Dated: 11 Aug 2001
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Firsat Yildiz fled to Britain from Turkey in fear of his life. He hoped to find sanctuary from violence and terror. Last weekend he was murdered. At the age of 22 he bled to death in a Glasgow park.
AS NEWS of the murder of Firsat Yildiz broke on Sunday, 350 asylum seekers marched from Sighthill to Glasgow city centre chanting, "We want justice!" On Monday more than 1,000 people then attended a mass rally in the city's George Square.
OUTRAGE has greeted sentences passed on anti-capitalist protesters who demonstrated in the Swedish city of Gothenburg in June. Luigino "Gigi" Longo, a 43 year old trade unionist and socialist living in Norway, and Jonas Enander both received sentences of two and a half years. Paul Robinson, a UNISON union member from Britain, was also imprisoned, for a year.
THE ULSTER Unionists are once again jeopardising peace in Northern Ireland. Ever since the peace process began, the Ulster Unionists have demanded that the IRA decommissions its weapons. Now General John de Chasterlain, head of the decommissioning body, says he is "satisfied" that the IRA will put its weapons "completely and verifiably beyond use".
TRAFFIC JAMS are at record levels despite the pledge by deputy prime minister John Prescott to cut car use. Government figures show drivers travelled an average 187.5 more miles last year than in 1999. Road traffic also increased by 1 percent last year.
LONDON MAYOR Ken Livingstone has dropped his High Court appeal against the government's plan to privatise the tube through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
THE ITALIAN government is still feeling the after-effects of the great demonstrations against the G8 summit in Genoa last month. More photographic, video and eyewitness evidence of police brutality is emerging, keeping the pressure on right wing prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The police killed one demonstrator during the protests. Many more were beaten by the police.
AROUND 70 people protested outside Liverpool prison in Walton last Saturday in solidarity with refugees detained there.
AROUND 300 medical secretaries across the north of Glasgow planned to strike for three days this week. The action follows a stunning 91.3 percent vote for strikes in a ballot. The workers' UNISON union branch has been pursuing a regrading claim for all medical secretaries for 14 months.
GUARDS AT train operator c2c struck on Wednesday of last week and Monday and Tuesday this week. They are fighting plans to strip them of safety responsibilities. Services between London and Essex were heavily disrupted, with only one in five trains running.
OVER 100 people marched to the Devonport Trident dockyard in Plymouth last Saturday and held a rally outside the main gates.
SOME 300 bus workers in Hampshire employed by multinational transport firm First Group have held two days of strike action in a dispute over pay. Drivers and engineers, members of the TGWU union, went on strike last Friday and Monday after being offered an 18 pence an hour rise.
STRIKING engineering workers hope to win their employment tribunal claims against the William Cook firm in Sheffield. The 60 strikers have stood up to lockouts, closures and redundancies in the long running dispute over union-busting.
OIL TANKER drivers at P&O are balloting on strikes over threatened pay cuts. A TGWU union spokesperson says more than 100 workers in P&O Trans European's freight division will receive ballot papers.
OVER 100 people, including former MP Tony Benn, marched in London on Sunday in protest at sanctions on Iraq. The march ended at Downing Street, where a group of protesters camped down for a 72-hour vigil and fast. The protest was organised by campaigning groups Voices in the Wilderness UK, Act Together and Women in Black.
MORE THAN 500 people joined a protest to save the Rankin Maternity Unit in Greenock near Glasgow last Saturday. The new head of the unitary health board, John Mullins, had stated two days earlier that the review of maternity services in Inverclyde was to be "shelved".
THE CIVIL servants' PCS union is balloting over 300 members for all-out strike action in the Brent and Streatham Jobcentre Plus Pathfinder pilots. The mood is excellent, with over 100 members at an evening rally last week headed by general secretary elect Mark Serwotka and Brian Butterworth from Brent UNISON.
EDUCATION campaigners will march in Leicester this Saturday against the scandal of rotten facilities for children. More than 90 children at Heatherbrook Primary School in Leicester are being taught in three mobile classrooms which health and safety officers have deemed potentially hazardous.
"THE GOVERNMENT is determinedly pushing the privatisation of 328,000 homes. It has assembled a taskforce to help overcome tenants' opposition. "Arms Length Companies" are being reworked as an "alternative" which in reality will neatly package our homes ready for a second wave of privatisation. The housing association lobby increasingly echoes the demands of the big lenders and bankers. "Businesslike'' housing associations are failing to house the vulnerable and homeless. Paid board members will displace tenants, and encourage mergers and rationalisation. Housing association chief executives' salaries and payoffs soar into six figures. By introducing "market forces" into counci
CONSTRUCTION workers at several sites across Britain have seized the opportunity to win better pay through industrial action. Electricians, pipe fitters and welders on the South Tees Private Finance Initiative (PFI) hospital in Middlesbrough are the latest to take action. They held a 48-hour sit-in at the end of last month after they found out one of their bosses was secretly photographing the 150 workers during lunch and tea breaks.
SAFETY campaigners protested in Canary Wharf, east London, last week at the seventh death of a construction worker in the area. On Wednesday of last week a 44 year old man from Northern Ireland was decapitated while working on the DS8 building at the commerce centre. Two of his workmates were left deeply traumatised.
