Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2023

Dated: 21 Oct 2006

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Warmongers play race card

Britain is facing a sustained attempt to whip up full-blooded racism. Each day government ministers are clamouring to appear on camera denouncing Muslims and demanding their neighbours and teachers spy on them.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Home office rapped for contradictory evidence behind closed doors

The injustice of the government’s process of secret hearings for the deportation of terrorist suspects should be obvious to everyone after a barrister revealed that MI5 had offered contradictory evidence against two men.

Organising for Fighting Unions: a crucial debate on future of unions

Last weekend saw another round of demonstrations against NHS cuts, which have provoked protests across the country.

655,000 reasons to get out of Iraq now

The death toll of the war on Iraq is much higher than even the most gloomy estimates. That is the conclusion of the most extensive study made of the country to date.

Coalition troops are also paying the price for George Bush’s war

The occupation in Iraq hit another bloody landmark earlier this week with the number of dead coalition troops rising to 3,000. This includes 119 British soldiers.

Respect conference: a buoyant mood

The third annual Respect conference took place in London last weekend with delegates in an upbeat and confident mood.

Student protest planned in London for 29 October

Student unions, Student Respect groups and other activists are gearing up for what it’s hoped will be the largest free education demonstration in years, called by the NUS in London on 29 October.

Postal workers in strike ballots after management renege on agreements

Hundreds of postal workers across Britain are to ballot for strikes after management reneged on pledges made in earlier national agreements.

Strike continues at Mackinnon Mills

Workers at Mackinnon Mills continued their strike action with strikes on Tuesday and Thursday of last week.

Campaign to save Hurlingham and Chelsea School

Hurlingham and Chelsea School is a mixed secondary comprehensive in Fulham, west London. It was in special measures for two years and came out with a very positive Ofsted report at the beginning of this year.

2,500 Passport office workers take strike action to force a decent pay rise

A strike by some 2,500 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union on Friday of last week severely disrupted the Identity and Passport Service (IPS).

Stirling council tenants’ victory

In a victory against the government’s attempt to force through privatisation, tenants in Stirling have voted to stay with the council - with 68 percent voting against transferring their homes.

Taunton tenants’ campaign against transfer

With around three weeks to go until the ballot over housing transfer, Taunton tenants’ campaign is reaching its peak.

Council workers battle across the country over cuts and single status

Coventry Street cleaning staff downed tools to join the school admissions staff who started strike action last week at picket lines throughout Coventry.

Reports round-up

NUJ protest at Russian embassy The NUJ journalist’s union protested outside the Russian embassy in London last Saturday, over the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

David Blunkett's dog’s dinner of a diary

Reading extracts from David Blunkett’s diary took me back to a time when the Labour Party looked very different to the one we see today.

Standing together against the Islamophobic attacks

The government’s attacks on Muslims have led to a series of racist attacks across Britain, but there is also resistance and signs of a new fighting unity between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Criticism of the veil is not about liberating women

One of the more distasteful features of the wave of attacks on Muslims has been the sight of feminists lining up to support Jack Straw’s comments against the veil.

Ruth Kelly’s lies about ‘extremist Muslim hotspots’

Ruth Kelly, New Labour’s communities secretary, told a meeting of council leaders and police chiefs last week that she wants them to target Muslim "hotspots" - schools, universities, mosques and colleges which are supposedly centres of extremism.

Spying on the students

The government is asking staff at British universities to spy on "Asian looking" students and report their activities to Special Branch in order to counter "radicalisation" among Muslim students.

New target for the witch-hunt

Phil Woolas, minister for "community cohesion" and race relations, last week called for Aishah Azmi, a Muslim teaching assistant who has been suspended for wearing the Islamic veil, to be sacked.

Study shows high risk for migrant workers

Migrant workers are risking their lives every day according to new research.

Demonstrating against the suspension of NHS activist Yunus Bakhsh

Around 100 trade unionists from the Unison, Amicus, PCS, UCU, NUT, T&G and GMB unions demonstrated outside the meeting room of Newcastle Trusts headquarters on Wednesday of last week. They were protesting at the summary suspension of NHS activist Yunus Bakhsh.

Pensions fight is back on as the government presses on with attacks

The battle to defend local government pensions is on again in earnest.

Daily Star journalists' action blocks anti-Muslim article

The Daily Star was forced to withdraw a spoof "Daily Fatwa" page just before the presses started rolling last night in the face of a revolt from the paper’s NUJ union chapel (branch).

Refuse workers walk out in Newham

Around 500 refuse workers in the east London borough of Newham walked out unofficially and spontaneously today over attempts to cut their pay.


