ALEX PEREIRA, cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes,  addressing the News Line Anniversary Rally on Sunday
ALEX PEREIRA, cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes, addressing the News Line Anniversary Rally on Sunday

THIS is the period of world revolution.

That was the message delivered to the News Line Anniversary Rally attended by 200 youth and workers in east London on Sunday.

The rally also commemorated 67 years since the assassination of Leon Trotsky and 90 years since the Russian Revolution.

Opening the rally, chairman Sheila Torrance said: ‘The working class has to go forward to drive out capitalism and imperialism all over the world.

‘Our party is being built for that purpose, to establish socialism in Britain and worldwide.

‘The ruling class are living on borrowed money and borrowed time and are staggering from day in to day out.

‘We’re living in the middle of all this, where the working class is fighting and won’t accept bearing the brunt of the world crisis.’

ASLEF train drivers union member Bill Rogers, secretary of the North East London Council of Action, addressed the rally.

He said: ‘We founded the Council of Action in January of this year and every month since March we’ve had pickets either at North Middlesex or Chase Farm Hospital.’

He said that the Council of Action decided to organise a march against the closure of Chase Farm and 3,000 people turned out to support it.

‘The principle of the Council of Action is by all means necessary, including occupation, to defend the NHS and any hospital threatened with closure.

‘There were cheers to that and a group of hospital workers themselves led a march into the hospital and we picketed outside the Clocktower.’

Addressing the rally, News Line Editor Paddy O’Regan said: ‘Our speakers are all in the front-line of the struggle, and we’re absolutely confident that their struggles will be won.’

He said that the October 1917 Revolution in Russia ‘proved the correctness of Marxist theory, that the working class was the gravedigger of capitalism, and its historical mission was to bury the capitalist system.’

He stressed: ‘The working class has to have a party that intervenes in every struggle, in order to develop a revolutionary consciousness in the working class, since such a consciousness does not develop automatically out of the struggle itself.

‘The Bolshevik party was built precisely to organise this struggle.

‘This is what the Bolshevik party did in Russia in April 1917 when Lenin called to end any support of the provisional government and demanded that the revolution should advance to its second stage and that the soviets should take the power.’

O’Regan continued: ‘Lenin and Trotsky weren’t nationalists – they were internationalists who understood that the Russian revolution was the start of the world socialist revolution.’

O’Regan added that despite Stalinist deformations the planned economy established by the October revolution had enormous power and enabled the Red Army to defeat Naziism after Hitler’s invasion of the USSR.

Referring to the attempts of the Stalinist leaders in Russia to return to capitalism, he told the rally: ‘Putin couldn’t carry forward what Gorbachev and Yeltsin started, because the Russian workers were determined to fight capitalist restoration, and to defend the gains of October.’

O’Regan continued: ‘Now history has turned once again: We’re now entering the period for the completion of the world revolution.’

‘The defeat of the imperialists in Iraq has ushered in this change,’ he said.

‘Oil is now $100 a barrel. Banks are collapsing, out-put is falling, and the centres of revolution are the advanced countries of Europe and America.

‘The struggle to defend pensions, jobs, wages, to stop the privatisation of education, to prevent youth from becoming cheap labour, is being waged all across Europe from London to Paris, Berlin and Athens.’

He said: ‘the ruling classes must destroy the gains that workers have made, and the working class has no alternative but to defend them, and to go forward to socialist revolutions.

‘Britain is now the sick man of Europe, it’s the capital of indebtedness. Its bank and housing market is heading for a crash.’

Speaking about the impact of this crisis on the government and the British ruling class, he said: ‘A funny thing has happened to Mr Brown. A few weeks ago they were saying that he was the man with the “clunking fist”. Now they say he’s Mr Bean.’

‘This is after he has done everything that the employers wanted him to do for them. he has been a really faithful servant.’

‘The reason for this is the depth of the crisis where huge cuts are going to have to be made and the ruling class fears that a government that has one foot on the trade unions will not be able to carry out such massive cuts.

‘The leaders of the British army are saying that the army must increase its size. The US government is saying it must be twice its size if Britain is to keep its special relationship as the US’ chief mercenary.

‘The army chiefs are now mounting daily assaults on the Brown government.

‘The ruling class don’t want some government that will mess around, they want a government that crushes the working class,’ O’Regan warned.

‘It is obvious that the military think that the Health and the defence budgets should be swapped, so that defence gets £80 billion and health £30 billion plus.

‘A government with one foot on the trade unions cannot carry out this policy.

