Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 1940

Dated: 26 Feb 2005

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British arms sales fuel Africa's wars

British ministers’ claims that they are leading the global fight against poverty will ring hollow unless the government changes policies which harm rather than help developing countries.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Museum workers exhibit militancy

Civil service workers in the Prospect and PCS unions at the National Museum of Science and Industry struck on Wednesday of last week. The strike is over pay and underfunding. Their action closed the Science Museum in London and disrupted the National Railway Museum in York and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford.

Now build the 19 March anti-war demonstration

Anti-war actions took place across Britain on Tuesday of last week, the Stop the War Coalition’s day of action marking two years since 15 February 2003, the biggest anti-war march in British history. Keir McKechnie reports from Glasgow.

Union leader Billy Hayes says act now to stop the BNP

The threat from the fascist British National Party (BNP) has never been greater. They received over 800,000 votes in the European elections and over 90,000 votes in the London elections in 2004, representing the highest ever votes for a fascist party in Britain.

Reports in brief

Make Poverty History About 200 people attended the launch of the Make Poverty History coalition in Sheffield on Wednesday of last week. There were speakers from Oxfam, Christian Aid and the World Development Movement (WDM), who spoke about the three strands to the campaign — debt, trade and aid.

Roundup of pensions day of action

On Friday of last week, thousands of people all over the country took part in rallies and demonstrations against the government’s plans to force millions of public sector workers to work for an extra five years before they can collect their full pension.

Thousands join the pensions protests

Thousands of public sector workers, like these in Southend, Essex, rallied in defence of pensions this week as part of the TUC’s day of action.

New threats from Bush

The US war drive goes on regardless. Whatever the diplomatic niceties surrounding George Bush’s visit to Europe, it is business as usual in Washington.

Labour council’s plans threaten the elderly

Former miner Eric O’Brien is entitled to all the comforts to help him in his advancing years. But he admits he is frightened for the future as his care home is one of four earmarked for closure in the South Yorkshire town of Barnsley. Campaigners fear Barnsley could be left without a single council old people’s home following an attack by the Labour-run district council and the town’s NHS primary care trust (PCT).

Socialist Worker’s special report from Fallujah...

Dr Salam Ismael’s report of US atrocities in Fallujah, Iraq, which Socialist Worker printed as our front page last week, has sent ripples around the world.

Private firms profit from NHS scans

The government is to hand £1 billion of NHS money to private companies to provide scans and medical tests to the health service. Health secretary John Reid announced the privatisation of diagnostic tests, including the MRI scans that are important in diagnosing serious conditions, as part of measures to reduce NHS waiting lists last week.

Breakthrough for radical left in Portugal’s elections

The Left Bloc has just won its best election results ever. We won 6.4 percent of the national ballot and elected eight MPs. That compares with 3 percent of the votes and three MPs at the previous general election of 2002. In fact this time we were only 65 votes away from electing our ninth MP — we hope we can still do it in the recount!

Respect builds roots

RESPECT MP George Galloway and councillor Oliur Rahman spoke to around 40 local residents at a meeting on the Collingwood estate in east London’s Bethnal Green & Bow constituency last Saturday.

Keep up the pressure over pensions fight

THE GMB is the latest major union to consider strikes against New Labour’s public sector pensions robbery.

Unity to fight against the injustice of terror laws

Civil rights activists campaigning against New Labour’s latest round of "anti-terrorism" legislation joined forces with the families of those who have died in police custody last weekend at a meeting in Tooting, south London.

Who Says?

"I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I will never take any option off the table." George Bush on the continuing possibility of military action against Iran

Another bogus health and immigration story from the Daily Mail

Last week the Daily Mail splashed the headline "Our NHS, Not the World Health Service" across its front page. It was the latest attempt by the Tories and the right wing press to whip up a panic over refugees.

The same old racist lies about immigrants and disease, a century on

"Small pox and scarlet fever have unquestionably been introduced by aliens within the past few months on a large scale." You could easily think I’m quoting Tory leader Michael Howard.

Ken Livingstone's battle with the Standard

So what should we make of the Ken Livingstone saga? Just so we all know how the conversation went, here it is:

Military families back US protest against Iraq war

More than 100 military families will head a US anti-war march near the Fort Bragg military base as part of the global day of protest against the war and occupation of Iraq on 19 March.

