Year 2000 No. 11, January 24, 2000

Workers’ Weekly Recommences Publication

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index : Discuss

Workers’ Weekly Recommences Publication

Reject the Government’s "Law and Order" Bills!

RCPB(ML) and CAEF Activists Organise a Leafleting Campaign in Longbridge over Rover Issue

Newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
170, Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2LA. Phone 0207 627 0599
Web Site: http://www.rcpbml.org.uk
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Workers’ Weekly Recommences Publication

WDIE is very excited to announce that Workers’ Weekly, the weekly broadsheet newspaper of RCPB(ML), has recommenced publication for the year 2000. The combined issues, numbers 1 and 2 of volume 30, came off the press on Saturday, and are dated January 15-22, 2000.

There have been a number of improvements to the form of the newspaper, including a new masthead. In addition, the quality of its content reflects the spirit of the Party of the working class as it advances into the 21st century on the line of march charted at the 3rd Congress towards a socialist Britain.

To begin with, there will be material in common between Workers’ Weekly and WDIE. But the profile of Workers’ Weekly will develop in line with building the mass party press and developing the instrument of the newspaper as a collective organiser. It will develop as a weapon with which to wage the class struggle, an instrument in the hands of the class which it uses to provide itself with consciousness and organisation as the Party is built in the heart of the class and the class conscious workers organise the broad section to take up the independent programme of the class and fight for their collective interests. Its content will continue to develop to speak with the voice of the workers, as well as providing an outlet for the voice of the youth. The same is true for the women and other sections of the people. It will further provide informational, reference and background material for this purpose. For example, in issue number 1-2 of the newspaper, there are explanatory notes on the government’s Terrorism Bill.

To make Workers’ Weekly a success, it must be widely distributed amongst the working class and people and reflect their concerns for a new society. We call on all the Party activists and sympathisers to organise to make this aim a reality, to make their contribution to the newspaper, and to raise finance for its development, including campaigning to get new subscribers to the paper. We are sure that if this is done, Workers’ Weekly will be successful in developing its role as a collective organiser of the working class, as well as becoming a force in the communist and workers’ movement.

Improve the Content, Extend the Readership!

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Reject the Government’s "Law and Order" Bills!

The government was forced to withdraw its Bill to erode the right to trial by jury after its defeat on January 20 in the House of Lords. The proposed legislation, the Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) Bill, had been introduced in the Lords. Government ministers said that the Bill would be reintroduced in the next parliament, going first to the House of Commons, and then the attempt would be made to force it through the Lords.

The Bill was one of the "law and order" measures in the government’s legislative programme, which also includes the Terrorism Bill. It had proposed to end the right of defendants to elect for trial by jury in certain indictable offences which may be tried "either way", i.e. summarily before a magistrate or by jury in a Crown Court. The right of the accused to elect in this way dates back to the Criminal Justice Act of 1855. The Bill proposed that the decision would in future be up to the magistrate and that the consent of the defendant was not required, although the Bill specified a right of appeal. The Bill had been condemned by a wide spectrum of opinion, including civil liberties campaigners and legal experts. It is clear, they had pointed out, that the Bill would create a two-tier system of justice with the vulnerable unable to challenge the summary justice of a magistrate’s court, and the magistrate able to take into account the defendant’s "reputation".

The Bill was a central piece of Tony Blair’s "modernising" agenda, in this case to "modernise the criminal justice system". Small wonder then that its defeat was an occasion for his tilting at the "forces of conservatism" that are supposedly at work to wreck this agenda. According to Blair, these particular forces of conservatism were an alliance of Tories, Liberal Democrats and leaders of "lawyers’ trade unions". This hysterical outburst of Tony Blair serves to further expose the nature of his "modernising" agenda and the spuriousness of the term "forces of conservatism". The government had gone to the unusual lengths of publishing a briefing on the Bill beforehand, which sought to justify it, and point out the aim of deciding on which system it is which best "punishes the guilty" and which "speeds up justice". The point is, who is to decide who is guilty and what is justice.

The issue is not so much that the government is attacking a fair system of "British justice". The picture rather which emerges is the whole trend and direction of this government’s policies and legislation, which is to criminalise the whole of society, and particularly be able to secure a higher rate of convictions, and to make political questions into law and order ones. Once the "reputation" of the accused, particularly of the youth, is brought into consideration, it is evident which sections of society the government is targeting with such proposed legislation.

The defeat of the Bill with, at the same time, the government’s insistence that it will introduce it also underlines the necessity for a modern constitution which defines the fundamental law of the land, the rights and duties of citizens, and is drafted by the people themselves. The Bill once more exposes that laws can be passed by the fiat of government.

All of the government’s "law and order" Bills should be rejected and the struggle for political renewal must be stepped up. It is necessary to look thoroughly into what the government is aiming to do with its legislative programme and to target the undemocratic political process and to work for a genuinely modern democratic political process and institutions as a component part of the class struggle against the anti-social offensive.

Article Index


RCPB(ML) and CAEF Activists Organise a Leafleting Campaign in Longbridge over Rover Issue

On Sunday afternoon, January 23, RCPB(ML) activists and supporters of CAEF (Campaign against Euro-Federalism) organised a mass leafleting campaign of the Longbridge area where many workers at the main Rover plant live. In all there were eight people involved in a 2-hour session. The purpose of the campaign is part of a longer-term programme to tackle the problem of marginalisation of the Rover workers, particularly on the issue of the interference of the EU and the German monopoly BMW, in the working lives of thousands of Rover workers and associated suppliers in the area. The broader campaign intends to go directly to the factory, distribute inside through supporters and hold a public meeting in the Longbridge district. The Campaign Against Euro-Federalism is intending to hold a major national conference in Birmingham soon.

The action started briskly on a fine sunny winter's day. Streets were covered distributing large numbers of special Party leaflets which advertised Workers’ Weekly with a bright red heading at the top. The two-page leaflet contained news of the Workers’ Daily Internet Edition with web site and E-Mail for the resource centre, which has been made available for the workers. It has asked workers to form discussion groups and contribute towards the Workers and Politics section with their own reports and articles. Also included in the leaflet was an example of an article recently printed in the Workers’ Daily Internet Edition about the EU and Rover. A leaflet by CAEF was also distributed on a wide scale with people signing up to the campaign on the spot. Apart from this, a number of copies of the Party's The Line of March to a New Society were sold.

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