Dated: 15 Jan 2005
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THE OCCUPATION forces in Iraq are to deploy Central American style death squads, under plans drawn up by the US.
Two weeks after the Indian Ocean tsunami, hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans are still suffering. But the corridors of power are buzzing with talk of commissions to be skimmed off reconstruction contracts.
The Asian tsunami hit the Indonesian province of Aceh the hardest, killing at least 80,000 people there. Yet in the midst of this humanitarian disaster, a sinister story is unfolding that has been barely discussed by the media. The Indonesian army is taking advantage of the calamity to escalate its repression of the Acehnese people, who have been fighting for independence since 1976.
ANTI-WAR activists from around the world are calling for delegates from the movements against the war and globalisation to go to the third Cairo conference called by the International Campaign against US aggression.
AS MANY as 19 Iraqi civilians were killed by US forces in just two incidents at the weekend. To the world’s media they remain nameless and faceless—another statistic in the mounting death toll of the occupation.
A PACKED selection meeting last Sunday launched Respect’s election challenge across the four constituencies in east London where it got its best results in last June’s European and London elections.
In a BBC interview last Sunday, Tony Blair laid out his plans for a third term.
Respect councillor Michael Lavalette spoke to 13,000 football supporters at the Preston North End match last Saturday about the Asian tsunami and debt cancellation. Preston is holding a day of action over the tsunami disaster, set for Thursday of this week.
AN INQUEST began on Monday of this week into the death of Kebba Jobe, who died in police custody in May of last year. Kebba lost consciousness while under restraint and was later found to have had a blockage in his throat.
"I think the people who are trying to do this are totally ignorant, or incompetent, or both."Najmaldin Karim president of the Washington Kurdish Institute on the confusion surrounding postal votes for Iraqi Americans.
US injuries pass the 10,000 mark US TROOPS now have a one in 11 casualty rate in Iraq, with the number of US soldiers who have suffered injuries passing the 10,000 mark this week.
The drumbeat on climate change in the media was never deafening, but it has been growing steadily louder of late. And now a horrific natural disaster fills the headlines for weeks: the Asian tsunami.
TRINITY MIRROR Southern, one of Britain’s biggest newspaper publishers, last week went to the high court to stop ten of its staff from striking. Members of the NUJ journalists’ union on the Enfield Advertiser struck on Wednesday of last week against cuts caused by the merging of the subediting departments of four Trinity Mirror titles across north London.
HERE’S AN example of a curb on freedom of expression that none of the mainstream media have covered—attempts by the student union at Leeds University to ban the activities of pro-Palestinian activists.
THE UK Zimbabwean Community Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers took a significant step forward when it met in London last Saturday to organise a national demonstration against the deportation of asylum seekers.
Boot out civil service cuts MEMBERS OF the PCS civil service workers’ union in Merseyside protested outside Sefton council’s meeting on Thursday of last week demanding that they act to stop job losses. Gordon Brown’s plans to axe 104,000 civil service jobs will hit 4,000 workers across Merseyside.
THE Lengthy all-out strike by more than 100 social workers in Liverpool’s adoption, fostering and at-risk children’s units came to an end this week as strikers reluctantly accepted a return to work. The return to work deal, which sells the strikers disgracefully short, was negotiated last month by regional officials of the Unison public sector workers’ union. Unison’s industrial action committee then voted to recommend the deal and withdraw support for the strike.
BALLOT PAPERS for the election for the general secretary of Britain’s biggest public sector union, Unison, are sent out on 25 January. Socialist Worker spoke to United Left candidate Jon Rogers.
THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed that almost half of high street post offices are to be handed over to private retailers in the next few years.
OFFICIALS FROM the Unison and GMB unions were due to meet Brighton and Hove council for talks this week about the dispute over pay for teaching assistants. Teaching assistants in Brighton and Hove struck on three days last year against council plans to cut the number of weeks they work, effectively wiping out a promised pay rise.
Trade union leaders came under pressure this week to call nationwide action to stop New Labour’s assault on pensions. Five million public sector workers will face an extra five years of work—claiming their pensions at 65 instead of 60—if the government manages to ram through its "reforms".
THIRD WORLD countries are often told that free trade will bring them prosperity. But in Mauritius—a small African island state just east of Madagascar—we know this claim is a myth.
General Musharraf has refused to step down as head of the Pakistani military. His decision has embarrassed the mainstream parties who have repeatedly failed to launch a movement to remove the general since his 1999 coup—and have instead sought to share power with the military.
WORKERS AT the Filtrona factory in Switzerland—owned by the British-based company Bunzl—are engaged in a bitter fight to save their factory from closure.
IN HIS classic book Towards the Understanding of Karl Marx, Sidney Hook discusses the role of accident in history: "A chance event in history is one which although it has historical consequences has no historical causes.
GEORGE BUSH and Tony Blair say the elections scheduled for the end of this month will bring democracy to Iraq. But the democracy they are talking about is the rule of the occupiers under the cover of an elected Iraqi assembly.
It might seem strange that, in 1922 and 1923, when the Russian Revolution was still fighting for its life, Leon Trotsky, having refused to accept the office of vice-premier in the new government, devoted an entire book, Literature and Revolution, to artistic questions.
FOR THE forward-looking gang at internet-based gadget emporium Firebox.com, 2004 was a great year. The small, private business saw another gargantuan leap in profits. In December the company was named Britain’s 13th fastest growing private company in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100.
QUESTIONS ABOUT China’s future have begun to multiply after a long period when—bizarrely for a country of such size and importance—it had drifted off the map of global concern. On the one hand China’s role in the dominant international economic structures has become more visible especially following its entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
China’s economic growth has been uneven—leading to a widening gulf between rich and poor, and seeing labour shortages in some areas, unemployment in others. There are signs of growing unrest around the country as a result. Below are press extracts that give a glimpse of the discontent.
THE TSUNAMI tragedy has shown the consequences of capitalist globalisation. It has transformed the impact of natural and environmental hazards into terrible human disaster.
THERE’S A bedroom. A cosy bed, storybooks, toys, pretty curtains, birthday cards. Look closer. The effigy of a little girl on the bed. Is she dead? Unable to move? Above her men’s shoes dangle.
Rock the KasbahVarious artists
Turtles Can Fly (Lakposhtha ham paraz mikonand) Directed by Bhaman Ghobi
The feud between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown supposedly symbolises a historic clash of principles. Some union leaders and charities are pinning their hopes on the outcome. The feud is symptomatic of the crises that have beset New Labour’s inner core since it took us into the disastrous war on Iraq. But as for principled differences, there are none.
Socialists in Burnley were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Mick White just before the new year.
"I SAW recruits bullied to death. It was disgusting and I’ll tell that to the inquiry." Those were the words of Scott Knowles, a former serviceman who served at the notorious Deepcut army training camp in Surrey between 1992 and 1997.
The new bumper issue of International Socialism is out this month.
Highlights from Bookmarks children’s section include If the If the World were a Village by David J Smith (£6.99). It points out that if the world was a village of 100 people, nine would speak English, while 22 would speak a Chinese dialect, 13 people would be from Africa but only five would be from the US. It’s a large format picture book with facts and illustrations about the lives of people all over the world.
After the tsunami…
Meetings And Events
Meetings And Events