that it indicated a
wider discontent with the culture of the organisation.

Hope Worsdale, a student activist at the University of
 Warwick, said: “As well as showing crucial solidarity
with sex workers and women in Northern Ireland, the
 stage occupation clearly demonstrated widespread
 dissatisfaction with how the NUS is run.”

She said students were “fed up” with NUS chiefs
making decisions “behind closed doors, with a
total lack of transparency,” and described the
leaders as “irrelevant and unaccountable.”

After the occupation, the conference was temporarily
suspended, with officials reportedly citing health
and
safety concerns.

Ms Martin, who was once associated with the student
left, was supported by rightwingers when she ousted
Malia Bouattia as NUS president last year.

Since then, she has led the union through a turbulent
 period, including allegations of bullying at NUS
headquarters that she denied.

The NUS has expressed support for the recent lecturers’
strikes over pensions, but the leftwingers say that the
organisation has failed to offer meaningful solidarity.

Ms Worsdale added: “The left must unite to reclaim
the
NUS and transform it into a radical, democratic,
grassroots organisation.

“The student movement is advancing beneath the NUS’s
feet. The National conference is, currently, totally
disconnected from what’s going on at a
campus level - and this must change.”

(Source - Morning Star)
___________________________________



GMB victory over Amazon
 sees its delivery drivers
 paid £20,000 in backpay
January 14th, 2018.

Amazon delivery drivers have won up to £20,000
 each in back pay after their union challenged
the online retailer’s use of bogus self-
employment, to deny them rights
 at work.

General union GMB represents many drivers employed
by delivery firm UK Express, which delivers goods
 for Amazon.

UK Express used bogus self-employment to deny its
employees their rights, such as the minimum wage,
holiday pay, sick pay, paid rest breaks and
employment rights, such as protection
 from unfair dismissal.

GMB challenged UK Express - and the company backed
 down before the cases reached an employment tribunal.

The union said the victory meant some drivers
would receive up to £20,000 in back pay.

Similar victories have been won against minicab
transnational Uber and delivery firm DX, which
used bogus self-employment to deny workers
 their rights.

GMB legal director Maria Ludkin said: “This is yet
another brick in the road in GMB’s battle against
 bogus self-employment.

“Some employers seem to think they can avoid
paying the minimum wage or giving their
workers the protection to which they
 are entitled.

“However, as Amazon and UK Express have now
 realised, this is not optional — it’s the law.

“The drivers delivering for Amazon, like Uber drivers
 and delivery drivers for DX, are clearly employees
and it is gratifying that the company are shelling
 out 100 per cent of the amounts claimed.

“GMB will continue to fight bogus
 self-employment wherever it
appears.”


(Source - Morning Star)



___________________________________________________




Domestic violence worker
 threatened with the sack
for speaking out against
council cuts
January 3rd, 2018

Louise Harrison received a letter threatening her
with dismissal from South Yorkshire Women’s
Aid's trustees.

Domestic violence worker Louise Harrison has been
 threatened with the sack after speaking out against
council cuts.

Ms Harrison, who works for South Yorkshire Women’s
Aid,
which was set up on a small grant from Doncaster
Metropolitan Council, received a letter threatening
her with dismissal from its trustees, some of
whom
are on the right of the local Labour
Party,
campaigners say.

The lifesaving service was set up last January, after
Doncaster Women’s Aid was forced to close for lack
of funding in March 2016. Ms Harrison campaigned
 to secure £30,000 from the council and has fought
tirelessly to raise extra money to rent space for
 the service.

She is one of three women who staff South Yorkshire
Women’s Aid for a total of 40 hours per week, offering
therapy, a free phone line and legal help.

Since the council announced that it would not renew
the funding, which ran out in December, because of
budget cuts, Ms Harrison has been trying to save
the service.

Amy Cousens, who is campaigning on Ms Harrison's
behalf, told the Star: “We’ve seen right-wing aspects
 of the [local] Labour Party completely work against
 us, saying that the council has no money and that
we shouldn't be campaigning against the council.”

Ms Cousens, a former volunteer with the service, says
 trustees have attempted to silence workers and
volunteers, putting pressure on them to stay
positive about the council.

Local Labour MP Rosie Winterton has claimed that
staff and volunteers waged a “militant campaign,
which is off-putting to [potential] funders,” Ms
Cousens said, adding that trustees have
come under pressure from the council.

Ms Harrison is on a one-year fixed term contract due
to finish in the middle of this month and is currently
off work suffering from the effects of bereavement
and ill health.

She received a letter from service trustees on December
23, insinuating that some of them are unhappy with the
service she has been providing for women.

The letter, seen by the Star, is signed by Nigel Walshe,
a Labour Party member and trustee.

Ms Harrison said: “I am deeply shocked about the
inference in the letter that I have let women down.

“For the past seven months, I have worked largely unpaid
 to try to secure funding for our service with little or no
support from some of the trustees.

“It is deeply upsetting to read that I would do anything
that would harm the women who desperately need
 our services.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell passed on his
solidarity to the campaign and offered to liaise with
 local Labour MPs and Doncaster council. He said:
“I give this pledge that a Labour government will
ensure funding for these vital women’s services
will be provided, because women’s lives matter.”

Ms Cousens insisted: “We are completely determined to fight.

“This is silencing a worker who has spoken out against cuts.”

The trustees have not undertaken fundraising, but Ms Harrison
has drummed up around £10,000 from trade unions, the Labour
 Party and supporters, Ms Cousens pointed out.

Ms Harrison intends to “shine a light on the local Labour Party,
 who have gone out of their way to justify austerity and paint
us as bullies and people who don’t understand figures.”

As well as lobbying the council and trustees, she will take
 her campaign nationwide --- with the aim of persuading
other workers in similar services to speak out against
austerity and “encouraging women to organise in
 their workplace.”

To sign a petition supporting the campaign, go to:

mstar.link/LouiseHarrison.

(Source - Morning Star)

___________________________________________________



We Are All At Risk - Thanks To
The Tories’ Continuing Fire Cuts
by Diane Abbott
 Saturday December 2nd

As well as holding back investment in our economy, living
 standards and growth, it’s important to also point out
that the Tories’ ideologically driven austerity, also
makes us all less safe.

One example of this is the cuts to our fire and rescue service.

Drastic cuts since 2010 have meant that people are being left
running the service on a shoestring and that the UK fire and
 rescue service needs urgent investment.

The recent Budget was a chance for Phillip Hammond to at least
 rein in the damaging policies that have caused this to happen.
 Yet instead, we are now facing a situation where, when we
have already seen the worst cuts in the history of the
fire
service, more will be on the way as part of
the
continuing austerity confirmed by
Hammond’s
recent Budget.

Since 2010, the Westminster government has systematically
cut central funding to fire and rescue services across Britain.

The National Audit Office report, Financial Sustainability of
Fire and Rescue Services, found that, between 2011 and
2015, over 30 per cent of central funding was cut from
 fire and rescue services in England.

This makes a mockery of Tory promises to protect the
front line when it comes to our emergency services.

In terms of the years ahead, in February 2016, the Department
 for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published its
 local government settlement, with projections for central
funding cuts.

The figures showed that DCLG paid £1.089 billion in central
funding to all the fire and rescue services in England in
2015-16, but it planned to cut this to £864 million by
2019-20. This was a planned cut of nearly 21%

Additionally, local government settlement figures
 published by DCLG earlier this year, covering just
 metropolitan and combined fire authorities, show
 that planned central funding for fire and rescue
 services in England will be cut by 20% over the
 2016-20 period.

In a (rejected) amendment to the Tory government’s
Queen’s Speech earlier in the year, and again in the
run-up to this Budget, Labour made clear our belief
 that the government needs to act now to protect
 the fire and rescue service.

In particular, Labour is committed to recruiting at least
3,000 new frontline firefighters, but the Tories are
refusing to provide the necessary funding from
central government to ensure this.

When it comes to our emergency services, and indeed
public services as a whole, the Tories have totally
failed to understand that cuts have consequences.

While our firefighters do an amazing job, these
unprecedented cuts have resulted in over 11,000
firefighters’ jobs being cut, more than forty fire
stations closed and dozens of fire engines axed.

As a result, emergency response times are at their slowest
 for 20 years, according to the government’s own figures,
with official figures for 2015/2016 for example showing
303 people died in fires, up 15% on the previous year.

Response times to all types of serious fires also rose, in
some cases by as much as one minute and 8 seconds.

This is vitally important.

As Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Matt Wrack has said, “In an
emergency, every second counts. For fire crews, that
means having the right number of fire engines and
firefighters at the scene of an emergency as soon
as possible in order to do the job professionally.”

Additionally, the FBU has explained that cuts mean that fire
 engines are increasingly sent out without a full complement
 of firefighters and that this understaffing prevents firefighters
from adopting the best professional practices and procedures.

