Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1978

Dated: 26 Nov 2005




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Stealing your retirement

There is a plan to steal your retirement and to turn the clock back 50 years to when workers died soon after they retired.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

These pension proposals are an attack on us all

Privatising the second pension Workers will be enrolled into a second pension scheme on top of the basic state pension.

Marchers rally against health cuts and privatisations

Hundreds of protesters marched through Oxford last Saturday to demand investment in the NHS and an end to privatisations.

Blair sets his heart on the nuclear option

New Labour’s stealthy rehabilitation of nuclear power continued this week.

Justice denied

Babar campaign vows to fight on Babar Ahmad’s family and friends have vowed to fight all the way against home secretary Charles Clarke’s decision last week to extradite him to the US on bogus terrorism charges.

Who says?

"A few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie."US vice-president Dick Cheney, replying to critics of the Iraq war

My four days inside Mugabe’s prisons

I was among 120 people who were arrested on the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) led Action Against Poverty demonstration in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, on Tuesday 8 November. Hundreds of people had protested against spiralling levels of poverty.

New unity in the campaign against racist deportations

The campaign in Glasgow to defend refugees has helped bring refugees and people living on the housing estates, together and stopped a number of people from being deported.

Great support for college lecturers' pay strike

Around 26,000 lecturers at over 200 colleges struck on Wednesday of last week over pay, and hundreds demonstrated in Birmingham as education secretary Ruth Kelly visited the city.

Airports: signs of resistance

Terminal 5 Workers employed by Laing O’Rourke at the Terminal 5 construction site, Heathrow, unanimously rejected a pay rise of 22 pence an hour at a mass meeting last week.

Stop deporting children

"I am here today not just for my own family, who face deportation, but for all the children in the world facing deportation."

Huddersfield Technical College

Students at Huddersfield Technical College in Yorkshire have rallied to the defence of college caretakers who are out on indefinite strike over pay.

Battle to stop the threat to Edinburgh’s public housing

On Monday of this week campaigners demonstrated outside Edinburgh’s city chambers against the proposed handover of council housing stock to a housing association. Ballot papers are expected to go out to 23,000 council tenants asking them to vote on the proposal.

SOAS librarians don’t go quietly

Students and workers at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London have won the reinstatement of two librarians after a campaign which saw staff vote four to one for strikes.

Reports round-up

Postal workers lobby Hundreds of postal workers joined a lobby of parliament last week to press the case to keep Royal Mail fully owned by the public sector.

The low paid who keep London going

"We just work like slaves", "They treat us like animals". These are just some of the responses of cleaners on the London Underground in a shocking new study of low pay.

Defend Eileen Short

Communications staff working for Tower Hamlets council in east London are walking out on Monday of next week to defend their colleague Eileen Short.

Firefighters

Three rounds of strike action by firefighters in the West Midlands have started to win significant concessions from the brigade.

Sefton council

Nigel Flanagan and Paul Summers, the two Unison union officials sacked by Sefton council on Merseyside, have hit back against the council’s attempts to smear them.

Health workers' frustration boils over

Ambulance workers Ambulance workers in the West Midlands and Shropshire are set to ballot for strikes over the implementation of a new pay deal.

NUT teachers' union ballots over pay restructuring

Schools in England are now reaching crunch time in responding to government instructions to restructure their staff. The deadline is 31 December, but at least four weeks are meant to be set aside for management proposals to be scrutinised by unions.

Baljeet Ghale becomes an NUT vice president

History was made last week with the result of elections for national officers in the NUT. Tower Hamlets teacher and Socialist Teachers Alliance (STA) candidate Baljeet Ghale came first of two vice presidents, and will become the first black president of the NUT in 2007.

Bus workers' strike wins 21 percent

Drivers at First Bus in Staffordshire and Cheshire were due to vote on Thursday on a new deal offered by the company.

Building the International Peace Conference

Tom works in the Stop the War Coalition office and deals with the delegates to the 10 December peace conference.

Nitin Sawhney: taking a stand against the war, lies and racism

Nitin Sawhney is joining the Rachid Taha Band, Brian Eno, Imogen Heap and former Clash guitarist Mick Jones this Sunday for a mammoth Stop the War fundraising gig at the Astoria in Charing Cross Road, London. He spoke to Yuri Prasad about music, racism and the war.

Asylum seekers are given £60 and sent back to a war zone

Men dragged from detention centres in the middle of the night. At the airport about a third are selected and are forcibly bundled onto a clandestine flight. When they touch down they are in the place from where they had fled torture and persecution.

