Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 1971

Dated: 08 Oct 2005

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Occupation fuels Iraq’s civil war

A United Nations (UN) report has revealed that the carnage tearing Iraq apart is being fuelled by the US, Britain and their allies.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Glasgow refugee protest

Over 1,000 people marched through Glasgow last Saturday demanding an end to the detention and deportation of asylum seekers. The Vucaj family from Kosovo were snatched and deported on Thursday of last week. The march was led by Scottish and refugee school students. There were banners from the Fire Brigades Union, the T&G union, the teachers’ EIS union and the Amicus union. MSPs spoke at the rally.

Privatisation plans will devastate the NHS

We are seeing the latest phase in a 25-year programme of privatising public assets and services. Healthcare is harder than other services to privatise, for two reasons. First the NHS is very efficient.

We can stop this attack on the NHS

‘People who work in the NHS have a pride in what they do — it’s special.

New industiral action in Sefton council

Members of the Unison union in Sefton council on Merseyside were set to start an escalating programme of selective industrial action on Wednesday of this week.

Sunderland council workers

Council workers in Sunderland council are set to be balloted over a pay review that would lead to wage cuts for at least 2,700 staff. The Unison and GMB unions are recommending that members reject the deal.

Firefighters' cuts victory in Suffolk

Suffolk firefighters have won significant gains after their recent strikes.

Market Reach call centre workers organise protest

Staff at a Plymouth call centre have organised protests after 400 were sacked without warning by Market Reach, a US telemarketing company.

Reports round-up

Brent acadamy Protesters dressed as elephants in Brent, north west London, on Thursday of last week, arguing that plans for a new privately run academy school will create a "white elephant". A conference against academies is set to take place this Saturday 8 October in Birmingham. For details phone 0121 442 2031 or e-mail <a href=""></a>

Bolton march against Section 9 and deportations

Around 500 people gathered in Bolton last Saturday for the first national demonstration against Section 9, and against all deportations, called by the Sukula Family Must Stay campaign.

Campaign against the deportation of Courage Idiagbonya

A meeting was set to take place on Tuesday of this week in support of Courage Idiagbonya, a student who is being prevented from completing his studies by Newcastle university.

Defra workers

PCS Union members in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have voted for strike action, and for action short of a strike, in a ballot over pay.

Lynx strike

Scottish lorry drivers who deliver cigarettes have voted for strikes in a consultative ballot and are now proceeding to a formal ballot.

Gate Gourmet: ‘We were right to fight’

The Gate Gourmet dispute ended last week after workers voted at a mass meeting to accept a deal brokered by their T&G union.

Refusing to be silenced at Labour conference

Terrorism T-shirts During the conference the Prevention of Terrorism Act was used against people wearing T-shirts with anti-Labour slogans.

Buses workers' disputes

Bus drivers in Norfolk and Suffolk ended their strikes this week after they won a 3 percent pay rise without strings.

Co-operative insurance

Last week saw two days of strike action by over 2,000 Co-operative Insurance Society financial advisers, writes Geoff Brown. Around 500 attended a rally in Manchester journeying from as far afield as Aberdeen and Plymouth. The workers’ Usdaw union is maintaining the fight against changes to contracts that could mean earnings are reduced by up to 30 percent.

Respect events

Ehe Alhijra Somali football team were worthy winners of the first Unity five a side football tournament organised by Haringey Respect in north London.

Liverpool anti-racism

Merseyside is to see what is hoped to be its biggest ever march against racism on Saturday 22 October following a series of incidents of racial harassment and violence and the racially motivated killing of Anthony Walker.

G8 film: Won’t Get Fooled Again

The premiere of Won’t Get Fooled Again, a documentary on the G8 and G8 protests, was held in Edinburgh on Friday of last week.

Labour conference sketch

Strange though it might seem, the Labour Party still runs a regular conference each year, attended by trade unionists, leftish councillors, and (mildly) progressive activists.

Government tries to split unions over pensions

The first major battle over public sector pensions could be about to begin.

