Dated: 14 Oct 2006
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Jack Straw's attack on Muslim women wearing the veil was not an innocent attempt to "raise debate". He was speaking in a climate of Islamophobia fuelled by the "war on terror".
A year-long continuous peaceful blockade began at Faslane in Scotland last week. This is the base where Britain’s nuclear weapons are deployed.
More tenants could be left without decent homes by 2010 after housing associations were given the opportunity to apply for an extension to the government’s deadline.
The policies of the drug multinationals have ramped up the annual NHS drugs bill to over £8 billion, an increase of 46 percent in five years.
Anna Politkovskaya, the journalist murdered by a hit-man in Moscow last Saturday, was Russia’s Robert Fisk. At great personal risk she reported Russia’s criminal occupation of Chechnya.
One thousand marching in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. Thousands of demonstrators at Worthing and Southlands, Sussex, linking hands around two hospitals under threat.
Around 1,000 people attended a rally and march through Huntingdon last Saturday to protest against attempts to impose drastic cuts on the local hospital. The government’s free market policies have left Huntingdon’s Hinchingbrooke hospital with debts of over £24 million.
The Yarl’s Wood detention centre for asylum seekers in Bedfordshire has been the scene of a number of scandals since it opened in 2001.
Campaigners against the privatisation of council housing in Swansea, South Wales, met last week to discuss their plans for activities when a transfer ballot begins later this year.
The T&G union held a Polish language meeting in Glasgow for the first time last Sunday.
The Campaign Against Climate Change packed out Conway Hall in London for a public meeting last week. Among a panel of varied speakers was George Monbiot, there to launch his new book Heat - How to Stop the Planet Burning.
Members and supporters of Coventry Unison released 3,000 balloons on Hearsall Common last Saturday. They were highlighting their continuing strikes against Coventry council’s imposition of single status pay, and the council’s failure to backdate pay increases to "gainers" under single status.
Planned post office closures breached national agrements
Keep pushing for pensions debate The Unison union’s national executive last week voted against a request from the local government service group request for a special conference on pensions.
A workers Charter, promoting workers’ rights and setting out campaigning priorities, will be a focus for discussion at the Organising for a Fighting Unions conference on 11 November. Over 400 people have already signed up for the conference.
Domestics, porters and catering staff working for a private firm at Whipps Cross hospital in Leytonstone, east London, were celebrating victory this week in their battle for equality with colleagues employed by the NHS.
Garment workers at MacKinnon Mills, Coatbridge, near Glasgow, struck for 48 hours from Tuesday 3 October.
Over 90,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union were set to vote on a deal to end their long-running dispute over job cuts, rights and services from Wednesday of this week.
Even before nominations open for the general secretary position in the newly merged Universities and College Union (UCU), the election campaign is underway.
Health workers were set to lobby the trust board of North of Tyne Health on Wednesday of this week to support suspended union activist Yunus Bakhsh.
Arrogant behaviour and bullying by fire service bosses on Merseyside is threatening to scupper a deal aimed at ending the industrial dispute over cuts in the region, according to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
At the recent Remploy workers’ pay and conditions conference in Blackpool, shop stewards who represent 83 sites in the factory network across Britain, demanded that the Labour government should sack the fat cat board of directors. Management have already sold the ground at the Remploy factory in Holloway, London, to Arsenal FC for £1.4 million.
Some 85 members of the Amicus union struck at the B-N plant on the Isle of Wight on Friday of last week over pay.
Against a backdrop of school closures and threats of academies, it was a fantastic day for NUT teachers’ union members in Oldham on Thursday of last week as teachers at two secondary schools went on strike together.
Recently a small article appeared in the Dallas Fort Worth Star Telegram announcing the pending sale of 30 new F?16 fighters to Turkey. According to the article, the Pentagon had already notified Congress of the deal and, if there are no congressional objections in 15 days, the sale will be approved automatically.
North Korea’s decision to conduct a nuclear weapons test on Monday of this week drew condemnation from all the world’s major powers. Across the globe people rightly fear a nuclear conflagration.
