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Unity! THE UGLY FACE OF RACISM

by Steve Silver

The news that two of the killers of Stephen Lawrence have been refused leave to appeal against their conviction was widely welcomed last month. But it should not blind us to the racist injustices that continue to blight our society. To begin with, the other murderers of a bright, popular 18-year old youth in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993 are still at large. Their names are well known, but they have so far escaped justice because of a criminally negligent investigation carried out by an institutionally racist police force. That was the conclusion of the Macpherson Inquiry 13 years ago. It would be churlish not to recognise that attitudes have since improved in some parts of the Metropolitan and other police services. But there is plenty of evidence that racist views, presumptions and habits still abound in police forces across Britain. For example, it is still the case that young black men are up to 28 times more likely to be stopped and searched on suspicion of criminal intent than their white counterparts. Black defendants charged with a criminal offence are still more likely to be found guilty, locked up and be given longer sentences than white criminals found guilty of the same offence. It almost goes without saying that almost all of the the magistrates and judges who send them down are white.

It is our society that is institutionally racist, not just one particular police force or the criminal injustice system. From school onwards, despite the best efforts of many dedicated teachers, levels of expectation, support and achievement are lower for black children. In the world of work, prejudice and discrimination are still quite widespread. So it's not surprising that unemployment, criminal conviction and prison population rates are significantly higher among black youth. In fact, the jobless rate for young black men has now reached 56 per cent, twice that for whites. Our immigration, asylum and nationality laws are riddled with racism, based as

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Communists at the TUC 2012 Tuesday 11 September manyPare on the distinction between the 'Old Commonwealth' countries (mostly white) and the 'New Commonwealth' (mostly black or Asian). Britain's treatment of refugees, asylum seekers, 'overstayers', non-EU immigrants and migrant workers – disproportionate numbers of whom are non-white – is a blot on what is supposed to be a civilised country, the sixth richest in the world. And all of these inequalities are compounded by the lack of real democratic accountability in our society, from the police and intelligence services, judges and MPs to the mass media and big business corporations. That enormous democratic deficit will not be resolved by electing a party hack, a wealthy but bored entrepreneur or someone wearing a monkey suit as local mayor or police commissioner. The most fundamental inequalities in our society are those that arise from capitalism itself, between the big shareholders who own economic and financial assets (and who are mostly white) and those who rely on wages, benefits and pensions (who are black and white). That is why, today, one-tenth of Britain's population own two-thirds of all the personal wealth, while half the population own less than 10 per cent of it. We will only do full justice to the memory of Stephen Lawrence when we create a society in which all our children, of every race and culture, can develop to their full potential in It needs to be said more often – that will only be a socialist society. Steve Silver is convenor of the Communist Party’s Anti-Racism Anti-Fascism Commission and former editor of Searchlight magazine

A People’s Britain not a Bankers’ Britain Mobilise for the March Against Austerity

Morning Star Rally Hear Frances O'Grady, Paul Kenny President TUC, Len McCluskey Unite, Matt Wrack FBU, Bob Crow RMT, Steve Gillan POA, Megan Dobney SERTUC, Richard Bagley Editor Morning Star, John Haylett Political Editor Morning Star, Tsiaples Anastosis PAME and president regional TU centre of Larissa in Greece Tuesday 11 September 2012 lunchtime UMI Hotel 60-64 Kings Road Brighton Refreshments available (sponsored by Unite)

At the Labour Party conference? Don’t forget to turn out for the Star rally on Monday 1 October, lunchtime in Manchester Central


A POWERFUL FORUM FOR WOMEN IN THE LABOUR MOVEMENT

by Anita Wright Delegates from 49 countries – meeting at the 15th congress of the Women’s International Democratic Federation in April in Brazil pledged to continue the fight for peace, full employment and equality. The final statement made it clear that the current world crisis is not simply one of debt or the failure of management by neo-liberal or social democratic governments, but the crisis of the capitalist system itself. The statement went on to deplore the destruction of the environment that exacerbated a food crisis particularly in Africa and Asia, and condemned continuing inter-imperialist aggression that increased the likelihood of war, with women and children being the first victims of wars and occupations. In summing up the Congress, Vinie Burrows the great US campaigner – and WIDF delegate to the UN – said: ‘Our earth and all living things may be on the verge of extinction: climate change, global warming, and environmental degradation are real threats in a world of nine billion people where one percent live lavishly and avariciously, consuming one-quarter of the world’s total resources while the rest of us, the 99%, struggle along for work, for bread, for shelter, for dignity and for political power to change our lives.’ The Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) which was founded after the Second World War, was the first

