Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2080

Dated: 08 Dec 2007




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Gordon Brown’s government: liars, cheats and thieves

Gordon Brown is facing a crisis over donations to government ministers and their various election campaigns – it is a crisis that goes to the very heart of the New Labour "project".


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Burslem postal workers vote to strike

Postal workers at the Burslem delivery office in Stoke-on-Trent have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in defence of 12 colleagues who have been victimised by Royal Mail for standing up to bullying management.

Unions join fight against the war

A group of health workers from South Wales came as a delegation to the conference. Shop steward Ian Thomas, who helped to organise the group, told Socialist Worker, "Our union branch unanimously backed this event.

Czechs say no to US missiles

Campaigners from the Czech Republic told the conference about the growing unease over the "new cold war" in central Europe.

Europe fights against war

Delegates from Greece, Italy and Poland all reported that their governments were responding to the anti‑war movement with authoritarian measures.

Resisting attack on Iran

Mohammad Omidvar represents Iran’s Tudeh (Communist) Party. He told the session on Iran about a growing movement for change inside the country.

Birmingham single status lobby

Over 1,500 council workers lobbied Birmingham city council’s meeting on Tuesday of this week.

Glasgow strike is strong

Glasgow day centre workers entered their eighth week of strike action as united and determined as ever.

Somers Town residents campaign for public land

Local residents in the Somers Town area of Camden, London are campaigning against the selling off of public land.

Respect campaigns against Tesco in Cambridge

Resistance to Tesco has united people in Cambridge.

Councillors defend Tower Hamlets council housing

Respect councillors in Tower Hamlets, east London, are fighting an attempt by a local housing association to snap up some of the few remaining council houses in Poplar.

Organising for Fighting Unions in Preston

Preston Respect members were central to organising a successful meeting of Preston Fighting Unions last week.

Respect student conference

Around 50 students representing university and student groups from around England and Wales attended the Student Respect conference last Sunday.

Reports round-up

Liverpool’s rubbish strike Refuse workers in Liverpool who work for the Veolia company have voted to strike.

Brighton & Hove traffic wardens plan strike

Traffic wardens and support staff at NCP in Brighton & Hove voted against management’s Scrooge-like decision to cancel their Christmas bonus and party.

BAA workers ballot for strikes over pensions

Workers at BAA’s seven airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Glasgow are balloting for strike action in opposition to the company’s plans to close the final average salary pension scheme to new starters.

All out for yes vote at BBC

Up to 10,000 workers in the NUJ, Bectu and Unite unions at the BBC are balloting for strike action against devastating compulsory redundancies. The ballot closes in the second week of January.

Lecturers round-up

This week saw the launch of the "our colleges, our communities, our union" campaign in the UCU lecturers union, to fight for decent pay for further and adult education lecturers in preparation of a ballot for industrial action.

Anti academies demo in Manchester

Around 300 parents, teachers and trade unionists demonstrated on Saturday of last week in Manchester against the academies programme.

Teachers' strike ballot moved to January

Teachers in the NUT union are likely to ballot for action over pay in January, and not December, as originally planned.

Protest in Bourneville over planned Cadbury closures

Some 50 workers from the Cadbury plant in Keynsham, Somerset, travelled to the Bourneville plant in Birmingham on Monday. They protested at plans to close the plant and move the work to Poland. Some 200 jobs are also threatened at Bourneville.

Gordon Brown betrays Remploy workers

Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain found time out from forgetting to declare political donations to axe disabled workers’ jobs in Remploy last week.

Crucial week in fight for Karen Reissmann

Campaigners across Britain have vowed to keep up the fight for Karen Reissmann, the leading health trade unionist from Manchester who has been victimised for fighting cuts and privatisation.

80,000 strike back at Gordon Brown’s pay freeze

Over 80,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union working in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are set to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week over pay.

Socialist Worker appeal: millionaires need not apply

Senior Labour figures are getting into all sorts of trouble for accepting dodgy donations from sleazy businessmen. Strangely enough, Socialist Worker never seems to have these problems.

Sleaze allegations grow as crisis engulfs Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown’s fundraiser, Jon Mendelsohn, sits in the centre of the crisis over donations to the Labour party.

David Abrahams, Labour and property development in the North East

Across the north east of England people are asking questions about property developments and the role of the Labour Party.

David Abrahams' 1976 election leaflet

Scandal threatens Labour Party in Scotland

The situation for New Labour is even worse in Scotland. The party’s new leader Wendy Alexander has broken laws introduced by the Labour government banning the receipt of proxy donations and donations by non-British residents.

