Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2006

Dated: 24 Jun 2006

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Afghanistan in chaos: the disaster of Blair’s other war

Afghanistan is facing a long and bloody summer. Tony Blair and George Bush claimed that they had "liberated" the country in 2001 when they invaded and drove out the Taliban regime.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Unison debates pensions battle

Members of Britain’s biggest public sector union have challenged their leadership’s stance on pensions negotiations, and came within a narrow margin of reigniting strike action to press their claim.

Postal workers organising for a strike ballot

Royal Mail workers across Britain will start a national strike ballot soon, unless there is a last minute climbdown by management.

Banbury hospital protest

Some 5,000 people, one in eight of the local population, rallied in People’s Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire, last Sunday in defence of the Horton General hospital.

Sukula family campaign rally in Bolton

Supporters of the Sukula Family Must Stay campaign held a rally in Bolton last Saturday. Around 40 people gathered in the Town Hall Square holding a huge banner which read "Sukula Family Must Stay. No Deportations".

Crucial week for Herts firefighters

A planned 48 hour strike by firefighters in Hertfordshire, which was due to start at 6pm on Thursday of last week, was called off at the last minute in order for union negotiators to consult with branches over the latest offer from employers.

Sakchai Makao: community fights against deportation

Campaigners in Shetland have said they are "cautiously optimistic" with regards to the bail hearing of a young Shetland man of Thai origin who is threatened with deportation.

Adrian Stan campaign

Romanian refugee Adrian Stan would have been dumped on a plane to Bucharest were it not for the action of local campaigners.

Eastbourne Buses strike

Bus drivers in the T&G union at Eastbourne Buses struck for 24 hours on Tuesday of last week for better pay.

The future of the pension struggle for local government workers

‘The pressure is on the leaders of Unison. They can be under no illusion that they only got away with not reinstating strike action by the skin of their teeth.

Unison local government conference pay debate

The Unison union local government conference, also had a significant discussion of pay for local government workers, which took place in the wake of chancellor Gordon Brown’s declaration of his intention to clamp down on pay in the public sector.

Strike in defence of real education

The lecturers’ strike to save A-levels at Cambridge Regional College has to be seen as the whole community’s struggle for comprehensive education.

Docklands Light Railway: the battle is on

Workers on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in London have voted for the first strike in the company’s 19-year history.

Rail round-up

Train drivers in the RMT and Aslef unions across the whole of South West Trains are balloting for action following the use of managers to drive trains during recent strikes at Waterloo station.

Department for Work and Pensions

The group executive committee which runs the civil service workers’ PCS union in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) met last week in Leeds to discuss the fight against job cuts.

Civil service in brief

Members of the Prospect civil service workers’ union at the Ordnance Survey have voted by four to one to strike in protest at the failure of management to agree a fair pay deal, ten months after its implementation date.

Education Bill

About 80 people attended a meeting organised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in east London on Monday to campaign against Labour’s education proposals.

Reports round-up

Lewisham young people in protest People gathered in Lewisham, south London, last Saturday to protest against a dispersal order that targets young people on Lewisham high street.

Afghanistan: a long and bloody summer ahead

As the United States-led Coalition and Afghan army gear up for a new push against insurgent forces in the south, the country looks set for a long season of intense fighting. The offensive focusing on Helmand and Uruzgan provinces comes as the Taliban extend their attacks to northern and western areas well beyond their traditional stamping ground.

Selling off education

To be honest, nobody I know really sits around berating the forces of neoliberalism for the state of education. University and college staff have plenty to complain about, and like most other groups of workers, we make sure that we do.

Conference called to build fighting and political unions

What should be the biggest conference of its type for years is winning wide support across the trade union movement.

Forest Gate community unites to demand justice

The 2,500 protesters who took to the streets of Newham, east London, last Sunday were united by their anger at the police’s recent "terror raid" in Forest Gate.

Government has failed to deal with media hysteria over sentencing

In recent weeks the home office has experienced what is probably its worst crisis for decades.

Poll says deal could be rejected

College lecturers’ resolve to reject the pay deal they were recently offered was growing this week. Several branches of the University and College Union (UCU) have passed motions condemning the offer.

Hear Mark Steel and Gareth Peirce at Marxism 2006

Mark Steel will be speaking at Marxism 2006 on Che Guevera.

Asda frozen food left out for the seagulls

Workers at Asda supermarket depots have told Socialist Worker that the company is running risks with food safety.

