Friday, May 29, 2009

A slap in the face for imperialism

Anglo-American imperialism and the rest of their pack at the United Nations are wailing at Democratic Korea’s latest nuclear test. None of this would have happened in the first place had the Americans honoured their agreement with the DPR Korea to build light-water reactors as they promised in 1994. None of this would have happened had the imperialists worked sincerely to resolve the nuclear issue and ease tension on the Korean peninsula during the Six-Party talks in Beijing. Instead the imperialists chose to continue to diplomatically and economically isolate north Korea in the hope of bringing down the socialist system of the DPRK.
With sickening hypocrisy the United States, with the blood of millions of Iraqis and Afghans on its hands, poses as the arbiter of “human rights” and “democracy” throughout the world.
Millions of Palestinian Arabs live under brutal Israeli occupation or languish in refugee camps but the imperialists do nothing. When Israel attacked Lebanon in July 2006 the imperialists did nothing to stop the fighting until it became clear that Israel was losing. When the people of Gaza defied the might of the Zionist war-machine in January the imperialists did nothing to stop it at the United Nations.
Democratic Korea has had no choice but to develop its nuclear energy programme and its own independent nuclear deterrent. The DPRK threatens no one. But it is surrounded by enemies. An American nuclear armada is stationed off the coast of Korea while tens of thousands of US troops prop up a puppet regime in the south. More troops are based in Japan, a willing vassal of US imperialism. The imperialists and their puppets do little to mask their true intentions which are to perpetuate the criminal partition of the Korean peninsula and restore the rule of the hated capitalists and landlords in the free north.
The DPRK nuclear test has demonstrated the resolve of the people of north Korea to defend their socialist system come what may. We whole-heartedly support them.

Boycott the European elections
The farcical European elections take place next week but in Britain hardly anyone knows who their MEPs are or what they do. In fact they do next to nothing apart from draw their colossal wages and expenses for taking part in a charade that is paid for by the workers of Europe.
In this election Labour and the two major opposition parties are united, in differing degrees, in support of European integration – the building of a European capitalist super-state revolving around British and Franco-German imperialism. The anti-EU opposition ranges from fringe left parties to the neo-nazi BNP, all scrabbling after the juicy perks that a seat in the EU parliament provides. The most successful is the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a rabid independent Tory front that is defending its nine British seats and has high hopes of gaining more from the backlash over the Commons expenses scandal. UKIP claims to fight to get Britain out of the EU. But what have UKIP’s nine MEPs achieved over the years? Absolutely nothing apart from drawing their Euros.
In Britain there is indifference and often outright hostility to the undemocratic institutions of the European Union. This was shown by the conscious decision of the vast majority of the electorate to boycott the 2004 European Parliament elections. Little more than a third of the electorate bothered to vote despite the blandishments of the media, the appeal of proportional representation to minority parties and the cajoling of the bourgeois parties. In many working class areas the turnout was even lower.
The European Parliament, like the Commission, has become a byword for undemocratic practices, corruption, nepotism and waste and fraud on a massive scale. The elections themselves are nothing more than a bogus public relations exercise for a body that possesses no meaningful executive powers at all. They don’t deserve the credibility of a vote at all. Boycott the EU elections in June!

Demand serious action on pensions!

By Renee Sams

THE BROWN government has at last increased the basic pension, which has now crept up to the grand sum of £95.25 a week. This means that at least one in four pensioners still lives below the official poverty line.
Millions of pensioners will have to rely on the means-tested benefits, an unpopular, demeaning and costly way of keeping retired people in the poverty trap.
Those who were relying on occupational pensions to provide them with a decent pension are facing a future without a pension as they are closed down. The funds lost £billions when the stock markets went into free fall and now are unable to pay out.
A large number of pensioners also invested their savings in expectation of a good return but the lowering on the Bank of England interest rate to 0.5 per cent has put paid to a lot of hopes.
There are people however who have no worries about their lives in retirement; one of them is bank boss Sir Fred Goodwin, who received his knighthood for services to banking and was the architect of the RBS loss of £24.1 billion.
The bank was only saved by a multi-billion pound bail out by the Government with, of course, the taxpayers’ money.
He won’t be joining in the pensioners’ demand for at least a pension at the official poverty level of £151 per week.
His pension of £693,000, funded by the taxpayers, which is a staggering £13,000 a week, will ensure that he can live a life of luxury and enjoyment for the rest of his life.
Taxpayers’ money also came in handy to save the banks facing collapse caused by the reckless gambling of bankers greedy for ever higher bonuses.
The Government pumped in almost £1,200 billion of our money to save the banking system which will cost us dearly in public spending cuts and is prepared to stand by with more money if more banks are in danger of collapse.
Some members of Parliament, once elected, were seduced by ambition and greed and found that a life of luxury could be funded by the lax system of expenses they were allowed.
They made use of the system to pay off mortgages on their second homes but apparently absentmindedly let the loan payments carry on after the mortgage was paid up.
Since the pensioners’ lobby of Parliament on 22nd October 2008 two important Bills have become law, the Pension Reform Bill and the Welfare Reform Bill.
Despite a large number of pensioners, including some trades unionists, calling on their MPs to oppose the Bill it was passed with members of all three parties voting for it.
The word “reform” is one of the most used and abused words in the English language, particularly by health service consultants, senior managers and politicians.
Originally the word was meant to “improve” but in the mouths of ministers and politicians it has come to mean the privatisation and the break up of once public organisations. The results have been continually worsening services and ever rising costs.
Working people showed their discontent with the situation that is making thousands worse off, with demonstrations in the City, centre of banking and finance, Docklands, Trafalgar Square, and towns all over the country on 1st April.
Thousands of people demonstrated on a variety of issues including, peace, for better pensions, for justice and democracy, jobs, food and healthcare before private gain.
Many pensioners were active on that day across the country in a number of towns; precisely at 11 am pensioners’ organisations and action groups voiced their anger at receiving a pension well below the official poverty level.
They will have a chance to express their anger again at the Pensioners’ Parliament organised by the National Pensioners’ Convention.
It is even more important this year because the Government is about to establish a new forum to be called the UK Forum on Ageing and the second reason for its importance is that at it centre is health and social care.
Introducing it in the House of Commons, Minister Rosie Winterton said: “This will bring together representative views of older people at a national level, and will build links with forums in the devolved nations, the English regions and at local level.”
She explained that “the Government will set up a new structure with a designated regional co-ordinator for older people’s engagement in each English region” and “This will build on existing arrangements for older people and address weaknesses in the current structure.”
Sceptical pensioners feel that this may turn out to be another example of pensioners being told what is best for them and who best represents them. If it is, then it will need mass protests and demonstration of the kind that took place in April but on a far larger scale.
The National Pensioners’ Parliament will be held on 2nd -4th June in Blackpool.