powerful forum for women in the trade women’s mass organisation in history. union and labour movement because the It evolved as a result of the efforts of breadth and range of experiences within the women worldwide, notably those in the newly created socialist countries, to unite in organisation helps to deepen our understanding of the economic, political the cause for an everlasting peace between and ideological attack we face and equips nations and creating the conditions for us with the knowledge and resolve to guaranteeing real equality for women and continue the fight for a more just and equal for the protection of children. world. It deserves the full support of our It inspired the creation of women’s trade union and labour movement. organisations in many countries, including Anita Wright was elected secretary of the the formation of the National Assembly of National Assembly of Women at its AGM in Women (NAW) here in Britain in 1952 on May this year International Women’s Day (8 March). As the only British affiliate to the WIDF, the NAW has links with sister organisations all over the world giving it a uniquely internationalist and antiimperialist political perspective. It is also deeply rooted in the trade union and labour movement NAW in its 60th year – ence – organised by the fer con the is Th which is why national and k beneath the surface of nsored by Unison will loo spo list ita and cap g regional trade unions are mine the underlyin ConDem’s policies and exa women. affiliated and Frances rking people, particularly wo on gy and its impact ate str O’Grady and Rita equalities Donaghy are listed by Sarah Veale, head of The discussion will be led ison’s Un ls, TUC and Gloria Mil amongst its viceand employment at the l cover wil ns sio alities. Other ses presidents. national secretary for equ ustry ind s arm the ce, al pay; pea The National Assembly of women in leadership; equ the in society, the family, and Women was one of the first and conversion; women ng people. en organisations to sign up to the rights of childr and you affiliate go to Women’s Charter, acknowledging To find out more and to www.sisters.org.uk the essential elements of that Charter to promote the full development of women in society, in the workplace and in their trades unions. The National Assembly of Women is a

POWER & POLITICS ACK SISTERS FIGHT B


EQUALITY UNDER INCREASING ATTACK

by Liz Payne The attack on equality by the Coalition government and big business interests it represents is unprecedented. What we are witnessing is clearly just the beginning of more dangerous and disturbing things to come. We have seen the start of a drive to provide the cheapest possible services in the public sector to the minimum number of people and privatise everything else. The private sector, including huge monopolies, is being given the opportunity to maximise profit from the provision of services at ever worsening standards. Benefits are being slashed to provide the bare minimum or less to as few as possible. All this is being done with cruel disregard for its impact on the majority of people and the most vulnerable in our society in particular – poverty, unemployment, lack of even the most basic support and care, isolation, illness and death. Women have been disproportionately affected by the service cuts on which they depend, cuts to benefits and job loss. Several million older people live in poverty and youth unemployment and life prospects are dire, with young black people worst affected. Discrimination against black and ethnic minorities is blighting the lives of thousands. People with disabilities are being forced into work. The potential of the Equality Act 2010, to support a fairer society has been systematically undermined. The possibility of challenge and redress is being removed. Privatised services are placed beyond the reach of public control. Public sector accountability for addressing and

promoting equalities is being eroded. In the private sector, businesses are encouraged to have less and less regard for ‘red tape’ equality requirements. The remit and resources of the Equality and Human Rights Commission are under attack and its accessibility severely curtailed, while pre-claim questionnaires and unaffordable charges are set to keep discrimination cases out of court. The media peddles a culture of animosity to victims of discrimination and the collective impact of policies and measures on groups of people with shared characteristics – women, people with disabilities, black people – is discounted, sidelined and ignored. All of this constitutes a deliberate and unprovoked attack on the most vulnerable and discriminated against in Britain in the interests of big business and profit. It is designed to make not only the rich richer but the poor poorer and in doing so to drag down the expectations, wages and conditions of all sections of working people. It also constitutes a political onslaught designed to divide us precisely when it is most crucial that we unite to challenge the government and big business, the real causes of poverty and exclusion. We must stand together now against every cut, service removal, job loss and slashed benefit and for each and every democratic, trade union and human right. We must show the people of this country that things don’t have to be this way. We must get this government out and together create a genuinely fairer and more just society. The trade union movement is and must remain at the forefront of this struggle. Liz Payne is the Communist Party’s national women’s organiser

