Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2031

Dated: 16 Dec 2006




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Join the revolt to save our NHS

Everyone must add their voice to the clamour for a national protest to defend the NHS. Trade unions have been forced to raise the possibility of a demonstration and want to know how many people would come.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Postal workers strike again in Stoke area

More than 800 postal workers struck on Saturday in the Stoke area in a battle to stop full time jobs being changed to part time. Another strike is set for tomorrow (Monday).

Anti-Nazis humiliate the BNP in Dagenham

An attempt by the fascist British National Party (BNP) to hold a racist rally in Dagenham, east London, ended in its humiliation last Saturday.

Reports round-up

Surrey County Council strike The Unison union in Surrey County Council, which represents 3,000 workers, has called a second strike on Thursday of next week to continue the dispute with the council over pay.

Lecturers at Middlesex University vote for action

Lecturers at Middlesex University have voted for action short of a strike over the university’s refusal to implement a pay award and pay framework agreement, which have been agreed nationally.

PCS Left Unity conference: strategy needed to win national dispute

The national delegate conference of Left Unity met in Gateshead last Saturday. It is the socialist grouping which has a majority on most of the leading committees in the civil service workers’ PCS union.

Blyth Community College: campaigning against academies

Around 30 people attended a public meeting on Friday of last week to fight plans to build a controversial academy school in Northumberland. It urged the government to allow a referendum on the issue.

Sandwell Unison protest

Some 60 workers at Sandwell council held a protest at a meeting of the controlling Labour group on Monday of last week.

Cuts in Camden council

Camden council in north London, led jointly by the Lib Dems and the Conservatives, is proposing cuts of £23 million from the budget in 2007-8 with nearly 350 job losses.

Strike ballot in Southampton council

Southampton council workers, threatened with the privatisation of their jobs, are to ballot for strike action.

Iraq Survey Group report – deep crisis, threats and promises

Last week saw the release of a long awaited report by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) – a panel of senior US ruling class politicians – into the future of US imperialism in Iraq.

Augusto Pinochet: the tyrant who served the system

Within a few minutes of the announcement that the hated tyrant Pinochet was dead, thousands of Chilean people took to the streets to celebrate.

Farepak victims take on the fat cats at Christmas

A furious protest by victims of the Farepak collapse took place on Monday of this week outside the Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) head office in Edinburgh as a champagne reception took place.

Massacre of post offices

The government was set to announce the closure of thousands of post offices on Thursday of this week, after Socialist Worker went to press.

Cult of Christendom

The distinction between Christianity and Christendom is not widely understood. Christianity is the faith of those who seek to follow Jesus of Nazareth and declare him to be the Son of God.

Defend Unison activists

Tony Staunton, Plymouth local government Unison branch secretary, has been suspended from office for 60 days by Unison union leaders.

Leeds First Bus strike brings bosses to their knees

Over 1,000 bus drivers at First Bus in Leeds struck on Monday against attacks on their final salary pension scheme. The company is trying to cap pensions contributions and link them to inflation.

Exeter post strike called off

Strike action at Exeter mail centre has been called off after an agreement was reached between the CWU union and management.

Post workers strike in Stoke

Hundreds of postal workers in the Stoke area struck last Saturday in a dispute about full time posts being turned to part time.

Bus drivers’ strikes shake bosses

Some 1,000 striking drivers brought bus services to a standstill in Leeds on Monday of this week. The T&G union members are planning two more days of action before Christmas over attacks on their pensions.

Workers set for action over single status

Falkirk The battle against the single status pay settlement in local government is hotting up across Britain. GMB and Unison union members working for Falkirk council in central Scotland are set to protest this Saturday and strike on Monday of next week.

Cultures of Resistance gig success

Acclaimed jazz musician Courtney Pine performed at the hugely succesful Cultures of Resistance gig in London on Friday of last week. Gilad Atzmon, Rodney P and Skitz, and Sam Beste also performed. The gig was a fundraiser for the Socialist Worker appeal

Chilling anti-strike tactics at Iceland

If you ever thought the class struggle was dead, you should have been outside the Iceland depot in Enfield, north London, at 2am on Friday last week.

Socialist Worker Appeal has raised £130,021

The money is still rolling in for the Socialist Worker appeal. Last Friday’s Cultures of Resistance fundraiser raised over £5,000.

New pension rules could bring disaster

The new "Britsaver" pension, which the government announced this week, could make matters worse for millions.

Readers' views on Post Office closures

Utter chaos I am the Sub Postmaster of a rural Post Office branch serving about nine small villages and I am generally quite busy as I also attract a lot of passing trade as we are situated on the main road.

Anti-war single aims for the top

A group of anti-war musicians has released a cover version of Edwin Starr’s classic War (What Is It Good For?) as a download-only single – with the aim of taking their message to the top of the charts in the new year.

Cleaners mop up at Lancaster

Lancaster Office Cleaning Company has caved in to a campaign by cleaners and their supporters in London and Edinburgh demanding union recognition and a living wage.

NHS round-up: Ministers press ahead with health budget squeeze

New Labour’s smears Campaign group Health Emergency has challenged the government to identify a single one of the 29 major acute hospitals facing early closure or downgrading where the axing of key services isn’t being driven by a major deficit in the local NHS budget.

A victory for the right to protest

Demonstrators against the Iraq war, who were detained during a protest in 2003, have won a legal victory against the police's action.

Video clips of Cultures of Resistance concert, Friday 8 December 2006

Sam Beste Presumption of Innocence performed at the Cultures of Resistance concert in London on Friday 8 December 2006

Bus strikes force new pay deal from Metroline

Metroline bus drivers in London have voted by around 80 percent to accept a 5.75 percent pay rise. The rise will apply to all elements of pay – the basic rate, overtime, holiday pay and back pay.

