Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2037

Dated: 10 Feb 2007




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US covers up Iraq massacre

The occupation forces and their Iraqi allies last week claimed they had crushed a doomsday cult outside the Shia holy city of Najaf. This was, they said, the first victory in George Bush’s "surge" against the resistance in Iraq.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Three strikes come together in Manchester

Manchester is "a shopaholics dream", the "original 24-hour party city", where you could be "rubbing shoulders with celebrities and footballers", according to the publicity for the Lowry Hotel, the self-styled "most fashionable venue" in the city.

Health workers: ‘They want to sell us crap healthcare’

Decked out in "Save Our NHS" T-shirts, some 250 strikers from Manchester’s mental health and social care trust formed some of the liveliest picket lines of the day.

Building grassroots support for Fujitsu dispute

A large group of striking Amicus union members from Fujitsu came to the lunchtime rally in Manchester.

Civil servants: ‘People are making the connections’

Civil service workers across Greater Manchester joined the national PCS union strike.

Trade Union Freedom Bill: lobby against anti-union laws

The Trade Union Freedom Bill is scheduled to come before parliament on Friday 2 March. This is an important focus for activists and a chance to raise the issue of anti-union laws.

Institute for Employment Rights meeting

The Institute for Employment Rights hosted a meeting last week to support the Trade Union Freedom Bill.

UCU Left candidates in fight for education

As ballot papers went out this week for the University and College Union (UCU) national executive positions, candidates supported by UCU Left – including general secretary candidate Roger Kline – were campaigning against creeping privatisation of education.

Backing for Yunus Bakhsh in Unison

The continuing campaign to defend leading health union activist, Yunus Bakhsh, from victimisation by his employer has received shocking evidence that management were able to use material produced by the Unison union to undermine support for him.

London Underground strike ballot

Over 6,500 tube workers in the RMT union are balloting for strikes over pay across London Underground.

Amicus union recognition victory at Selex-SAS

Workers in the Amicus union at Selex-SAS (formerly BAE Systems) in Luton have won a union recognition agreement covering 400 engineers.

Reports round-up

Stop investing in the arms trade Students at Cambridge University are to hold a demonstration this Saturday, 10 February, in protest at the continuing investment by many of its colleges in major arms companies. The protest is organised by Cambridge University Student Union and Cambridge Students Against the Arms Trade.

Capita boss loses sleep over strike

Some 130 CWU union members working on the Television Licensing contract for Capita in Bristol took strike action on 29 and 30 January in response to a business decision to move work to Mumbai in India.

Exeter sacking is a challenge to the CWU

The disciplinary action taken against CWU union activists in Exeter must be made a national issue among postal workers.

Royal Mail bosses pushed back in Manvers and Stoke

Two bitter disputes have been settled, a sign that Royal Mail bosses can be pushed back by determined action.

Law blocks Royal Mail drivers’ strike vote

A legal challenge has halted a strike ballot among 10,000 HGV drivers working across Britain for Royal Mail.

Single status: Southampton care workers defy council bosses’ ban

Council care workers in Southampton picketed six care homes as part of a three-day strike over proposed pay cuts from last Saturday.

Action over single status in Coventry

Some 20 teaching assistants and secretarial staff at Holbrook primary school in Coventry were set to strike for three days from Wednesday of this week over a single status pay deal.

Rotherham may strike at single status deal

Thousands of Rotherham council workers in South Yorkshire could strike in response to the council imposing a single status pay deal.

Pay cut for 5,500 Hampshire County Council workers

More than 5,500 Hampshire County Council workers are set for a pay cut, with a number of employees losing several thousand pounds a year as part of a single status job re-evaluation.

3 March is a day to fight for NHS

There is hardly an area of Britain that is not suffering the prospect of savage cuts to local health provision. In towns and cities there are protest rallies, marches and campaign meetings to save local hospitals and facilities.

More national action from civil service workers can beat Brown back

The strike by quarter of a million civil service workers in the PCS union against job losses on Wednesday of last week had a huge impact.

US campaigner Ehren Watada faces jail

US Army lieutenant Ehren Watada is facing four years in prison for "missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman".

The media matters

How our broadcasting is funded, organised and controlled is a matter of importance to anyone concerned about the quality of our lives, the information we receive, our democracy and our cultures.