These will all contribute to deaths that are avoidable, since a
report published by the Home Office in January this year
confirmed that the number of people who have died as
a result of fires in the home, has increased.

Alongside this, there has been a drastic reduction in fire
 prevention work since 2010, with a 25 per cent drop in
 the number of fire risk checks carried out by fire services
in England. Fire and rescue services are also spending
13% less time on public safety campaigns & initiatives.

This is what happens when you prioritise cuts before
public safety — cuts have real, human consequences.

In the months and years ahead, we need to make clear
the real impact of fire and rescue service cuts on both
 firefighters’ safety and that of the public as a whole.

The government desperately needs to halt fire service cuts
and increase the number of firefighter posts. Above all, it
needs to learn the lesson that you can’t keep people
 safe, on the cheap.
 
You can follow Diane at
 www.twitter.com/HackneyAbbott
 and www.facebook.com/DianeAbbott.

(Source - Morning Star)



I support my postal worker



Defiant Posties Make It Clear
They’re Not Licked
October 20th
by Conrad Landin

Hundreds of mail workers marched on Britain’s most iconic
sorting office yesterday, vowing to take their defence of
pensions, conditions and daily postal deliveries to the
next level.

Royal Mail staff have voted overwhelmingly to strike, but a
planned walkout was put on hold after bosses secured a
High Court injunction.

The dispute remains live, but a judge ruled that the
Communication Workers Union (CWU) will have to
enter more mediation with the privatised company
before union members can down mailbags.

Before the court judgement, workers had been
due to walk out at lunchtime yesterday.

Instead, after a national reps’ meeting at Congress House
 in central London, union activists marched to the Mount
 Pleasant sorting office in Farringdon.

Delivery and sorting staff at the depot took breaks to
 join the rally.

CWU president Jane Loftus told the crowd: “This dispute
 is not going away and Royal Mail know that.”

General secretary Dave Ward acknowledged that the
injunction had been a “setback” but said that, as a
result, members’ attitudes had “hardened against
the employer.”

He announced that the union is “launching a new phase
of our campaign” to apply maximum political pressure on
Royal Mail and increase public support for postal workers.

“People in this country have got an absolutely unique
relationship with their postal workers,” he said.

He blasted the company’s “race to the bottom,” adding:
 “We ain’t having that with our members and we ain’t
having that with the service.”

Royal Mail staff are up in arms at bosses’ proposals to close
its defined benefit pension scheme. They are also seeking a
35-hour week and protections for terms and conditions.

Management argued in court that the union had not gone through
 a binding arbitration process agreed when the service was
privatised in 2013. Such negotiations will now resume, but
 a strike could still take place once they are over.

CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said that Royal
Mail was “one of the great inventions of our social history.
 What’s been destroying the postal service is privatisation.

“It can be a massively successful business and still be
a public service.”

Mr Pullinger said bosses and shareholders had “taken all the
 hanging fruit” from the company and were now looking to
squeeze the pensions of workers and the guarantee of a
universal daily postal delivery.

“If we don’t fight now … it will be too late,” he warned.

(Source - Morning Star)


_________________________________________________



Strike Action 'Still Inevitable'
Unless 'Deluded' Royal Mail
Starts To Negotiate
Thursday October 12th
 by Conrad Landin

Posties vowed that their strike would go on yesterday,
after a High Court judge slapped them with an
injunction - banning them from
walking out next week.

Bosses argued in court that the Communication Workers’
Union had fallen foul of the law by not going through
dispute resolution procedures agreed at the time
of privatisation. Union reps denied this claim.

Granting the injunction, Mr Justice Supperstone said:

"I consider the strike call to be unlawful and the
defendant is obliged to withdraw its strike call
until the external mediation process has been
 exhausted."

CWU said it is "extremely disappointed" at the ruling and
vowed to call further strike action unless a satisfactory
agreement with Royal Mail is agreed, once the
mediation process has been completed.

General secretary Dave Ward said: "The company is deluded
if it believes its court room politics will resolve this dispute.

“Instead the company’s actions will have the complete
 opposite effect.

"Postal workers’ attitude towards the company will harden
and it makes us more determined than ever to defend our
members’ pensions, jobs, service & achieve our objectives.

“Unless the company significantly shifts its position on a
range of issues and we can quickly conclude a good
agreement for our members, then strike action is
 inevitable."

He stressed that the union walked into court today with a
massive 90 per cent yes vote for strike action and walked
out of court with that mandate intact.

"We want an agreement and will comply with the injunction
to undertake further external mediation," Mr Ward said.

"But sooner rather than later, Royal Mail Group will have to
 confront the harsh reality that it is completely out of touch
 with the views of its workforce.“

Workers at Royal Mail, which was privatised by the Conservatives
 and Lib Dems in 2013, are up in arms about the proposed closure
of the current defined benefit pension scheme.

They have proposed their own alternative pension programme for
a “wage in retirement” and are also seeking to protect terms and
 conditions and shorten the working week to 35 hours.

The CWU brought four live chickens in a mail cage down to the
Royal Courts of Justice to await the verdict. Reps said the birds
 represented Royal Mail bosses Moya Greene, Steve Cameron,
Jon Millidge and Sue Whalley – who they said were running
scared of negotiations by seeking an injunction.

CWU London divisional rep John Simkins told the Star: “It’s a
disgrace [Royal Mail bosses] feel they have to respond by
going to the courts. We’ve had a massive turnout and a
massive yes vote. They’ve had 18 months to reach an
agreement, and it wasn’t for want of trying on our part.

“It’s trying to use the law against its own employees.
They should be ashamed of themselves.”

But he said it was no surprise that bosses were using the courts
in this way. “The whole legal system is just designed to thwart
working people,” he added.

The demonstrators were joined outside the court by Labour’s
shadow post and steel minister Gill Furniss, who blasted:

“[Royal Mail] may be working for Moya Greene and her £2 million-
a-year pay package, but it’s not working for the workers.

“You can be assured that Labour are behind you every step of the way.”

Campaign for Trade Union Freedom chairman Tony Burke told the Star:
"This is unbelievable given the size of the vote in favour and a turnout
that  passed the 50 per cent mark by miles.

"It's ludicrous that the High Court has granted the injunction."

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We will now make contact with the CWU
as a matter of urgency to begin the process of external mediation. We
are very committed to working closely with the CWU in order to reach
 agreement as a matter of priority."

(Source - Morning Star)


___________________________________________________



‘We’re Doing This So We Can
Afford The Basics In Life,’ Say
Striking McDonald's Workers
Monday September 4th
by Steve Sweeney

McDonald’s Cambridge branch was unusually
quiet
yesterday, even for six in the morning.

But the silence was shattered by a group of
striking
McDonald’s workers walking along
the city’s
Newmarket Road, chanting:
“I believe we can win.”

These were the history makers. Cambridge was one of the
two McDonald’s branches hit with strike action for the first
 time ever in Britain.

Leading the chants, was food workers’ union BFAWU member
Tom Holliday, who informed the Star that McDonald’s workers
faced appalling treatment including bullying, intimidation
 and even sexual harassment.

The strike was not something that just happened overnight,
he told me, but was the culmination of two years of
organising against the poverty pay and zero-hours
 contracts that blight the fast food industry.

Tom explained: “We’re on strike for £10 an hour and union
recognition and the reason we’re doing this, is because
 living on poverty wages means it’s impossible to do
 the basics in life, such as feed yourself and find a
 house to live in.”

His own personal circumstances give an insight into the
impact of low pay. He is a father whose son lives in
London — almost 60 miles from Cambridge.

The weekend return train fare can be as much as £25 and
 his £7.55 hourly rate means he has to often sacrifice
 some of the necessities, such as food.

“It’s not easy to afford the train fare to go and see him on a
 regular basis. Sometimes I have to choose between meals
 and going to see him as well.”

As another passing driver beeps their car horn in support of
 the strike, Tom tells me that management have been trying
 to break the strike and stop people joining the union.

“Management have been crawling all over the store. We’ve
had eight representatives from head office visiting, since
 the strike was announced.

“They follow us around, break up groups of workers, make
 sure we’re not talking about the union and that has been
pretty much their attitude, since the start of it.”

But he tells me that workers are growing in confidence
 and he hopes they will inspire others. As for the next
steps, Tom says more workers are joining the union.

If McDonald’s fail to listen to the demands of its workers,
“we are hoping that the strike spreads across the country.”

(Source - Morning Star)


_________________________________________________________


A council is taking action
against a trade union.

And it should be
a wake-up call
to everyone.

September 2nd, 2017.
by Steve Topple
Please share this article: Facebook Twitter

An ongoing dispute between a council and public sector
 workers has escalated, with trade unions warning that
 industrial action could continue into the new year. But
 the situation is all the more concerning because it is a
 Labour-led local authority at the heart of the story. And
it is demonstrating extremely anti-trade union behaviour.

