Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2088

Dated: 16 Feb 2008




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This is what the US calls justice

The US’s decision to seek the death penalty for six Guantanamo Bay detainees in connection with 9/11 is a crime against the very idea of justice.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Climate change conference: fight to save the planet is a trade union issue

A successful Campaign Against Climate Change trade union conference in London last Saturday attracted 300 people.

London protest stands up to anti-abortion bigots

Around 400 pro-choice protesters staged a loud and lively picket of Tory MP Ann Widdecombe’s anti-abortion meeting in London on Wednesday of last week.

Stop viewing the young as a threat, says Asbo report

A new report argues that the use of Anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) against young people is counterproductive.

Cuts in number of health visitors puts Waltham Forest children at risk

Health visitors in east London, who have suffered a 40 percent reduction in numbers since 2000, are warning that unless cuts are reversed the safety of hundreds of children could be compromised.

Details of MPs who rent out homes

<table><tr><th>Name</th><th>party</th><th>constituency</th><th>ACA claimed 2006-7</th><th>declared rental details</th></tr> <tr><td>Arbuthnot, James </td><td>Conservative</td><td>North East Hampshire </td><td align="right">£22,110 </td><td>Two flats in London, one providing rental income</td></tr> <tr><td>Barlow, Celia</td><td>Labour</td><td>Hove </td><td align="right">£22,110</td><td>Freehold maisonette and one bed flat in London, from which rental income is received.Freehold house in Witterings from which rental income has been received from January 2007</td></tr> <tr><td>Baron, John </td><td>Conservative</td><td>Billericay</td><td align="right">£22,110</td><td>Residential rented pro

Reports round-up

Pauline Campbell arrested at Styal Prison Dedicated campaigner Pauline Campbell returned to Styal Prison on Tuesday of last week, following another death inside its walls.

Unite union backs Love Music Hate Racism carnival

Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, has become the latest union to back the Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) carnival set to take place on Sunday 27 April in Victoria Park, east London.

Rally against cuts called at Keele university

UCU union members at Keele university have called a national rally as part of their campaign against proposed cuts which would leave more than half of the academic staff in the school of economic and management studies facing redundancy.

Strike at Darton High school

Teachers in the NUT union in Darton High school in Barnsley took part in a one-day strike on Thursday of last week after management decided not to honour an agreement signed with Acas two years ago.

Voting due to start in crucial NUT ballot

Ballot papers will go out from 20 February to members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in eight of its 27 districts where places are being contested for the new national executive committee.

Rolls Royce workers march through Liverpool

Around 400 workers marched through Liverpool last Saturday against plans to close the Rolls Royce plant in Bootle which would mean the loss of over 200 jobs.

Merseyside Remploy workers strike against job cuts

More than 100 disabled Merseyside workers were on strike last week in a protest over job cuts.

Bus workers in London push city-wide pay rate

London bus workers in the Unite union are pushing for a city-wide pay rate across all companies and a schedules charter to regulate breaks and working time.

New threat to post workers' pension rights from Royal Mail

There was anger last week as Royal Mail announced that it intends to close its final average salary pension scheme to new entrants.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency workers ballot for strike

Around 900 members of the PCS and Prospect civil service workers’ unions working for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are balloting for strike action in a dispute over pay.

Step up the action after collapse of civil service pay talks

Thousands of civil service workers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are moving towards strikes after pay talks with management collapsed.

Scottish government pledges to safeguard firefighters' pensions

The campaign by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to ensure firefighters qualify for ill-health pensions took a step forward this week when the Scottish government pledged to alter regulations to safeguard firefighter pensions in Scotland.

Campaigning for Karen Reissmann

The fight to reinstate Manchester Unison union activist Karen Reissmann to her job as a community psychiatric nurse continues with campaigners this week launching a series of initiatives.

Strike action can beat single status

Council workers in Birmingham are set to take further action over the Tory-Liberal Democrat council’s implementation of job cuts under the guise of single status.

Plans to reclassify cannabis obscure real debate

The debate around cannabis is once again in the spotlight. The government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) last week started a review of cannabis classification, the third such review in six years.

Living under an alien law

The newspapers are terrified. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, has raised the suggestion that some forms of sharia law be introduced as a means of "constructive accommodation" with British Muslims.

Sharia row triggers wider racist backlash

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a lecture last week on the Islamic tradition of sharia law and its relationship to the law in Britain.

Bugging lawyers can only impede justice

The bugging scandal that has erupted over the last couple of weeks has cast a harsh light on the concept of "British justice".

Hustings cheers Lindsey Germans’s fighting talk at the Base

Young people in Brixton, south London, packed into a mayoral hustings meeting at The Base on Monday.

Further education minister Bill Rammell whips up 'terror' fears

New Labour further education minister Bill Rammell is stirring up Islamophobia with claims this week that colleges are under "serious" threat of terrorism.

What was Peter Hain's GMB money spent on?

Socialist Worker has previously reported that disgraced MP Peter Hain took over £15,000 from the GMB union and then decided to slash jobs for disabled workers at the Remploy factories, many of them represented by the GMB.

