Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2002

Dated: 27 May 2006




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‘The government is trying to deport my brother… even though he is a British citizen’

They came for my brother Saqib at 8am when he was still sleeping. My mother found two vans of police and immigration officers preparing to break our front door down.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Local government workers should say ‘no deal’ over pensions

Local government workers should flood their union leaders with protests over the latest proposals to end the confrontation over pensions.

Railworkers pension ballot makes management move

Tens of thousands of rail workers in the RMT and TSSA unions are balloting for strike action over pensions.

Teachers should vote no on TPS ballot

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) were amazed to find a ballot form dropping through their letter-boxes last weekend.

Racist myths behind anti-immigrant scaremongering

Britain is currently facing a flood of scare stories about immigration. These come not just from the Tory frontbench and the right wing "newspapers", but also from supposedly "serious" news programmes such as the BBC’s Newsnight.

Respect round-up

Making a meal of the next step Over 200 Respect supporters attended a thank you meal in Newham, east London. Respect won three councillors in the borough in the local elections.

Da Vinci Code drivel

The film of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code opened the Cannes film festival this week to universal critical panning. The response to the book was somewhat better, but no one argues that either version is great art.

Lecturers’ fight is for education

University lecturers’ action in defence of their pay claim had forced employers back to the negotiating table as Socialist Worker went to press.

CWU union prepares to ballot for action and threatens Labour funding

Postal workers have voted in huge numbers to reject their bosses’ agenda and have moved closer to a national strike ballot over pay.

Nazi-inspired racist attacks in Merseyside and Barking

A leading trade unionist and anti-racist in Merseyside was almost blinded on Thursday of last week in a horrific knife attack. The attack took place at his home in front of his two young daughters.

We can stop this threat to comprehensive education

It seemed certain as Socialist Worker went to press that the government would win the third reading of its Education Bill on Wednesday of this week – but only with Tory support.

Victim of media’s racist scapegoating

Saqib Almas spoke to Socialist Worker from inside Harmondsworth detention centre. "I feel like I have been kidnapped by the state," he said.

Slaughter in Afghanistan

The US military in Afghanistan celebrated an air strike on a village this week which they claim killed 20 Taliban fighters.

Dangers of nuclear plants

Fifty seven breaches in safety have occurred at British nuclear plants since 1997. In the last year there were three such breaches at the Sellafield plant in Cumbria, including the large leak of highly radioactive nuclear fuel which forced the closure of the Thorp reprocessing plant.

Generating opposition

One of the areas set for a new nuclear plant is Sellafield in Cumbria. But the nuclear plant already there has generated a lot of opposition.

Shirin Ebadi: Iranian dissident says no to war

A leading Iranian human rights campaigner and Nobel Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, is bringing her campaign against an attack on Iran to London after a successful tour of the US.

Life in prison for army refuseniks

New Labour MPs showed their contempt for military families on Monday of this week by voting overwhelmingly to threaten life imprisonment for military personnel who refuse to participate in the occupation of subjugated territories.

Peace movement conference call

The Stop the War Coalition is calling for delegates to attend its fifth annual conference on Saturday 10 June 2006 at Friends House in central London. The conference will hold workshops on perspectives for the year ahead.

Wolverhampton postal workers stand up against racism

Wolverhampton postal workers walked out last week because of their anger at racism.

Reports round-up

GMB lobby GMB union members lobbied parishioners of the Holy Trinity Church, Clapham Common, London, last Sunday. Damon Buffini, head of the venture capital company Permira which part-owns the AA, is associated with the church. Since Permira took over the AA in 2004 bosses have sacked one in three workers, including a number of disabled staff.

Dungannon Meats

Angry workers at the Dungannon Meats plant in Northern Ireland condemned the company for proposing to make 46 of them redundant and replacing them with agency labour.

TSSA conference

The TSSA rail workers’ union conference took place last week as strike ballot papers were about to go out to all TSSA and RMT members on the railways over pensions.

Mikey Powell case continues

Mikey Powell was "knelt on" by up to eight police officers on the night he died, a court was told last week.