‘Therefore the chief thing about this government is which way is it going to fall. Is it going to be brought down by the working class in order to go forward to a workers government, or will it be brought down to the right, clearing the way for the Tories and the military chiefs.’

O’Regan stressed: ‘There has to be a new revolutionary leadership in the unions, that’s what the Workers Revolutionary Party is building.

‘It has to be prepared to bring down the Brown government to go forward to a workers government and socialism.

‘We say after long live the October revolution, forward to the World October!’

Consultant surgeon Anna Athow, speaking in a personal capacity, said that despite countless petitions against the closure of district general hospitals, the government was proceeding with it closure plans.

She called for the mobilisation of local residents and trade unionists in Councils of Action and the building of a new leadership in the unions ‘to call for national strike action’.

Workers Revolutionary Party General Secretary Frank Sweeney said: ‘Over the last two weeks we’ve had a procession of retired chiefs of staff and a present chief of staff, Dannatt, attack Prime Minister Brown and the Brown government.

He said it was a ‘nonsense’ to say that the British occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were suffering defeat because of a lack of equipment.

‘They have rained death and destruction on the people of these countries, there has been no shortage of bombs – and we know British and American occupation forces don’t count Iraqi casualties.’

He warned: ‘What they’re proposing is a completely different form of rule in this country.

‘They’re talking like they did over 70 years ago – that it’s either guns or butter, they can’t afford both.’

He said it was the implications of this economic crisis that was behind all the talk of strengthening the military and the police force.

He urged the rally: ‘Build our party and our youth movement into a mass youth movement.

‘The working class is tired of Labour and trade union bureaucrats holding the struggle back.

‘We’re getting ready for revolution in Britain as part of the world socialist revolution.’

Billy Colvill, a Peckham CWU rep, said: ‘The News Line told the truth about our leadership and its relations with Royal Mail and the TUC.

‘They sold us out. But, nevertheless, des

pite the whole union machine they had and area leaders who told us: You have to vote “yes’’ in that ballot, a magnificent 30 per cent voted against that lousy agreement and that’s unheard of.’

He urged: ‘We’ve got to build a new leadership in our unions that’s going to take this struggle forward.’

Sacked Gate Gourmet worker Lakhinder Saran, brought greetings to the News Line and said: ‘You have supported us from day one, over two years now, from August 10, 2005.’

She continued: ‘They sacked about 800 people.’

‘Even people who were on holiday or on their rest day were dismissed,’ she said.

‘When the workers at Heathrow heard about what had happened to us they all stopped work in support of us.

‘But our union leaders got them back to work the next day.’

She added: ‘We are determined never to give in.

‘We are determined to beat these ruthless privateers who destroy workers lives.’

Malkiat Bilku, who led the five-year-long Hillingdon Hospital strike against wage cutting and privatisation, also spoke.

She said: ‘This struggle is facing everyone.

‘We stood on principle at Hillingdon and we stuck with it. We were only 54 workers.’

But, she said: ‘we beat the privateers’ and ‘now the whole working class must do the same’.

Hengride Permal, chairman of the Chagos Islanders Community Association, said: ‘News Line has been there from the beginning of our campaign.

‘The Chagossian people were forced out of their island 40 years ago by the British government, who wanted it to be a military base.

‘We were sent into exile in Mauritius and the Seychelles Islands.

‘Three times the British government appealed against decisions in our favour.

‘On November 10 we gave a letter and organised a demonstration outside Downing Street.

‘I’d like to thank the WRP and News Line for exposing what the government have done to us.

‘We are not the only ones struggling – and News Line is exposing the details of all these struggles.’

Alex Pereira, the cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes, told the rally that still today the police were trying ‘to get away’ from what they did.

‘Most of you saw how in court they tried to show they didn’t do anything wrong.’

Referring to the decision not to charge any individual officers and bring a ‘health and safety’ prosecution against the police instead, he said: ‘We didn’t agree with that trial, but in the end we liked the way it came out.’

He said the jury had all agreed ‘that the police should be charged for this crime.

‘Now we hope that people like (Met Police chief) Blair will be sacked.’

Young Socialists National Secretary Nash Campbell said: ‘The NHS was brought in by a Labour government – now they want to destroy it.

‘The WRP and the YS are fighting to save the hospitals.

‘On the Chase Farm march, it was young people who were in the forefront.

He added: ‘We support every international struggle.

‘We say get the troops out of Iraq.’

In the evening the film ‘the Bolsheviks’ was shown.

The collection for the News Line was £541.65