The fight to keep Britain's health service public begins

Health workers, activists, trade unionists and local campaigners are getting organised as Britain’s health service faces its greatest threat since its foundation — New Labour’s attempt to drive free market policies through the NHS.

Cuts and closures hit the NHS

A picture of bed cuts, job losses and attacks on services is emerging around the country as the NHS faces a deficit of about £1.6 billion. Recent announcements include:

Unions face Heathrow battle

Willie Walsh took over as chief executive of British Airways (BA) last week and immediately announced plans that are a declaration of war against the workforce.

New policies mean more suffering for refugees

The government is preparing to push through more vicious policies towards refugees when parliament returns on Monday of next week.

Organising to stop the threat of climate change

Climate change is leading to devastating hurricanes, melting the polar ice caps and threatening the planet.

De Menezes Family demands justice for their murdered son

Maria de Menezes, the mother of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot dead by police at Stockwell tube, south London, in July, has accused Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair of a cover up.

Student round-up

Victory for free speech Keith Shilson, student union president at Middlesex University, London, has won his fight for free speech and student democracy.

Who says?

"A vote for the Iraqi constitution doesn’t mean we’re headed for peace and prosperity. Iraq is going to be a pretty difficult security environment for a while."General John Abizaid, the head of the US Central Command on the forthcoming referendum on the Iraqi constitution


Freed Irish protesters face down oil giant

Over 2,000 people took to the streets of the Irish capital, Dublin, last Saturday to celebrate the release of five Rossport men who had been jailed for 94 days because their government has become a mouthpiece for the oil and gas companies.

Corsican strikes shake French ports

French special forces stormed a Corsican ferry last week. Corsican trade unionists had seized control of the ship in protest at the privatisation of the SNCM ferry company.

Still no real democracy in Afghanistan

Almost four years after the "liberation" of Afghanistan, the country’s interior minister has resigned. The reason he cited was the continued control exercised by "local leaders" — warlords who fought in Afghanistan’s long civil war — across much of the country.

Egyptians have had Enough

Up to 5,000 Egyptian activists defied police to march through the centre of Cairo on Wednesday of last week. The demonstration was called by the Kifaya (Enough) movement to protest against the inauguration of president Hosni Mubarak.

Iraq constitution will enshrine conflicts

Protests are taking place in Iraq in the run up to a referendum on the new constitution, set to take place on 15 October.


Asbos: what the Dickens is going on?

In his conference speech last week Tony Blair complained in Orwellian style that "We are trying to fight 21st century crime with 19th century methods, as if we still lived in the times of Dickens." The truth is the opposite.


Aden: an imperial mess with modern echoes

Recent events in southern Iraq — in particular the "rescue" of two British SAS special forces officers in Basra — have highlighted how the US led occupation is losing its grip even in so called stable areas of the country.

The first Stop the War movement

One hundred years ago this autumn, Russia and Japan signed a peace treaty which brought 18 months of war to an end.

Labour’s casinos gamble with people’s lives

One of the poorest communities in Britain is one step closer to getting a super casino thanks to New Labour’s relaxation of the gambling laws.

Belfast: the real divide

A pipe bomb exploded at the home of a Catholic couple and their three year old boy in Ballymoney, County Antrim, last week. Steel fragments burst through the window destroying their living room.

‘All that politicians agree on is that neo-liberalism is the solution in Northern Ireland’

Northern Ireland spends about £22 billion each year on its public services. It raises £14 billion in taxes, with another £8 billion coming from the British government. Under direct rule from Westminster, all of this money is allocated and spent from London.

Who won the peace?

"A new renaissance for Belfast," proclaim the banners surrounding an enormous £300 million building site in the city centre. It is one of numerous developments that form part of the "regeneration" of Northern Ireland.


Shirley Collins: documenting the music of the US South

Different influences had merged together to form one kind of music. The influences went back and forth between the black and the white musicians.

Reviews round-up

Palestinian poster exhibition

What We Think

Say no thanks to nuclear power

New Labour announced this week that it will decide on whether to press ahead with a new generation of nuclear power plants by the end of the year.

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