Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1981

Dated: 17 Dec 2005



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Workers' walkout in Ireland—action like this could stop Blair

I was part of a delegation of British trade unionists who joined the 100,000 people marching in Dublin on Friday of last week. We were there to support workers occupying two Irish Ferries ships in Welsh ports.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

British Gas engineers: 'This is a strike for our children's pensions'

Over 6,000 British Gas engineers struck a blow for everyone’s pension rights when they walked out across Britain on Monday of this week.

Local government workers set to ballot over pensions

The local government section group executive of the Unison union met last week to discuss the government’s latest pensions plans.

Pensioner poverty scandal

One in five pensioners lives on an income of less than £5,000 a year, and the same number say thinking about money makes them feel anxious or depressed, according to research published last week.

Fire service cuts in area of fuel depot blast

Whatever caused the fire at Buncefield oil depot in Hertfordshire on Sunday, we know government driven cuts and deregulation would have made the disaster even worse.

Climate change: a step taken, but a giant leap is still needed

As the United Nations climate change conference in Montreal, Canada, ended last weekend, environmental campaigners claimed a victory.

Delegates to International Peace Conference call protest in March 2006

The International Peace Conference held in London last Saturday was a huge success. With the main hall packed and standing room only, an overflow and many people turned away in the previous few days because of lack of space, it was a focus for anti-war opinion across the world.

Iraqi tells delegates: 'We have common interests'

The central aim of the Iraqi National Foundation Congress is to unite the anti-occupation organisations in Iraq. Iraq has just emerged from dictatorship, only to find itself under occuption by foreign powers. We need a voice to combat an occupation that actively tries to further fragment the Iraqi people.

Occupation is a disaster for the warmongers

The war in Iraq is a complete and utter disaster. For the people of Iraq there is more suffering today than under the previous government. You have unlimited torture, the use of chemical weapons, limitless killing of civilians by the occupation forces in Iraq.

'Don't let Bush spread his war across the Middle East'

Sanna Hafez, a founder member of the Hands of Syria group in Britain, spoke to Socialist Worker

'Our sons were lied to and sent to die in Iraq'

One of the most inspiring parts of the conference was the session on the campaigns by military families against the war in the US and Britain.

Ireland fights against the free marketeers

In an awesome display of trade union power, up to 170,000 people left work and took part in marches and rallies in support of Irish Ferries staff and migrant workers on the streets of Ireland on Friday of last week.

Violence exposes Egypt’s facade of 'democracy'

The US was desperate to hold up last week’s parliamentary elections in Egypt as evidence of the democratic change it is promoting across the Middle East.

Hong Kong says 'no' to the World Trade Organisation

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong last Sunday to show their disgust at the WTO.

Nationalisation tops agenda in Bolivian elections

The first round of Bolivia’s presidential election, set to take place this Sunday, comes at a crucial moment.

Palestine's songs of resistance

For as long as the Palestinians have endured occupation and oppression—first under the British in the 1920-30s, then by the Israeli state after 1948—they have produced writers and poets who have articulated not only humiliation and despair, but also resistance and the hope of liberation.

Privatising councils are scared of tenants

Tenants in Waverley in Surrey have voted against the Conservative council’s plans to transfer housing stock in the area, with 52 percent voting against the transfer, with a turnout of 68 percent.

Rail workers fight back over outsourcing

The consortium that runs two-thirds of London Underground’s infrastructure has agreed not to outsource current work in the face of a threatened three-day strike.

Taking to the streets against postal sell-off

Postal workers held a day of action in Northampton last Saturday to campaign for a publicly owned Royal Mail.

Strike vote for civil service workers

Members of the PCS and Prospect civil service workers’ unions working in magistrate’s courts across England and Wales have voted overwhelmingly for a national strike in a dispute over pay.

Council tries to block debate over sacked worker

Council workers in the communications section of Tower Hamlets council in east London struck on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in defence of Eileen Short, a Defend Council Housing activist threatened with the sack by the council.

On strike this Christmas

This is a key week for the sacked Gate Gourmet workers.

Round-up

Bus drivers in Aberdeen have voted overwhelmingly to accept First Bus’s offer of a 5 percent pay rise plus a review of the pension and sick pay schemes.

Mass action sinks Irish Ferries management

Following the magnificent walkouts and protests in Ireland last week, Irish Ferries workers, who have been occupying two ships in Welsh ports for 21 days, have forced a stunning climbdown from the management of the shipping company.


International

Italian valley rises to save the environment

There was a roar in the darkness. A mechanical digger was lumbering towards them. Behind it were 2,000 police in riot gear. The few dozen protestors fled from their tents.


Comment

Torture is built into the system

The current debate about torture is an astonishing symptom of how a civilization can regress morally and politically despite the technological advances it may make.


Features

Judas of Galilee — who didn't betray the movement

Two thousand years ago, a Jewish peasant rebellion stirred in the countryside in and around Judaea, an obscure Mediterannean province of the Roman empire.

Hollywood: friction in the fiction factory

Some critics are suggesting that Hollywood movies have made a turn to the left. Take Good Night, And Good Luck, George Clooney’s superb newsroom drama set in the 1950s that explores the tensions caused by McCarthyism.


Reviews

Billy Budd

Billy Budd by Benjamin BrittenDirected by Neil Armfield for the English National Opera

Dario Fo: ‘Cindy Sheehan has moved the whole US’

Why did you write a play about Cindy Sheehan? What really struck me was that here was a woman on her own, who created a huge fuss that started to involve the whole country—and we’re talking about a country that is often very reluctant to debate the issues she was raising.

Pantomime: just a bunch of cliches and bad jokes? Oh no it isn't

Two people walk on to a stage. They start talking.

Music to look forward to in 2006

Sheffield band Arctic Monkeys got a lot of attention this year through their smart internet marketing campaign and catchy songs.


What We Think

The 'new front' Blair fears in the New Year

Explaining the government’s decision to reconsider how far it can attack incapacity benefit, a government minister told the Financial Times, "To open up another front now would be mad."


Other Categories

Let's go to the World Social Forum in Caracas

I was saddened and disappointed to learn that the PCS civil service workers’ union will not be sending any delegation to January’s World Social Forum (WSF) in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.



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