‘Deleting’ workers?

Bin workers in Birmingham have been locked in a dispute
 with the city’s Labour-led council since June. At issue
is the council’s decision to ‘delete’ 122 lead-hand, or
grade three supervisory jobs, and “modernise” the
 service, saving £5m a year. The council claimed
 redundant workers will be offered other jobs.

Unite the Union disagreed. Assistant General
Secretary Howard Beckett said:

We have legitimate safety concerns about what the council
proposes and are concerned that workers on as little as
£21,000-a-year could face a pay cut of up to £5,000, if
 they are downgraded, which is unacceptable.

However, we appreciate that local government has been
targeted by the Tory government with swingeing cuts to
 its budgets and we want to work with the Labour-
controlled city council that needs to find extra
 income to mitigate the harsh effects
 of austerity.

Everybody out

As LibCom reported on 16 June, Unite announced the result
of a strike ballot, showing 90% backing industrial action. So,
on 30 June, workers began stoppages resulting in weeks of
waste lying uncollected. The council said that the strike
 was costing £40,000 a day, and it employed agency
workers and contractors to clear the backlog.

On 16 August, Unite and the council reached an agreement,
with the latter saying it would restore the 122 grade three
supervisory jobs – and Unite calling off strike action. But
 suddenly on 30 August, the council backtracked on the
official, ACAS-brokered deal, sending 100 workers
redundancy notices. It claimed in a report that
the deal was “unaffordable” and cancelled a
meeting where it was set to be agreed.
The union responded by immediately
 instructing their members to
 resume strike action.

“Deeply provocative”

Beckett said in a statement:

This is a deeply provocative act that drives a coach and
 horses through the agreement Unite reached with the
council in good faith at the conciliation service ACAS.
The last thing refuse workers want to do is resume
industrial action and see piles of rubbish
accumulating on Birmingham’s streets.
This is their city too. Our members
 want to focus on delivering a
safe efficient service to the
people of Birmingham.

Sadly it seems the council doesn't want to see that happen.
Instead of embracing an agreement that would have seen
compromise on all sides, the council seems content to
 put people on the dole and cut their wages by up
 to £5,000.

Unite calls on the council to come to its senses and with-
draw these redundancy notices, to avoid the disruption
 of industrial action.

But the Labour leader of Birmingham council, John
Clancy, claims he has “not reneged” on a deal
 with Unite:

The notice for the current strike action expires
 on 21 September, so Unite will be balloting its
 members again.

“Labour”. In the loosest sense of the word

In reality, the council appears to have backtracked on the
 official deal not because it was “unaffordable” in terms
of saving money, but because council leaders were
concerned about having to fork out money in
equal pay disputes with female colleagues
 (which some believe is disingenuous).
All while the council increased its
 “usable” reserves [pdf p14] by
£269m in 2016.

Some claim that it's council officers, not Labour councillors,
 meting out this action. But a statement from the Labour
council leader appears to indicate otherwise. And
Unite, at first, claimed that the council’s hands
 were tied, due to Tory cuts to local budgets.
But ultimately, we are witnessing yet
another Labour-led council treating
 public sector workers, and the
working class, with contempt.

It has also been witnessed with teaching assistants in
Durham and with Labour councils employing staff on
 zero hours contracts. And it is constantly
demonstrated with social cleansing
in London.

Now, with the Labour-led council showing some of the
 most anti-trade union actions witnessed this year,
Jeremy Corbyn’s national party should be asking
 serious questions of its less-than democratic
socialist local counterparts. And workers
 should be asking questions of Corbyn.

Get Involved!

– Support the bin workers using
 the hashtag #BirminghamBinStrike.

(Source - The Canary)

__________________________________________________


Nurses: Scrap The Wage Cap
 Or We Will Strike
Monday August 7th
by Steve Sweeney

Nurses will strike unless Chancellor Phillip Hammond ends
 the public-sector pay freeze in the autumn Budget, the
 Royal College of Nursing warned yesterday.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies issued the ultimatum
 to Mr Hammond, saying a failure to lift the cap would leave
 the union no choice, other than to ballot for industrial
action --- for the first time in its history.

Ms Davies said: “We have been working as hard as we can
 to make the government understand, that if you want a
healthy health service, we need a healthy salary for
 our nurses.

“If the Budget does not show the government’s clear intent
 to remove that pay cap, then industrial action by nurses is
 on the table.”

Research by the union has revealed the devastating impact
of the pay freeze among NHS staff, with reports of nurses
 resorting to food banks.

It says there has been a real-terms pay cut of 14 per cent
 since 2010, which is driving nurses out of the NHS in
 droves, causing a recruitment and retention crisis.

Figures last month showed a staggering 86,000 vacancies
 in the NHS from January to March, and the RCN says that
nursing remains one of the lowest-paid staff groups of all
public-sector professions.

Ms Davies also raised fears that the NHS could “go under”
unless European Union staff are given assurances of
 their future after Brexit.

She said that the government needs to give a clear
message both to EU workers already here and to
those who want to come and work in the NHS
after Britain leaves the EU.

“People will then be able to make a decision, and if they
 decide that they don’t want to stay, then that is a big
cliff-edge — and my big fear is the NHS would go
under,” Ms Davies warned.

“In some hospitals one in five members of staff are
trained elsewhere in Europe and they just couldn’t
cope if suddenly everyone decided to leave.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Nurses are
the bedrock of the NHS and we understand the need
 to give certainty to valued staff from the EU.

“That is why we have made clear that the future of EU
 nationals working in our health and care system
 should be a priority in Brexit negotiations.”

(Source - Morning Star)

_______________________________________________


Jeremy Corbyn MP & President Nicolas
 Maduro discuss legacy of Tony Benn



Venezuela unrest used to
target Labour leader Corbyn
August 2nd, at 8:43am

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Liberal Democrat
leader Vince Cable & a number of backbench MPs
 from his own party, have urged Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong socialist, to
 condemn Venezuelan President
Nicolas Maduro.

Corbyn has previously voiced his support for the Latin
American socialist government, but is now being
pressured by his opponents and fellow Labour
MPs to speak out against Maduro following
the arrest of two Venezuelan opposition
leaders on Sunday.

Labour MP Angela Smith, who is part of an all-
parliamentary group on Venezuela, said she
 is “appalled” by what is taking place.

“I hope that my party leadership will as soon as
possible condemn what’s happening in the
country and call for the release of
 opposition party political
prisoners,” she said,
the Times reports.

Maduro declared victory in the constitutional
assembly vote on Sunday, aimed at giving his
 government further powers. Critics, however,
believe the vote is invalid as it has been
carried out against a backdrop of
violence and protests.

In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Tory Foreign
 Secretary Boris Johnson branded Venezuela
a “dictatorship.”

“Maduro acting like a dictator of an evil regime and
 has destroyed Venezuelan economy, eroded human
rights + imprisoned thousands,” he tweeted.

In another post, he added: “Hundreds have died
during protests against Maduro's actions.
Political prisoners must be released +
rights, freedoms + democracy
 respected.”

Maduro’s government has been accused of being
 responsible for Venezuela’s economic demise
over the past four years.

The falling price of oil, Venezuela’s main source of
export income, together with widespread corruption,
has left people short of basic necessities, such as
food and medicine.

When Venezuela was led by Maduro’s predecessor,
Hugo Chavez, Corbyn praised the country as “the
better way of doing things,” and suggested his
government was a model of socialism.

In June 2015, before taking part in any leadership
contest, Corbyn said Maduro’s policy-making in
certain fields, such as health, housing and
education, were cause for “celebration.”

When asked that same year about Maduro’s policies,
he said: “Venezuela gives every child a future, a
school, a doctor – a chance,” according to the
 Daily Mail.

But he also praised the Venezuelan leader on his
website, as he set off on his first leadership
contest, saying his radical policies were
 a “success.”

Maduro has also greeted Corbyn
as a “friend of Venezuela.”

Graham Jones, another Labour MP and chair of
the all-party parliamentary group, also called
on Corbyn to speak up against Maduro.

“I believe everybody in the Labour Party should
condemn the Venezuelan regime because the
 first duty of any state --- is to look after its
 citizens. Venezuela has failed,” he said.

Sir Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat leader, told
the Times: “I think a lot of UK people would
be reassured if the Labour Party leadership
made it clear, that they had ended their
infatuation with the Venezuelan regime.”

However, former Labour leader Ken Livingstone
said on Tuesday that the US government and
 the “establishment elite” should be blamed
 for Venezuela’s economic collapse, rather
 than Maduro.