Bush funds war by slashing healthcare

George Bush plans to ramp up funding for the military and police while slashing healthcare and welfare, according to budget plans for 2008 announced on Monday of this week.

Anger at Birmingham terror raids

The terror raids carried out in Birmingham last week highlight once again the manner in which the Muslim community is being victimised.

Activists building for mass anti-war protests

Across England new people are getting involved in building the 24 February demonstration called by Stop the War, CND and the British Muslim Initiative.

Unseen wounds of Iraq war

The violence engulfing Iraq is having a terrible effect on the mental health of ordinary people there, especially children, says a new report released by the Association of Iraqi Psychologists (AIP).

Hilary Benn won’t help Iraqis

Hilary Benn, the government’s international development secretary, likes to pose as a champion of the world’s poor.

Britain sent children to war

It was revealed last week that during 2003-4 the British army sent fifteen 17-year olds to fight in Iraq.

Scottish electronics firm Simclar occupied

Workers at the Simclar Group, an electronic components firm in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, occupied their factory last weekend in protest at the company’s plans to close and asset strip the plant.

Coventry strikes against single status

Striking teaching assistants and school support staff were today picketing outside a Coventry primary school.

Salma Yaqoob to be on Question Time Thursday 8 February

Birmingham Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob will be on BBC1's Question Time at 10.35pm tonight, Thursday 8 February. Among other topics, she is likely to be talking about the war on a terror, in a week when many of her own voters feel increasingly threatened.

BNP candidate faces explosives trial

What ought to be a high-profile trial concerning explosives and a massive haul of chemicals begins tomorrow (Monday). It will be interesting to see how the media handle it.


International

General strike wins in Guinea

An 18-day general strike in Guinea, West Africa, has won concessions from the dictatorial regime of President Lansana Conte.

Greek movement increases pressure on right

The resistance to the Greek Tory government’s plans for the privatisation of higher education has forced the Pasok opposition party to withdraw its support for the proposals. Pasok is a New Labour-type party.

US fans flames of Palestine civil war

In recent weeks, fighting between the two main Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, has resulted in more than 100 deaths, raising once more the spectre of civil war.

Lebanon protest camp interviews

The Lebanese opposition’s protest camp in downtown Beirut demanding the resignation of the country’s US-backed government is entering its second month. The protesters are drawn from opposition parties across the religious divide. Activists spoke to Guy Smallman about their campaign.


Comment

‘US presence is the source of violence in Iraq’

Iraqi anti-war activist Sami Ramadani spoke to Socialist Worker about why Bush’s troop ‘surge’ will not end the daily death toll in Iraq

Election challenge for French left

It's hard not to look forward to the French presidential elections, whose first round is only two and half months away, with a sense of foreboding.


Features

Lloyd George: Tony Blair’s political father

It seems that each week sees Tony Blair and his New Labour government sink further into the mud of the "cash for honours" row. Downing Street was forced to admit last week that Blair had been interviewed again by police investigating whether peerages were being exchanged for secret loans to the Labour Party.

The Busman’s Punch

In 1932 the T&G transport union, headed by future government minister Ernest Bevin, failed to organise a fight after the Genral Omnibus Company London threatened to scrap its existing wage agreement and sack 300 workers.

Dark clouds gather over the Persian Gulf as US threatens Iran

George Bush and the US establishment are preparing for yet another war in the Middle East. As in the build up to war with Iraq, the justification for military action against Iran is the looming threat supposedly posed by the regime’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

How art changes in different contexts

The authorities get very nervous about what art is acceptable, because art can encourage people to think in unacceptable ways.


Reviews

Citizens and Kings exhibition

The period covered by the Citizens and Kings exhibition was one of dramatic social and political change. From within an age of despotism and absolute monarchies, of superstition and mysticism, a new world was born.

Dreamgirls: a chance to film a Motown dream ruined by Hollywood

Widely hailed in the mainstream press, this film purports to tell the story of 1960s soul sensations The Supremes.

The Marriage Of Figaro

The Marriage of Figaro, first performed in Vienna in 1786, was a harbinger of the great French Revolution of 1789.


What We Think

Bird flu – Profits and property rights put health at risk

The government is desperate to reassure us that the HN51 bird flu virus outbreak is under control. It also claims that Britain is ready if the virus spreads to humans in this country.


Other Categories

Tim: 'Friendly fire'

Letters

Letters

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events



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