Tell It Like It Is campaign

Around 150 people gathered outside Downing Street last Saturday for the official launch of Tell It Like It Is, a campaign against racism in education. It has called a demonstration on 4 November. Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered by racists, said, "It is good that so many young people made it today. The government needs to see the strength of feeling. The demonstration needs to be a visible show of strength. Everyone is invited – parents, young people and teachers."

Victory for Queens Market campaign

Community campaigners in Newham, east London, have scored a victory in their campaign to save Queens Market in Upton Park from being shut down and turned into a supermarket.

Supermarket strike ballot

Asda suspended Hugh Bennett, a truck driver and GMB union steward in Wigan, for supporting the union’s strike ballot by writing "vote yes" on an England flag.

Further education lecturers are to vote on a new pay offer

The recent Further Education committee (FEC) for the University and College Union voted to reject the latest offer from the employers.


Mass demonstration against repression of teachers in Mexico

Some 300,000 teachers and their supporters marched though Oaxaca city in Mexico on Friday of last week. The mobilisation, which included people from across the country, was protesting at the repression of striking teachers and calling for the resignation of Oaxaca state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortíz.

Pulling out of Iraq is Prodi’s first test

Tony Blair has promised the Italian government that British soldiers will replace Italian forces currently stationed in Iraq in the event of Italy pulling out of the occupation.

Greek students win, but they want more

Thousands of students took to the streets of Greece on Thursday of last week to celebrate their first big victory against neo-liberal attacks on higher education by the right wing government.

Chilean government is educated by the mass movement

Three weeks of widespread school occupations and two nationwide strikes have won most of the "economic" demands of school students in Chile.

Israel sets a new trap for the Palestinian people

At the heart of the tensions is disagreement over a "peace process" which is controlled by Israel and its backers in the US. The trigger for armed conflict could be a referendum set for July on the terms for peace with Israel.



No defence for the British empire

Historian Niall Ferguson is perhaps the best known of the new generation of media dons. Where his nearest rival, Simon Schama, exudes a vague left liberalism and is apologetic over the British empire, Ferguson is ferociously and unashamedly neo-conservative.

Moazzam Begg: ‘the powerful want to change our way of life’

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg spoke to Pete Jackson about the attacks on rights in Britain after the police "terror" raid in Forest Gate

Mike Davis on a planet of slums

Slums and global poverty Your latest book charts the rise of slum living. How widespread is this phenomenon?

The growth of the global slums

A United Nations (UN) report on the world’s cities published last week has highlighted the scale of global poverty and the growth of slums.

Class was the key to opposing partition

The failure of the Irish war of independence to achieve a unified Irish republic is often attributed to the divisions between Catholic Nationalists in the South and Protestant Unionists in the North.


Defending Lethal Bizzle and the grime scene from the Tories

Tory leader David Cameron’s attempts to "rebrand" the Conservatives as young, hip and trendy took a knock recently when he launched a nasty attack on the British hip-hop and grime scene for allegedly encouraging knife and gun crime.

Salaam Festival: peace is on the agenda at 17-day event with Muslim artists

The best of the world’s Muslim artists are in London this summer for the 21st Salaam Music Village festival. This London-wide festival’s aim is to challenge the Islamophobic onslaught of the government and media and celebrate the stunning artistic forms of Muslim communities globally.

Reviews round-up

Glasgow 1955: Through the LensPeople's Palace & Winter Gardens, GlasgowUntil 30 July The next few weeks will be your last chance to see this exhibition of photos taken by camera clubs of everyday scenes of people and places.

What We Think

Blair’s misrule sees membership collapse

The Labour Party traditionally filled two roles. It claimed to give a voice to working people’s aspirations for change and then ensured these were directed along constitutional channels. Tony Blair’s New Labour doesn’t even bother with the hopes of working people.

Other Categories

Phil Cockwell 1933-2006

Socialists and anti-war campaigners in Neath and Swansea were shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Phil Cockwell last week while walking at Cefn Sidan sands in South Wales.


Get behind the flag? The idea that waving the flag of St George is generally just harmless support for a national team, or even (in Billy Bragg’s view) that it can realistically be a symbol of multiculturalism, is dangerously misplaced.

Who says?

"Iraq is Vietnam without water."Rick Weidman, executive director for policy and government affairs at Vietnam Veterans of America

Meetings, events, demonstrations and film showings

Meetings And Events

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