OVER 40 local members of faith groups and trade unions joined a lively lobby of the "Women in Docklands Ball" last week in support of TELCO's campaign for a living wage for all workers in Docklands. TELCO is The East London Communities Organisation. Tickets for the ball, held in the swish new Four Seasons Hotel at Canary Wharf, cost £100 each.
A GLOBALISE Resistance reportback meeting from the protests against the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, attracted 300 people to Conway Hall in central London on Thursday of last week.
POLICE THREATS have again stopped the screening of the film Injustice. The film documents the struggle for justice of families whose members have died in police custody.
JOINERY WORKERS in the GMB union at Jeld-Wen, Lowestoft, entered their third week of one-day strikes this week against management pay freezes and cuts over many years.
OVER 100 social workers in Newham, east London, will strike again next Monday. This latest 24-hour walkout is part of UNISON's campaign for fair and equal treatment for all social workers in the borough.
WORKERS ON Merseyside are raising money for the Sefton council workers fighting to save services for the elderly and disabled. Some 900 social services workers in Sefton council have held six days of strike action to stop the closure of six facilities.
ISRAEL IS stepping up its assassination of Palestinian activists, ten months into the Palestinian uprising against Israeli brutality. The assassination policy has been endorsed by George Bush's number two, Dick Cheney.
ONE OF Spain's longest running industrial disputes has ended in victory for the workers. Telephone engineers celebrated in the centre of Madrid last weekend after their fight forced the country's Tory government to concede most of their demands.
TONY BLAIR toured Latin America last week preaching the virtues of the market and neo-liberal economic policies. As he did, those very policies were bringing misery to millions across the continent. But workers and the poor are fighting back.
I DO sometimes wonder whether someone as successful as Tony Blair can really be as stupid as he often seems. The Financial Times carried an astonishing article last week that plainly came straight from the great man himself:
"FOR THE past ten to 15 years we've been asleep. I hope we are once again awakening." These are the words of Gillo Pontecorvo, who at the age of 82 was one of the oldest protesters in Genoa.
"WE ARE not animals. We are not criminals. We are human beings," cried hundreds of desperate and defiant refugees last week. They were fighting back against the treatment they suffer because of the policies of Tony Blair and other European Union leaders. Over 900 refugees are at a Red Cross centre in a giant hangar outside Sangatte, near the French Channel port of Calais.
PROTESTS COULD "kill off" the government's Private Finance Initiative (PFI). That is the fear of John Gains, chief executive of construction firm John Mowlem. The giant firm is a key player in PFI projects in hospitals, schools, councils and transport around Britain.
NEW LABOUR'S childcare policies are failing and provide nothing for the vast majority of children and parents. That's the message from a Daycare Trust survey published last week. The Daycare Trust, a national childcare charity, has recently been very enthusiastic about many of the government's policies. So its report is particularly damning.
"SOLDIERS BROKE into a house, hit one person several times in the body with the rifle butt, shot rubber bullets at a girl at point blank range, and threw a young man through a window."
TODAY LOYALIST paramilitary groups are terrorising Catholics. They are also targeting people in mixed Catholic and Protestant families. Socialist Worker spoke to SEAN McVEIGH, a teacher in North Belfast, one of the worst affected areas.
DAVID BLUNKETT, the home secretary, has banned the Anti Nazi League (ANL) carnival in Burnley set for 1 September. The carnival was to be a celebration of multiracial society in the face of the support for the Nazi British National Party (BNP) in the north west of England in the recent general election.
MANY OF the great political events of the past 40 years are almost inseparable from powerful documentary photographs of them. Think of the massacre by South African forces of black children in Soweto in 1976, and the picture of the lifeless body of Hector Petersen cradled by a fellow school student.
A FORGOTTEN war is raging on Russia's southern border. Russia is taking revenge on Chechnya for defeating its troops in the 1994-6 war. At stake is control over the oil-rich region of the Caspian Sea. Since Russia invaded Chechnya in October 1999 some 40,000 people have died and 400,000 have been made homeless.
THE IMAGE of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 for me sums up the China of today. A highly repressive and nasty state, every bit as class ridden as the rest of the capitalist world.
"PEOPLE'S GLOBALISATION not corporate globalisation" is one of the slogans of the anti-capitalist movement. And if people's globalisation exists, it now has a soundtrack. Manu Chao is a hugely successful musician everywhere in Europe. But in Britain he remains largely unknown.
AS NEWSPAPER editors and politicians ignore the tragic consequences of their anti-refugee statements, some of our best dramatists are responding with brilliant plays about the experiences of asylum seekers. The latest drama to combine great theatre writing with a commitment to telling the truth about the asylum issue is Hannah and Hanna by Company of Angels. The play was a huge hit at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
"THE WORST is yet to come." They were the words of a City economist as British manufacturing industry was officially declared to be in recession. Figures released this week showed the biggest fall in manufacturing output for a decade.
FOLLOWING recent events here in Burnley, readers may be aware that Lancashire police-unelected members of society-have decided to call upon home secretary David Blunkett to ban the planned anti-Nazi demonstration and carnival on 1 September.
YOU KNOW something's up when the Daily Mail invokes support for an argument from the Commission for Racial Equality, which it has been campaigning to abolish. The Mail did just that last week when it attacked a high court ruling overturning a 15-year ban on US black separatist Louis Farrakhan entering Britain.
THE POLICE announced last week that it is to use "taser" stun guns across London. If you think this will stop them killing so many people, think again. The gun shoots two darts that can send up to 50,000 volts into the body, overpowering the central nervous system.