Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2087

Dated: 09 Feb 2008




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Real victim of bugging scandal is Babar Ahmad

Arrested on the wishes of the US. Thrown in jail for the past three and a half years. Threatened with extradition on trumped up "terrorism" charges. And now it has been revealed that the police bugged his meetings with his MP.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Network Rail reorganisation generates confusion

Just a month after the disastrous rail failures at Christmas, Network Rail is proceeding with a reorganisation that will throw the railway industry into a long period of confusion.

Unite Against Fascism: union boosts the battle against BNP

The fight to stop the fascist British National Party (BNP) making gains at this year’s London and local elections had a boost last week.

Counter-terror bill threats

A new counter-terrorism bill currently going through parliament is set to remove juries from some inquests into how people have died.

Stop and search: cut ‘red tape’, get more racism

Under the guise of removing "red tape" Gordon Brown and David Cameron are competing to scrap rules brought in to stop police using their powers to racially harass black people.

Condemned to a life in a crumbling tower block

"When we were housed here by the council, we were told we would be here for three weeks," says Jenny, who lives on the seventh floor of All Saints Tower on the Beaumont estate in Leyton, east London.

Islamophobia: resisting prejudice

Most of us do not need to read the many reports coming out of the European Union, government departments and think-tanks to tell us there has been a rise in Islamophobia in Britain since 9/11 and the beginning of the "war on terror".

Rail privatisation has derailed track safety

Railway track maintenance by Network Rail is so poor that it could be putting passengers’ lives at risk.

Council strike in Birmingham shuts down city

Across Birmingham council workers gathered on Tuesday morning to strike and protest against wage cuts.

Birmingham unions unite at rally

Over 3,500 strikers attended a lively rally in Birmingham city centre. Large groups of homecare workers and teaching assistants joined manual and office workers in demanding the deal is scrapped.

Single status deal will not bring equality

Single status was sold to council workers across Britain as a deal that would bring equal pay for women.

All roads are leading to the Cairo Conference

The sixth Cairo Conference will be a key event for the global anti war movement.

Latest victims of US ‘surge’

A US helicopter gunship has killed 13 Iraqi civilians in the town of Iskandriyah. The US claims that some of its troops came under fire from "gunmen" in the area 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Afghanistan’s occupiers fall apart under pressure

The occupation is crumbling, the country is on the edge of a humanitarian disaster and the Nato alliance is falling apart. That is the assessment of three reports into the war on Afghanistan six years on from the US invasion.

Is there a blacklist on the oil rigs?

The OILC and RMT unions are fighting against oil workers being "NRBd" (not required back) on platforms in the North Sea.

Billions in profits but what about safety for oil workers?

Shell oil last week unveiled annual profits of £13.9 billion – the highest recorded profits for any British-listed company.

400 picket Ann Widdecombe's London anti-abortion meeting

Around 400 pro-choice protesters staged a loud and lively picket of Tory MP Ann Widdecombe’s anti-abortion meeting in London yesterday. She is speaking around Britain on her "Passion for Life" tour – which focuses on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill currently in parliament.

Camden teachers strike over plan to scrap payments

Teachers took strike action at two schools in Camden, north London, today over plans to scrap recruitment and retention (R&R) payments to new teachers. The payments are designed to ease the financial burden teachers face when entering the profession on low starting salaries with student debts to pay off.

Respect campaigners are stepping up the by-election pace in Preston

Canvassers were out in force last Sunday in Preston, where Respect supporter Barry Hill is standing in the Tulketh ward in the upcoming by-election. The by-election takes place on 14 February.

Respect launches battle for London

Over 200 Respect supporters from across London met last week to finalise the selection of a list of candidates for the London Assembly elections on 1 May and to launch Lindsey German’s campaign for mayor.

Respect’s London Assembly List

Lindsey German<lI>Oliur Rahman<lI>Rania Khan<lI>Carole Vincent<lI>Salvinder Dhillon<lI>Sait Akgul<lI>Elaine Graham-Leigh<lI>Kumar Murshid<lI>Glyn Robbins<lI>Berlyne Hamilton<lI>Katt Young<lI>Paul Fredericks<lI>Pat McManus<lI>Tansy Hoskins<lI>Mukul Hira<lI>Pat Stack<lI>Sultana Begum<lI>Mujgan Kazeroonian

Pimlico school teachers’ strike against New Labour’s education policy

Teachers in the NUT union at Pimlico School, central London, struck on Wednesday of last week. The strike was sparked after lunch breaks had been cut from 45 minutes to 30 minutes.

NHS privatisation: the ‘sicko’ firms who are after your GP surgery

Multinational firms have got their eyes on your local doctor’s surgery.

Reports round-up

Strike at Remploy Birkenhead and Aintree Remploy workers are set to strike this week in protest at government plans to close 28 of its 83 factories, which employ 5,000 disabled people in total.

UCU national executive elections

Ballot papers are out now for the UCU lecturers’ union national executive committee elections. About half the executive seats are up for re-election. Activists need to fight hard over the next three weeks to make sure that the turnout is as high as possible and the vote for UCU Left candidates is maximised.

Higher education negotiating ballot

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) in Higher Education (HE) are being balloted about a new negotiating agreement with the employers.

