Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1777

Dated: 01 Dec 2001



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Bush's Afghan killing fields - Now he's after Iraq

'I lost my daughter two days ago. The Americans bombed our home in Kandahar and the roof fell in. Her name was Muzlifa. She was two. Then there was my other daughter. Her name was Farigha. She was three. There wasn't much left of my son. When the roof hit him he was turned to meat and all I could see were bones. His name was Sherif. He was a year and a half old.'Shukria Gul speaking to journalist Robert Fisk last week


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Fuelling their allies' attacks

On Monday Associated Press correspondent Ellen Nickmeyer reported from the northern town of Kunduz on the scenes that accompanied its capture by Northern Alliance forces:

Backed by the West: Israel murders children

Five boys from the same family torn to pieces. A Palestinian leader and two aides killed by a helicopter gunship. A murdered taxi driver. A 13 year old boy and a 15 year old shot dead. Political offices and security posts blown up in the Gaza Strip.

Terminal Five: The sky has no limits

The decision to allow Heathrow airport to build the new terminal five is just about "money and shops", said the Labour MEP Robert Evans. His words came after Stephen Byers, New Labour's transport secretary, allowed the highly contested terminal five to go ahead "in the national interest". "It will bring benefits to the British economy both locally and nationally," he said.

Black family want answers from the Met

"We want the truth-we want justice," pleaded Rhoda. She is the sister of Ricky Bishop, who died in police custody last Thursday. Rhoda was surrounded by a shocked group of family, friends and supporters who gathered to demand answers outside Brixton police station last Sunday. Ricky Bishop was a healthy 25 year old black man.

Union's shoddy deal over PFI

Leaders of the giant public sector UNISON union hailed a deal they struck with the government over the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) last week. The union claims the deal is a victory which will stop thousands of health workers having their jobs transferred to private companies.

Schools: profit multiplies division

New Labour's Education Bill, published last week, is a privateer's dream. It simultaneously "deregulates" schools, opening the way to further involvement by private companies, and tightens the stranglehold of government bureaucrats over what is taught.

Postal Workers: Shaping up for battle against privatisation

Postal Workers are set for a head-on confrontation with their bosses and the government over privatisation. The Communication Workers Union had been preparing to hold a strike ballot over pay. But it has now switched to the question of putting out to contract sections such as vehicle services, parcel deliveries and cleaning.

Mark Dolan: Why we won it

A Post Office disciplinary hearing last week found that Mark Dolan, treasurer of the CWU union branch in North/North West London, was innocent of the charges against him. A worker at the NDO office made a complaint against Mark after he had overheard a discussion about the World Trade Centre suicide attacks. Mark had said he was against the loss of life in New York, but that it was a result of US policies.

By-election results

Burnley An important council by-election was due to take place on Thursday of this week in the Rose Hill ward in Burnley, Lancashire. The BNP Nazis were hoping to get a significant vote. They stood candidates in two council by-elections in Burnley last week.

In brief

Bus strikes get results Bus workers in two Stagecoach companies in Hastings and the north east of England have voted to accept improved pay offers. Two days of strike action by workers in Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington forced Stagecoach management to increase their offer to a flat rate of £6 an hour.

Scottish Power: Pull plug on bosses

Workers at Scottish Power in Scotland, Merseyside and north Manchester are set to take strike action on Tuesday and Wednesday. Scottish Power is one of the world's top ten utility multinationals. It also owns Southern Water and Pacificore in the US. The workers do essential jobs, maintaining and repairing breakdowns in the electricity network.

Civil Servants: Striking for all of our welfare

Low paid civil servants on all-out strike were joined on Monday of this week by 250 workers in Makerfield in Lancashire. The workers voted to strike for three weeks after refusing to do management's dirty work and scab on the all-out strike by civil servants at the government's new Pathfinder offices.

Hackney council

Library workers struck across Hackney in east London last Saturday in protest at cuts in their Saturday pay. The strike was excellently supported and very successful. It was a boost to workers and anti-cuts campaigners in their long battle against the vicious Labour-run council.

