Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2090

Dated: 01 Mar 2008




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Food price rises will kill millions

Millions around the world are facing a future of insecurity, starvation and malnutrition as the price of basic food soars. The price of maize, wheat, soya beans and rice – staples for the majority of the world’s population – have more than doubled in the last few years.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Reports round-up

Signal that the strike is growing Rail signal workers in the RMT union are stepping up their fight against the possible redundancy of a manager.

London Underground station staff strike again

Station staff on London Underground’s Bakerloo Line struck for the seventh time last Sunday.

Defend Guy Njike

University of London students and alumni gathered at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies on Thursday of last week to protest against the decision to deport London graduate Guy Njike to Cameroon where he could face torture.

Unite Against Fascism conference this weekend

Anti-fascist activists will be discussing the fight against the Nazi BNP at the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) national conference, which is due to take place this Saturday 1 March at the TUC Congress House in central London.

Protest at Express against media attacks on Muslims

Back Yunus Bakhsh as bosses step up the pressure

There was further evidence this week of the pressure that the Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland mental health NHS trust is putting upon leading union activist Yunus Bakhsh.

Defend Eddie Fleming

Victimised union rep Eddie Fleming was set to be re-elected as chair of the PCS civil service workers’ union Child Support Agency Hastings branch this week.

Department for Transport set to strike on Friday

Gordon Brown’s 2 percent public sector pay policy will come under renewed assault as over 8,500 workers in the Department for Transport were set to strike against his plans on Friday of this week.

Labour is still lying about extraordinary rendition flights

The Labour government is still lying over its complicity in the use of kidnapping and torture in the "war on terror".

Ex-SAS soldier: ‘Britain is deeply involved’

Former SAS soldier Ben Griffin has spoken out against the government’s latetst claims that it did not know about CIA torture flights.

Teachers - a pay fight for the future of education

Over 250,000 teachers in the NUT union will be balloted from Thursday of this week on whether to hold a one-day strike over their below-inflation pay offer. If teachers vote yes in the ballot it could lead to the first national teachers strike in over 20 years.

Boss reveals Labour’s nasty agenda on academies

The "progressive" face of New Labour’s academy programme slipped this week, after a leading academy sponsor spoke of his desire to deny parents the right to appeal over exclusions and described teaching unions as a "block to reform".

Strike set to shut Barnsley school

National Union of Teachers (NUT) members at Darton High School in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, began striking for three days from Tuesday of this week, followed by another three day strike starting on Tuesday of next week.

Against embedding journalists

My brother José Couso, a cameraman for the Spanish Tele5 TV station, was murdered in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 during a military operation by the US army.

Protests continue against Virgin Healthcare roadshow

Protests against the privatisation of the NHS are continuing outside the Virgin Healthcare roadshow that tours Britain.

Remploy workers: ‘We’ve been betrayed’

Disabled workers at Remploy in Merseryside and York struck last week in an attempt to save their jobs.

Unite prepares for executive elections

The first election for the national executive of the new Unite union is set to begin on Monday of next week.

UCU FE executive election result due

The election for national executive positions in the University and College Union (UCU) ends shortly.

March planned against Waltham Forest cuts

Council workers in Waltham Forest, north London, were set to march to protest over cutbacks on Thursday of this week. The council cabinet approved a budget last week that included cuts of £14 million.

East Lothian workers organise against civil service deal

Workers in East Lothian could take industrial action after the local authority decided to sack more than 1,500 workers and re-employ them on worse conditions.

Fighting single status cuts in local government wages

Over 50 angry and worried GMB union members, demonstrated outside Leeds Civic Hall on Wednesday of last week. The union wanted to lobby the council meeting, to show its opposition to pay cuts of up to £6,000 a year included in the council’s single status deal.

Gordon Brown snubs agency workers over rights

The campaign for the rights of agency workers is becoming a crucial test of Labour’s relationship to the unions.

Single status strikes get results in Birmingham

Birmingham council bosses have been forced into a significant climbdown over their attempt to cut wages in the name of equal pay.

What is single status and how should we fight it?

Up and down Britain council workers are being saddled with Gordon Brown’s public sector pay freeze – and at the same time face councils using single status to attack them.

Fighting the closure of Offley Works community centre in Lambeth

There should be a centre like this in every community – a reclaimed factory that has been turned into a community centre, with workshops and music studios.

Fighting against the bullying bosses at Burslem

Attempts by Royal Mail managers at the Burslem delivery office in Stoke on Trent to hamper the CWU union by sacking and disciplining reps is continuing.

Threat to close London post offices sparks protest

London has lost 30 percent of its post offices since 2004 when the government announced plans to make the service "more efficient".

A fight to save post office pensions

Bosses at Royal Mail, who last week were revealed to have awarded themselves bonuses of over £4.5 million, this week wrote to their staff to announce the closure of the company’s pension scheme.

