Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 1980

Dated: 10 Dec 2005

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Money for pensions, not war

New Labour ministers have queued up to welcome the pensions report produced by former top boss Lord Adair Turner.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Britain’s biggest ever climate change demo

Some 10,000 mainly young people marched through central London last Saturday against the inaction of the US and British governments over climate change.

Sefton steps up attempt to silence housing campaign

Sefton council’s desperate smear tactics against Defend Council Housing (DCH) campaigners have reached new lows, with the Merseyside council sending out letters to four leading DCH activists threatening legal action against them.

House building for rent at lowest since 1920s

The number of new homes built for rent from housing associations and councils is at its lowest level since 1925.

Newham defections boost Respect

The left challenge to New Labour received a boost in Newham, east London, last week when a Labour councillor and the secretary of the Liberal Democrats in the area joined Respect.

Respect smeared for having too many supporters

New Labour is worried that Respect could take control of Tower Hamlets and Newham councils.

Irish Ferries occupation aims to sink Bolkestein

Tens of thousands of workers were expected to take to the streets around Ireland this week in solidarity with Irish Ferries workers. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has called a national day of protest for Friday this week.

Sacked Gate Gourmet workers are left out in the cold

Around 400 people marched through Southall, west London, last Sunday calling for justice for the sacked Gate Gourmet workers. Around a quarter of those at the protest were themselves sacked workers.

Bus pickets shock bosses

There were no city buses in Aberdeen last weekend as T&G union members struck for 48 hours and joined mass picket lines from 4am on Saturday morning.

London Underground

Workers employed by Metronet on the infrastructure of London Underground have voted by 78 percent for strikes against outsourcing.

Eileen Short

The campaign to defend Eileen Short, who is being victimised by Tower Hamlets council for her trade union activity and campaigns in defence of council housing, has stepped up a gear with fellow workers in her section planning two days of strike action.

Reject Leighton’s Post Office privatisation ballot

Royal Mail's chairman Allan Leighton told a managers’ meeting last week of his intention to ballot the workforce over his plans to issue shares in the business.

Asylum seekers

Zimbabwean asylum seekers Thando Dube and Amanda Sibiya were on their 35th day of hunger strike at the Yarl’s Wood detention centre at the beginning of this week.

Latin America 2005

Over 250 people attended the Latin America 2005 conference in London last Saturday, with at least another 100 turned away because of lack of space.

Reports round-up

Natfhe and AUT to merge Members of Natfhe and the AUT have have voted overwhelmingly to merge the two lecturers’ unions into one with 116,000 members.

Guardian shows its ugly face

A demonstration outside the Manchester Evening News brought traffic to a standstill last week as protesters fought to stop the closure of City Life magazine.

The BBC and Anna Teeman

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is planning to ballot its members at the BBC over the victimisation of union rep Anna Teeman.

Tell It Like It Is — inspiring meeting is a model

Some 115 people came to a meeting organised around the new book Tell It Like It Is: How Schools Fail Black Children, in north London last week.

Education round-up

Bury Labour council’s plans to close or merge up to eight high schools met with anger and the mood to resist on the streets of Bury, in Greater Manchester, last Saturday.

Huddersfield Technical College

Striking caretakers from Huddersfield Technical College came to London last week to speak at a Unison union meeting in Croydon and a meeting of the Unison United Left group.

PCS Left Unity conference

Over 100 members of Left Unity, the broad left within the PCS civil service workers’ union, met in Manchester last Saturday for its annual conference.

Imperial College dress code

The campaign against the dress code at Imperial College in London is starting to make headway. On Thursday of last week some 60 students held a demonstration outside our faculty building — the fortress that houses the college management responsible for the code.

West Midlands ambulance service planned action

On Thursday of last week, about 100 staff from West Midlands ambulance service attended a joint trade union meeting to discuss possible industrial action.

Defeat for the BNP in Thurrock

A vigorous campaign by Unite Against Fascism was instrumental in preventing the fascist British National Party (BNP) from capturing council seats in Thurrock, Essex, on Thursday of last week.


The Amicus union has called off a series of strikes set to begin at Birmingham International Airport on Thursday of this week. These were called as part of a campaign of industrial action after two workers were sacked.

Full house for International Peace Conference

There will be a full house at the International Peace Con­ference taking place in London this Saturday. Tickets sold out with four days to go.

France’s contradictions

The contemporary French political scene is intensely contradictory, which is one of the reasons it so difficult to comprehend. Insisting on one or other aspect in isolation from the wider context inevitably leads activists and observers to slalom from euphoria to despair in the matter of days or weeks.

Tax relief 'A-Day' for the rich to celebrate

The rich were howling this week after Gordon Brown spiked one of their scams to drain off even more tax relief for elite pension plans.

‘We are all Babar Ahmad’

Home secretary Charles Clarke last month agreed to the US’s request to extradite Babar Ahmad on trumped up "terrorism" charges. Babar’s wife Mrs Ahmad writes about the next stage in the campaign to free him.

