Dated: 06 Apr 2002
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"Israel's tanks are closing in, the soldiers kill with impunity, the bullets and missiles are supplied by Bush and Blair, the morgues are overflowing. Raise your arms to the sky with us and roar in anger at Israeli terror."
Israel has abandoned any pretence of being interested in peace with the Palestinian people. It is using all its force – its US-supplied tanks, weapons and fighter jets – to crush a people's resistance. Israel has inflicted decades of repression, brutality and humiliation on the Palestinian people.
Tony Blair planned to jet off to Texas this week to meet US president George Bush and prepare for a new war against Iraq. Such a war would unleash death and destruction on an even greater scale than the murder and chaos the US and Britain are still inflicting on Afghanistan. The US is already building up its troop levels in the Gulf region on an unprecedented scale.
Pressure for a united demonstration by public service workers against the government's privatisation drive is mounting. Delegates at the National Union of Teachers (NUT) conference voted last weekend to back a national anti-privatisation demonstration. That comes after the call for such a protest by Mark Serwotka, general secretary elect of the PCS civil servants' union. Other public sector workers now have a chance to press their unions to take up the call.
People across England will have a chance to say a resounding no to Tony Blair's pro-privatisation and pro-war policies at the local elections on 2 May. Hundreds of Socialist Alliance candidates are standing. They say, "Put people before profit," and want to take on the pro-business consensus accepted by the three major parties.
Thousands marched through central London on Saturday as part of CND's "Don't Start Wars" protest. Many carried placards denouncing war with Iraq, while others carried Palestinian flags. Socialist Worker sellers petitioned demonstrators calling for justice for Palestine. Well over 800 copies of Socialist Worker were sold, with over 40 people joining the Socialist Workers Party.
Every day that passes increases the urgency of a fightback against job cuts and privatisation in the Post Office.
Over 100 striking medical secretaries marched through Sunderland last week as part of their fight to win the pay rise they deserve. The secretaries are determined to continue their all-out indefinite strike to force their NHS trust bosses to recognise the value of their vital work.
Trams halted in tracks by strike Drivers on the tram service in Croydon, south London, halted the service for 24 hours on Tuesday of last week in a strike over pay. The workers, members of the TGWU union, refused to accept the bosses' pay of 6 percent, as it would only take their pay to £8.75 an hour.
Strike action by ScotRail train drivers has forced the company to make an improved pay offer. The drivers' RMT and Aslef unions have suspended strikes to ballot over the new deal.
The media has already begun scare stories around the election challenge to the leader of the AEEU section of the Amicus union, Sir Ken Jackson. The Daily Mail described last week how Blair's favourite union leader, "ultra-loyal Sir Ken Jackson", was being taken on by the "militant hardliner" Derek Simpson.
Civil servants in the PCS union in DEFRA, formerly the Ministry of Agriculture, have voted to accept management's revised pay offer for 2001-2. Workers will receive increases from April 2000 of at least £2,000.
Delegates at the conference of the most moderate TUC-affiliated teachers' union last week joined calls for action against the government. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is the third largest teachers' union in England and Wales.
Journalists at a string of weekly newspapers owned by the Guardian Media Group in the Manchester area have voted for strikes over low pay. Staff at the Rochdale Observer, Asian News, Middleton Guardian, Heywood Advertiser, Rossendale Free Press, Accrington Observer, Oldham Advertiser and Salford Advertiser are to strike for six days.
A major challenge faces every anti-fascist and anti-racist. Nazis from Nick Griffin's British National Party are desperate to secure a breakthrough in the local council elections on 2 May. They want to emulate their counterparts in Europe, where Nazis have won seats in council and European parliamentary elections.
Hundreds of workers at Manchester airport voted unanimously last Saturday to go on all-out strike in their battle over pay. The vote was held at a mass meeting of 350 strikers at the airport. The security staff, members of the TGWU union, held a four-day stoppage that halted services over the lucrative Easter holidays.
Council workers in London are to ballot on a one-day strike on 14 May over pay. The workers are demanding a rise in the London weighting allowance, which covers the extra costs of working and living in the capital. They want £4,000 a year, a modest demand compared to the £6,000 allowance the police get.
Council workers in Cardiff struck on Wednesday of last week to defend a colleague who was sacked after speaking out over the underfunding of children's services in the city. Some 3,200 members of the Unison union took part in the strike, which closed offices and hit services across Cardiff.
"The Labour Party is more pro-business, pro wealth creation and pro-competition than ever before." That was chancellor Gordon Brown's shocking description last week of what he and Tony Blair have turned the Labour Party into. Brown was trying to reassure big business that the government would continue to look after their interests, despite widespread opposition to New Labour's embrace of privatisation.
The Labour Party is finding it almost impossible to find enthusiastic members to fight its local election campaign on 2 May. A Guardian article last week gave a glimpse of the widespread disillusion inside the Labour Party:
The Queen Mother was a racist snob who excelled in extravagant living. Amid all the grovelling, hypocritical tributes paid to her this week, here are some facts to remember. The Queen Mother referred to black people as "nig-nogs" or "blackamoors". She backed white minority rule in Rhodesia. She criticised Lord Mountbatten, viceroy of India, "for giving away the empire" and his wife because "her mother was half-Jewish".
The Oscars won by black actors at the recent Hollywood awards have opened up a huge debate about race in the US. Some of the press claimed the Oscars were a sign of the progress black people have made.
The US has a new bestseller-and it's not about wars, Marines, or the glories of the US. In fact, it's about Stupid White Men, and especially one stupid, white man, George Bush. The author is US writer and film, maker Michael Moore.
Is crime going up or down?
One in ten people in one of the world's key industrial countries say they will vote in two weeks time for a socialist who calls for "revolution" to sweep away a "bankrupt capitalist system". That poll finding is sending shockwaves through the French political establishment as the country gears up for the 21 April presidential election. Paul McGarr reports from France.
The British media has absolutely sickening priorities. Newspapers have filled page after page with "tributes" to the Queen Mother. The TV and radio programmes at first ditched part of their schedules. There has even been a ridiculous spat over the BBC's "loyalty" to the royal family because a news presenter wore a burgundy tie instead of a black one.
"The mother of all bank holiday protests." That is how the Independent described the plans for protests in London on 1 May. The article reflects the constant alarm in the press about anti-capitalist protests.
Socialists and trade unionists in Hull are saddened to hear of the death of Walt Cunningham, former chairman of the Hull Port Shop Stewards Committee and more recently a city councillor. Many readers will have heard of the Pentonville Five. These were London dockers whose jailing in 1972 sparked a near general strike.
The SSP has them scared The Daily Record has launched another bitter attack on Scottish socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan. That should come as no surprise after its vicious assaults in the past. What is new this time is that the Scottish National Party has joined in. They dared to suggest that Scotland's most open and accountable MSP is somehow involved in dodgy financial deals.
Previous columns in this series looked at the major classes in society. They considered the two major groups in advanced capitalism - the working class and the capitalist class. Between them stands the "traditional middle class" - layers of shopkeepers, small businessmen (such as pub landlords), and some professionals who run their own practices, such as most GPs, dentists and high street lawyers.
Mussolini fan sits by Silvio More news on people who are part of Tony Blair's club in his axis with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Spain's leader Jose Maria Aznar. A leading light in Berlusconi's government is his Minister for Italians Overseas.
The anti-capitalist movement is growing ever more rapidly. More and more people are beginning to side with the anti-war movement against the military madness of Bush and Blair. The trade union movement is rebuilding its confidence.
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