135th Anniversary of the Death of Karl Marx


Karl Marx addressing the founding meeting of the International Workingmen’s Association in London, September 28, 1864.

Revolutionaries Take Up Marxism
As a Guide to Action

Mankind is shorter by a head, and that the greatest head of our time. The movement of the proletariat goes on, but gone is the central point to which Frenchmen, Russians, Americans and Germans spontaneously turned at decisive moments to receive always that clear indisputable counsel which only genius and consummate knowledge of the situation could give. Local lights and small talents, if not the humbugs, obtain a free hand. The final victory remains certain, but the detours, the temporary and local deviations — unavoidable as is — will grow more than ever. Well, we must see it through; what else are we here for? And we are far from losing courage because of it.    — Frederick Engels, March 15, 1883 [1]
Many changes have taken place since the life-long friend and close collaborator of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, wrote those words on March 15, 1883, one day after Marx passed away. And despite all the twists and turns the working class has gone through since then in its struggle for empowerment, the life and work of Karl Marx remain a “central point” to which all communist revolutionaries and all those who aspire for a new society must turn. Today, as was the case 135 years ago, only Marxism can provide the kind of “clear indispensable counsel which only genius and consummate knowledge of the situation could give.” Turning to Marxism means paying attention to the concrete analysis of the concrete conditions, to ensure that the “central point” of the contemporary world is established around which everybody else can rally and unite.

Today, even though there is one International Communist and Workers’ Movement, there is no one central point as existed at the time of the First International established by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels on September 28, 1864, at which time the authority of Marxism was established, or later at the time of the Third International, established by V.I. Lenin on March 2, 1919, when the authority of Leninism prevailed. The lack of one central point today is consistent with the state of affairs which prevails as a result of the retreat of revolution where communist parties the world over have their own central points. While this reflects the existence of different tendencies within this movement, it also underscores the need to elaborate Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought as the central point which develops and becomes profound only in the course of practice.

Painting of Karl Marx in discussion with workers.

In this regard, the greatest achievement of Karl Marx was to be a revolutionist who could not carry on his activities without revolutionizing social science. Social science was a body of knowledge scattered into various sections and claimed as the property of this or that individual or sect. With his two discoveries of the general law of motion of nature and society, the theory of dialectical and historical materialism, and the specific law of motion of capitalist society, the theory of surplus value, Karl Marx revolutionized social science as the body of knowledge of all those in whose interest it will be to organize proletarian socialist revolution. Revolutionized social science could no longer be merely the domain of some philosophers or ivory tower intellectuals. It became the preserve of those who would revolutionize society.

These achievements of Karl Marx, who remained a revolutionist in all fields, served as a guide to action for V.I. Lenin who further revolutionized social science, confirming what Marx had predicted, that without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement. This issue which posed itself at the time Karl Marx carried out his work, and after him V.I. Lenin, continues to pose itself today. All those who wish to be revolutionists have to follow Marxism as a guide in their practice.

On the occasion of the 135th anniversary of the death of Karl Marx, TML Weekly repeats what Engels wrote on March 15, 1883: “The final victory remains certain, but the detours, the temporary and local deviations — unavoidable as is — will grow more than ever. Well, we must see it through; what else are we here for? And we are far from losing courage because of it.”

Speech at the Graveside of Karl Marx

On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep — but forever.

An immeasurable loss has been sustained both by the militant proletariat of Europe and America, and by historical science, in the death of this man. The gap that has been left by the departure of this mighty spirit will soon enough make itself felt.

Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means of subsistence and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.

But that is not all. Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created. The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeois economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.

Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated — and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially — in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.

Such was the man of science. But this was not even half the man. Science was for Marx a historically dynamic, revolutionary force. However great the joy with which he welcomed a new discovery in some theoretical science whose practical application perhaps it was as yet quite impossible to envisage, he experienced quite another kind of joy when the discovery involved immediate revolutionary changes in industry, and in historical development in general. For example, he followed closely the development of the discoveries made in the field of electricity and recently those of Marcel Deprez.

For Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival. His work on the first Rheinische Zeitung(1842), the Paris Vorwärts (1844), the Deutsche Brüsseler Zeitung (1847), the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49), the New York Tribune (1852-61), and in addition to these, a host of militant pamphlets, work in organisations in Paris, Brussels and London, and finally, crowning all, the formation of the great International Working Men’s Association — this was indeed an achievement of which its founder might well have been proud even if he had done nothing else.

And, consequently, Marx was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time. Governments, both absolutist and republican, deported him from their territories. Bourgeois, both conservative or ultra-democratic, vied with one another in heaping slanders upon him. All this he brushed aside as though it were a cobweb, ignoring it, answering only when extreme necessity compelled him. And he died beloved, revered and mourned by millions of revolutionary fellow workers — from the mines of Siberia to California, in all parts of Europe and America — and I make bold to say that though he may have had many opponents he had hardly one personal enemy.

His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work!

Unveiling of monument to Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery, London, England in 1956.

(Foreign Language Publishing House, Moscow, 1955.)

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Health Agenda for Britain, the EU and the World: What should an Independent Position be?

Say No to the Neo-liberal Health Agenda in Britain, the EU and Globally

Over the last year the effect of Brexit on the NHS has been reported on in Parliament and in the monopoly dominated media as claim and counter claim by those in both camps. The idea that Brexit will harm the NHS whilst a Remain agenda will not, or vice versa, is promoted in these claims and counter-claims especially on the funding of the NHS. In this way these claims around Brexit, or the Remain agenda, are being used to create misinformation, confusion and division. But worse than that and more dangerous for health workers and for the working class and people: it is an attempt to line people up in a chauvinist way behind the British or the EU monopoly interests. The fact is that the rights of all are under attack from all the neo-liberal interests of these factions that are fighting it out for dominance over Britain, the EU and the global economy.

Much has been reported on Theresa May’s minority government Brexit stance, whilst the government has continued behind the scenes to impose the massive public sector budget cuts. In particular it continues to drive its health commissioner NHS England to “think the unthinkable” and continue to impose cuts to the NHS. This is forcing through withdrawals of “non-urgent” treatments, closure of hospitals and their services and encouraging the private sector involvement and privatisation of the NHS for which government new funding is mainly directed. In this way, contracts worth billions of pounds are being awarded to Virgin Care and US-based UnitedHealthcare. This is clearly one of the government’s aims for the NHS as far as Brexit is concerned.

But in addition, as part of the EU of the monopolies, Britain has been and will continue to be a major enforcer of the pro-privatisation environment for health services in other European countries. Britain as part of the EU and the European Social Fund (ESF) investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has already made clear precedents with private companies using ISDS mechanisms to successfully seek colossal sums of money from governments that have attempted to reverse previous healthcare privatisation policies. One of many examples was in 2008 when a Dutch insurer Achmea (formerly Eureko) sued Slovakia via its bilateral investment treaty with the Netherlands because the Slovak government had required health insurers to operate on a not-for-profit basis.[1] Following this the British government was a prime supporter of the EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), deal with the US which would have removed member states protection from public health care and other public services. Whilst TTIP has reportedly been halted in the EU since 2017 the British government has expressed its desire to agree a similar deal with the US through Brexit and Theresa May has several times indicated that US health giants will be part of that deal.

Also, in spite of the British government’s Brexit intention to restrict the flow of people from Europe, it will continue to champion and welcome the privatisation of the NHS by EU corporations. For example, in Northumberland, NHS England is putting in place its Five Year Forward View model of the NHS with its strategic partnerships, including an EU company Ribera Salud. Northumbria’s three major hospitals have had their acute and emergency services closed or downgraded to one Trauma Hospital at Cramlington, covering the huge area of Northumberland including the large urban areas around Ashington and North Tyneside. Now the Northumbria Foundation Group website trumpets a “Strategic Partnership” with Ribera Salud, which started in 2016. Ribera Salud [2] is the Spanish public/private partnership (or Accountable Care Organisation) that pioneered a form of Private Finance Initiative that covers not just buildings but “integrated” health care delivered by hospitals, GPs and community services for the whole population in designated areas. Ribera Salud has already failed in other ventures.[3]