Peter Hain’s funding headache

On Tuesday Peter Hain admitted to a set of donations which should have been declared previously. They arise from a fundraising dinner in April organised by Huw Roberts who became Royal Mail’s director of Welsh affairs in June.

Academies’ business links

Mahmoud Khayami has given a total of £830,000 to Labour in the past eight months, making him Labour’s biggest individual backer after Lord Sainsbury.

Anger and determination on picket lines as DWP workers start two-day strike

A strike by civil service workers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) brought job centres, benefit offices, the Child Support Agency and call centres to a halt on Thursday, the first day of a two-day strike.

Fury as Karen Reissmann sacking upheld

Mental health workers in Manchester reacted with fury to the decision of their NHS trust to uphold the sacking of leading union activist Karen Reissmann.

World against war conference: global movement plans next moves

Delegates representing millions of anti-war campaigners across the world this week pledged themselves to organising demonstrations, protests and rallies to mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.


International

While Turkey's generals attack Iraq, Kurds and Turks demonstrate for peace.

Last Saturday Turkish troops crossed into Iraq in a dangerous escalation of the conflict in the Middle East. Supported by helicopter gunships and artillery, they attacked an alleged group of fighters belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Kurdish nationalist guerrilla organisation.

Defeat on constitutional reforms: is it all over for Hugo Chavez?

Caracas was strangely quiet on Saturday. The campaign around the constitutional reforms proposed by President Hugo Chavez ended officially the day before, with a massive demonstration of red T-shirts sporting the "yes" slogan. Friday’s marches in the capital’s central avenues outnumbered the previous day’s demonstration by the opposition. Among Chavista activists the talk was of a slim victory for Chavez.


Comment

Morrissey: sound and fury over immigration

"Oh dear. Not again." So read the headline on the front page of last week’s music paper the NME. The words appeared below a quote from Morrissey, in which the former lead singer of The Smiths was alleged to have said: "The gates of England are flooded. The country’s been thrown away."

Free markets won’t stop climate chaos

Over the last few years there has been a massive shift in attitudes over the question of climate change.

Post deal is a setback but not end of battle

The ballot result in the postal workers’ CWU union – which saw members voting to accept a deal to end the dispute with Royal Mail by 51,000 to 28,000 – has disappointed many union activists.

Should unions be stopped from funding Labour?

While scandals about rich businessmen’s relationships to the Labour Party unravel, it has been trade unions that have come in for attack in sections of the media.

New Labour’s shabby scrabbling for cash

It’s possible that the David Abrahams funding scandal will come to be seen as an important stage in the long, slow death of the Labour Party.


Features

Marx and ecology

Karl Marx’s analysis of the environment under capitalism shows how saving the planet is inextricably linked to transforming our society, writes John Bellamy Foster

New Labour’s privatisation disasters

New Labour housing minister Yvette Cooper has claimed the new government plans for housing are "groundbreaking".

The great housing swindle

There is wide agreement that Britain is in the grip of a housing crisis and it is likely to get worse. The Housing and Regeneration Bill now before parliament does nothing to address this, but instead proposes policies that could have disastrous consequences.

The social cleansing of Newcastle

Like many city centres, the skyline of Newcastle is covered in cranes. There is a huge boom in construction. Apartments and office blocks are rising and falling on the same sites that were the heart of city’s corrupt building boom in the 1960s.

Housing bill facts

The new Housing and Regeneration Bill being pushed through parliament is the latest example of New Labour’s vague promises turning out to be another attack on ordinary people.

Why there must be no free speech for Nazis

The Oxford Union’s recent decision to debate with two of Britain’s leading Nazis – Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (BNP) and David Irving, a convicted Holocaust denier – provoked widespread condemnation.


Reviews

Classic Cuban films on DVD

Three classic Cuban films by two of the country’s most important directors have just been released on DVD for the first time.

A design for life: Bauhaus 1919-1933 exhibition

Bauhaus is an approach to design which combines crafts with fine art.

Aretha Franklin: preaching the gospel of liberation

In 1967, at the high point of the civil rights movement in the US, Ebony magazine proclaimed, "This is the summer of ’Retha, Rap, and Revolt".


What We Think

Lords must not be allowed to lower abortion limit

The right to abortion is again under attack.


Other Categories

Kelly MacDermott 1953-2007

Fionntan Padraig MacDermott, known to all as Kelly, died peacefully in hospital last week after a long battle with cancer.

Tim: Labour funding

Letters

No platform for fascists We need to step up our efforts to inform people about the disguises that the British National Party (BNP) and fascists use.

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events



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