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Socialist Worker

Issue: 1946

Dated: 09 Apr 2005

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Respect: 'our chance to shake up politics' in the general election

Remember how you felt when Tony Blair took us into the Iraq war, treating with contempt the majority of the population and the two million people who marched against it?

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Canary Wharf cleaners bringing down the curtain on low pay

The Canary Wharf cleaners stepped up their campaign against poverty pay when about 100 people demonstrated outside the Old Vic theatre in London on Thursday of last week.

Glasgow Housing Association staff strike for the tenants’ facilities

A strike by more than 500 Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) staff closed nearly 60 offices across the city on Wednesday of last week. Management claimed that a large number of offices were open — but was unable to provide the names of any when the press asked for them!

NASUWT teachers in pension rebellion

DELEGATES TO the conference of the second biggest teachers’ union voted last week for a national industrial action ballot unless the government withdraws its plans to raise the pension age.

Reports in brief

South Yorks gets music and unity Unity was the message as Rotherham rocked to its first ever Love Music Hate Racism event on Saturday of last week. Asian music award winners Metz and Trix — who filled in for bhangra band RDB at the last minute — went down a storm.

Media round-up

ITV workers’ strike set to hit flagship programmes Members of the Bectu and Amicus unions at ITV were set to strike on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week in their pay dispute. The strike involves over 700 broadcasting, production and studio staff at ITV centres in London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Norwich, Nottingham and Birmingham.

Unison round-up

Walsall branch attacked Local government managers in Walsall, West Midlands, have launched an attack on the Unison union — effectively suspending branch officers and padlocking the union office.


Around 500 people packed into the Amir Millet community centre in Sparkhill, Birmingham, last Saturday to back Respect general election candidate Salma Yaqoob.

Defending asylum seekers

The campaign for Lorin Sulaiman and her family to stay in Britian received good news last week, when the home office allowed sisters Lorin, 15, Eva, 16, and their mother, Amina, to stay for two years. A 3,500 signature petition organised by Lorin’s mates at Mayfield School, Portsmouth, helped secure the decision.

New figures on poverty that shame New Labour government

The poorest people in Britain are getting less money than when Labour won the last election. Devastating new official figures show that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have utterly failed to combat poverty.

Fears for the future after the tsunami

Three months have gone by since the Boxing Day tsunami battered the coastal regions of Sri Lanka. To mark this passage of time, the bereaved have given alms in remembrance of their loved ones. But amid the rekindled grief — and despite the talk of reconstruction — ordinary people still fear for the future.

A stalking horse for attacks on our rights

In a new threat to civil liberties, an arms company is attempting to use anti-stalking legislation to undermine the right to protest.

Babar Ahmad faces mail restrictions

The extradition hearing for Babar Ahmad, the IT worker from south London threatened with deportation to the US, resumes on Monday 18 April. Babar faces trumped up terrorism charges if deported.

Who says?

"I don’t feel good. I haven’t heard any enthusiasm on any of the doorsteps."Labour MP, quoted in the Financial Times on Tuesday

U.S. Remains on top in ‘New’ Iraq

The election held in Iraq in January was hailed as the birth of a new democratic process.

Fallujah testimonies

"They turned night into day, and day into night. We realised they are not coming to liberate this town."


Miners battle against South Africa’s glittering elite

At the start of this week there were over 20,000 miners on strike in Free State at gold mines owned by the Harmony firm. Workers are 100 percent behind the action and are determined to fight until they win. The company has claimed that the strike is about job losses, but this is not true.

Bahrain — the revolt they'd rather you didn’t know about

A huge protest for democracy took place in the Middle East recently. But you won’t have heard about it from the Western media, and there won’t be stirring speeches in its support from George Bush or Tony Blair.

Genoa G8 trial gets underway

The trial of 28 Italian police officers involved in a violent assault on protesters during the anti-G8 demonstrations in Genoa in July 2001 was set to start on Wednesday of this week.


The two sides of Pope John Paul II

Even allowing for the predictable saturation coverage by the media, the death of Pope John Paul II does seem to have touched a genuine chord of grief and respect.


Bury the Chains — the end of slavery

IN 1794 a huge public meeting gathered in Sheffield, swelled by thousands of local metal workers. The words "liberty, brotherhood and equality" — touchstones of the recent French Revolution — hung in the air. The purpose of the mass meeting was to link two causes that burned deeply in the souls of the English working class — for the reform of the corrupt and undemocratic parliamentary system, and for the "total and unqualified abolition of Negro slavery".

Vote Respect for a new political engagement

As the election campaign gets under way one issue we have to address is the idea that a vote for Respect is a "wasted vote". These arguments can be summed up as, "I like what you say, I agree with you on the war, but you can’t win — and even if you win a seat, what impact can you have?"

Promoting our radical socialist vision across Scotland

The impending general election presents the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) with a great opportunity.

Fifteen years since the poll tax revolt

Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government boasted that the poll tax, their new local government tax, would mean that "a duke would pay the same as a dustman".

Craig Murray, the doorstep diplomat

Why did you leave your former job as British ambassador to Uzbekistan?

Coming events

Thursday 7 AprilLaunch meeting of ASBO Concern, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London (Euston station).

What brings about changes in science?

I discussed last week how Albert Einstein’s 1905 paper on the special theory of relativity helped resolve an emerging crisis in physics. In the same year Einstein published three other major scientific papers.

Making a school a business academy

Over the next five years New Labour plans another massive handover of public services to big business — striking at the heart of comprehensive education. Under the city academies programme private sponsors are to get their hands on 200 schools by 2010.

City acadamies transforming education in their own image

Academies, as private companies, are wholly removed from any local democratic control.

Respect activists spread message far and wide

Activists were campaigning for Respect up and down England and Wales even before the general election was announced on Tuesday this week.

‘Everyone can help Respect in this campaign’

With the general election date set for Thursday 5 May, we really have to step up the campaign. We have four weeks to reach as many people as possible.

Electoral fraud: judge slams postal ballot rules

A high Court judge has sharply criticised the government’s postal voting system as being wide open to electoral fraud and manipulation.

Respect candidates list

Bethnal Green & BowGeorge Galloway MP

Rose Gentle is standing to make the war an election issue

Rose Gentle, the mother of Gordon Gentle, a British soldier killed in Iraq in June last year, announced this week that she is standing against Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, in the general election.


German films explore Nazi terror and the resistance to it

German filmmakers are making a new cinematic effort to come to terms with the Nazi years. In the last three months, two big productions have been box office hits — Downfall, which was released in Britain last week, and Sophie Scholl.

Out of Place Exhibition

Out of PlaceDean Gallery of Modern Art, EdinburghUntil 26 June

Reviews round-up

Amajuba special offer The Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly, LondonPhone 020 7839 8811

What We Think

The election is a chance to change the political landscape

Vote Labour or wake up with Michael Howard in office on 6 May — that’s the cry from New Labour. Accordingly, a poll on the morning the election was called showed a Tory lead.

Other Categories


Teachers will march in Edinburgh against poverty At this year’s National Union of Teachers conference our general secretary Steve Sinnott said on a number of occasions that he would be taking the national banner to the Make Poverty History demonstration in Edinburgh on 2 July.

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