Dated: 03 Apr 2004
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"THIS JUNE we have the opportunity to turn the elections into a referendum on Tony Blair's government, especially its policy of backing George Bush's war on terror." So says anti-war movement leader Lindsey German.
"I THINK imaginative stunts like this would be great in every region for creating much-needed publicity." So said James Button, a Nottingham Trent University student and member of the East Midlands steering committee for Respect. He was one of many Respect campaigners who have been taking part in activities to publicise Respect in the run-up to the 10 June elections.
"THE BOSSES bleed us to death, then say, 'Thanks and sod off'." That was the reaction of a worker in Peugeot's Ryton car factory after the multinational announced 700 job cuts with the scrapping of the D, or night, shift.
IT IS not just Blair's government which has been plunged into crisis after lies about the war started to be unearthed. Revelations from Richard Clarke, who served under both Clinton and Bush as a counter-terrorism chief, have rocked the US White House.
"WE'RE INTO week five of our all-out strike and are even more determined to win than when we began." That's what Carol Ball, union convenor of 4,600 striking nursery nurses, told Socialist Worker. She was speaking after a magnificent 3,000-strong rally in Edinburgh outside the headquarters of Cosla, the umbrella body of Scottish local authority employers. Strikers left an empty table outside the building.
FIRST Coca-Cola got caught out bottling up tap water and flogging it back to us in posh bottles labelled Dasani. Then Coke was forced to withdraw the "sexed up" tap water from sale because it was full of cancer-inducing chemicals.
TONY BLAIR's visit to Libya and handshake with its ruler Colonel Muammar Gadaffi got huge publicity last week. Much of the media coverage was whipped up by New Labour's own spin doctors. With Iraq in chaos, Blair is desperate to claim some success for his foreign policy. What better than claiming to have tamed Libya, one of the key "rogue states"?
OF ALL the great phrases that our leaders have come up with over the years, surely the "war on terror" has to be their finest. How to name wars is something that gives important work to politicians, historians and journalists.
THE HEADLINE news in France's regional elections was that there was a big swing away from the ruling right to the parties of the "plural left"-the Socialists, Communists, and Greens. But, for the revolutionary left, the story was a different one.
In 1987 an Israeli historian called Benny Morris published a book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. It caused a sensation at the time. Using official Israeli military archives, it confirmed the Palestinian case that the foundation of the Israeli state in 1948 had depended upon armed terror-resulting in the forcible "transfer", or expulsion, of three quarters of a million Palestinian Arabs. This was something that the Zionists - the ideologues who advocate an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine - had always denied.
The cruel and brutal actions of Israeli governments, armies and sections of the population since the formation of the state of Israel in 1948 have been well documented. The recent brutality against the Palestinian uprising and horrors in the Occupied Territories now show how Israeli policy has been characterised by fierce and unrelenting reaction.
SHOCK AND anger swept most parts of the world last week after Israel's murder of Sheikh Yassin. Socialist Worker sellers were part of the response, agitating for Palestinian rights and against Bush and Blair's support for Israel. Simon reports from north west London, "After the assassination of Sheikh Yassin, a couple of us went round the Arab cafes of Bayswater and Edgware Road.
'ENGLAND EXPECTS every man to do his duty." So runs the motto of lead character Ray in this new BBC drama, appropriated from Nelson's battle cry at Trafalgar. This duty is apparently to ensure that all ethnic minorities are forcibly removed from his east London community. Steven Mackintosh gives a convincing performance as a security guard with latent fascist beliefs that resurface when his family is refused a council house.
NEW LABOUR ministers have poured fuel on the fire of racism with their lies about asylum seekers. They branded refugees and migrant workers a "problem" and a "drain on resources". It should come as no surprise to them when they get their fingers burnt. The Tories and right wing press have gleefully seized on the issue of asylum to attack New Labour, calling for immigration minister Beverley Hughes to resign.
There are two fundamental reasons why socialism has to be international. Both rise from the nature of capitalism. The first is very simple and material. One of capitalism's historic achievements has been the formation of a world market. If we think about our own everyday lives, it is immediately apparent that we depend on the products of the world.
Now it's Waterloo sunset for Blair's New Labour IN AN important development last week, the Waterloo Branch of the RMT rail workers' union has agreed to support Respect candidates standing in the London Assembly and European elections. The decision reflects the deep disgust members have with a Labour Party that has turned its back on working people.
THERE IS further proof that Spain's former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar lied when he announced the Basque separatist group ETA was behind the bombings in Madrid. Police officers and firefighters involved in the rescue told the Financial Times last week that they knew immediately ETA could not have carried out the bombing.