(Source - RT)

_________________________________________________


Union Demands Open Book On
''Uni'' Bosses’ Sky-High Pay
Saturday 15th of July
 by Peter Lazenby

Lecturers are calling on the UK's universities
to reveal the extravagant pay and perks of
greedy bosses to the public.

The University and College Union (UCU) says
 the “murky world” of vice-chancellors’ pay
 should be made transparent, arguing their
 pay should be laid bare in a public register.

The union also attacked the decision to allow
vice-chancellors to sit on committees which
decide their own remuneration packages.

UCU has raised the issue with successive
universities ministers, only to be told that
 the sector could regulate itself. However
 while lecturers’ salaries are falling, uni'
 heads are receiving an average salary
 package of £277,834 a year.

The union says a public register is required
to restore public confidence, as top pay
is funded by the taxpayer and through
students’ tuition fees.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt says:

“The largesse of those at the top of our
universities has long been a source
of embarrassment for the sector
, and UCU has raised the issue
many times, with ministers.

“With the amount of debt students are accruing
 to fund their education under the spotlight, the
 time has come to expose the murky world of
 senior pay in universities.

“The huge disparities in the levels of pay and
pay rises, expose the arbitrary nature of
vice-chancellors’ pay.

“It is simply wrong that some of them sit on
 the committee that decide their pay, and
that universities can hide behind its
shadowy remuneration committee’s
decisions --- without releasing
minutes from the meeting.”

peterlazenby@peoples-press.com

(Source - Morning Star)

_________________________________________


Bakers Vote To Scrap MPs’
Automatic Reselection
June 15th, 2017
by Conrad Landin

Labour MPs should face a full reselection process
before the next general election, the bakers’ union
 BFAWU conference heard, on the 14th.

Delegates voted in favour of introducing the “power
 of recall, reselection &, if necessary, sacking of MPs.”

Currently sitting Labour MPs are automatically reselected
 to run in an election, if a majority of branches in their
constituency approves their candidacy.

The system has been criticised because local trade union
 affiliate branches have the same voting strength as
party branches, regardless of their size.

Party bosses circumvented even this limited system ahead
 of the snap general election, saying there was no time for
 such “trigger ballots.”

Bakers voiced their anger at Labour MPs who had “gone
out of their way to damage the party” by criticising
 Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

They argued that MPs should be held accountable by
members in their constituencies.

Bristol delegate Adam Brown said: “We have to account
for our actions every day, I don’t see why it should be
any different for them?”

BFAWU president Ian Hodson stressed unity in the union,
 telling delegates that “one of the most important things
 is that we all come together as a movement and when
the next election is called, we’re all fighting for one
cause.

“That is, Jeremy Corbyn and a Labour government,” he said.

And BFAWU general secretary Ronnie Draper warned that
 unions must “keep a careful eye”, to ensure there is not
 “another coup” against Mr Corbyn.

He told the Star that members need “the opportunity
of reselecting people who don’t support our leader,”
adding that “this is what democracy is about. You
can’t create democracy to suit yourself.”

Unite, Labour’s largest affiliate, voted in favour of mandatory
 reselection contests at its policy conference last year. But a
similar motion was lost at the shopworkers’ union, Usdaw,
 last month.

Under mandatory reselection, MPs would have to face an
 open contest before each general election — in which
 other candidates could put themselves forward as
 alternative choices.

Delegates at BFAWU conference also voted for motions
 calling for a ban on MPs having “second jobs,” and in
favour of replacing MPs’ expenses, with giving them
accommodation directly.

(Source - Morning Star)

______________________________________


  

Tories Bury Miners’ Strike
Files Until 2066

April 29th
by Peter Lazenby

Campaigners are demanding the release of newly discovered files
about the police attack on striking miners at Orgreave in Yorkshire
in 1984.

But Tory ministers have said that the “sensitive” files
will remain secret until 2066.

Activists said that all the people affected by the police brutality
would be dead by then, and any further investigation, or an
 inquiry, would be fruitless.

The decision brought a storm of protest from the Orgreave Truth
and Justice Campaign (OTJC), and a call from a Commons
committee of MPs for their release.

On June 18 1984, police brutally attacked striking miners peacefully
picketing Orgreave coke plant, near Rotherham. For four years, the
 OTJC has pressed for a public inquiry into the attack and who
authorised it.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised an inquiry last year, but
changed her mind, despite continued campaigning by activists
 to the Home Office.

The new files were held by the Association of Chief Police Officers,
 which went out of existence in 2015 and was replaced by the
National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The Home Office has “closed” the files until 2066, because
they
contain “personal sensitive information.”

Home affairs select committee chairwoman Labour MP Yvette
 Cooper has now written to Ms Rudd calling on her to release
 the files.

OTJC said: “The constant covering up of the Thatcher
government’s involvement in the strike & the conduct
and impunity of the police, is deeply disturbing.

“If Amber Rudd is genuine in her claims that lessons have
 been learned and policing practices have changed since
 the strike then what has this Tory government got to hide?

“A full public inquiry into government participation and police
operations at Orgreave is essential, in order to establish the
 truth and justice required to enable miners and their
 communities to move on.”

Former miner Kevin Horne, who was arrested at Orgreave,
said: “All the people involved will be dead by 2066.”

OTJC chair Joe Rollin said: “It is becoming clearer every day
that this Tory government is protecting the Tory government
 of the 1980s which engineered & authorised police brutality
against striking miners, and used whatever methods they
deemed necessary to demonise and undermine workers
 fighting for their jobs and communities.”

(source - Morning Star)

____________________________________

Wales Moves Closer To
Axing Anti-Trade Union Act
Saturday 8th of April
by Peter Lazenby

Wales came a step closer to throwing out the Tories’
Trade Union Act yesterday, after a key Assembly
 committee backed a Bill revoking parts of
 the Westminster law.

The cross-party equality, local government and communities
 committee decided that the 2016 Act was incompatible with
Wales’s “social partnership” model of industrial relations.

The Bill would overturn restrictions on action in the NHS,
 fire service, schools and other devolved services —
scrapping the 40 per cent support threshold for
strikes in parts of the public sector.

It would also reverse restrictions on deductions of
 unions’ membership dues by the employer, and
it also attempts to clamp down on 'facility time'.

Only the sole Tory, Janet Finch-Saunders, on the eight-
member committee, opposed the principles of the Bill.
Even Ukip AM Gareth Bennett joined the Labour and
Plaid members in backing its report.

But Finch-Saunders’s masters in Westminster are aiming
to have the last laugh, insisting that the Assembly has
 no devolved power over industrial relations.

Tory Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said ministers would
 “act at the earliest opportunity” to “protect the interest
of taxpayers and our public services in Wales.”

But the Assembly has warned Westminster not to interfere.
 In March, Welsh Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford, said it
would be a “democratic outrage” if ministers in London
 tried to block the Welsh Trade Union Bill.

Committee chair John Griffiths said: “While the partnership
approach is not without its tensions and difficulties, it
seems to be serving Wales well.”

He said strikes were less prevalent in Wales than in England.

“It is clear to us that the success of the social partnership
 is dependent on equality between partners and that the
 relevant provisions in the 2016 Act are likely, to
 varying degrees, to affect this.

“In view of the above, we support the general principles
 of the Bill and agree that it is needed to dis-apply
 the relevant provisions of the 2016 Act.”

The Assembly must now agree to the general principles
 of the Bill, before it is subject to more detailed scrutiny.

(source - Morning Star)



One World, one Heart - many governments!


WASHINGTON CAN TRY
But Sanctions Do Not Stop
 Russian-Venezuelan Relations
by Paul Antonopoulos
January 30th, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said on Monday
that Venezuela and Russia’s oil and gas business are
 armoured, and do not run any risk within the frame-
work of sanctions, imposed by Washington,
 against United States-based state oil
company, Petroleos de Venezuela, 
(PDVSA).

“The business between Russia and Venezuela, in the
oil and gas field is armoured,” said the Venezuelan
 president.

Maduro assured that Russia does not run “any risk”
because of Washington sanctioning  Venezuela,
“...because Russia is an independent and
sovereign country, Russian companies
are very powerful, have their own
financial engineering, logistics,
and PDVS is a company of
 a sovereign country.”

“Just like two independent countries, doing business,
 investing and developing large oil exploration
 projects, everything will go well, it’s
armoured,” he said.

Maduro then went onto comment about new elections.

In the opinion of the legitimate president, “it would be
good, if there were early parliamentary elections, for
the Venezuelan parliament, it would be a good form
 of political debate, and a solution with the
popular vote.”

As for the presidential elections, Maduro clarified once
 again that they had been held only 10 months ago and
 were carried out in accordance with all constitutional
rules. In his words, he has obtained 68% of votes -
and,
thus, his victory and mandate, are legitimate.

“It is absurd to ignore the institutions, or we would
be returning to the new colonialism, where, from a
European capital / Washington, they give orders
to any country in Africa, Asia, Latin America,
the Caribbean, any country in the world,”
 he said.