Turkish invasion of Iraq is extension of ‘war on terror’

Thousands of Turkish troops have launched an attack into northern Iraq in a dangerous escalation of their war against Kurdish separatists.

Did British troops murder 20 Iraqis at Amara?

"I have never heard anything like that sound ever before in my life. It shocked me and filled me with such terror."

UCU members reject restrictions on industrial action

Members of the UCU union in higher education have voted to reject proposed changes to national negotiating structures. Some 61 percent voted no and 39 percent voted yes on a turnout of 27 percent.


International

Rise of new left party reshapes German politics

The rapid ascendancy of Die Linke, the new German left party, is causing a crisis for all other mainstream parties – particularly the conservative CDU and the SPD, Germany’s equivalent of New Labour. Both parties share power in a coalition government.

Egypt: Doctors join the revolt against regime

Doctors in Egypt have threatened to strike if their demands over pay are not met. They are the latest group to join a wave of popular unrest led by Egyptian workers and peasants against the US-backed regime of Hosni Mubarak.

A historic victory for the left in Cyprus

A defeat for Greek Cypriot nationalism and neoliberalism Dimitris Christofias won the presidential runoff in Southern Cyprus on Sunday 24 February. He took 53 percent of the vote in an unprecedented victory for the island’s Communist AKEL party, beating the conservative Yiannis Kasoulides, who polled 46 percent.


Comment

US elections: Barack Obama’s vision won’t see a new America

The remarkable momentum of Barack Obama’s campaign to be the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party is raising the hopes of millions of Americans who have felt marginalised by mainstream politics.

Kosovo is a pawn on the imperial chessboard

Revolutionary socialists in the Balkans face a difficult period ahead. The region has long been at the centre of imperial rivalry between the US and European Union (EU) on one side and Russia on the other. Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence marks a new stage in the ratcheting up of tensions.

Join 15 March protest’s cry of anger at war and occupation

Just about everything the two million anti-war marchers in London predicted five years ago on 15 February 2003 has come true.


Features

Castro and Cuba

Fidel Castro, who stepped down as president of Cuba last week, is one of the most important and influential Latin American political leaders of the last century.

After the election: Where next for Pakistan?

President Pervez Musharraf’s humiliating defeat in last week’s elections in Pakistan has created a crisis for Gordon Brown and George Bush, both of whom see the country as a frontline in their fight against "Islamic extremism".

Voices from Pakistan: ‘A revolution has begun’

"People need to understand that this so-called ‘war on terror’ is not Pakistan’s war – it is the US and Britain’s. Our country is being used just like when we were used against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Prostitution: the government puts women in danger

The conviction last week of Steve Wright for the murder of five women in Ipswich has highlighted the violence and abuse faced by women involved in prostitution.


Reviews

Searching for the Hows and Whys

Politicised singer-songwriter Sam Duckworth – Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. – returns with the follow-up to 2006’s Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager Part One.

The Edge of Heaven

A Turkish revolutionary flees to Germany looking for her mother.

The Conformist

This classic 1970 film about the psychology of fascism is being re-released.

Rambo is a big, lumbering metaphor for US imperialism

US imperialism is in trouble and, as Gil Scott Heron once said, "John Wayne is no longer available", so enter Sylvester Stallone with Rambo’s fourth slaughter-filled outing.

AgitPop: activist graphics, images and pop culture 1968-2008

This new exhibition displays a collection of agitational posters spanning 40 years. The collection includes rare posters in support of African liberation struggles.

George Bernard Shaw: a fascinating contradiction

George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin in 1856. He was one of the most prolific playwrights of his time. In 1891 Shaw introduced the work of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen to the English-speaking world and in the process he helped create 20th century realism on the English stage.


What We Think

The £1 million ‘case’ against Tommy Sheridan

Tommy Sheridan has accused Lothian and Borders police of mounting a "vendetta" against himself, his family and his political allies. It certainly seems that way.

Injustice in police complaints system

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was thrown into crisis this week after over 100 lawyers in the Police Action Lawyers Group resigned from its advisory body.

Just how much money do these MPs need?

Michael Martin, the speaker of the House of Commons, was cheered by MPs when he took his position in parliament on Monday of this week. This follows allegations about Martin’s use of expenses, including claiming £17,166 last year towards the cost of his Glasgow constituency home, even though he no longer pays a mortgage on it.


Other Categories

Harriet Keegan Pursani 1960–2008

It is with very great sadness that comrades in north west London learned that Harriet Keegan Pursani, one of our longstanding and much loved comrades, died on 10 February after a most courageous fight against cancer.

Tim: gravy train

Letters

Stop Labour’s racist attacks on migrants Gordon Brown’s plans to make migrants "earn" their right to British citizenship are not only hypocritical and racist to the core – they threaten all working people, whether they were born in Britain or not.



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