Lockdown at Imperial College

The "war on terror" has come home to Imperial College. Students are astonished by a sinister new dress code imposed by the university authorities "in the light of security concerns raised by the terrorist incidents which occurred over the summer".

Why the mainstream media fails us on Iraq

Reports have recently come out in the mainstream press about the use of white phosphorus by troops in Iraq. These reports aren’t new — just over a year ago they were coming out from human rights organisations and medics and journalists that white phosphorus, napalm and other agents were being used.


International

Winning in Cairo, so they closed the polling station

Kamal Khalil, a well known Egyptian militant, stood in the Cairo district of Ambaba the country’s parliamentary elections on 14 November.

The Zapatistas’ election campaign with a difference

Latin America will see 11 presidential elections in the next year. But it is the elections set to take place in Mexico on 2 July 2006 that are currently attracting most attention internationally.

Australia’s biggest union demos in 40 years

Up to 600,000 striking workers took to the streets of Australia last week in a massive rejection of the conservative government’s attack on union rights.

Korea: 30,000 say no to Bush

A march of 30,000 people confronted George Bush when he went to South Korea to attend the Economic Leaders’ Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Community (APEC).


Comment

The bloody history of ‘civilisation’

Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilisation, famously replied, "I think it would be a good idea."


Features

Rome, the birth of an empire

The HBO/BBC series Rome is being presented as a breakthrough in the portrayal of ancient Rome. But in fact there’s little new. In line with long-standing Hollywood tradition, the cast is British, even if the money is mainly American.

Sidi Omar of Polisario interviewed about the struggle in Western Sahara

This is a country occupied by a murderous foreign power for decades. A country split apart by a 1,600 mile series of fortified walls backed by soldiers, heavy weaponry and millions of landmines.

Sandblast: a culture of struggle

Sandblast is an emerging organisation set up to tackle the severe lack of the awareness of the Saharawi situation in Britain and to build links between the UK and Western Sahara through the arts.

Respect: celebrate success, but face the next challenge

The second annual Respect conference took place in London last weekend with delegates in an upbeat and confident mood.

Strategy for electoral success in May next year

"We are not only about elections, but the elections matter," said Respect national secretary John Rees in the discussion on electoral strategy.

‘We need each other’

"I bring greetings from the Left Bloc in Portugal to Respect, which we see as a sister organisation to our own. We stood in our first elections six years ago and won two MPs. In this year’s elections we won eight MPs. That means we can make a lot of noise. Imagine having eight George Galloways in Westminster — it would make the walls shake!

Debate: education and students

Delegates at the Respect conference debated education on Sunday morning. The highlight came when Darlington Respect activist Jill Russell spoke about a lively campaign she organised against city academy proposals.

Conference briefs

The burning issue in Slough Jazz Khan was Respect’s candidate in Slough during the May general election. He spoke to Socialist Worker about his local group’s plans for next year’s council elections

Debate: religious hatred bill

One of the most vibrant debates was over Respect’s position on the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred Bill.

Debate: combating homophobia

Respect reaffirmed its commitment to opposing homophobia.

Debate: climate change and nuclear power

The discussion around Respect’s policy on climate change was a lively one, dealing with issues such as nuclear power, renewable energy and carbon emissions trading.

Respect activists' diary

It’s an exciting and very busy time for the left in Tower Hamlets. Having George Galloway as our MP has galvanised opposition to New Labour. He has become a lightning rod for anger across the East End.

Alexandra Kollontai

The lives of young women today are incomparable to that of their grandmothers in terms of work, expectations and sexual freedom. Yet, women are still oppressed.


Reviews

Horace Ové discusses a film that shocked with politics and technique

You shot Pressure in 1973. Why did you make the film?

Pressure and Burning an Illusion reviewed

Pressure Horace OvéBurning an IllusionMenelik ShabazzBoth released on DVD by the British Film Institute (£19.99)


What We Think

This corrupt and shameless occupation

US vice-president Dick Cheney stepped up White House attacks on critics of the Iraq war this week. He declared that politicians who say Americans were sent into battle based on a lie are engaging in "revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety."


Other Categories

Letters

Letters

Climate March

London, Saturday 3 December

Socialist Worker appeal

Your donations to Socialist Worker’s £150,000 appeal made it possible to produced an extra four pages in the paper this week, giving us the space to fully cover the wide ranging discussion at last week’s Respect national conference.

Meetings, events, demonstrations and film showings

Meetings And Events



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