Scottish fight over CIA flights

"Torture flights", carrying US detainees overseas to be tortured, are passing through Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Ayrshire.

Turner plan: poor work longer and die younger

The Turner report on pensions has unleashed a key battle in British politics.

‘We need action to defend the retirement age’

While the full details were not completely clear at the beginning of this week there is no doubt that the government has announced a very serious attack on the local government pension scheme.

Pensions round-up

Millions of pensioners abandoned It's not just tomorrow’s pensioners that Turner savaged. Pensioners groups hit out as the full details became clear.

Who says?

"It’s my business so why should I do it as a charity? If you asked the Hilton just to run the food and beverage side of a hotel, they would say no and in education we will say no."Sunny Varkey, whose Gems company runs 13 private schools and now wants to run state schools for profit, on why he rejects accepting charity status which limits profits

Urgent tasks for peace campaign

This weekend's International Peace Conference in London must be a springboard for extending the anti-war movement into the New Year.

Cindy Sheehan welcomed to Britain

One of the activists coming to Britain for the International Peace Conference is Cindy Sheehan, whose son — US soldier Casey Sheehan — was killed in Iraq.

Demonstrations across Ireland support Irish Ferries occupation

I was one of a delegation of trade unionists that joined up to 100,000 people marching in Dublin on Friday of last week in support of the workers occupying two Irish Ferries ships in Welsh ports.


Iraq round-up

Hospitals targeted Health workers in Iraq have launched an international campaign demanding an end to harassment by US troops and their allies.

New Zealand Starbucks strike

Workers across Auckland, New Zealand, joined the world’s first strike at Starbucks coffee shops last month.

No WTO deal better than bad deal

We say that no deal at the WTO is much better than a bad deal. The draft text released for the upcoming ministerial meeting of the WTO, if agreed in Hong Kong, will destroy the livelihoods of peasants, small farmers, landless and indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and workers the world over.

Forging a new left party in Germany

The breakthrough at the general election, with the 54 MPs for the Left Party returned, was a great advance for the left.

Italian students develop a thirst for political discussion

On the final day of November the psychology department of Rome’s La Sapienza university is a hive of activity.

Tanzania water privatisation

British water company Biwater is suing Tanzania, one of the poorest countries in the world, in revenge for being thrown out of country by the government earlier this year.

Baghdad protest unites Sunnis and Shias

Thousands of Sunnis and Shias held a joint demonstration in Baghdad on Friday of last week. The protest was called to denounce military raids, widespread arrests and torture of Sunni Muslims at the hands of the ministry of interior police.


Marxism meets the movement

Last week the sixth anniversary of the protests in Seattle passed without much notice. The passage of time has, however, if anything underlined the importance of the challenge that demonstrators mounted to the World Trade Organisation summit on 30 November 1999.


Bloody Sunday in Derry

The smoke hadn’t cleared from the Bogside when Captain Mike Jackson, second-in-command of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, standing in the lee of the Rossville Street flats, began pondering the notes that the Bloody Sunday families believe were to become the basis for a cover-up of murder.

Class and the civil rights movement

Surely one of the most nauseating spectacles in an era that has provided us with so many was the "civil rights tour" that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hosted for her partner-in-war-crimes Jack Straw in late October. During it, they had the incredible cheek to invoke the history of the black freedom struggle to rationalise their ongoing slaughter in Iraq.

Eleanor Marx

"Dear comrade, I shall be very glad to speak at the meeting of 1 November 1890, the more glad that my father was a Jew."

Iraqi trade unionist Hassan Jumaa Awad speaks out

Hassan Jumaa Awad of the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra addressed a meeting organised by Manchester trades council and Greater Manchester Coalition to Stop the War on 24 November.

Who is controlling the death squads in Iraq?

It has become impossible for anyone with half an eye on Iraq over the last six months not to recognise the widespread presence of death squads, especially in Baghdad and the ring of towns surrounding it.

Socialist Worker appeal

The Socialist Worker Appeal stands at £108,125. That is no mean achievement and thanks to all who have supported it so far.


1,000 years of Islam in Britain

Past and Present: 1,000 years of Islam in Britain, New Walk Museum, Leicester, until 23 December

Whisky is a powerful cocktail made from socks and misery

WhiskyDirected by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll

Kerry James Marshall | Tickets | Moolaadé

Kerry James MarshallCamden Arts Centre, north Londonuntil 29 January

Machuca : where class and classes mix

MachucaDirected by Andres Wood

What We Think

Bolkestein will mean misery across Europe

Whether it’s the attack on pensions and schools in this country, Italian students protesting against education "reforms", or the Irish Ferries seafarers occupying their vessels, there is a common theme to many of the stories in this week’s Socialist Worker.

Other Categories


This is an unjust eviction Riot police evicted 150 people from their homes in St Agnes Place in Kennington, south London, on Tuesday of last week. Squatters had first occupied the street in 1971.

Meetings, events, demonstrations and film showings

Meetings And Events

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