Teachers to ballot for strike over pay

Teachers in the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are preparing for a ballot for strike action over their below-inflation pay offer. The ballot is due to start on 28 February.

Shropshire campaigners stop schools closures

Campaigners in Shropshire, West Midlands, won a major victory last week when they stopped the planned closure of 22 primary schools.

Success of conference celebrating CLR James

More than 90 people attended a dayschool to celebrate the legacy of CLR James in central London last Saturday.

Dispute declared on London Underground

RMT rail workers’ union representatives on the London Underground have won an argument that has meant that the union’s national executive has declared a dispute with management.

Belfast against bigots

On one of the coldest nights of January, about 50 people protested in Belfast outside the "Passion for Life" tour organised by Tory MP Ann Widdecombe and other anti-abortion parliamentarians.

London Organising for Fighting Unions dayschool - organising resistance

Over 80 trade unionists attended the London Organising for Fighting Unions dayschool on Saturday of last week.

Protesting against the siege of Gaza

Manchester Over 100 people marched through Manchester on Saturday of last week to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Single status: striking to fight low pay

Rolling strike action at Argyll and Bute council in Scotland is showing the determination of workers to fight their single status wage deal.

Aberdeen ballot over single status

Workers in the Unison, Unite, and GMB unions in Aberdeen are balloting over a revised single status offer.

Rail report pushes privatisation that cuts pensions

The Railway Pensions Commission published its final report on Tuesday of last week. It represents another attack on workers’ pension rights in Britain.


International

Lebanese government cracks down on opposition

A Lebanese judge has ordered the arrest of three officers and eight soldiers for gunning down eight people in the southern suburbs of Beirut last week.

Rising food prices provoke angry protests in Indonesia

Thousands of people have been taking to the streets in Indonesia in protests over rising food prices.

Italy: Prodi falls and the rubbish piles up

The chaos of rubbish piling up in the streets of Naples and the political crisis engulfing Italy are not expressions of Italian corruption and incompetence.


Comment

What’s behind the Kenyan conflict?

SINCE THE crisis in Kenya erupted six weeks ago there has been a lot of handwringing about the threatened collapse of a haven of "stability" in Africa. This is largely hypocritical nonsense.


Features

Climate chaos and the global south

It was announced last year that China had overtaken the US as the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. The statistics, which the Netherlands Environmental Assessment admitted there was "some uncertainty about", nevertheless reinforced the idea that economic growth in poorer countries is the real driver of climate change.

How women won the vote in Britain

On 6 February 1918 women in Britain first got the vote. Ninety years later, it is useful to consider the lessons of this struggle.

A new left for eastern Europe

In 1989 one party regimes crumbled in six countries in Eastern Europe. Within a few weeks there were massive political changes in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The Eastern Bloc, which the Soviet Union had dominated, was finished.

Polish nurses and miners: Voices of struggle

Miner Krzysztof Labadz ‘At midnight on Thursday of last week we finished our strike and occupation of the Budryk mine. This lasted 46 days, with 25 days of underground occupation.

From state capitalism to neoliberalism

The end of the Eastern European regimes in 1989 was not inevitable. They fell because people did not want them. Strikes and mass demonstrations &#8211; and clashes with the security forces &#8211; finished them off.

Moving from reform to workers’ revolution

Rosa Luxemburg was a unique thinker and fighter. She was born in Russian-occupied Poland in 1871. When she was 16 she joined a revolutionary party and within a few years was one of its leaders.


Reviews

Left in Vision 2 - call for art

Following the success of the Left in Vision art show at the Marxism festival last year, Left in Vision 2 is being organised for Marxism 2008. The event in central London will run from Thursday 3 to Monday 7 July.

The Dreamer - Jose James

Jose James is making some of the best vocal-led jazz and soul music around at the moment. He tackles social issues in a questioning, rather than a hectoring, way.

My Guardian by Kagan Guner

This new exhibition by the artist Kagan Guner is a political critique of British society.

Juno: a pregnancy dilemma that’s too easy to solve

Juno is a 16 year old who falls pregnant after deciding to lose her virginity. She is then faced with the choice of keeping the baby, having an abortion or giving it up for adoption.


What We Think

Borderline victory in Gaza

There were sighs of relief among Western leaders last week when Egypt finally sealed its border with the Gaza Strip. Yet there was also a recognition that the US strategy to isolate the Palestinian resistance has turned to dust.

Unity across nations with Polish workers

Socialist Worker ran the headline "Teach Yourself Polish" over two decades ago. It was urging workers in Britain to follow the example of Solidarnosc, the mass trade union which so valiantly challenged the then Stalinist regime.

‘Child trafficking’ raid: no ‘Fagin’ gang to stop and no apologies

Two weeks ago lurid tabloid headlines proclaimed police raids had freed "child slaves" brought to this country by people traffickers.


Other Categories

Tim: Council Housing v House of Commons

Letters

Elections show that the US is as racist as ever If Barack Obama is prevented from becoming the Democrat’s candidate for president it will be because the US is a deeply racist society.

Who says?

"We have been driving the insurgents and extremists out of their hiding places."Gordon Brown, in his December 2007 upbeat statement on the occupation of Afghanistan



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