Iceland strikers call for support

Some 350 Iceland strikers struck and dozens joined picket lines again today (Friday), faced by security guards. They are hitting the company hard but need your backing.

Privatisation of Hillingdon Hospital Accident & Emergency

Hillingdon Hospital's Accident & Emergency department is being privatised without the knowledge of local people.

Bitter dispute for South Yorkshire postal workers

Postal workers at Manvers delivery office in South Yorkshire are involved in an increasingly bitter dispute with Royal Mail following the imposition by executive action of cuts to staffing levels within the office, which involves not only the ending of the night shift but the lengthening of attendances on some days and reducing others.

Fujitsu escalates dispute with Manchester staff

IT services giant Fujitsu escalated its dispute with Manchester staff by walking away from talks with Acas last week. It has also threatened disciplinary action against Ian Allinson, the senior Amicus Rep, as part of an effort to attack the union by reducing facility time in the middle of the dispute.

One day strike over single status at Falkirk council

Workers at Falkirk council held a one strike on Monday 18 December against the council's plans to impose wage cuts to pay for single status. The workers are members of GMB and Unison unions. They both held ballots at the same time, which decided in favour of industrial action to resist the council's attacks on wages and conditions.

Iceland strike suspended

The strikes planned at Iceland's depot at Enfield, north London, have been called off. A majority of T&G union members at the plant accepted an offer from DHL, the company that runs the operation, to restart serious talks on 29 December.


International

Victory for Kalahari Bushmen

On Wednesday 13 December, the Basarwa (Bushmen) of the Kalahari in Botswana celebrated a tremendous victory. After a two-year long court struggle the Botswana High Court ruled in favour of Roy Sesana, the leader of the Basarwa human rights organisation First People of the Kalahari (FPK) and close to 200 other Basarwa, that they were unlawfully forced off their ancestral land.


Comment

Schools report shows young people’s lives are blighted by racism

Britain’s schools are institutionally racist against black pupils – that is the clear conclusion of a recent report from the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

It’s time MPs listened to our anti-war message

An estimated 650,000 Iraqis dead, 126 British troops dead, dangerous chaos dominating many parts of the country.

How New Labour puts prostitutes at risk

The recent brutal series of murders of women in Ipswich has brought the question of prostitution and violent crime to the foreground.

New Labour, sleaze, police interviews and BAE

The stench of corruption around the Labour party is becoming overwhelming.

Historical Materialism conference: Debating radical ideas for change

The state of the radical left in Europe is quite contradictory. If one just looked at the visible state of political organisation in some countries one could get quite depressed.


Features

Austin Mitchell and Prem Sikka on pensions and poverty

Low pensions condemn people to poverty and misery. Both are becoming all too prevalent because Britain, despite being a rich country, does not pay a decent state pension.

Simple measures can solve the pensions crisis

Whichever way one looks at it, current government policies cannot solve the pensions crisis. So millions more will be condemned to face retirement poverty and insecurity. The only way to tackle this is through progressive taxation and redistribution of wealth.

Angela Davis on Ken Saro-Wiwa

The legendary US radical Angela Davis spoke recently at a commemorative meeting for author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. He was executed in 1995 in Nigeria, after campaigning against the exploitation of Nigeria’s Ogoni areas by Shell Oil and other multinationals.

Street art 1: The art of the streets

A basic feature of capitalism is that aspects of life that should be accessible to everyone become controlled and restricted to a privileged elite – the ruling class. Works of visual art, such as paintings or sculptures, are no exception to this general rule.

Street art 2: Russia 1917 – public festivals

The creative flowering that followed the Russian Revolution of 1917 is an extraordinary example of how art can play a major part in the struggle for a better society.

Street art 3: Diego Rivera and the Mexican Revolution

Mexico was rocked by a revolution between 1910 and 1919. The post-revolutionary government attempted to harness art to its cause.

Street art 4: Posters as weapons in Paris 1968

In 1968 France was brought to a standstill by a huge movement of students and workers. This movement paralysed the French state and also saw an explosion of experimental street art.

Street art 5: Banksy and guerrilla art

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in street art, coinciding with the rise of the anti-capitalist movement. One element of this is "culture jamming" or "adbusting", where activists use guerrilla art techniques to subvert the advertising that pervades our society.

The Chartists remain an inspiration for the fight for freedom now

What relevance does Chartism have for socialists today? Of course, it is important that we understand our own history. But are there political lessons, strategies and tactics from the Chartist period that are still useful to us today?


Reviews

Spike Lee’s When The Levees Broke – the lost voices of New Orleans

All respect to Spike Lee. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, he felt he had a political duty to make a documentary about it, to make it long – and to make it for television so as many people as possible saw it.

Benjamin Britten's anniversary is a chance to celebrate one of the best British composers

Benjamin Britten was the greatest of the British classical composers of the second half of the 20th century. He ranks among the greatest British composers ever.

What’s Going On – The Dirty Dozen Brass Band | The Corporation

What’s Going OnThe Dirty Dozen Brass BandCD out now It is testament to the power of Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On that its songs have been covered by hundreds of artists, almost from the moment it was released in 1971.


What We Think

Solving Iraq's chaos means troops out

Having spent years justifying the invasion and occupation that have caused the deaths of an estimated 650,000 Iraqis, the world’s rulers seem to have suddenly discovered that Iraq is a disaster.


Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: NHS trussed

Tim: Israelis got here first

Leon Kuhn: Questioning Blair

Letters

Letters

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events



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