Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2073

Dated: 20 Oct 2007

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Private armies free to kill in Iraq

They kill with impunity. Gun down civilians, devastate families and spread terror. Yet they are beyond the law.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Love Music Hate Racism: musicians unite to beat back the BNP

Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) has launched its biggest initiative to date – a 29-track double CD compilation featuring exclusive tracks from some of the country’s biggest acts, including Babyshambles, Lethal Bizzle, The Enemy and Roll Deep.

Billy Bragg’s school visit takes the anti-fascist fight into Barking

Billy Bragg kicked off a series of LMHR events in schools to promote the new CD with a visit to Barking Abbey, his old school, on Tuesday of last week. The school is in the east London borough of Barking & Dagenham where the BNP has 12 councillors.

Palestinian solidarity conference listens to Gaza academic

Haidar Eid, a lecturer at Al Aqsa University, explained the deeping crisis of Palestinian society in a talk broadcast live from Gaza to a conference in London last Saturday.

Cadbury’s workers protest in Keynsham

Workers protested outside the Cadbury’s factory in Keynsham, Somerset, on Thursday of last week against plans to close it down.

Racing Post stops recognising 'union' with no members

The farce of a "union" without any members representing workers at the Racing Post newspaper was ended last week when the British Association of Journalists (BAJ) was reported to have withdrawn from its recognition agreement.

Jean Charles de Menezes trial

The Metropolitan Police commander who ordered the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes knew the Brazilian was not one of the 21 July bombers some time before he was killed, a court heard last week.

Ballot for action in further education

Members of the UCU college union in further education are preparing for an industrial action ballot over pay. Any action would be in opposition to the 2.55 percent pay offer we have rejected for this year.

Teachers threaten action over below inflation pay offer

Steve Sinnott, the general secretary of the NUT teachers’ union, last week told local divisional secretaries that if a pay offer of 2 percent was not improved union members of the NUT would be balloted for action early in the new year.

CND conference stands against war

Last weekend’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) annual conference was held in the run-up to the organisation’s 50th birthday celebrations next February.

BBC jobs plan is an assault on public broadcasting

The threat of thousands of redundancies at the BBC is a massive attack on broadcasting workers and any remaining prospects for independent news coverage.

Will it take a ban on flying to stop climate change?

Tackling climate change means cutting carbon emissions drastically. We have to start now – that’s clear. But there’s confusion over what to do about air travel.

Suspended for speaking out

Karen Reissmann, the Manchester psychiatric nurse at the centre of a long running industrial dispute, was suspended for speaking out against a cuts and privatisation plan not very different to those that proved so disastrous at Maidstone and Tunbridge.

Health cuts fuel superbug crisis

Last week’s Healthcare Commission report into patient deaths at the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust is truly shocking.

Reports round-up

Workers at end of their tether Workers at a rope and wire manufacturing company in Lanarkshire have struck over pay.

Glasgow day centre workers on indefinite strike

Some 220 day centre workers in Glasgow began an indefinite strike on Tuesday of this week.

Labour builds attack on the public sector

Gordon Brown’s government is determined to hold down public sector pay to to 2 percent over the next three years.

Action in local government can beat Brown

All Gordon Brown’s rhetoric about building more homes and his supposed commitment to equality were shown to be hollow by the spending review.

Health service spending growth

The announced annual spending growth of 4 percent above inflation for the next three years is still barely half the 7.4 percent that the NHS has received for the last five years.

£30 billion in cuts in civil service

Over 250,000 civil service workers in the PCS union are balloting over whether to take further industrial action.

Education spending will be 'experienced as a cut'

Education spending in England will rise on average by 2.8 percent a year in real terms between 2007-08 and 2010-11.

Socialist Worker Appeal reaches £76,288

"According to some of America’s leading journalists, the attack on Iraq would never have happened had the media challenged the lies of Bush and Blair instead of amplifying and echoing them.

Protesters fight new EU treaty

Demonstrators will gather in Lisbon this Thursday to protest outside the European Union (EU) summit being held in the Portuguese capital.

Silencing debate in the National Union of Students

On Tuesday of last week – the day after hundreds of student activists descended on parliament – the National Union of Students (NUS) leadership revealed its 80 page long attack on its democratic structures to the national executive.

Gun and knife crime campaign targets the poverty behind youth crime

Over 120 people took to the streets of north London last Sunday against the gun and knife crime that has blighted so many young lives over the last few months.