Orhan Pamuk’s Nobel Prize throws Turkish nationalists

We may have our own views about Orhan Pamuk’s novels, but there can be no doubt that Pamuk richly deserves the prize both in literary terms and as a man with deeply-held views which he is not afraid to express regardless of the consequences.

Statement on the North Korean Nuclear Test

On October 9, North Korea announced that it had just conducted a nuclear test. The test came just six days after an official statement by the Foreign Ministry that North Korea would proceed with such a test. Experts had warned unequivocally that the North Korean government in Pyongyang wasn't simply bluffing this time. But the US administration, by ignoring such warnings and responding with the usual blackmail, practically asked for this to happen.


General Dannatt’s attack: a blow that has left New Labour reeling

Tony Blair received a body blow last week from a most unexpected source - General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the British army.

Racism is the real obstacle we face

This week I’ve been told that women like myself are submissive, oppressed creatures who need rescuing by white, male politicians.

A Sivanandan on the neoliberal attack on cultural diversity

‘The best way to understand the growth of anti-Muslim racism is to see it as an attempt to punish those who are resisting the imperialist policies of our government.

Deaths in Custody – When will it end?

Saturday 28 October will reflect a remembrance rally in Trafalgar Square with a silent vigil along Whitehall to Downing Street for those who have died in custody. Organised by the United Families and Friends Campaign, the annual event provides a constant memory and mirror to British society of those who have died in custody of the police, prison and psychiatric care institutions.


Did Cowards Flinch? - Labour's history through newspaper cartoons

A new book and exhibition tell the story of the Labour Party through newspaper cartoons. We look at individual cartoons and the period they represent

Labour in cartoons 1: 1912 - cuddling up to the Liberals

The 1910 general election saw 42 Labour MPs elected. Labour had made an agreement with the ruling Liberals that gave it a clear run in a number of seats. In return, Labour agreed to support the Liberal government that was returned with no overall majority.

Labour in cartoons 2: 1924 - The Trojan horse

The end of the First World War coincided with a huge wave of workers’ uprisings across Europe, fuelled by the Bolsheviks coming to power in the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Labour in cartoons 3: 1943 - Days of hope

By 1943 workers were already stepping up pressure for radical social change - and for the implementation of previous promises - even though the war against Nazi Germany was still raging.

Labour in cartoons 4: 1957 - Aneurin Bevan goes nuclear

Left wing Labour MP Aneurin Bevan led the biggest rebellion in the history of the Labour Party in the early 1950s. Many Labour Party members were angry about the growing consensus between the Tory government and the leadership headed by Hugh Gaitskell.

Labour in cartoons 5: 1969 - A nail in the coffin

Harold Wilson’s Labour government was elected in 1964 and re-elected in 1966. Wilson had presented himself as a "moderniser", but over the next four years his government turned away from socialist policies, held down wages and presided over rising unemployment.

Tony Cliff: arming the party for future struggles

The opportunities for revolutionary socialists in Britain began to improve in the 1960s. The long economic boom was faltering, with Britain falling behind its competitors.

Korea: a history of division

North Korea is facing threats from the West over its recent nuclear testing. Owen Miller looks at the history of a country torn apart by the superpowers


Velazquez: painting the life of the Spanish empire

Diego Velazquez is considered Spain’s greatest painter, "the painters’ painter" as Edouard Manet described him, and his influence on subsequent artists is beyond doubt. Painters as different as Francisco Goya, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso have paid homage to him and painted their own versions of his masterpieces.

Mother Courage and Her Children

A recent Royal Shakespeare Company poster declared that "in war there are no winners". It is a view that German playwright Bertolt Brecht would have disputed.

London Film Festival

The London Film Festival is a great opportunity to see some exciting films from around the world. Most of these will not get a general release in Britain.

What We Think

Britain and the US are losing the war

It caused an earthquake in British politics last week when the head of the army openly contradicted government policy on Iraq and called for a speedy withdrawal.

Other Categories

Gillo Pontecorvo, 1919-2006: A director committed to change

Gillo Pontecorvo, the Italian director of The Battle of Algiers, died last week. Despite the fact his last film came out 27 years ago, the tributes paid have been enormous.

Andy Birchenough, 1959-2006

Andy Birchenough died last week just under two months after a diagnosis of stomach cancer. He was 47.

Tim: That's Amazing


Jack Straw and the veil In "urging" Muslim women to remove the veil Jack Straw has broken the first commandment of the West to the Islamic world, "Thou shall not tell women what to wear".

Troop voices

"It’s senior ministers that need bloody sacking for getting us embroiled in an unwinnable open ended mess in the first place. Cheeky bleeders!"Soldier’s post on a military forum website, following the crisis sparked by General Sir Richard Dannatt’s comments that Britain should withdraw from Iraq

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events

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