The reality is that in the negotiations with the EU over Brexit, control of the outcome is not with the people. The necessity is not to become fazed by the claims and counter-claims on Brexit, or divided by it, but continue as thousands of health workers are doing to build the resistance movement and fight together for the right to health care. The stand of health workers is say no to the neo-liberal health agenda in Britain, the EU and globally. This is part of the whole fight against the anti-social and pro-war direction of Britain and for a modern society where the working class and people are in control of their own pro-social and anti-war government.

[1]On March 6, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) delivered a judgment on the Achmea case on whether an arbitration clause in a bilateral investment treaty concluded between two EU member states was compatible with EU law. The ECJ’s response to that question was that the bilateral investment treaty was in violation of EU law because while an investment protection tribunal could be called upon to interpret EU law in a dispute between investors and states, its interpretation could not be effectively challenged via the court process, meaning that the ECJ’s role as the final arbiter of EU law was infringed. Legal commentaries have suggested that this is the death for “Autonomous Investment Protection Tribunals”. What will happen when and if Britain leaves the EU is another matter, and in any case the domination of private interests throughout the EU is bound to continue.

[1]On March 6, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) delivered a judgment on the Achmea case on whether an arbitration clause in a bilateral investment treaty concluded between two EU member states was compatible with EU law. The ECJ’s response to that question was that the bilateral investment treaty was in violation of EU law because while an investment protection tribunal could be called upon to interpret EU law in a dispute between investors and states, its interpretation could not be effectively challenged via the court process, meaning that the ECJ’s role as the final arbiter of EU law was infringed. Legal commentaries have suggested that this is the death for “Autonomous Investment Protection Tribunals”. What will happen when and if Britain leaves the EU is another matter, and in any case the domination of private interests throughout the EU is bound to continue.

[2] Riber Salud is the health management holding company for the Special Purpose Vehicle Ribera Salud Unión Temporal de Empresas consortium. The shareholders are:
– The medical insurance company Adeslas S.A. (51%), as the technical provider of health services, with regional savings bank Agbar S.A as its majority shareholder.
– Regional savings banks Bancaja, CAM and Caixa-Carlet by means of a jointly-controlled entity – Ribera Salud S.A.- (45%), which was the financial partner for the project.
– Construction companies Dragados and Lubasa, which each took a 2% holding

[3]The Northumbria website leaves out all the evidence about what has gone wrong with the Aliza Public Private Partnership/Accountable Care System – including the fact that, as with PFI contracts in the UK:
“contracts may have been designed to mitigate risks to the private sector.” (Spanish healthcare Public Private Partnerships: the ‘Alzira model’. Acerete, B., Stafford, A. and Stapleton, P. (2011), Critical Perspectives on Accounting. Vol. 22, 533-549)
A study by Dr Anne Stafford of Manchester Business School, and others, assembled evidence that the financial reality is at odds with “the rhetoric, which declares this project to be a success story.”
The capitation (per person) payment was set too low (204 Euros), which caused the failure of the Accountable Care System (the Ribera Salud Unión Temporal de Empresas – RSUTE – consortium).
Compensation paid out by regional government was 69.3 million Euros. The Accountable Care System consortium was re-constituted (RSUTE II) at a higher, and progressively higher, capitation amount (379 Euros in 2004 up to 639 Euros in 2012).
Under the RSUTE II consortium there were doctor shortages, a doctors’ strike and continued staff dissatisfaction. According to a study carried out by the Universities of Zaragoza/Manchester and Manchester Business School, there were allegations that the consortium ‘cherry picked’ the most profitable medical and surgical specialities. At the same time it was referring HIV and other chronic disorders to other non-RSUTE II hospitals. The annual bill for regional government was very high.
And here is Hunt’s call to denationalise the NHS and “break down the barriers between private and public provision”.
Source: Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS

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University of London workers to strike

Outsourced University of London workers to strike over pay and conditions

Union says outsourced workers receive worse pension, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay entitlements than their in-house colleagues.