In this connection, the Venezuelan president
assured,
that no foreign country can
intervene in the
Venezuelan
political process.

“We do not accept an ultimatum, from anyone in this
world. We do not accept blackmail. The presidential
elections in Venezuela, have already taken place
and,
if the imperialists want new elections,
they should
wait until 2025,” he said.

Dialogue with the opposition

The Venezuelan president said he supports the dialogue
 with the opposition, and indicated who could mediate
the negotiations.

“I am ready to sit down at the negotiating table, so
that
we speak for Venezuela, peace and its future,”
he said.

According to him, “there are some governments,
organizations in the world, that demonstrate
their sincere concern for what is happening
 in Venezuela”. In particular, he pointed
to
the authorities of Mexico, Uruguay,
Bolivia, Russia, the Vatican, and
other European governments,
 as partners who all want to
normalize the situation
in Venezuela.

Support from the Armed Forces

Despite the attempted military rebellion organized on
January 21 in Caracas, Venezuelan Defense Minister
Vladimir Padrino López reaffirmed the loyalty of the
military to the current government of Nicolas
Maduro, emphasizing that now is the time
to show resistance.

Speaking on the subject, Nicolás Maduro praised the
merits of Venezuelan troops and declared that he
will continue to play his role as supreme
 commander of the Armed Forces.

“I am exercising my leadership and duties as Supreme
Commander -- according to the Constitution --
consolidating the Bolivarian National Armed
Forces. And the Bolivarian
Armed Forces
will give a lesson
in morale, loyalty and
discipline
to the northern empire and
the
fascist right in Venezuela, and
we will have a great victory: of
stability, peace and loyalty,”
he said.

Reasons for the US to intervene
 in Venezuela’s internal affairs

According to the Venezuelan leader, the main objective
 of the US’s intrusive behaviour, is the desire to gain
 access to Latin American oil , since it has “the
largest proven reserves of oil in the world.”

Moreover, in their view, the US considers all of Latin
 America to be its “backyard.” However, Venezuela,
which has a “200 year history”, does not accept
such a development of the situation and that is
 why Washington intends to weaken Caracas.


(Source - Fort Russ)


_____________________________________




Maduro Explains How

Russia Protects Venezuela
From US Imperialists
by Paul Antonopoulos
January 30th, 2019

Venezuela’s re-elected President Nicolás Maduro said
 his country receives military equipment from Russia
on a regular basis, saying that he has paid all the
 loans on time.

Asked about the veracity of requests for aid from
Russia, Maduro said that he has always received
Russian support in all sectors and that there is,
indeed, cooperation.

“President Vladimir Putin has always provided us with
 Russia’s assistance in every way, and we welcome it
with gratitude. What I asked of President Putin, was
for us to keep in constant contact, to have all the
UN diplomatic and political support, and to
 protect the Venezuelan truth, at the
international level,” said the
Venezuelan head of state.

Russian-Venezuelan Cooperation

Maduro says that, during his dialogue with the
Russian
president, Putin said both nations
would
strengthen cooperation --- in the
economic,
commercial, oil, military
and all sectors.

“In terms of military cooperation, we have Russian
 equipment of the highest level. In Venezuela, we
find the most advanced weapon systems. They
are well positioned. All our personnel are
working. They have been trained in
 Russia,” he said.

When asked about the proposal for new arms orders,
 the Venezuelan leader said that the strategy is,
 always to improve cooperation, so that
 progress is made in the country’s
 security.

“We always have plans to move forward in cooperation
 to improve air defense, artillery and missile systems.
 We will always, move forward here... Venezuela will
receive the most advanced weapons in the world,”
Maduro said, adding that weapons arrive in the
country every day, (and have done so)
for months.

Venezuela always paid on time

“We have good financial relations with China and Russia,
and they will develop --- relations about financing
cooperation in the wheat sector, for example.
 [China and Russia] are financing and we
are paying on time,” he said.

Maduro also stated that “Russian wheat has been very
 successful in Venezuela,” and that this collaboration
 guarantees that the Latin American country has
food
independence and security.

“China is financing oil production, and expects to
 increase funding in the coming months. We have
 strong support from China and Russia, for the
economic development of Venezuela.”

“Venezuela always pays on time,” Maduro said, on
 whether the loans granted by Russia and China
will be repaid.

The Venezuelan political crisis worsened on January
23rd, after Venezuelan National Assembly chief,
Juan
Guaidó, declared himself to be interim
president of the
country, during an act
carried out in the streets
of Caracas,
and without any legality.

Russia, China, Iran and Turkey reaffirmed their support
for the current Venezuelan government of Maduro,
while several Latin American countries, aligned
with the US and EU, ignored the current
president-elect, expressing support
for Guaidó.

Mexico and Uruguay, however, offer assistance
in mediating a political solution to the crisis.

(Source - Fort Russ)

______________________________________________



Is Venezuela going to
become another Syria?
by Sawraj Singh
January 28th, at 4:04pm

In complete disregard of international law, the western
countries have resorted to open intervention in the
internal affairs of Venezuela. They have left no
doubt, that they are calling all the shots
in
Venezuela.

Within minutes of opposition
leader Guaido, declaring
himself to be the
interim President of Venezuela, the
US recognized him ---
followed by Canada, the UK,
France and all the right
wing Latin American
Governments which, in reality, are puppets
of western imperialist countries, followed
suit --- within 2 hours.

However, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Cuba, Bolivia and
Mexico, have opposed intervention by the western
 imperialist countries, in the internal affairs of a
sovereign country, as a blatant violation of
international law, and are supporting
President Maduro.

 In the strongest condemnation of this move by the
western countries, President Putin has warned of
grave consequences. Rafael Correa, Ex-President
 of Ecuador, has warned of a US-backed military
action in Venezuela. Such an action is bound
to lead to a civil war.

The US and the western countries have a long history
of forcibly imposing their will on others. America has
always considered Latin America as its backyard,
 where it can do anything it wants to do.

The Latin American countries, except Cuba, have not
been truly independent in the last two centuries.
 America has used their natural resources for
 its own benefit rather than in the interests
of the people of these countries.

Whenever, there is a conflict between these two interests,
America has never hesitated to use force. For example,
Dr. Salvador Allende, the elected Marxist President
of
Chile, tried to use the country's resources for
its
people, America wasted no time in getting
rid
of him, by engineering a coup by
General
Pinochet, in the year 1973.

From the year 1975 onwards, America carried out operation
Condor, to systematically eliminate the leftist forces in the
Latin American countries, and strengthen the right wing
 dictatorships.

America repeatedly tried to get rid of Hugo Chavez, who
was President of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013. However,
 Hugo Chavez continued to improve the plight of the
people, with the oil revenues. Venezuela is one of
the largest oil producing countries in the world.

 After his death from cancer (which he blamed on the US),
Maduro took over as the President of Venezuela. The US
 tried, repeatedly,, to get rid of him. However, he survived
each time. Crippling American sanctions and falling oil
prices have hit Venezulea's economy really hard.

America has used this as an excuse to blame
Maduro. This time the military is supporting
Maduro. Another factor which makes it
difficult to get rid of him, is that Hugo
 Chavez built a mass base in the
working class and also armed
his followers with 100,000
AK47 rifles, which
Russia provided.

 This can make it an extremely bloody battle if an armed
 conflict starts between Maduro's supporters and the
US backed Guaidos supporters. Putin has rightly
 warned, of a catastrophic conflict.   

A conflict of this magnitude, in America's backyard, will
 probably be the last major conflict of the American era
- since no matter what the outcome of this conflict is,
 America has more to lose than Russia.

 If the American side loses then it will be a big - probably
 a fatal - blow for US prestige. However, even if America
 wins this battle, the long term results may prove more
harmful than helpful. Russia will have to score a major
 victory in Europe to avenge its defeat and maintain its
prestige and credibility. It will have to give a severe
 blow to a country like Ukraine or Poland.

 For America, their defeat in Europe, will be
   a lot worse, than a victory in Latin America.  
                            
Already, a defeat in Syria has done tremendous damage
to American prestige and influence in the Middle East.

The consequences of a war in Venezuela, can be lot
 worse than the Syrian war. If Maduro survives, then
just like the survival of Assad, in Syria, it will be
counted as a big loss for America. However,
even if America succeeds in dislodging
Maduro, the damage done to Russia-
US relations, will be tremendous,
 and probably irreparable.

The chance of the conflict moving to Europe, can be
very dangerous --- for the whole world. A conflict in
Europe, is more likely to escalate into a World War
 three, than a conflict anywhere else.

The history of the two World Wars,
starting in Europe, is before us.  
        
The three countries, Russia, China and India, can play
 a significant role in countering US arrogance, which
can prove to be the main risk factor for starting
the most destructive Third World War.

