Dated: 26 Jun 2004
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THE LIARS who took us to war aim to perpetrate the biggest fraud yet next week. They want the world to believe that a "handover" of power in Iraq will take place on Wednesday.
THE 52,000-strong Fire Brigades Union has finally lost patience with this government and has voted to end its 86-year affiliation to Labour. That decision at the union's conference last week has sent shockwaves through the union movement.
The army AT LEAST 140,000 US troops will remain in Iraq after 30 June. Right wing US columnist Jed Babbin recently admitted, \"If they are not subjected to the law and authority of the new Iraq provisional government, how can they be anything other than an occupation force?\"
Kill and cover up TWO MISSILES fired by US warplanes killed 22 Iraqis in Fallujah last Saturday. Fallujah was the scene of fierce resistance to the occupation of Iraq earlier this year. US forces were forced to withdraw from the city and give control to the \"Fallujah brigade\" made up of Iraqi troops.
THE firefighters' FBU union struck a major blow against Tony Blair last week. It came just days after Labour suffered its worst election result since 1918. That was also the year the FBU affiliated to the Labour Party. The FBU ended that affiliation last week by 35,105 to 14,611 on a card vote.
FIREFIGHTERS AND control staff have picked themselves up from a year of knockbacks by voting for a fresh strike ballot over huge attacks on their conditions. Delegates to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) conference in Southport last week voted by 27,349 to 24,353 against effectively caving in to the employers' demands.
THE NATIONAL Union of Students (NUS) held an extraordinary conference in Leeds last week to discuss reform of its democratic structures. It was attended by just over 300 delegates-a large proportion of whom were full time sabbatical officers. The conference was called against the backdrop of a severe financial crisis. The NUS has an annual budget deficit of £500,000.
THE CWU postal and telecom workers' union conference had a good spirit about it, particularly in the postal section. A year of sharp struggle has given the members new confidence. Although there are big challenges ahead, there is a sense of new beginnings and a determination to relaunch the union with greater rank and file control and involvement.
POSTAL WORKERS at the mail centre in Oxford stopped work briefly last week in protest at the latest turn in the dispute over bullying.
TEACHERS AT the annual general meeting of the EIS, Scotland's biggest education union, voted for an industrial action ballot to reduce class sizes recently. If negotiations with the government are not successful by December 2004 action should follow in next spring.
Pressure forces reinstatement MANAGEMENT and GMB union officials claim that the long-running dispute in the Brighton and Hove refuse collection service is at an end after an agreement was signed last week. Intensive talks between the union and management followed an overwhelming vote for strike action in response to enforced changes in working practices that saw 11 workers suspended.
ANGER OVER low pay and anger at New Labour dominated this year's Unison union local government conference in Bournemouth on Monday of this week. Delegates passed a motion severely criticising the union's National Local Government Committee for submitting a pay claim of only 4 percent this year.
AROUND 10,000 people marched in London last Saturday against the great pensions robbery. The demonstration was organised by the TUC.
JUST HUNDREDS of people turned out for the pensions demonstration in Edinburgh organised by the Scottish TUC. My union, the teachers' EIS, sent only one A5 leaflet to each school. The Unison union did not even have its banner at the demonstration. It is clear that the union leaders will not act unless they are pushed from below.
PLANNED ACTION by steel erectors, pipe fitters and welders to hit construction work on high-profile sites for this week has been called off after employers rushed to negotiate a deal. The relatively small group of specialised workers were due to strike at Heathrow's Terminal 5 and Wembley Stadium in London as well as BP Grangemouth, BNG Sellafield and Novartis Grimsby.
ACTIVISTS IN train drivers' union Aslef are battling to undo the damage wrought by a bitter faction fight among their top national officials. Anti-union commentators have seized on reports of a brawl at a barbecue held at the union's headquarters in north London.
SUPERMARKET giant Morrisons has withdrawn a recognition agreement for its workers' TGWU union. Some 1,600 TGWU union members were voting in a consultative ballot this week on whether to have a full strike ballot.
CAMPAIGNERS against council house privatisation were cheered to see New Labour forced into another U-turn last week. The government has pledged to get all council homes to a decent standard by 2010.
