Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2007

Dated: 01 Jul 2006

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Palestine under siege: Israel holds a nation hostage

Every inhabitant of the Gaza Strip knows what it is like to be held hostage by the Israeli state. It is the daily reality for the Palestinian population in one of the most densely inhabited places on the planet.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Promoted after Feltham murder

A public inquiry into a racist murder at Feltham young offender institute, has highlighted a lack of accountability for the killing and has named officials from the institute who were subsequently promoted.

Workers ready to take on Asda

Thousands of workers are in a battle for union rights with the world’s largest retailer. The dispute pits a multinational firm against low paid workers and their union. The workers deserve the backing of everyone who is sick of the domination of food supply by huge corporations.

Strike ballot at the Royal Mail as Leighton’s PR stunts fall flat

Royal Mail workers across Britain are to vote on strikes to defend basic union rights and to stand up against dictatorship in the workplace.

UCU left conference

Over 200 activists in the newly formed University and College Union (UCU) met in London last Saturday for the launch conference of UCU Left, a new rank and file organisation within the union.

Unison conference: growing anger over health and pensions

The Unison union national conference, held in Bournemouth last week, was marked by a left mood among delegates and warnings addressed to New Labour.

Royal Mail walk sequencing

‘The business is actively planning to heavily invest in a new piece of technology – walk sequencing machines.

Civil service workers

Driving Standards Agency Around 1,800 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union working for the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) are balloting for industrial action over the threat of office closures, job losses and changes to working practices.

City academies

Islington teachers and parents protested at accountants Kingston Smith in London last week. One of the firm’s senior partners is Michael Snyder, chairman of the policy and resources committee of the Corporation of London which wants to co-sponsor an academy in place of Islington Green School. On 20 July at Islington town hall, the council executive is set to discuss issuing a closure notice on Islington Green School so that it can be reopened as an academy. Join the protest in Upper Street, London N1, from 6.30pm.

Respect – voice for workers

New Labour in Tower Hamlets, east London, is running scared of the issues raised by Respect. And it has come up with a novel tactic for avoiding any kind of public accountability for its programme of neo-liberalism and privatisation.

Hertfordshire firefighters

The future of the Hertfordshire firefighters’ dispute was in the balance as Socialist Worker went to press, with negotiators from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) still consulting with branches in the county over proposals from the employers.

Organising for Fighting Unions: wave of support for this political trade union conference

The Organising for Fighting Unions conference, set for Saturday 11 November, will discuss defending public services from the government’s assault. It will also discuss political representation for trade unionists. The conference has been initiated by Respect, and hundreds of trade unionists from across the labour movement have signed up to back it.

Reports round-up

Civil liberties Some 25 people protested outside Birmingham airport last Saturday as part of a national day of protests against the use of British airports for extraordinary rendition flights, where people kidnapped by the CIA are flown to Guantanamo and other illegal detention facilities. Protests also took place in London and in Edinburgh, where former British ambassador Craig Murray was among the 30 protesters.

Amnesty for “illegal immigrants”: freedom or trap?

Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, has called for an amnesty for the estimated half million so-called "illegal immigrants" who work, without permission from the government, in the service economy, agriculture, cleaning and catering, and caring for the old and sick.

Torture of Iraqi prisoners self-inflicted says US army general

A recently revealed US department of defence report has sounded alarm bells among human rights groups. The report marks an attempt by the US military to reclassify the meaning of torture while discrediting its victims.

Guantanamo suicide attempt due to treatment

Prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay attempted to commit suicide in 2003. The attempt was in protest at their treatment by guards and the fear that they will never be released, according to recently declassified military documents.

More slaughter in Afghanistan

Two more British troops died early this week in southern Afghanistan—the second and third killed since British troops took over from the US in Helmand province.

