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Socialist Worker

Issue: 1900

Dated: 08 May 2004

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Get the troops out

IRAQ 2004: Blair claimed that he would bring human rights to Iraq. This picture shows US troops torturing an Iraqi in Saddam Hussein's old torture chamber. On page five we prove that British troops are also involved in torture. The brutality and killing will continue until we...

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Old Trafford bomb that was never there

\"MAN U Suicide Bomb Plot\" screamed the Sun two weeks ago. \"It was our tireless police and security service who foiled a terrorist plot to blow up\" Manchester United's Old Trafford ground the following Saturday, ran the editorial.

Tax fiddle and...

TOP BRITISH companies have dodged their taxes to the tune of £1 billion. Thirty companies are being investigated for their tax avoidance schemes. Accountancy firms such as Ernst & Young devise the schemes and sell them to companies.

Is this sick enough for you, Mr Blunkett?

AFTER BOARDING a Lithuania Airlines aircraft to photograph celebrations marking the country's entry into the European Union (EU), I was absolutely appalled to find three Lithuanian women being deported in shackles. With them were three terrified unaccompanied children. British immigration officials had one child in a neck lock, and one woman in an arm lock-all were screaming in fear and pain.

Out to give New Labour a shock on 10 June

CARLISLE RMT held a meeting last week and discussed support for Respect. Craig Johnson, the RMT branch secretary, told Socialist Worker, \"We invited in a speaker from Respect. There was a real debate about it. The vote was unanimous to urge all members to support Respect and ask the union's executive council if we can use our political fund to back Respect. I feel we can't continue to attack the Labour Party unless we are prepared to say there is an alternative. I joined the Labour Party when I was 15. I was a Labour councillor for 11 years. Now they are in and it's just awful. I feel robbed. We have to get as many votes as we can for Respect.\"

Torture system still lives in 'new' Iraq

SHOCKED, YES. Certainly disgusted. But no one, least of all the British and US governments, should be surprised by the revelations of systematic torture of Iraqi detainees. The pictures from Abu Ghraib prison broadcast on US television last week are the latest confirmation of what people in Iraq, human rights organisations and soldiers speaking anonymously have been saying for a year.

We have fought too hard to accept a poor deal

\"NOT ONE person has gone back in East Ayrshire over the last two weeks. It shows we have an incredible level of determination and strength.\" That's what striking nursery nurse and union steward Liz McCulloch told Socialist Worker before a mass meeting in East Ayrshire on Wednesday of last week. \"Only four people have gone back in the whole of the last month. That's despite many people facing severe hardship,\" she said.

Newham keep up the fight to defend union rights

THE STRIKE in Newham on 22 April shook the council hard, and that's why we were to strike again this week. Over 2,000 Unison members stopped work last time to show the council we will not let them take away our union rights. Now we have to show the council that our action wasn't just for a single day and that we will take further action to defend our union.

Strike ballot over pensions

MEMBERS OF the National Union of Teachers in Bolton have voted by four to one in an indicative ballot for a one-day strike over government attacks on our pensions. We are now approaching the union's national action committee to sanction an official strike ballot. The 40 percent turnout on what was only a \"mock\" ballot indicates the support for a strike.

Daddy is coming over here too

GEORGE BUSH Sr, the architect of the first Gulf War, is coming to London to raise money for his son's re-election campaign. He will be the main guest at a dinner party hosted by Republicans Abroad on Tuesday 18 May. Tickets for the event are $1,000 each!

Unite Against Fascism

UNITE AGAINST Fascism activists took the anti-fascist message to bank holiday crowds in Brighton and Hove last weekend. On Saturday afternoon, activists leafleted football supporters at the Brighton & Hove Albion game against Notts County.

Workers' Memorial Day

HUNDREDS OF construction workers stopped work and joined a protest march along the Olympic Way to the new Wembley Stadium construction site on Wednesday of last week. They were joined by trade unionists and campaigners from around the country in this event to mark Workers' Memorial Day.

Anti-war demo

SCHOOL AND university students from across London braved the weather on Thursday of last week to protest against the occupation of Iraq. Around 300 students from Imperial College, SOAS, London School of Economics and schools across London marched on the US embassy.

'This is a slur on our members'

I'M OUTRAGED that this programme turned out to be a slur on our members. The vast majority of postal workers are decent, honest, law-abiding people. The trailer and leaflet for the programme were particularly bad, with an actor playing a postal worker stealing money from envelopes. The job is not a picnic. It is frequently stressful and physically demanding. Of course where there is criminal activity we want it rooted out.

Bus workers

BUS DRIVERS in Cumbria have voted for strikes over pay. The workers, employed by Stagecoach, will strike for a day next Wednesday. A TGWU union rep said, \"We have drivers driving 25 people on a bus on £5.40 an hour. Drivers want a decent wage. We don't want to inconvenience people too much. I am sure people will understand that this isn't a frivolous dispute.\"

School closure

OFFICIALS OF Hackney's Learning Trust were confronted by over 250 angry parents, children and supporters at Craven Park School last week. The Trust aims to shut the school, claiming that pupil vacancies and falling standards mean it is no longer viable. But hundreds have attended six consultation meetings, demanding to know the Trust's real agenda.

Our choc pay shock

TEN WOMEN workers at Cadbury World are threatening to strike in a dispute which could see pickets on the gates of the Birmingham tourist attraction. The workers run one of the shops at Cadbury World and were horrified to discover that they are paid £2 an hour less than men who work at the shop across the road from them. Cadbury has ignored the problem for two years.