Urgent international

Three issues demand the urgent attention of trade unionists in Britain

Syria The Communist Party condemns the governments of Britain and the US for their active incitement of civil war in Syria. Their demand for regime change represents an attempt to drive forward an aggressive programme of regional control: changing the balance of power in Lebanon, isolating Iran and freeing Israel for potential military action. The open supply of heavy weaponry by US allies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey - none of whose governments respect the civil liberties of trade unionists or ethnic minorities - exposes the dangerous hypocrisy of their plans. The urgent need is to create an environment for negotiations and for the implementation of necessary political reforms. South Africa The Communist Party condemns the shooting of trade unionists at the Marikana mine. It notes that the constitutionally independent South African judiciary has now bowed to the campaign by the ANC and dropped charges against the miners. It welcomes the government’s decision to call for a full public enquiry. It shares the concern of the South African NUM that mining companies in South Africa, some British owned, have been pursuing a policy of promoting splinter unions and inciting divisions among workers. Iran The impact of the threat of a new war and economic sanctions on the life of Iranian workers cannot be ignored by trades unionists. The economy of Iran is collapsing under the pressure of the imposed sanctions; with factories closing, thousands of workers sacked and wages paid sporadically - many workers have not paid for up to 18 months. Workers are protesting but, due to repression and the fact that the regime doesn't allow independent and genuine trade unions to operate, they are isolated from each other and their protests easily contained. The Iranian regime is using the threat of foreign intervention as an excuse to increase the repression of workers. Trade unionists and workers activists are being constantly harassed and a number of progressive writers and human rights activists have been arrested in recent months. Stand in solidarity with all workers of the world.


People’s Charter Fringe

er 6pm Tuesday 11 Septemb Road, rth No e, Brighthelm Centr on ght Bri Len McCluskey UNITE, Kevin Courtney NUT ple’s Charter Pat Sikorski RMT & Peo Commission Chair : John Hendy QC, People’s Charter Commission

STOP THE EU (we want to get off) by Anita Halpin As the economic capitalist crisis deepens relentlessly the myth of the ‘social’ chapter, the reason so many trades unionists loyally supported the EU, is well and truly shattered. It is our view that it is now time for workers to support Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and, as the first step, to campaign for a referendum. Once outside the EU this country will recover democratic control over its economy and be able to implement measures to save manufacturing, restore employment rights and rescue our welfare state. The EU serves the interests of big business and the banks. No wonder Cameron, Clegg and Cable support the Single Market as it enables the City of London to continue to dominate EU finance and banking. For all their political posturing on a referendum, at the end of the day the ConDem’s agenda is clear: to save the City’s access to the Single Market. The anti-democratic and pro-big business character of the EU is now fully exposed as it replaces elected governments and the European Central Bank - with its partners in crime the International Monetary Fund and the World Central Bank – impose drastically deflationary policies on one country after another. In the USA, Obama’s economic stimulus package created new jobs but such investment programmes are outlawed in the EU. Quite clearly the ECB is not prepared to replicate this for France or any other member

state as shown by the latest offer to make funds available to bankers and financial institutions while austerity policies are still forced on the rest of us. The peoples of France and Greece expressed their clear opposition to the EU’s privatisation policies in their votes for socialist, Communist and other left candidates. Throughout Europe, we have seen the electorates’ reaction to the debt crisis with 11 out of the 17 members of the Eurozone have collapsed or been voted out of office. And they still don’t get it. You can’t oppose austerity budgeting while remaining committed to EU membership and the single currency. It is impossible to separate rejection of the austerity programme from the institutions that crafted it or to discard policies created solely to sustain those same institutions. The CPB believes that a commitment by left and progressive forces in this country to withdraw from the EU will strengthen the position of all those in Europe fighting to preserve and defend their democracies and living standards. That is why trades unionists have a duty to say enough is enough: we want to get out. The message is beginning to get across, but still too slowly. In March the ETUC unequivocally condemned the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance, which imposes even more deflationary budget controls and directly abrogates the democracy of debtor states. In April the STUC annual conference

condemned the anti-democratic and deflationary character of the EU and called to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on a most favoured nation trade agreement on the same basis as Norway but outside the provisions of the Single Market. In particular it stressed the critical threat the EU now poses to democracy and trade union rights. A threat that is week in week out is more and more evident but one we can combat; there are alternatives to EU-driven austerity. Anita Halpin is the Communist Party’s trade union coordinator


2012 TUC CP special edition UNITY  

Daily news from the CP at the TUC

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