Dated: 17 May 2003
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...and so do documents used to smear George Galloway.
ASTONISHING NEW figures show that after six years of New Labour in government we have the biggest gap between rich and poor since 1990. Poverty levels are now higher than under Margaret Thatcher, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
IN A move Margaret Thatcher would be proud of, deputy prime minister John Prescott is closer to imposing a package of cuts and pathetic pay rises on firefighters and control room staff.
THE SCALE, politics and militancy of the anti-war movement colour everything that happens now. Two million people marched against the war on 15 February and, even after the fighting had finished, over 200,000 marched on 12 April. Events of that sort redefine politics and pose new opportunities and challenges to socialists.
JOURNALISTS AT the Telegraph newspapers have overwhelmingly voted for union recognition. The ballot saw 91 percent of those voting support recognition of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). The vote was in a formal ballot under the latest union laws and will lead to recognition.
"THERE ARE schools, but there's no equipment in them. The shops are open, but there is nothing on the shelves. Afghanistan is a lawless country."
AROUND 140 nursery nurses in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, started a five-day strike on Monday. The strikers, who are members of the Unison union, have already taken four days of action and have now stepped up their campaign to win a pay regrading. Jill Hinchliffe, a nursery nurse shop steward, said, "We are determined to win our fight. We have been underpaid for years and they thought we would just put up with it because we cared about the future of the children. But that is the reason that this fight is so important because it is a scandal that so much of the education system relies on low-paid women. There was no shortage of money for the war in Iraq. That money should have been used to p
PARENTS AND teachers at Crofton School in Lewisham, south London, have launched a campaign to stop 11 teaching staff being made redundant. Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at Crofton are balloting for strike action. If the proposed job cuts go ahead, one in seven teachers at the school will be made redundant.
THE lecturers' AUT union national conference last week took place at a crucial time for union activists in the universities. The government's January white paper on "The Future for Higher Education" threatens universities with the introduction of top-up fees. It also threatens that funding will be concentrated on a small elite of institutions.
THE EXECUTIVE of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) was to meet this week in the wake of John Prescott taking a further step towards imposing a deal on firefighters and control staff. "There is immense anger at Prescott," says Albie Lythgoe from the FBU on Merseyside. "Our brigade has voted to continue to fight by calling more strikes. We are prepared to walk out if Prescott imposes - that's whether the national union calls us out or not. Merseyside is saying no to the Burchill proposals, which our national executive has argued are a basis for settling the dispute. Burchill opens the door to the employers' so called modernisation drive. We should be getting back to a straight fight over p
WORKERS IN schools, council offices and universities - some of them among the lowest paid in London - struck last week as part of their union's campaign for decent allowances for working in the capital. The council workers' action was over three days and involved about 1,000 Unison union members in selected schools and offices.
OVER 400 people packed into Friends Meeting House in central Manchester on Friday of last week for a Stop the War Coalition rally on the occupation of Iraq.
SOME 850,000 members of the Transport and General Workers Union, the TGWU, received ballot papers last week. The TGWU is voting for a new general secretary to replace Bill Morris. Socialist Worker is urging its readers to vote for Tony Woodley, the deputy general secretary.
ABOUT 100 parents of children at Parkside School in Norwich attended a meeting on the SATs tests where education secretary Charles Clarke debated with a local head teacher last Friday. The whole meeting turned against Clarke as speakers from the floor voiced their opposition to SATs.
SOME 75 tube union activists attended an impressive meeting last week to defend victimised RMT union rep Glenroy Watson. Among the platform speakers were RMT general secretary Bob Crow, London organiser Booby Law and Brian Munro, secretary of the London Transport Regional Council of the union.
IN THE latest phase of the revolt against low pay in the NHS, hundreds of health workers in east London plan strikes later this month against their private contractor employers.
FRANCE GROUND to a halt on Tuesday. Trains, buses and tubes stayed in their depots, planes in their hangars as workers walked out across the country.
Kevin Ovenden on key agent Stakeknife
BLUR HAVE just released their new album, Think Tank. The band's lead singer, Damon Albarn, was one of the most outspoken opponents of the war against Iraq. To many, his stand is even more remarkable given his close connection to New Labour just eight years ago.
SOME 1.4 million children as young as seven sat down this week to five days of what one headteachers' conference has condemned as "annual torture".
"I BELIEVE the documents are a forgery by someone who had no familiarity with the inner workings of the Iraqi intelligence service." With those words a "highly regarded expert" blew a gaping hole in the smear campaign against anti-war MP George Galloway on Sunday. The expert had examined thousands of official papers captured from the Iraqi regime by Western intelligence agencies in the 1991 Gulf War.
'TOM'S shooting wasn't an accident," Michelle De Mello, a close friend of Tom Hurndall, told Socialist Worker.
NEW LABOUR laid into George Galloway last week, suspending him from the party for daring to speak out against the war on Iraq. The leadership want to shut him up. They know one effect of suspension is to rule him out of being nominated for a safe Labour seat in Glasgow. Their treatment of Galloway is in stark contrast to those who have certainly "brought the party into disrepute".
SOME 3,000 people took to the streets of the Afghan capital, Kabul, last week in the first demonstration against the US military occupation of their country. The protest took place just weeks after the world's media began broadcasting scenes of similar protests in Iraq. US forces have remained in Afghanistan since the end of the one-sided war there 18 months ago.
DR GHAYASUDDIN Siddiqui is leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain and a prominent member of the Stop the War Coalition. He spoke to Socialist Worker about the impact of the anti-war movement on the Muslim community in Britain. Dr Siddiqui uses the term Islamist to refer to groups the mainstream press would usually call Islamic fundamentalists.
THE FIRST World War was the most important event of the 20th century. From its four years of mud and mass slaughter the world we live in emerged. In 1964 the BBC produced a 26-part series entitled The Great War. It is now being repeated on BBC2 on Saturday nights.
CLARE SHORT'S resignation has exposed the weakness of the Blair government. It shows that his loyal supporters are an incredibly thin layer of people. Her departure has further increased the serious problems for Blair, a leader who only a few weeks ago was presented as walking on water by the media and many politicians.
IT'S NOW time to build a mass campaign, uniting all those who want to stop the Nazis. The BNP stood 54 candidates in the north east of England and poured in massive resources. They failed to win a seat but the Nazis still managed to get over 13,000 votes in Sunderland and 3,000 in Gateshead.
AN ITALIAN court has dismissed a case against a policeman who shot dead Carlo Giuliani during protests against the G8 summit in Genoa two years ago. The judge ruled that the paramilitary police officer Mario Placanica had acted in "legitimate self defence".