Students organise to stop fascists in Oxford

Students at Oxford university and anti-fascist campaigners have reacted with outrage to the news that the Oxford Union debating club has invited two leading Nazis to speak to its members next month.

Leeds Housing Workers Strike

Members of Unison union, who work for Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation (Bitmo) in Leeds, took one day of strike action last Monday.


Egyptian editors jailed for ‘slandering’ Mubarak

Egyptian newspapers did not appear on the stands last week as a part of a national protest against the imprisoning of editors for "slandering the president".

Turkish tensions threaten US in Iraq

The US House of Representatives has voted to call a spade a spade and decided that the massacre of around one million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915 must be described as genocide.

Pakistan regime under pressure in Waziristan

Mir Ali is a town of around 50,000 people in the Waziristan region of northern Pakistan. Last week the Pakistani military bombed it as part of its long running battle with Taliban forces in the area. An estimated 250 local people were killed, with Pakistan losing 47 soldiers.

German MPs want more war

The German parliament voted to keep German troops in Afghanistan last Friday.



North Korea: a divided history

George Bush’s attitude toward the poverty-stricken East Asian country of North Korea demonstrates the contradictory stance of the US government.

Democracy needed at the heart of the battle

Central to the project of socialist revolution is the idea that working people should run every aspect of society, developing their own democratic organisations as a new form of power.

Reaching out to the villages

The agrarian reform enacted by the Russian soviet government in 1917 challenged the thinking of the world Marxist movement.

Innocents killed by corporate mercenaries in Baghdad

On Tuesday 8 October Marou Awanis was driving through Baghdad when she accidentally got too close to a convoy guarded by "private security contractors". The guards opened fire on her car, killing her and one passenger, and injuring others in the back seat.

Iraq: Rise of the private armies

British charity War On Want has been tracking the growth of private military contractors over the last few years. In a report released earlier this year, Corporate Mercenaries – The Threat of Private Military and Security Companies, the charity condems what it describes as the "privatisation of war". The major corporate mercenary firms are:

Shut down this scab Royal Mail sorting office

Royal Mail has set up a sorting office in Southgate, north London, which is entirely staffed by non-union scab labour and managers.

How the strikes raised pressure on Royal Mail

The postal workers’ determined resistance to Royal Mail and Gordon Brown has inspired hundreds of thousands of other workers who are facing similar attacks over pay, pensions, and terms and conditions.

Post workers - be prepared to continue the fight

The fierce battle between Royal Mail and the postal workers’ CWU union has seen management forced to make a new offer, despite them having repeated "the offer is the offer" throughout the dispute.

Anger at New Labour sweeps through CWU

There is a deep crisis in the postal workers’ CWU union that centres on its political fund – but reflects much wider troubles in the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party.

Let’s make sure any deal matches picket line spirit

The contents of Royal Mail’s revised offer to the postal workers’ CWU union were unclear as Socialist Worker went to press. But initial leaks to the media suggest the company has made few moves towards meeting the union’s demands.

Post workers should 'Reject the deal, keep fighting until we win'

The deal discussed by the union’s postal executive on Monday and Tuesday would sweep away crucial rights, steal our pensions, clear the way for more bullying, and give managers even more power to order us about.


The Counterfeiters

This German film is a Second World War movie with a difference. It tells the tale of Solly Sorowitsch, a Jewish forger who is captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp, where he is caught up in a scheme to create fake Allied banknotes.

Weapons of Mass Communication

This major new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum looks at how posters have been used through the ages to propagandise for and against war.

Theresienstadt Project : sounds snuffed out by Nazis

The suppressed side of musical life under the Nazis is brilliantly brought to life in this new recording. Many musicians persecuted because of their ethnic origins or modernist style were able to escape abroad. But the less fortunate were culturally silenced and then permanently silenced in the death camps.

Hollywood’s backlash against the ‘war on terror’

Paul Haggis, Brian De Palma, Robert Redford, John Cusack – what’s the link? Yes, they are all on the Hollywood A-list, but there’s another, more political, connection.

What We Think

A change of leader won’t help Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats removed one leader because he had a drink problem. They have now thrown another out, apparently for being too old.

Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: Washing their hands

Tim: Ming


Explosion of Stop the War activity on campus Students from Sussex University went to the fantastic Stop the War demonstration in London on Monday of last week.

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events

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