Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1934

Dated: 15 Jan 2005



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‘Unleash the death squads’

THE OCCUPATION forces in Iraq are to deploy Central American style death squads, under plans drawn up by the US.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Poor pick up the pieces as stock market booms

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.

Repression in Aceh continues

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.

Activists gearing up for crucial anti-war gathering in Egypt

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.

Get troops out to stop the killing

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.

Respect getting ready to fight the general election

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.

Blair promises yet more of the same

In a BBC interview last Sunday, Tony Blair laid out his plans for a third term.

Preston Respect leads tsunami relief drive

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.

Kebba Jobe inquest begins

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.

Who says?

"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.

In brief

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.

Climate change and the struggle for existence

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.

Galvanised by ruling

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.

Campaigns to defy college censorship

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.

Zimbabwe campaign launched

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.

In brief

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.

Bitter anger at end to Liverpool strike

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.

Support Jon Rogers for general secretary

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.

Postal workers

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.

Brighton and Hove

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.

Don’t let Brown rob your pension

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".


International

Free trade means rags for us, riches for them

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.

Anti-general strikes against key Bush ally

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.

Fighting for their jobs against British bosses

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.


Comment

The politics of the tsunami

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.


Features

After the elections the US will still rule

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.

Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution: culture is part of the struggle for socialism

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.

‘Funky’ firm that’s not what it seems

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.

Winners and losers in China’s boom

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).

Police statistics show there are 160 public protests every day

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.

No place in the sun for the majority

THE TSUNAMI tragedy has shown the consequences of capitalist globalisation. It has transformed the impact of natural and environmental hazards into terrible human disaster.


Reviews

Children whose lives are caught in a vice

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.

A loud and rebellious compilation dedicated to Joe Strummer

Rock the KasbahVarious artists

In brief

Turtles Can Fly (Lakposhtha ham paraz mikonand) Directed by Bhaman Ghobi


What We Think

The evil twins

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.


Other Categories

Mick White 1962-2004

Socialists in Burnley were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Mick White just before the new year.

Culture of brutality

"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.

International Socialism Journal

The new bumper issue of International Socialism is out this month.

Bookmarks

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.

Fantastic £3 a month subscription offer

Socialist Review 292

After the tsunami…

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