Russia can balance American military power, China can
balance American economic power, and India can work
in the diplomatic field to build an anti war sentiment.

 India played a very positive role when the war started
over the Suez Canal. India scored a major victory in
the diplomatic field and became the leader of the
nonaligned movement. It laid the foundation of
Nehru-Nasser friendship and the whole Arab
World started looking at India as one of
their best friends.

India needs to play a similar role, now, to restore its
credibility and prestige in the world, as a real peace
maker. India's tilt toward America, has raised
questions about its traditional role.

Let us hope that all sides use restraint and do not
 escalate the conflict to a dangerous level, and
the situation in Venezuela does not become
like the war in Syria. Let us also hope, that
the transition from the US era, to the Post
US era (multipolar world), is peaceful.


Sawraj Singh is Chair of Washington State
Network for Human Rights, and Chair of
the Central Washington Coalition for
Social Justice

(Source - Pravda.ru)



___________________________________






Venezuelan People Continue
 Supporting their Legitimate
President
January 27th, at 2:25pm

Prensa Latina - Venezuela's people, on Sunday, continue
 supporting the legitimate president of the country,
Nicolas Maduro, over the coup d''état plans
driven
by the opposition, with the US
Government''s
backup.

The first Vice President of the United Socialist Party of
Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, stated during a popular
demonstration in Cojedes, that the only people
allowed to elect a president in the South
American nation, are Venezuelans,
in free elections.

Reiterating the rejection of the self-proclamation of
 Representative Juan Guaido - head of the National
Assembly (Parliament) in contempt - as interim
president, Cabello recalled that the Bolivarian
 Constitution does not include a transitional
government.

Guaido self-proclaimed as president in charge, during
 an opposition demonstration on January 23rd, in an
 usurping act --- automatically recognized by
Washington and other countries in the
region, hostile to the legitimate
Caracas authorities.

Faced with this scenario, the socialist leader called on
 the Venezuelan people to be brave and strong to fight
 in defense of the nation's sovereignty and the
continuity of the Bolivarian Revolution.

During the coordination meeting of the Bolivarian Peoples
 Congress with members of the Bolivarian National Militia
 in Caracas, Social and Territorial Development Vice
 President, Aristobulo Isturiz, assured that
Venezuela
is living at a decisive moment
in the struggle for
sovereignty
and independence.

Isturiz rejected the idea of a coup d'état in full swing 'to
 impose a model from Washington', accompanied by an
 international media campaign, aimed at disfiguring,
before the world, the real situation of economic
war, existing in the country, he said.

The Vice President claimed the Venezuelans' right - to
 resolve their internal affairs without foreign meddling.


___________________________________________________




Maduro wants to continue
 relations with the US,
except ‘diplomacy
and politics’

January 25th, at 3:38pm

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro has said that
he wants
to continue his country’s relationship
with the US, just
not in the areas of “diplomacy
and politics.” Maduro
also said he is willing
to hold talks with
the opposition.

Speaking to the press for the first time since opposition
leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president,
on Wednesday, Maduro extended an olive branch to
his opponent, who encouraged protests against
the Maduro regime (sic) before declaring
 himself, president.

“We are not going to kill each other, the Venezuelan
people,” he said. “We will solve our problems
without violence.”

“If I have to go to talk with him (Guaidó), I am willing,”
 Maduro said. “Hopefully, sooner, rather than later,
the
opposition will get out of the way of
extremism, and
open a sincere
dialogue.”

Maduro severed diplomatic ties with the US on
Wednesday,
after US President Donald Trump
officially recognized
Guaidó, as Venezuela’s
legitimate leader.

US
diplomats were given 72 hours to leave
the country. The Trump administration
 initially rejected Maduro’s ultimatum,
claiming he lacked the authority to
 make such a decision. However,
 “non-essential” US diplomats
and embassy staff... were
told to leave Venezuela
 “for security reasons”,
 on Thursday.

Maduro then ordered the closing
of Venezuela’s embassy
and
consulates in the US, on
Thursday evening.

In his speech to the press, on Friday, Maduro denounced
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s offer of $20 million
 in 'humanitarian aid' to Venezuela – to be given to
opposition figures – and accused Washington
of orchestrating a coup, to overthrow
his government.

Mass street protests began on Monday, after a National
Guard unit in Caracas, staged a mutiny. The soldiers
 were arrested, but protests swelled in the following
days. Several people were
killed in the
demonstrations, which
have since 
begun to peter out.

Civil unrest in Venezuela has been exacerbated by
the country’s dire economic situation. Whereas
the country’s oil wealth was once the envy of
Latin America, government mismanagement
 and a global downturn in oil prices, have
 seen inflation skyrocket, and almost
 three million Venezuelans flee the
country.

The US also sanctioned
Maduro and a host
of his officials
and, before Guaidó’s
declaration,
it was mulling
targeting the
country’s
oil industry.

Despite the belligerent rhetoric on either side,
the United States remains a key customer of
Venezuelan oil. The US imported around
17 million barrels per month, from
socialist Venezuela, at the end
of 2018 --- almost half of the
country’s total oil exports.

(Source - RT)


_____________________________________________



Armed Forces
 Ratify Commitment to
Venezuelan Sovereignty
Caracas, January 24th, at 12:15pm

Prensa Latina - The Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino,
ratified, Thursday, the commitment of the Bolivarian
 National Armed Force (FANB), with the effective
preservation of the Venezuelan people''s
peace ---
in the face of coup plans, led
by the US, to
violate its sovereignty.

In the Fuerte Tiuna Military Complex, in Caracas,
 the military leader issued an official statement,
 expressing absolute loyalty, in civic-military
 union, to the commander in chief, Nicolas
Maduro, for the 2019-2025 term, and
ignores
any illegal act, adverse
to the will
of Venezuelans.

'For a long time, a vulgar coup d'état against
the legitimately
constituted government of
the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela,
has been plotted, by far-right sectors,

 shamelessly sponsored by imperial
agents',
the FANB statement said.

In this regard, they described the acts as criminal,
by flagrantly threatening the sovereignty and
independence of the South American nation,
 reaching the limit of trying to establish a
 parallel government, lacking legality
and popular support.

Padrino assured, this is a reedition of the April 2002
events, when, through a self-proclamation, an
attempt was made to disregard the Magna
Carta, and thus, dismantle the public
powers, to leave the citizens in
a
defenseless state.

The FANB, 'faithful to the traditions inherited from the
Liberator Simon Bolivar', assured that it would never
accept a president imposed in the shadow of
obscure interests, nor self-proclaimed,
outside the law, the statement
concluded.


_______________________________________________________



Trump's coronation of Guaido
as Venezuelan president -
Al Capone redux
by John Wight
January 24th, at 00:18am

John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers
 and websites, including the Independent, Morning
Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London
Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy
Journal.

Scour the history books and you will struggle to find
an act of imperialism more brazen than US President
Donald Trump’s de-recognition of Nicolas Maduro as
Venezuela’s president.

In a scathing denouncement of the Mexican-American
 War of 1846-48, famed US Civil War General (and later
president) Ulysses S Grant told a reporter, “We had
no
claim on Mexico. Texas had no claim beyond the
Nueces River, and yet we pushed on to the Rio
 Grande, and crossed it. I am always ashamed
of my country when I think of that invasion.”

The Mexican-American War was a war of plunder and
conquest, on the part of a US ruling class, for whom,
every country south of the Rio Grande, was then,
as
if by divine right, deemed subservient
to Washington.


From then to now, the US has regarded Latin America
as a wholly owned subsidiary, its primary function to
 serve Washington’s economic interests.

Any Latin American government that dared assert its
 country’s right to sovereign independence of the US
in the years since, has found itself subjected to a
campaign of subversion and attack, so blatant
in
gangsterism, it would have made
Al Capone
blush.

It was US Marine General Smedley Butler who famously
 said --- after retiring in 1931: “I was a racketeer, a
 gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico
and especially Tampico safe for American oil
interests, in 1914. I helped make Haiti and
Cuba a decent place for the National City
 Bank boys, to collect revenues in.  I
helped in the raping of half a dozen
 Central American republics, for
the
benefit of Wall Street.”

This is the context in which Trump’s public recognition
of Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as
 interim president, should be weighed.

Starting from the beginning, ever since Hugo Chavez
dared liberate Venezuela - from the iron grip of a
US-
controlled local oligarchy in the late 1990s -
Washington has engaged in a concerted and
unrelenting effort: to return the oil-
rich
country to its ‘rightful’ status, as

 a wholly owned subsidiary.

And what with Venezuela possessing the largest proven
 oil reserves in the world, for a Trump administration
 that evinces the characteristics of a New York
mafia crime family, more than a democratic
government, it was always inevitable, that
this campaign would be ramped up rather
than tamped down, upon the Orange
One’s arrival in the White House,
 in 2016.