New revelations from the occupation of Iraq

New evidence of how mercenaries working with US forces in Iraq have killed and brutalised unarmed civilians was revealed by whistleblowers this week.


Mbeki’s neo-liberal vision of South Africa

In his state of the nation address at the opening of parliament, South African president Thabo Mbeki once again revealed how out of touch with reality he is.

Third Egyptian socialist activist is released

Ibrahim Sahari, a journalist arrested at the Cairo Book Fair for handing out anti-government leaflets, has been released by the Egyptian authorities following international protests.


Italy’s Rifondazione: the radical left at the crossroads

Half a million demonstrated in Rome last Saturday. The slogans of the march were "Free Giuliana" and "Free the Iraqi people". The first slogan referred to Giuliana Sgrena, a journalist with Il Manifesto, the centre left daily paper. She is being held hostage in Iraq and was shown on video last week appealing to the Italian government to withdraw its troops from Iraq.


Tony Benn reviews Paul Foot's 'The Vote'

Tony Benn reviews Paul Foot’s last book, The Vote: How It Was Won and How It Was Undermined.

Democracy: an ongoing struggle

In the light of Paul Foot’s last book, The Vote: How It Was Won and How It Was Undermined, Paul O’Brien discusses the link between the vote and the fight for democracy

Zimbabwe’s struggle against imperialism

In the third part of our series on National Liberation, Simon Basketter charts the downfall of Rhodesia’s white elite

Dead soldier's father will stand against Geoff Hoon

It has been a long battle with the establishment to get some justice. When we invaded Iraq, I thought this war was just. So did my son.

Military families demand prosecution over Iraq deaths

The families of the six British army military policemen, including Tom Keys, killed in Iraq a year and half ago are demanding action against senior officers.

After Iraq will the US attack Syria next?

The assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri in Beirut on 14 February has provided the opportunity for US officials to turn the spotlight on Syria. The US was swift to accuse it of destablising Lebanon and sponsoring terrorism.

The dangerous mood in Lebanon after the assassination

The funeral of assassinated former prime minister Hariri saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets in a parade of strength by the Lebanese opposition.

Coming events

Saturday 26 FebruaryPalestine Solidarity Campaign conference, 10.30am, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1.Phone 020 7700 6192 for more details

Malcolm X

Read this issue's Malcolm X supplement on the fortieth anniversary of his assassination.


Faith: betrayal and survival during the miners’strike

I was working as a dustman for Newark and Sherwood District Council in 1984-5. We emptied bins around the pit villages of Ollerton, Rainworth, Blidworth and Calverton in Nottinghamshire.

Journey from Kashmir to the steel mills of South Yorkshire

Faultlines — Tales from Kashmir and Rotherham26 Februrary Carlisle Business Centre, Bradford 10 April St Peter’s Community Centre, Sheffield For details of other venues phone 01709 367 287

Reviews in brief

Heidi Bradner: Photos from ChechnyaThe Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London THIS small exhibition of photographs by Heidi Bradner reflects both the horror and the resilience of Chechens facing the onslaught of Vladimir Putin’s "war on terror".

What We Think

What's left of Labour's Warwick agreement with the unions after the pensions betrayal?

The government’s assault on public sector pensions should shatter any illusion that it will deliver for workers if it wins a third term. Trade union leaders made great play of a deal they struck with Labour’s leaders at the national policy forum in Warwick last July.

Other Categories

Union power needed

By this time next year there will only be seven deep coal mining pits left in this country, and a further 520 miners will have lost their jobs at the whim of an increasingly avaricious free market system. As the pangs of a fuel shortage still rumble away in the distance, growing ever nearer, the government is sticking to its Thatcherite ideal of laissez faire economics.

Recommendations from Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop

To mark the publication of The Vote: How It Was Won and How It Was Undermined by Paul Foot, Bookmarks and Penguin are holding an evening of discussion with Tony Benn, Lindsey German and Michael Rosen in the Council Chamber, TUC Congress House, Gt Russell Street, London WC1, Tue 1 Mar, 7.30 for 8pm (Tickets £2.50 from Bookmarks). Order The Vote now from Bookmarks at the special reduced price of £20 (normally £25). Add £3 postage and packing.

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