May Day

LONDON: Up to 3,000 people marched through London on the annual protest called by the Greater London TUC and backed by Globalise Resistance and other groups. The march brought together trade unionists, anti-capitalist protesters, pensioners, Turkish and Kurdish political activists, and students. Speakers at a rally in Trafalgar Square denounced the use of torture by the occupying armies in Iraq. Many spoke out against the fascist BNP. London Mayor Ken Livingstone said, \"Whoever you are planning to vote for on 10 June, make sure you use your vote against the BNP.\"

Thousands walk out in civil service strike

THOUSANDS OF civil servants have defied anti-union laws to unofficially walk out of work in the last two weeks against a management offensive. The action was sparked by management suspending 28 union members for refusing to carry out a performance-related pay assessment scheme. The one-day walkouts took place in Scarborough, the Glasgow Appeals Service and Sheffield on Thursday of last week, and Manchester Rusholme social security office on Friday.



Global game US can't win

THINGS ARE getting steadily worse for the US in Iraq. The fact that the Marines have been forced to step back from an all-out assault on Fallujah and accept the mediation of a former Republican Guard general is a real humiliation for the Pentagon. Last weekend the US was losing five soldiers a day to the insurgents in Iraq. Such a casualty rate, if it continues, is politically unsustainable in a presidential election year.

Is there any place for parties in the movement?

Man y people in the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements agree with us on general principles. They agree that socialists must oppose all forms of oppression. They agree that any movement against capitalism must involve the initiative, energy and imagination of millions of organised workers. They agree we must unite the widest forces against the fascist BNP. They utterly oppose the Tory party and don't trust the Liberal Democrats. Mostly, they know the Labour Party offers no way forward.

Let's not be beastly about Aaronovitch

I'M WRITING to you today on behalf of SOTWOI (ELS). The initials stand for Supporters Of The War On Iraq (Ex-Lefties Section), a group with some very prominent members. You'll remember that John Reid was once in the Communist Party, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Byers used to describe themselves as International Socialists and David Aaronovitch is used to describing himself.


Helping to win votes for Respect

ONE PART of Socialist Worker's role each week is to be a mini-manifesto for Respect. And that makes it essential reading for everyone who wants to see Blair humbled from the left on 10 June. One example of how the paper can work comes from Croydon and Sutton. There the Respect election agent bought a copy of the paper and e-mailed the article by London candidate Lindsey German to everybody on the Respect contact list.

Why does Labour give in to the racists?

TURNING ON the radio for Today in Parliament on 28 April, I hear Michael Howard mocking Blair over immigration. He points out that the prime minister's speech on the subject to the CBI that week had not been planned, but had been inspired by panic at newspaper headlines.

Next steps in campaign to drive back the Nazis

UNITE AGAINST Fascism is the biggest anti-fascist movement in Britain since the 1970s. It has brought together anti-racist activists, the Muslim Council of Britain and socialists with youth clubs and musicians. Every trade union has signed up. Unite is planning to take the campaign to the next stage with five big festivals in areas that the Nazi BNP are targeting in the 10 June election (see below for details). The first of these took place in Sunderland on Monday of this week, with at least 8,000 people during the day. There will also be a national campaign of mass leafleting.

Walden Bello: 'G8 are an alliance of the rich aimed at world'

"I would like to locate the question of poverty and the G8 in the context of the crisis of global capitalism." Those are not my words. They are the words of US billionaire George Soros. When Soros starts talking about the crisis of world capitalism, we should also call a spade a spade.

Alessandro Pelizarri of Attac: 'The G8 creates world injustice'

The world is still a system of nations and governments, dominated by imperialism and with contradictions between these governments. The history of the G8 is the history of the most powerful nations trying to come to common solutions to problems-but also a history of tensions between them. The G8 was created in 1975 -f irst as G5 and growing to G8. It was set up at the start of a global recession and just after the US lost the Vietnam War. There are four periods in the development of the G8. The years 1975 to 1977 were the period of looking for Keynesian solutions-looking for new areas in which to invest. The G8 countries invested large amounts of capital in the south. At the end of the 19


The making of a capital

FROM MEETING your ancestors to what made Hitler tick, history is never off our television screens. There are the serious programmes, where weighty professors like David Starkey talk straight to camera and pronounce their conventional view of great kings and queens.

What We Think

George Bush's new chamber of horrors

THE WORLD has seen US troops' torture of Iraqi prisoners. These pictures have smashed the last excuse trotted out to justify the occupation of Iraq. As resistance to the occupation grew, apologists for imperialism clutched desperately at the idea that at least human rights would be better with Saddam Hussein gone.

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Brian Manning 1927-2004

History has always been a battlefield. With the tragic death of Brian Manning while on holiday in Italy, the left has lost its most formidable champion of a Marxist understanding of the English Revolution of 1640-1660.


Bush has no right to control our bodies OVER ONE million people came out for a historic march on 25 April in Washington DC to demonstrate for abortion rights. The National Mall, which has been the site of large mobilisations for decades, was teeming with women from all backgrounds, taking nearly two hours to pass a single point on the 2.5-mile march.

How the Star has been shining no light

\"A BLUEPRINT for race riots.\" That's how the pornographer Richard Desmond's Star described a scheme in Tower Hamlets, east London, to provide sheltered accommodation for elderly Asians last week.

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