Marxism 2006 festival of resistance next week

The deepening radicalisation in Britain’s colleges is feeding into growing interest in Marxism 2006. Hannah Dee, who is organising the event, explains:

Labour and Muslims: crack down and co-opt

The government is pursuing a "carrot and stick" approach towards British Muslims. The "stick" has been very much in evidence in recent weeks.

New Labour reneges on civil service pensions

Just two days before proposals for a civil service pension scheme for new entrants were due to be tabled, a leak last weekend revealed cabinet minister Hilary Armstrong’s plans to rip up last year’s public sector pension deal.

Replacing Trident will be dangerous and wasteful

Gordon Brown expressed his determination to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system in a speech made in the heart of London’s financial district last week.

Rochdale health chair resigns over cuts to the NHS

The chair of a Greater Manchester primary care trust (PCT) resigned in protest at the government’s plans for the NHS last weekend.

Positive moves in SSP dispute

The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) took a major step last weekend towards resolving the internal crisis that has wracked the party over recent months.


French left debate need for alternative

The Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR) held its national conference last weekend. The main item discussed was the policy of the organisation towards the 2007 presidential election.

A hot autumn lies ahead in Greece

The struggle against the right wing Greek government’s privatisation plan for education is continuing.

Jailed activists released in Egypt

The Egyptian state has released members of the Kifaya (Enough) movement who were arrested during recent protests in support of rebel judges. The judges had exposed ballot rigging in last November’s parliamentary elections.


Attac divisions reflect a shift

During the dark years of the 1990s, there were a few signs that new movements of resistance were about to emerge. One of the most important was the formation in France in 1998 of Attac.


Irish independence didn’t bring radical change

James Connolly, the Irish revolutionary socialist executed for his part in the 1916 rising, said that partition of Ireland would produce a "carnival of reaction North and South".

Joanna Blythman on Bad food Britain

What is so bad about Britain’s food?

Slaughter at the Somme

On 1 July 1916, 150,000 British soldiers went "over the top" on the Western Front to attack the German trenches in the Somme region. The front, along which British and French armies confronted the German army, stretched from Switzerland to the Channel.

Was Germany to blame for the First World War?

Who caused the First World War? Revisionist historians argue that the war had to be fought because Germany was aggressive and militaristic, a "rogue state" that threatened "the balance of power" and "the peace of Europe".

Books, music and films about the Somme

BirdsongSebastian Faulks Set before and during the First World War, Birdsong is the story of Stephen, a young Englishman, who arrives in Amiens in 1910. His life goes through a number of traumatic experiences, from a love affair that tears apart the family he lives with, to the brutality of the war itself.

Poland 1956: The Poznan uprising

The Poznan uprising of June 1956 sparked a mass movement in Poland and set in train the events leading towards the revolution in Hungary later in the year.

Karol Modzelewski: ‘The rebellion had all the features of a classic revolutionary uprising’

Karol Modzelewski was a student and political activist in 1956. He went on to co-write the Open Letter to the Party, which challenged Stalinism from the left and was key to setting up the Solidarity union. Karol answered questions from Socialist Worker


Rebels and Martyrs: how Romanticism and revolution changed art

It is a powerful and romantic idea about past artists that they were visionaries starving in garrets, in some ways outside society. This image – deliberately created in part by artists themselves – can, if unpicked, tell us a great deal about how individuals responded to a rapidly changing world during the 19th century, and something about that world itself.

Reviews round-up

Hidden (Caché)Directed by Michael HanekeDVD out now George and Anne, a middle class French couple, receive a videotape which has two hours of surveillance of their home.

What We Think

New Labour salami tactics on the unions

Tony Blair has always edged away from a full scale confrontation involving more than one group of workers. He has emulated Margaret Thatcher, whose strategy was to pick off one group at a time, starting with the weakest.

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Who says?

"When you’re in Washington to get money for AIDS orphans, the answer is often, ‘We’re at war right now.’ Our priorities are quite strange."Angelina Jolie, goodwill ambassador for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Meetings, events, demonstrations and film showings

Meetings And Events

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