The Independent Onlin

More than 100 outsourced University of London workers will walk out next month over pay and conditions after a near-unanimous vote for industrial action, the union representing them has said.

The group of cleaners, porters, security officers, receptionists, gardeners, post-room staff and audiovisual staff are expected to walk out on 25 and 26 April, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain announced.

The strike action is separate from measures being taken by university lecturers who are currently taking industrial action over changes to pensions.

The outsourced workers are employed by companies that have contracts with the University of London central administration. They are demanding to be made direct employees of the university, as well as equal terms and conditions with those that are directly employed.

The union says the outsourced workers receive worse pensions, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay entitlements than their in-house colleagues and are more likely to face bullying and deductions from wages.

 For example, in-house employees receive 13 per cent employer pensions contribution compared to 1 per cent for outsourced workers, IWGB said.

Women who work directly for the university get 8 weeks full maternity pay, 16 weeks of half pay, 15 weeks of statutory maternity leave and 13 weeks leave without pay. Men receive a week of full paternity pay and a week of statutory paternity pay. Outsourced workers only get statutory maternity and paternity pay.

University of London cleaner and IWGB representative Margarita Cunalata said: “The university has done its best to deny workers like me basic rights and we have had to fight for everything, from the London Living Wage to basic sick pay.

“All we ask for is equality and we will keep on fighting until we get it.”

The IWGB said it dealt with 54 complaints from outsourced workers at the University of London in 2017, over issues including unlawful deduction of wages, discrimination and failure to provide a statement of particulars. In the same period, the union dealt with cases from two direct employees.

A spokesperson for the university said they could not comment on the conditions experienced by workers employed by other companies.

The spokesperson added: “The University announced a review of all facilities management services in November 2017 and soon afterwards the IWGB called an industrial dispute and joined a long-running campaign with UCU and Unison to call for contract workers to be brought in-house.

“The review has already undertaken detailed work on examining all aspects of the contracts as well as surveying the contracted staff to seek their views on their respective employers and their terms and conditions.”

The IWGB, in fact, launched its first strike action against the university over the pay and conditions of outsourced workers in September 2017.

A decision about whether to bring some or all contracts in-house is to be taken at a meeting scheduled for May.

The IWGB is campaigning to bring all university workers on outsourced contracts back in-house. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley have backed the campaign.

The news comes as lectures from 60 universities entered their 13th day of strike action against changes to their pensions. This week, the University and College Union (UCU) voted against a deal made by union bosses and employers after it faced widespread opposition.

A second series of strikes from the UCU is expected to take place between April and June, with dates to be confirmed next week.

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London cinema workers strike again:

Workers at five London cinemas are back on strike


Members of the Bectu union at five cinemas across the capital have been on strike for almost two years.


Workers at five London cinemas are back on strike.

Members of the Bectu union at five Picturehouse cinemas across the capital have staged strikes for almost two years over the London living wage, sick pay, maternity and paternity pay, and union recognition.

They are also striking on Tuesday to demand the reinstatement of four union representatives, Bectu said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously called on Picturehouse to “reinstate the four sacked Bectu reps with immediate effect and to sit down with the union to discuss ways to resolve this longstanding dispute”.

On International Women’s Day, hundreds of people joined Picturehouse cinema workers as they staged a strike backed by Mr Corbyn over the pay row.

The staff, at the Brixton Ritzy and the Central, Crouch End, East Dulwich and Hackney Picturehouses, are campaigning to be paid the voluntary living wage.

Employers said;

“In London we pay the equivalent of £9.92 per hour for our front-of-house staff, and many staff earn significantly more.

“This is considerably higher than the National Minimum Wage of £7.50 per hour.”

Picturehouse has been contacted for comment.

© Press Association 2018

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Women in the EU earned on average 16 percent less than men in 2016. 