Venezuela’s current ‘legally elected’ president, Nicolas
 Maduro, took over the presidency after his mentor’s
death from cancer in 2013, pledging to protect and
 continue the legacy of radical reforms Chavez
inspired and introduced.

And, under the aegis of the Bolivarian Constitution, the
 achievements of those reforms, cannot be gainsaid.

The mass literacy program. known as Mission Robinson,
was the
biggest and most ambitious ever undertaken,
its
success recognized by UNESCO in 2005 when
 it declared Venezuela ‘illiteracy-free’.

Cuba,
crucial to that success, was also involved
in the establishment of health clinics, designed
to provide free healthcare
to the country’s poor.

Additionally, according to the UN, the quality of life of
Venezuelans improved at the third highest rate in the
 world, between 2006-11. Poverty was cut from 48.6
percent in 2002 to 29.5 percent by 2011, while at
the time of Chavez’s death, Venezuela had the
lowest rate of income inequality, of any
country in Latin America.

In order to achieve such outstanding outcomes, the
Chavez government moved against the country’s
US-backed oligarchy, seizing the assets of over
1,000 companies. It also nationalized oil fields
 owned by US oil giants Exxon Mobil and
Conoco Phillips.

Price controls were introduced in order to ensure the
 affordability of basic necessities, which along with
 free education, healthcare and the constitutional
right to a home ensured that the Bolivarian
Revolution was a beacon of hope to the
 poor and marginalized, not just in
 Venezuela, but throughout the
region and across the wider
Global South.

On foreign policy, meanwhile, Chavez proved a formidable
 foe of US hegemony, taking every opportunity to
denounce the history of Washington’s role in
subverting democracy, human rights and
national sovereignty throughout Latin
America, educating the Venezuelan
people, on the history of USA
imperialism, in the process.

He sought and forged closer ties with Cuba, China,
Russia and Iran – countries that likewise opposed
and challenged US domination - and embarked on
 numerous initiatives throughout the region, to
foment closer economic, political and
 cultural integration.

The fruits of this policy, were the establishment
of
the Latin American trading bloc, known as
Mercosur,
the economic, political & cultural
integrationist
project, known as ALBA, and
the pan-Latin
American television and
media
network, Telesur.

Prior to his death, Chavez also had ambitions to set
up a regional development bank, in order to end
dependence on the IMF and World Bank.

The legacy laid out above, is important to grasp, if
serious about understanding why, for Washington
- the Venezuela shaped and inspired by Hugo
Chavez, could never be allowed to survive.

Since assuming office in 2013, Maduro has had
to contend with a sharp drop in the price of oil,
which, combined with a determined campaign
conducted by a US-supported opposition, plus
US sanctions, has plunged the country into a
deepening economic, social & political crisis.

The result has been skyrocketing inflation and a
shortage of basic goods on supermarket shelves,
blamed, by Maduro, on an orchestrated policy by
the opposition, of hoarding food supplies, in
order to foment social unrest.

Now, with the crisis in the country reaching the point
of critical mass, Trump’s coronation of Juan Guaido
 as interim president, marks the next and most
blatant attack on a Bolivarian Revolution,
whose only crime, since its inception,
has been the crime of a
 good example.

(Source - RT)


___________________________________________






Venezuela Repudiates
US Coup Plans
January 23rd, at 4pm

Prensa Latina - Venezuela's authorities maintain,
on Tuesday, their alert, on the statements made
 by the Vice President of the United States,
Mike Pence, to sponsor a coup against
the
President of the Republic,
Nicolás Maduro.

In a joint television and radio broadcast, made
 yesterday, the head of state, Nicolás Maduro,
said that, before the insistent destabilizing
actions of the national and international
 opposition, promoted by Washington,
he told the Foreign Ministry to initiate
'a total and absolute revision of the
relations - diplomatic and political
-
with the US authorities and, in
the
coming hours, we will
make
decisions. '

The official's statements were also condemned
by the vice president of the Republic, Delcy
Rodríguez, who stressed that his US
counterpart promotes undermining
 the sovereignty of the South
American country.

'Mike Pence appeals to his verbal incontinence,
to give orders to Venezuelans, in a clear call
to ignore the rule of law and to attempt
rising against their legitimate and
constitutional authorities!',
Rodríguez wrote, in the
social network Twitter.

He also noted that Pence believes he governs Venezuela,
and stressed that this is not only outdated and retrograde
but also - unequivocally - out of reality! 'We Venezuelans
exercise national sovereignty, according to our laws,
and we respect international law! -'

For his part, the Vice President of International Affairs of
the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Adán
Chávez, described the statements of the White
House official as an act of total interference -
to order the ignoring of the legitimately
elected authorities.

Venezuelans want to build socialism and are willing
to defend the homeland, from criminal actions,
he noted.

'The great majority of this people want to continue in
peace, building the Bolivarian Socialism, and we are
ready to defend our Homeland, in the field, if that is
necessary. With the ideas of Hugo Chávez, we
will always win! ', he added.

In this regard, the Minister of Communication and
Information, Jorge Rodríguez, emphasized that,
again, the actions carried out in the last hours
by the opposition, respond to the interests of
the US government - to generate the scenario
of a coup d'état in the South American nation.

'Mike Pence gives them the order to burn, to
kill, to perpetuate acts of false positives on
January 23rd. The entire hoax that pursues
- is to promote destabilization and violence
 in Venezuela', he said.

Through a video posted on Twitter, Pence
again, insisted that the Venezuelan leader
 is 'a dictator, without a legitimate right
to power.'

At the same time he sent a message of support
 for the march that the Venezuelan right called
for today, in order to promote 'the steps of a
transitional government.'


________________________________________________





Bolsonaro Government
Threatens to Close
MST Schools
January 22nd, at 9:46am

Prensa Latina - The government of President Jair Bolsonaro
threatens to close the schools of the Landless Workers''
Movement (MST), despite the recognized quality of
these educational centres, Rede Brasil Atual
 website denounces, on Tuesday.

According to the source, MST schools are at risk and even
more so, when the special secretary of the Fundamental
Affairs of the Executive, Luiz Antônio Nabhan, stated
that he will work to close the schools, called, by
him, 'dictators' small factories'.

According to Nabhan, 'Brazil cannot accept Marxists,
Leninists, Bolivarians' schools, which teach children
to invade and commit crimes. We are going to close
those schools, and punish those responsible for
indoctrination.'

In contrast, the official, who is also the president of
the Rural Democratic Union (UDR), representative
of the Brazilian landowners, defended the land-
owner's right to react with bullets, when the
property is invaded.

Bolsonaro also said that he will not dialogue with the
movement and threatened to put an end to agrarian
reform processes, a measure, among many, from
which, he has had to back down.

The MST has responded that it does not indoctrinate
children and all settlement schools are public and
comply with the guidelines approved by the
Ministry of Education and recognized,
for
their high results.


____________________________________________



Venezuela’s supreme court declares
 all acts of opposition-led National
Assembly, illegal
Published time: 21st of January, at 5:57pm

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has declared all acts of
the country’s National Assembly null and void,
days after the opposition-held assembly
declared President Nicolas Maduro’s
 election illegitimate.

The National Assembly, is a 167-seat legislature -
currently headed by Juan Guaidó of the Popular
Will party – a fierce opponent of Maduro, who
had been taking part in protests against him
and has called for the country’s military to
depose the president.

Maduro already declared the National Assembly illegitimate
 in 2017, and created a new legislature - the Constituent
National Assembly - to replace it, where all seats are
currently held by pro-Maduro parties. As Maduro
lacks the Constitutional power to outright
 dissolve the National Assembly, both
 houses have functioned alongside
 each other, since 2017, with the
 CNA given power to overrule
legislation passed by the
National Assembly.

Maduro was sworn in last week after winning re-election
 last May. The opposition-led assembly and a coalition
of neighboring countries, declared Maduro’s
election
illegitimate.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Maduro’s
 election “illegitimate” and a “sham,” and vowed to
 keep up diplomatic pressure on the Venezuelan
government.

Guaidó was briefly detained by secret police en route
 to a rally last week. Maduro insisted that Guaidó’s
 arrest was not government-ordered, and may
have been staged for the media.

The Supreme Court’s announcement comes amid news
 of anti-government demonstrations in the country’s
capital, as well as a mutiny by a National Guard
 unit stationed in a slum neighborhood near the
Presidential Palace. Government forces
 arrested 40 National Guardsmen and
fired tear gas at protesters, in the
early hours of Monday morning.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said on Twitter
 that the rogue soldiers will “be punished with the full
 weight of the law.”

Video footage from the neighborhood shows protesters
lighting fires, and blocking the streets with barricades.