Race for NHS contracts

Alan Johnson, the health secretary, seems to have given special access to a private NHS contractor owned by one of the biggest donors to his deputy leadership campaign.

Figure it out

£1,284 – The increase in annual average household bills in the last year as food and fuel prices rose21% – Rise in the number of home repossessions. Some 27,100 homes were repossesed last year, up from 22,400 in 2006 and 8,200 in 2004129,800 – The number of borrowers at least three months behind in their mortgage repayments, up by 8.6 percent4.5 million – Number of British households in fuel poverty—spending more than 10 percent of their income on fuel19.3% – The increase in petrol prices in the last year15% – The average hike in fuel b

Secrets around Labour peer's arms company lobby meeting

A Labour peer has admitted taking money to introduce an arms company lobbyist to the government minister in charge of weapons purchases.

Innovative use made of public help with MPs' housing costs

For those having trouble meeting their housing costs there is over £20,000 available to help. The only catch is you have to be an MP.

MPs support campaign to defend Michael Gavan

In which area set to host the Olympics are trade union rights denied? Certainly they are in China, but it’s also true in Labour-run Newham in east London &#8211; one of the key areas for the 2012 games.

Military Families challenge war in House of Lords

Two women whose sons were killed serving in Iraq took their case for a public inquiry into the legality of the war to the House of Lords on Monday of this week.

Afghan chaos threatens Nato

George Bush’s defence secretary Robert Gates is making increasingly shrill pronouncements as the occupation of Afghanistan lurches into a deeper crisis.

Anti-war activists organise for 15 March demo

The Tories are demanding that the government ban Ibrahim Mousawi, editor of the Hizbollah newspaper Al-Intiqad (Criticism), from speaking at the World Against War tour that will kick off with a rally in London on 28 February.

Good votes for Respect in two local by-elections

Respect did well in two local elections on Thursday of this week.


International

Iran: a new left is emerging on the campuses

‘For students in Iran 7 December is an important date. It was on this day in 1953 that students staged mass protests in the University of Tehran at the visit of then US vice-president Richard Nixon.

Zimbabwe People's Convention offers hope of grassroots resistance

The Zimbabwe People’s Convention met last week. It was attended by nearly 4,000 delegates from civic groups, trade unions, the Zimbabwe Social Forum and the left.

Colombian protests hide state violence

"From above, they looked like a white river flowing through the streets of Colombia’s capital. They wore white T-shirts that read, ‘Yo soy Colombia (I am Colombia). Stop the kidnappings, the lies, the murders. No more Farc’."

Egyptian strikers' victory inspires Cairo Conference

Civil service workers in Egypt celebrate after hearing that the government has caved in to their demands for higher wages in December last year.


Comment

The role of oil in US capitalism

"It is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows – the Iraq war is largely about oil," Alan Greenspan, the arch-Republican ex-chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, admitted in his memoirs last year.


Features

Roots of reformism

Since Gordon Brown became prime minister in June last year it seems as if the Labour Party has lurched from one crisis to another. The crisis at Northern Rock and the funding scandals engulfing Brown’s allies are just a couple of the deep problems he faces.

15 February 2003: the day we said no to war

It was about a week before the demonstration when I think I realised it was going to be big – at least a million.

‘On this day the world changed’

‘I went to the demonstration with a group of people from work. We went on the "peace train" – a specially chartered train to the demo. The atmosphere was fantastic. People at work still talk about what an inspirational day it was.

From the economic to the political strike

The 1905 Russian Revolution started when troops massacred over 1,000 peaceful demonstrators.


Reviews

Luigi Nono: No Hay Caminos, Hay Que Caminar

This two disc CD is a trilogy. The first part, No Hay Caminos, commemorates the Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky.

Belarus Free Theatre: Being Harold Pinter and Generation Jeans

The Belarus Free Theatre are independent artists who face persecution in their home town of Minsk.

William Blake exhibitions in Manchester

Slavery was a recurrent theme in the work of radical artist, poet and writer William Blake.

Alexander Rodchenko at the Hayward Gallery in London

The Russian Revolution of October 1917 represented such a fundamental transformation of society that no part of the old world would be left untouched.


What We Think

Africa shows the cost of Western intervention

Foreign secretary David Miliband this week reasserted "our national interest never mind our moral impulse, in supporting movements for democracy".

Labour's 'non-dom' tax con

Britain is one of the very few countries in the world that allows people to declare it as their place of residence whether or not they live here.

Digby Jones, the minister for the rich

Digby Jones, the former leader of the CBI bosses' organisation and now Gordon Brown's trade minister, has attacked the government's plans for a tax crackdown on the superrich who pay no tax.


Other Categories

Tim: Archbishop of Canterbury

Letters

We need houses and jobs, not more threats I am a council tenant in Doncaster and Caroline Flint, the new housing minister, is our local MP. Tenants here were shocked at her proposal last week that council housing should be made conditional on people actively seeking a job.



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