Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2081

Dated: 15 Dec 2007




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Refugees abandoned on our doorstep

Gordon Brown’s government is complicit in the misery of tens of thousands of refugees attempting to flee the "war on terror".


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Cultures of resistance return to London

Some 400 people enjoyed the Cultures of Resistance concert on Friday of last week – with live drum and bass from from The Bays, a stunning performance of A Love Supreme by Denys Baptiste, reggae soul from Natty, and a superb DJ set from former Special Jerry Dammers. The event in central London raised £1,800 for the Socialist Worker Appeal.

Plate competition result

First prize Set of four plates: Mick Walsh

Basque Country: wounded by conflict

Few places in Europe combine tradition and modernity as vibrantly as the Basque Country. The region enjoys a distinctive culture based on what may be the oldest language in Europe. It is also the scene of a booming economy, exemplified by the reinvention of the capital Bilbao through the Guggenheim museum.

Alistair Darling's fundraising breakfast hosted by Deutsche Bank

New Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling appeared at a Labour fundraising breakfast last week hosted by a bank involved in the takeover bid for Northern Rock.

Glasgow daycare strike ends with shoddy deal

An eight-week long strike by workers in Glasgow’s daycare centres came to an abrupt end on Thursday of last week – just as the action was on the verge of gaining significant momentum.

Birmingham workers protest against imposed wage cuts

Workers at Birmingham council have been contacting Socialist Worker in response to the council’s imposition of single status pay cuts.

Protest at Nottinghamshire council cuts

Over 200 angry council workers held a protest against Nottinghamshire County Council’s pay cuts last week.

Leeds ballot on single status

Some 5,500 GMB union members who work for Leeds City Council are balloting on the council’s single status pay and grading system.

Wolverhampton single status carnage

In Wolverhampton some workers have been forced to rely on rumours and speculation about radical reductions in their pay packets after problems with the delivery of letters.

British bogged down in Basra

"Home by Christmas" was how Gordon Brown’s announcement of troop withdrawal was spun following his visit to Iraq.

Afghans pay price of New Labour’s war

The British media heralded the capture of Musa Qala, a town in Helmand province which has been under Taliban control for ten months, as a decisive turning point in the war in Afghanistan.

Guantanamo chaplain exposes US torture

James Yee served in the US army and was posted as a Muslim chaplain to Guantanamo Bay.

Guantanamo Bay: hopes for freedom

Family and friends of Omar Deghayes – the Brighton man incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay for six years – are greeting with cautious optimism media reports that he and three other British detainees are soon to be released.

Socialist Worker Appeal reaches £114,559

"Socialist Worker always has a clear perspective that helps readers to take up debates more confidently. The media has been full of reports and letters defending the ‘free speech’ of Nazis. Socialist Worker is one of the few places you can find a clear political argument showing why this is wrong"

80,000 DWP strikers show potential for public sector fightback

Up to 80,000 workers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) struck for two days last week, bringing jobcentres, the pensions service and the Child Support Agency grinding to a halt.

Bus workers gear up for struggle in 2008

"Things have started to change on the buses in the last year," says a driver at the East London Bus Company. "There seems to be a bit more courage for a fight."

Karen Reissmann: fury as appeal upholds sacking of NHS activist

Mental health workers in Manchester reacted with anger to the decision of their NHS trust this week to uphold the sacking of leading union activist and psychiatric nurse Karen Reissmann.

Threat of 42 day detention limit

Gordon Brown’s government is pushing ahead with plans to further extend the period that terrorism suspects can be held without charge.

Lords attempt to restrict abortion

The first shots in a battle to roll back women’s rights to abortion have been fired in the House of Lords.

Gordon Brown scuppers plan to aid pension scheme collapse victims

Gordon Brown and his chancellor Alistair Darling are breaking another promise – this time over 120,000 pension robbery victims.

Labour funding row: green light given for fast track planning applications

The Newcastle businessman at the centre of the Labour party donations scandal had a planning application fast tracked under a scheme the government is now pushing across the country.

Thousands march against threat of climate change

Some 10,000 people protested in London on Saturday of last week as part of a global day of action against climate change.

Reports round-up

Cracker workers are cheesed off Workers at Jacob’s Bakery at Aintree, Merseyside, which produces cream crackers, are angry about changes being made to their work practices which will make it compulsory to work over the Christmas period.

Student conference votes on scrapping NUS democracy

The National Union of Students (NUS) emergency conference on 4 December was the first round of voting on whether the union should scrap most of its democratic structures.