Lowest pay gap in Romania and Italy, highest in Estonia

In 2016, the unadjusted gender pay gap stood at just over 16% in the European Union (EU). In other words, women earned on average 84 cents for every euro a man makes per hour. Across Member States, the gender pay gap in 2016 ranged from just over 5% in Romania and Italy, to more than 25% in Estonia, followed by the Czech Republic and Germany (both almost 22%).

Full text available on EUROSTAT website


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Unions battle water company over pension closure

By Damian Fantato

FT Advisor

Trade unions have accused Anglian Water of “seeking industrial unrest” over the closure of its defined benefit pension scheme.

Unite, Unison and the GMB held a meeting with the chief executive of Anglian Water last week to seek the involvement of arbitration service Acas over the dispute but they were told this would not happen.

The unions claim more than 1,300 workers at Anglian Water are affected by the closure of the pension schemes and claim some could lose up to £100,000 from the proposed defined contribution replacement.

Anglian Water has disputed the unions’ claims and said the majority of employees are likely to be just as well off, and could be better off, depending on their personal circumstances and choices.

The utility company, which is the largest geographic water company in England and Wales, has said it will close its DB schemes because the water regulator Ofwat has told it to save money.

Michael Ainsley, GMB regional officer, said: “I have written to Frank Field and the commons pension’s select committee asking that they look into this scandal as the company are ignoring the union member’s rejection of their proposals and are imposing the closure of their pensions.

“This is about a transfer of wealth from customers, tax payers and staff to shareholders and is to my mind as much asset stripping as would be selling off reservoirs, buildings or land.”

The unions have also claimed that the chief executive of Anglian Water, Peter Simpson, is paid around 150 times the lowest wage for a worker at the company and is on target to receive a minimum total remuneration of £1.2m, and as his pension is fully funded he’s a deferred member of the pension schemes so he receives a “significant” payment in lieu instead.

In response, a spokesman for Anglian Water was putting nearly £20m into its pension fund next year alone in order to provide a “fair and improved” scheme for its employees.

They added: “There is no reason to go to Acas while the unions refuse to be open about what support there is for their position, if any.

“In contrast, more than 2,000 colleagues took part in our consultation on the creation of our new pension scheme. We drew on the expertise of advisers from across the sector to create a fair package for all that is widely understood and accepted by our staff.

“They’ve chosen to turn down – on behalf of all 5,000 of our employees – a generous offer of a guaranteed 6 per cent (3+3) pay increase over two years, and a one-off payment to every affected member of the old defined benefit scheme.

“We know the vast majority of our employees support our changes because 3,500 of them have already signed up to accept or make changes to their new flexible pension and benefits package.”

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“We are particularly pleased that they are recommending a vote of no confidence in the CCG” – Roger Nettleship

Health campaigners celebrate decision of tough-talking councillors over Sunderland and South Tyneside hospitals

Roger Nettleship

Roger Nettleship



Shields Gazette

Hospital campaigners were celebrating after a decision to refer a decision over the future of hospital services to the Secretary of State for Health.

Residents and councillors packed out the reception room of South Shields Town Hall, to hear the announcement made by the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

For the past year, campaigners have been fighting against plans as part of Phase One of the Path to Excellence, which they claim would see the downgrading of South Tyneside District Hospital and leave Sunderland Royal Hospital struggling to cope with demand.

Health chiefs say the move will lead to better services.

After the meeting, chairman of the group,  Roger Nettleship said:

“We are very pleased the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee has referred the downgrading of our hospital services to the Secretary of State. We are particularly pleased that they are recommending a vote of no confidence in the CCG.

“We were very angry over allegations lives at risk would be put at risk if this move was delayed. In my view, the people putting lives at risk are the people trying to downgrade our hospital. “This decision enables us to take this fight to save our health services to Westminster. This is a good step forward for the people of South Tyneside and Sunderland.

“This has been a wonderful campaign so far, and we have had more than 40,000 signatures on our petition, major events and demonstrations.

“But we still need people to get behind us. We are not just fighting to save these services, but also for the future of the hospital.”



Read more at: https://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/health-campaigners-celebrate-decision-of-tough-talking-councillors-over-sunderland-and-south-tyneside-hospitals-1-9056672

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