The ongoing crisis in Venezuela is being closely followed
 by US media and politicians, the majority of whom are
 openly anti-Maduro. Vice President Mike Pence has
expressed support for Guaidó, calling the National
Assembly the “only legitimate body in the country,”
 while Florida Senator Marco Rubio has repeatedly
called Maduro’s government “illegitimate” and
pressed for regime change in the Latin
 American country.

Venezuela has been mired by hyperinflation, starvation,
 and a refugee crisis, that has seen almost three million
Venezuelans flee the country. Washington has blamed
 the socialist economic policies of Maduro and his
mentor, Hugo Chavez, for the deepening crisis,
while passing sanctions against the Maduro
government officials. The latest major batch
 of sanctions was in September, signed by
 President Donald Trump, who once
announced he is “not going to
rule
out a military option” in
addressing the crisis
in Venezuela.

(Source - RT)


_____________________________________




President of Bolivia
Calls for Giving the Right

 a 'Blow' in Elections
January 20th, at 8:38am

Prensa Latina - The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has
called on the people on Sunday to give a ''blow'' to the
right in the primary elections on January 27th --- after
 assessing massive rallies supporting his candidacy.

Morales said that those demonstrations in favor of the
 ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS,) are a
warning towards the national elections, and a
spontaneous and voluntary reaction against
the lies, humiliations and offenses, spread
by
the opposition.

At a rally to proclaim the Evo-Alvaro candidacy at the
Guadalquivir Coliseum in Tarija, Morales described
that the worst offense and 'crime' of the right, 
against Bolivians, is to present candidates
for elections, without any government
program.

'Politics is a science - of service to the people,' he said.

He affirmed that his political movement will always be,
 to support the neediest, while announcing his great
desire --- of reaching 2025 with 100 percent of the
population with water services, and electricity,
 and continuing to reduce poverty in
 the country.

The political organizations enabled for the primary and
 general elections are: Third System Movement (MTS),
Bolivian National Action Party (PAN-BOL), Movement
toward Socialism (MAS), Revolutionary Nationalist
Movement (MNR), Citizen Community Alliance (CC),
Civic Solidarity Unit (UCS), 'Bolivia Says No'
alliance, Christian Democratic Party (PDC)
and the Front for Victory (FPV).


______________________________________________





Diosdado Cabello Urges
 Venezuelan People to
Support Maduro
January 18th, 2019.

Prensa Latina - Diosdado Cabello, First Vice President
 of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV),
on Friday, has called on the Venezuelan people
 to support President Nicolas Maduro''s
 administration - in the face of an
onslaught from the national
and
the international right,
against
constitutionality.

During an act of popular support for the Bolivarian
Revolution,
held in Sucre state, the political leader
stated that: 


'imperialism and its lackeys must be very clear
- that we will defend what has been achieved
and what is about to be achieved'.

In this regard, Cabello evoked Commander Hugo Chavez's
request, to remain united, civically and militarily, in the
defense of national sovereignty.

''We don't meddle with anybody - we demand respect.
We
must remember Commander Chavez's command
- to
remain united - to defend the Homeland.
We are
forced to defend ourselves', the
National
Constituent Assembly
President stated.

He also affirmed that the socialist militancy, together
with the Popular Power, will be aware, and face the
 opposition pretensions - which called for a
mobilization on January 23rd -  to
'disregard' the Head of State.

He stressed that the 'right wing wants to frighten us
- who have come from the street - where we have
learned how to defend what we want. If they
cross the line, on January 23rd - we all
go
to Caracas.

Cabello emphasized that, with the call for gathering,
the Venezuelan people will pay tribute to the
popular leaders who fought in 1958 for the
Marcos Perez Jimenez dictatorship's
overthrow, who were later betrayed
by the right wing leaderships.

''We are going to the streets on January 23rd, to
 remind the world, that Venezuela will not be
betrayed again. We are going to tell those
who sold this country, that they are not
going to continue betraying and
 manipulating this people', the
PSUV leader asserted.

He also indicated that the right wing elements lack
seriousness in their political actions, which is why
they use media shows to post negative arguments
against the Bolivarian government.


_____________________________________





UN Stresses Concern
 over Assassinations of
Social Leaders in Colombia
January 13th, at 9:17am

Prensa Latina - The representative of the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia,
Alberto Brunori, has urged the Government
of Ivan Duque to urgently take measures
--- to halt the increasing number of
assassinations of social leaders.

Brunori expressed concern over the rise of crimes
against human rights defenders and land claimers
in regions of Cauca department, southwestern
Colombia.

In the first few days of 2019 there are many dead,
most in Cauca, stressed the UN representative
alluding to the killing of seven social leaders
 in the first week of the year.

The Italian political scientist hailed the Government's
meeting last Friday, in which a Plan of Timely Action
was discussed. It envisions a strategy to counter
social violence in Colombia. However, he
stressed that urgent measures should
be taken quickly, to put up a system
 aimed at guaranteeing protection
 for social leaders.

According to the nation's Ombudsman Office, since the
 signing of the Peace Agreements two years ago, some
358 Colombian have been murdered for their political
beliefs or for being linked to social demands.

Human rights organizations believe the figure is higher,
tagging it at over 400, including nearly 100 former
fighters of the former guerrilla Colombian
Revolutionary Armed Forces -
 People's Army.

On Saturday, Colombia's Attorney General, Nestor
Martinez, admitted - for the first time - that there
is a pattern of systematic killings of social
leaders.


___________________________________________




Obrador: Fourth Transformation
 to End Corruption in Mexico
January 12th, at 6:55am

Prensa Latina - The Fourth Transformation of Public Life
 has already begun, not a governmental change, but a
change of regime, and this is also going to end
 Mexico's main problem, corruption, insisted
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,
on Saturday.

The president, in a speech in Guerrero's mountains, where
 he launched the pension increase program for pensioners
and senior citizens, he asked: 'why, in such a rich country,
with such a working people, there is so much poverty?' 

And he answered: 'because of the cancer of
corruption. And that's going to end.'

He reflected on the issue and said that Mexico's problem
 is not a lack of money to budget, it is corruption. 'What
 is already being done?' He asked again. 'Well, don't
 allow it,' and he gave as an example, the theft of
 gasoline, one of his main current battles:

'When I assumed government,' he said, 'from the very first days
 I was informed of an average of 800 pipes of 20,000 litres of
 gasoline a day being stolen, they overwhelmed me, and
 I said, 'It's over'.

'We now have pressures, resistance, but let's see
who gets tired first. Corruption will not be
allowed,' he insisted.

'Do you know how much was stolen last year, in just fuel?
 65 billion pesos (three billion 260 million dollars) and
with impunity. That money is no longer going to be
stolen -- and that money is going to be used,
everything we save, to support the people.'

He announced that luxury in government is also ending.

 'I don't live in Los Pinos (presidential houses) and the
executive plane is already for sale, in California.'

'We're going to sell the whole aircraft fleet, helicopter fleet,
government fleet. We are going to make, in the Santa
 Lucia military airport, an international fair, for
buyers to come and, in sets, we are going
to sell 80 airplanes and helicopters - to
be used for the senior public service.'

'There can be no rich government
with poor people,' he said.

'We have already lowered the salaries of the top,
because
we are raising the wages of those
below. For the first time
in thirty years,
the minimum wage was increased
by
16 percent.'

'We are also going to guarantee health rights, medical
attention, free medicines,' although he admitted that
 this is going to be harder, 'because the national
 health system is very bad, there are no
doctors, there are no nurses, and
we
have to resolve this
situation, step

by step.'


_______________________________________




China, Russia,
Strengthen
Ties
with Venezuela

January 12th, at 6:40am

Prensa Latina - China and Russia's high-level delegations
 held - on Saturday - meetings with the Venezuelan Vice
 President, Delcy Rodriguez, to strengthen cooperation
ties between their respective countries, and the South
American nation.

Representatives of China's Popular Bank, headed
 one of the meetings with Rodriguez, according to
 information released in Caracas, by the vice
presidency's office. She also exchanged
views with Ilyas Umakhanov, VP of the
Russian Federation Council of the
 Federal Assembly, as part of the
strategic alliance between
both countries.

Delegations from Belarus, Syria, Palestine and other
 governments and international organizations, met
with Caracas Executive authorities, as part of the
 country's peace diplomacy.

The international delegations are in the country
 after participating this January 10th, in Nicolas
Maduro's inauguration, for his 2019-2025
presidential term.

Ninety-four delegations from countries such as
 Cuba, Bolivia, El Salvador and Ecuador,
 attended the swearing-in ceremony.


___________________________________________________




Maduro sworn in for new
presidential term

 in Venezuela
January 11th, at 11:16am

Xinhua - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in
 before the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), to begin a new
 six-year term, on Thursday, with delegations from
 94 countries in attendance.