Police claimed last week that they had seized what was potentially the largest ever haul of chemical explosives plus a rocket launcher and a nuclear and biological protection suit.
Awayed Wanas Jabbar paid a cruel price for his bid for freedom. The Iraqi, nicknamed Houdini, was captured by US marines in the town of Husaybah, western Iraq, in April 2004.
Almost 80,000 prisoners now languish in Britain’s overcrowded jails, nearly double the 1993 incarcerated population. That is the crux of the overcrowding problem.
Truthout "Washington’s eagerness to use military might has fueled the dangers of a nuclear weapons standoff with North Korea. Two of the sacred axioms of the Bush regime - secrecy and violence - cannot solve this problem and in fact can only make it worse. Einstein was correct - with nuclear weapons, ‘there is no secret and there is no defence’."
Gas was being given away in Britain last week after wholesale prices plunged following a surge in imports from Norway.
Around 50,000 primary school teachers and their supporters marched in Athens, Greece last week as part of the teachers’ all-out strike over pay. The four week strike has rocked the Tory government. The pressure against the right was intensified after the death of postal workers’ official Manolis Gourniezakis when he tried to stop right wing thugs tampering with a union ballot box
George Bush reacted to North Korea’s first nuclear test by calling for "an immediate response from the United Nations security council". The tests, he said, were "unacceptable".
People in one of Africa’s poorest countries are recovering from being deluged with toxic waste. The recent emergency in the West African state of Ivory Coast has highlighted the way Western multinationals and governments dump waste on the Third World to evade controls and save money.
George Bush has taken to saying that, in retrospect, the present violence in Iraq "will look like just a comma". I doubt if the families of the 30 US soldiers who were killed in Baghdad last week will ever see it that way.
"Ghettos", "No-Go Areas", "Race Riots On Queen’s Doorstep" screamed the newspaper headlines last week as a Muslim owned dairy near Windsor castle became the latest victim of Islamophobic hysteria.
John Rees examines the strategic choices that those who oppose war and neo-liberalism face in the post-Blair era.
Pierre Broué’s brilliant Marxist history of the German Revolution has just been published as an English language paperback. Ian Birchall introduces two extracts from the book
Last week I discussed how Leon Trotsky’s followers were thrown into confusion when the reality of the world after 1945 failed to fit with Trotsky’s predictions.
Is it possible to get the question of racism and Islamophobia more wrong than Oldham Labour MP Phil Woolas did last weekend? Muslim women who cover their faces with veils, he told readers of the Sunday Mirror, can be "frightening and intimidating". He added that Muslim veils could increase racial tensions in Britain.
Dr Bano Murtuja told Socialist Worker that she doesn’t normally wear the niqab (face veil), but was wearing it as a protest. "I am disgusted that our MP Jack Straw is pandering to the right wing," she said.
Jack Straw’s calculated entrance into the seething right wing debate on Muslims and multiculturalism has little to do with the wearing of the veil - and still less with the need to "open a dialogue" with Muslim communities.
How Many Miles To Basra? focuses on a unit of four British soldiers in occupied Iraq during the immediate aftermath of the war. This play portrays the moral dilemma facing British soldiers sent to fight in Iraq - how to reconcile doing "your job" with doing "the right thing" when the two are irreconcilable.
At the last general election the writer Sally Wainwright, frustrated that all of the political parties were as bad as each other, decided that she would stand for parliament.
René Burri Retrospective 1950-2000 Manchester Art Gallery until 12 NovemberAdmission free From the Suez crisis and the Korean War, to Vietnam and Tiananmen Square, René Burri was seemingly on location for almost every major political, cultural and historical event in the second half of the 20th century. Much of his work captures the responses of ordinary people, soldiers, refugees and young people to their surroundings. His scenes of street life in Brazil are rich, expressive and naturally shot. Burri was clearly interested in the possibility of change and looked to the diversity of peoples from across the world to find its spirit. Ove
Every day Jack Straw dresses in a corporate uniform. The only choice is between a grey, black or dark blue suit.
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