Council round-up

Caretakes in Edinburgh are set to take strike action to try to win more money for working long hours. Some 100 caretakers, members of the UNISON union, have agreed to boycott work for three days next week and another three days the following week. Some 90.3 percent voted for strikes in an official ballot.

Defend asylum seekers

Activists from seven campaigns against refugee detention centres met in Oxford last Saturday to discuss government plans to quadruple the number of asylum seekers locked up in camps.

Gestures can't hide Labour's failures

There is one fact that all the spin surrounding chancellor Gordon Brown's pre-budget statement cannot hide. Under New Labour investment in public services in Britain will only just reach the level it was at under John Major's Tory government-and that's after Brown's supposed major boost to public spending.


International


Comment

The movement is recovering

I missed the great anti-war demonstration in London the Sunday before last. But I don't feel too bad about this because, along with 500 other people, I was participating in a conference on globalisation and resistance in New York.

Onside with the football strikers

"This is not about millionaire footballers wanting more money. It's about supporting a union that funds lads who don't make the grade and need to retrain, and 60 year old ex-pros who need a heart operation but can't afford it."


Features

How did we get into this mess?

Just how bad is the economic situation? It is very, very serious indeed. You have for the first time in 20 years a simultaneous downturn in all three major sections of the advanced capitalist world. That is a recession in the US, a recession in Germany and across continental Europe, and a recession in Japan.

AIDS: two World Trade Centre disasters in Africa every day

We saw the pictures of the victims of the 11 September suicide attacks. We heard the stories of their lives and glimpsed the pain of their relatives.

Will the war free Afghan women?

We may never know how many women have been blown to pieces in Afghanistan by B-52s and cluster bombs. That has not stopped Laura Bush and Cherie Blair proclaiming that their husbands' war in Afghanistan is motivated by the high ideals of women's liberation.


Reviews

Dread Meets Punk Rockers Uptown: This is Dynamite

Along with about 80,000 others, I will never forget the monster Rock Against Racism carnival in Victoria Park, east London, in 1978. "We are black, we are white-we are dynamite!" was the slogan of the day, as people rocked both to reggae band Steel Pulse and punk band The Clash – who leaned heavily on black music and struggle for their inspiration.

Ken Loach's Navigators find the rail wreckers

Rail privatisation gets the Ken Loach treatment with the TV showing of The Navigators on Sunday 2 December. Rob Dawber, socialist and ex rail worker, wrote the film. It follows the fortunes of a group of track workers as the privatisation of British Rail takes effect.

Kandahar: The heart of Afghanistan

George W Bush apparently requested a special screening of this film. But don't let that put you off seeing Kandahar, by Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. His concern for the suffering of the people of Afghanistan goes back to at least 1987, with his film The Cyclist, which featured Afghan refugees in Iran.


What We Think

The madmen in the White House

"Afghanistan is just the start." Those were the words of George W Bush last week as he made a sickeningly violent speech to 15,000 troops, including the 101st Airborne Division-the aptly named "Screaming Eagles". Bush whipped them into a frenzy by chanting "Airborne assault!" as they pumped their fists in the air.


Other Categories

Charlie Van Gelderen 1913–2001

It is with great sadness that I heard of the death of Charlie Van Gelderen. Charlie represented a historical link from his attendance at the founding conference of the Fourth International in Paris in 1938 up to general election campaigning for the Cambridge Socialist Alliance.

Letters

If you have been impressed by headline news that the government is going to let parents with kids opt for "family friendly" shifts at work, look again. This is a measure that is supposed to help working mothers the most.

Where now for the anti-war campaign?

The 100,000-strong march in London against the war two weeks ago shattered the myth that almost everyone in Britain supports Tony Blair over the bombing of Afghanistan. If that many people marched, think how many millions supported the demonstration.

Pile of lies in the waste

Environment minister Michael Meacher misled parliament twice over a serious health hazard, an investigation uncovered last week.



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