Academies cut maternity leave in Southwark

New Labour’s Academies programme has come under fire again after it was discovered that academies in Southwark, south London, had introduced contracts halving paid maternity leave.

Lecturers' union attacks temporary contracts

The UCU lecturers’ union has attacked university employers for "blighting" higher education by putting the majority of new workers on temporary rather than permanent contracts.

Teachers' rally calls for united fight over pay

Some 400 public sector workers attended a rally for decent pay on Thursday of last week.

Burslem bosses stoke mail strike

Postal workers at the Burslem delivery office in Stoke-on-Trent have responded to a long running campaign of management bullying by voting for strikes over the Christmas period.

Newham strikes to defend Michael Gavan

Unison union stewards in Newham, east London, are building for a strike set for Thursday of this week. They won a debate with regional officials over holding a second strike in protest at the victimisation of Michael Gavan, our branch chair.

Defend Yunus Bakhsh

The campaign continues to defend leading health trade unionist Yunus Bakhsh.

Cadbury Keynsham fight grows

Over 400 people marched through the streets of Keynsham near Bristol on Saturday of last week to protest against the planned closure of the Cadbury’s factory with the loss of 500 jobs.

Challenge to Remploy closures

Disabled workers facing the loss of their jobs invaded one of the government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) offices in Sheffield on Friday of last week, on the first day of a strike in the DWP.

Respect meeting debates solutions to gun crime

More than 60 people attended a Respect public meeting on gun and knife crime in Wandsworth and Merton, south London, on Thursday of last week.

Gus John addresses South Manchester Respect meeting on gun crime

Driving rain did not stop a hugely successful meeting on "Who takes the rap for gun crime" hosted by South Manchester Respect in Moss Side on Thursday of last week.

Newham council workers strike for sacked branch chair

Council workers in Newham, east London, struck today in defence of their sacked Unison branch chair Michael Gavan.

Leeds GMB members reject single status deal

LEEDS COUNCIL workers in the GMB union have voted two to one against a single status pay deal.


International

The fight for labour rights in China’s cities

In mid-afternoon on 20 November labour activist Huang Qingnan was chatting to a friend outside his local shop in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, one of the epicentres of China’s spectacular economic growth.

Anger at betrayals fuels ANC rivalry

This weekend will see the most important conference of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), since the end of the apartheid state.


Comment

Gordon Brown attacks agency workers

British labour law fails to protect agency workers, and many face discrimination in the workplace.

What’s behind the credit crisis?

Four months after it exploded, the international credit crisis seems to be getting worse. On Monday the giant Swiss bank UBS announced losses of $10 billion.


Features

What is real democracy?

Democracy is one of the most abused words in the dictionary. Almost every reactionary or crooked politician you can think of – George Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Silvio Berlusconi – has sworn by it.

Qinetiq: Gordon Brown’s privatised defence scandal

The Qinetiq scandal is a tale of public assets sold on the cheap by New Labour. This only benefitted a giant US corporation and a handful of rich individuals.

Migrants find shelter in forest

Yves Dransart spends his retirement working with the Collectif de Soutien d’Urgence aux Réfugiés – known as C’SUR. The local group volunteers to help feed and clothe the refugees.

Refugees left to rot in Calais

Rejected by Britain, abandoned by France and adrift inside fortress Europe. The countries they fled from reads like a list of the battlegrounds in the "war of terror" – Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan, Iraq, Kurdistan, Palestine, Somalia, Iran, Eritrea.


Reviews

Turner prize for Wallinger caps a year of anti-war art

This year’s Turner prize for contemporary art went to Mark Wallinger for his installation State Britain, a reproduction of Brian Haw’s peace protest in Parliament Square that was torn down by police in May 2006.

Ben Harker on Ewan MacColl and the politics of the folk revival

For most people Ewan MacColl – if they recognise the name at all – was the folk singer who wrote The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and Dirty Old Town.


What We Think

EU powers join the ‘scramble for Africa’

The summit between European Union (EU) and African leaders last week only made the news in Britain because Gordon Brown boycotted it over the presence of Robert Mugabe.


Other Categories

Karlheinz Stockhausen 1928-2007

The electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen died last week aged 79. Along with Pierre Boulez and Luigi Nono, he was part of a militantly avant garde movement in classical music in the 1950s.

Leon Kuhn: Escalation

Tim: Faking your own death

Letters

Letters

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events



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