Court jails SSP policy coordinator

Alan McCombes, the Scottish Socialist Party’s policy coordinator, was jailed today for refusing to hand confidential documents to the court of session in Edinburgh. The judge jailed McCombes until 6 June to reconsider his position, saying that the court’s instructions should take precendence over his loyalty to the SSP. She also granted a warrant to search any neccessary properties to find the documents. It is regrettable that this has been allowed to happen in a crucial year for the SSP who are atttempting to rebuild support in the run up to the Scottish elections in 2007. The court is seeking the documents in relation to Tommy Sheridan’s ongoing libel action against the News of the Worl

Salma Yaqoob shows Respect for the Levellers

Newly elected Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob spoke to an audience of around 300 people last Saturday who had gathered in Burford, Oxfordshire, to commemorate Levellers Day.

Anger at car plant cuts and closures

Car workers in Merseyside and the West Midlands are furious at Labour’s response to the closure of the Peugeot plant in Ryton, near Coventry, and the announcement of 1,000 job losses at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port.

Hertfordshire firefighters strike

Firefighters struck solidly across Hertfordshire for eight hours last Saturday. They were opposing plans to shut down two fire stations in the county and cut up to 40 frontline jobs.


International

Victory boosts Egypt democracy activists

Democracy campaigners in Egypt are sensing victory in a battle of wills with the government over the persecution of two judges who exposed widespread ballot ballot rigging in last November’s parliamentary elections.

Danish welfare demonstration

Some 110,000 Danish workers and students demonstrated in cities and towns on Wednesday of last week to protest against government attacks on welfare.

A challenge to the Mafia’s control

After a near dead heat between right and left in the Italian general election last month, this weekend will see a whole series of local elections—and none will be watched more closely than elections to the Sicilian regional parliament.

South African revolt grows over jobs

A general strike over the lack of jobs won wide support in South Africa on Thursday of last week. It was best supported in the mines, car plants, the metal industry and schools.

Movement brings change to Nepal

The battle for a democratic republic in Nepal took a step forward last week.


Comment

Does globalisation weaken workers?

It's good that the trade union leaders have said they won’t let the closure of Peugeot’s Ryton plant go through without a fight. Last week the Peugeot bosses admitted they could build a new model in Ryton profitably – though not as profitably as in a new plant they are building in Slovakia.


Features

Mutiny by French troops during the Algerian war

In April 1956 the 22 year old Georges Mattéi received his call up papers to go and fight in Algeria, just like thousands of young men across France. Corsican in origin, and on holiday in Italy, Mattéi agonised about what to do.

Rebuilding the power of the rank and file

For the British trade union movement, the 1930s were a turning point. A long wave of militancy that rose in 1910 crashed in May 1926 when the union bureaucracy called off the General Strike.

Argentina: under no management

The four star Hotel Bauen sits in the centre of the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires. At first glance it looks no different from any similar establishment. The staff are less servile than those in your average luxury hotel, otherwise it’s business as usual.

Revolution in consciousness

Workplaces of all kinds have been occupied – from textiles, printing and metallurgy, to ceramics and industrial bakeries. Schools, hotels and supermarkets have also been occupied.


Reviews

Maxim Gorky: a playwright bitter about the state of society

In 1907 when Maxim Gorky’s play Enemies was sent to the Russian censor it was banned. The censor said that it was "nothing but a diatribe against the possessing classes".

Enemies: capturing the spirit of the 1905 Russian Revolution

Whatever your feelings about Maxim Gorky, Enemies is a play that seems to capture the possibilities when society is on the edge of change.

Reviews round-up

Living With Warby Neil YoungCD out now Neil Young returns to form with this angry, polemical attack on George Bush’s regime. The man who wrote "Ohio", a protest against the murder of four anti-war students at Kent State University in 1970, seemed lost to the movement after his pro-war songs in the aftermath of 9/11.


What We Think

Lessons learnt from an imperial history

During the Vietnam War, the US ruling class reacted to growing domestic opposition to the conflict by getting locally recruited forces to take over the bulk of the fighting, and thus the bulk of the casualties. The process was known as "Vietnamisation".


Other Categories

Letters

Linguistic advantages Michael Rosen writes some entertaining and insightful articles in Socialist Worker, and elsewhere from time to time. I also enjoy his BBC programmes, where his light touch and preparedness to bring different opinions and experiences of language forward do him credit.

Who says?

"It’s because students are given condoms during freshers’ week and get taught biology at school that we need to do something."Reverend Richard Cunningham, director of the evangelical University and College Christian Fellowship, on why he is launching a national campaign to promote sexual abstinence among students

Marxism 2006: a festival of resistance

For five days thousands will gather at this political festival to celebrate the global movement against war and injustice.

Meetings, events, demonstrations and film showings

Meetings And Events



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