Dated: 07 Jun 2003
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"He has plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes" Tont Blair, 24 September 2002
IT IS not anti-war campaigners who are piling up the evidence that Tony Blair lied to the world, to people in Britain, to parliament and even to his own cabinet.
"THIS IS a battle for justice. We are demanding that we get proper treatment and are set free from low pay." So said Janet from Greengables nursery, who was one of the 1,000 striking nursery nurses protesting in Edinburgh on Thursday of last week.
"I'm absolutely devastated." So claimed Mark Langford, the boss of the Amulet Group, which controls the Accident Group. That's the firm that disgracefully sacked 2,400 workers by text message last week.
JOURNALISTS IN Bradford fighting for better pay and conditions began an indefinite strike last week against their Newsquest bosses. This is the second indefinite strike to be launched by journalists against Newsquest Media Group, and its owner US media giant Gannett, which made £69 million last year.
CORPORATE conscience was switched off once more last week, leaving electricians in Manchester with no alternative but to take industrial action. Employers Crown House & DAF, who hold the lucrative construction contract for Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens and Court House sites, attempted to end a dispute by sacking skilled members of their workforce.
OVER 1,000 brick workers are set to walk out on strike on 9 June in the first of a series of planned one-day strikes. Hanson Bricks employs the workers. They are members of the TGWU, GMB and Amicus unions and work at 14 plants across England and Wales. The workers voted by over 60 percent to take strike action after rejecting the company's revised pay offer of 3.45 percent spread over 15 months.
SOME 288,000 members of the PCS civil servants' union will begin voting for a new national leadership from Friday of this week. This is a key chance to reclaim the union for its members. The socialist Left Unity group is standing alongside the PCS Democrats group as part of a united Democracy slate to defeat the right wing group that has dominated the union.
OVER 100 council tenants took part in the Defend Council Housing national conference in Liverpool on Saturday of last week. They were joined by trade unionists, councillors and MPs to discuss how to step up pressure on the government to stop privatisation and invest in council housing - with no strings attached.
SOME 240 people packed into Willesden Library, north west London, on Thursday of last week to hear George Galloway and others slam the occupation of Iraq. The meeting, called by Brent Stop the War, drew people who had attended protests during the war and newer forces.
IN EVERY debate at last week's CWU conference there was anger about various aspects of New Labour policies. This wasn't just shown over the war on Iraq (see here). CWU delegates condemned New Labour for their treatment of the firefighters during their recent pay dispute.
DEFIANT HEALTH workers took to the picket lines in north Lincolnshire and in east London last week in an inspiring rebellion against low pay. The cleaners, cooks, porters and other staff are taking on the private firms that New Labour is letting rip in the NHS. HAZEL CROFT spoke to some of the strikers.
TUESDAY SAW another huge show of strength by French workers in their fight with the country's Tory government. Strikers shut down much of the country. But the government was gambling on some union leaders now holding back from the all-out action which could bring workers victory.
OPPOSITION TO the war in Iraq goes deep into the union movement. The tone was set this week at the CWU union conference for postal and telecoms workers in Bournemouth. In his opening address general secretary Billy Hayes said, "We can't buy into Bush's plans for the world.
TONY BLAIR was dealt another severe blow by trade unionists last Saturday when members of the powerful TGWU union elected Tony Woodley as their new general secretary. Woodley, who had wide support from the left in the union, got 66,958 votes, 43 percent. He decisively beat Jack Dromey, seen as the most pro-Blair candidate, who came second with 45,136 votes, 29 percent.
THERE'S AN idea that floats around the world of the arts that being engaged in politics is really rather unpleasant. The Times Literary Supplement describes a new collection of socialist poetry, Red Sky at Night, edited by Adrian Mitchell and Andy Croft, as "quaint".
MARXISM WILL be a key part of the debate about what kind of left alternative we need to challenge capitalism. Socialist Worker spoke to some of the trade unionists, students, anti-war campaigners and many others who are coming to Marxism.
WAY BACK in 1988, on 3 July, the USS Vincennes, a missile cruiser stationed in the Persian Gulf, accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner and killed 290 civilian passengers. George Bush the First, who was at the time on his presidential campaign, was asked to comment on the incident. He said quite subtly, "I will never apologise for the United States. I don't care what the facts are."
WHAT MICHAEL Albert called participatory economics in last week's Socialist Worker might more straightforwardly be termed democracy at work. But whatever we call it, workers' control of production and distribution has to be central to our vision of life after capitalism.
"TO THE eight who want to rule the world, the world replies - resistance!" The chant was in French, but taken up by people from a dozen or more European countries - and some from Africa, Asia and Latin America too.
WITH ITS slick cover design, Mark Curtis's book looks like a blockbuster. It deserves to be one. The story of the terrorist actions carried out by the British state is scarier and more gripping than any thriller.
The second series of the brilliant US comedy-drama Six Feet Under has just started on Channel 4. Created by Alan Ball, the Oscar-winning writer of American Beauty, the show revolves around the life of a family, the Fishers, and the funeral home they run.
TONY BLAIR is facing his most profound crisis. Politicians have been caught lying and cheating many times before. Blair's lies over Iraq are of a different order. He lied so he could join in killing thousands of Iraqi people.
ANNE HOWARTH, friend and comrade, died on 12 May 2003, aged 47. Anne joined the Socialist Workers Party when she was a student activist at Middlesex Poly. She was an active member throughout the 1980s-in Tottenham, Holloway Road and Hornsea branches when she was in London, and in the late 1980s in Stoke branch.
Bob Geldof is 100 percent wrong on Bush and Africa BOB GELDOF is right to attack the European Union's "pathetic and appalling" response to Africa's human crisis. But he is totally wrong to praise George Bush's policies towards the continent. Bush's administration is the central actor in making sure that debt payments are pumped out of Africa.
THE MILD-mannered former head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Lord Ouseley, let rip at the government at a race relations conference last month. He recalled that a government minister had told him the previous week, "Do you know most MPs never meet black people outside Westminster?"