OPPOSITION TO compulsory national SATs tests is as widespread as ever, as discussion at the recent Anti-SATs Alliance conference showed. The conference heard excellent contributions from speakers including academics Rick Hatcher and Bethan Marshall, and from parent Andrew Green.
RAIL AND London Underground workers are set to stage a one-day strike, called by their RMT union. Over 7,500 signallers, station staff and maintenance workers at rail infrastructure company Network Rail are due to strike for 24 hours from 6.30pm on Tuesday.
KEPT IN the dark and fed bullshit. That's exactly how mushroom pickers working in Britain felt after a ruling over their pay by the High Court in London last week. These workers, like many in the agriculture industry, suffer low pay and long hours. They were pleased with a decision from the Agricultural Workers Board to increase their pay this October.
AS MARX once said, \"One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got in my pyjamas I don't know.\" As you have probably guessed I'm talking about Groucho, not Karl, who along with Chico, Harpo and Zeppo made up the Marx Brothers. Their slapstick comedy routines and films are sheer genius.
SOCIALIST WORKER sellers in Brent, north west London, took to the streets last week to follow up a successful campaign for Respect. Simon reports, \"On Thursday we did a stall at two sites of an FE college. People were keen on the Socialist Worker election coverage.
Why is the European Union (EU) constitution such an explosive issue?
THE LABOUR Party, the party of government for the past seven years, received its lowest share of the vote since the First World War in the 10 June elections. The Tory party, the oldest and most successful conservative party in any parliamentary democracy, suffered an effective split in its voting base as the UK Independence Party (UKIP) took many of its natural supporters.
THE HIGH Court last week dismissed a challenge from Shabina Begum, a 15 year old Muslim from Luton, against Denbigh School's refusal to allow her to wear the jilbab, an Islamic dress that leaves only the hands and face exposed.
What made Che Guevara political? How did his ideas change? How did he become a worldwide figure in his short lifetime, and why does he still inspire so many people today? A great new book out this week from Mike Gonzalez, Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution, gives answers to these and many other questions about the life and politics of Che.
MARXISM 2004 starts in two weeks time. It is the biggest festival of socialist ideas in Europe. Over 200 different meetings, forums and debates will take place on everything from \"Iraq: war and resistance\" to \"Life after capitalism\", from \"What sort of democracy do we want?\" to \"Islam, secularism and socialism\".
Why did you think it was important to write the book William Shakespeare: In His Times, For Our Times?
Longstanding socialist Chanie Rosenberg's Lips sculpture has won a place in the Royal Academy's prestigious summer exhibition. If you want to visit the exhibition it is at Burlington House, London, W1J. Nearest tube Piccadilly Circus.
Sonic Nurse Sonic Youth
THE OFFICIAL US commission into the 9/11 attacks has delivered a devastating blow to the lies that launched the war on Iraq. Last week the commission ruled out any link between Iraq and Al Qaida. The commission is a mainstream body made up of establishment US politicians. But it found there was \"no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States\".
We can only achieve socialism by means of a revolution, in which millions of working people collectively take control of society, with new democratic institutions. Most of the time, that key revolutionary socialist idea is the property of a minority. It contradicts everyday experience. The predominant form of oppositional ideas is reformist.
Socialists in south east London were saddened to hear of the sudden death of SWP member Ray Dissington. An active trade unionist at Lewisham council until his redundancy, he had a real anger at the injustices of the system and despite difficulties due to a disability always came on demonstrations.
THE PEOPLE of east London made sure the London Assembly and European Parliament elections will go down in history. In a result that will have shocked establishment politicians right up to Tony Blair, Respect swept across the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham.
In this week 30 years ago 1974 KEVIN GATELEY, an anti-Nazi protester, was murdered by police on a demonstration in London's Red Lion Square on 15 June 1974. It was Kevin's first ever demonstration. He was determined to oppose the Nazi National Front, which was holding a meeting in Conway Hall.
Marxist Forums bring the movement together to discuss big ideas in an informal setting. Why not come along and have your say?
Wednesday 30 June Stop the war demonstration, \"Let the Iraqis decide\", 6pm, Parliament Square.