Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2093

Dated: 22 Mar 2008




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Their system, their crisis - but it’s our pay, jobs and homes that are under threat

The chaos of the financial system has hit new levels with the collapse of Bear Stearns, the US’s fifth largest investment bank. Now commentators fear the entire banking system is on the brink of a 1930s style collapse.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Video of Oliur Rahman interviewed on World Against War demo in London, 15 March

Councillor Oliur Rahman, Left List Candidate for the GLA elections, interviewed at the World Against War demonstration in central London on Saturday 15 March 2008.

Video of John Rees addressing the World Against War demo in London, 15 March

Respect National Secretary John Rees, addressing the World Against War demonstration in central London on Saturday 15 March 2008.

Video of Lindsey German addressing World Against War demo in London, 15 March

Lindsey German, Left List mayoral candidate for the GLA elections, addressing the World Against War demonstration in central London on Saturday 15 March 2008.

Protests are still strong five years after the invasion of Iraq

The 40,000-strong London demonstration began with a rally that filled Trafalgar Square.

Photo of the World Against War demo on 15 March in London

Civil service strikers taking on Brown’s pay freeze

Over 80,000 civil service workers in the PCS union struck a blow against Gordon Brown’s public sector pay freeze when they took strike action on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Campaign to save jobs and local DWP offices

In many parts of the country, workers saw their strike as being about defending public services as well as being over pay. Shepherd’s Bush job centre in west London is one of the offices marked for closure.

Pat Arrowsmith recalls organising against Britain's Bomb

In the autumn of 1957 a number of groups came together to form the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War and plan a protest march during the following year’s Easter holiday.

Reports round-up

Mobilise for abortion rights Abortion Rights has called a national lobby of parliament for Wednesday 7 May, from 3-6pm. This will be followed by a public meeting.

Lecturers: fight hard for a strong Yes vote for action

Lecturers in further education colleges in the UCU union received ballot papers this week for a strike over pay and conditions. Our claim this year is for 6 percent or £1,500.

Key issues for NUT conference

The annual conference of the NUT teachers’ union over this Easter weekend will be dominated by a discussion about how to take forward the union’s pay campaign.

A crucial safety dispute on London Underground

A major battle is set for London Underground after talks between management and the unions collapsed last week.

How can we get a decent pay fight on London buses?

London bus workers are debating the strategy they need to win change. The issues are the same at every company – low pay, long hours, more stress, and attacks on pensions.

Retained firefighters win pensions battle

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has finally won an eight-year long legal battle to ensure part-time "retained" firefighters have the same pensions and sick pay rights as their full-time colleagues.

Post bosses fan flames again at Burslem

Postal workers in Burslem in Stoke-on-Trent were angry last week after Royal Mail further inflamed tensions at the delivery office at the centre of a long running dispute.

Sheffield Remploy workers vote on strike

Disabled workers at Sheffield’s Remploy Factory are voting for strike action, over the company changing workers’ conditions and outsourcing work.

Mass meetings call more single status strikes in Birmingham

The struggle over the implementation of the single status pay deal at Birmingham council has reached a new stage.

Anti-war student sabbatical suspended at University College London

Students and anti-war campaigners across the country are rallying to defend the student union at University College London (UCL) from an astonishing attack on democracy.

Labour’s vicious budget attacks on sick

Alistair Darling’s budget included a huge attack on sick and disabled workers.

Councillor out on strike over pay

Oliur Rahman, a Respect councillor in Tower Hamlets, east London, and a Left List candidate, was on strike this week with fellow civil service workers in the PCS union.

Merseyside FBU set for electoral challenge to cuts

Firefighters in the Merseyside region of the FBU union were set to launch their election challenge to New Labour this week as Socialist Worker went to press.

Strong left voice in South Wales

Activists in South Wales are gearing up for the May council elections. Respect’s Left List candidates are standing in two wards in Swansea and three wards in Cardiff.

We need ‘an active and imaginative approach’ to May's elections

Respect’s Left List candidates will be taking on the three mainstream parties across England and Wales this May.

Left List candidates campaigning for an alternative across the capital

Kris Stewart, the founding chair of the AFC Wimbledon football club, is the Left List candidate in Wandsworth and Merton, while Tansy Hoskins is standing in South West London.

Left List launches slate for London elections

Respect has unveiled the Left List – a broad range of candidates who will be running for the London Assembly and mayoral elections on Thursday 1 May.

Teachers and lecturers ballot for strikes: Make 24 April a day of pay revolt

Up to half a million public sector workers could strike on Thursday 24 April.

Defending Pimlico School

Protesters occupied the lobby of Sovereign Capital on Wednesday of last week, in protest at plans to turn Pimlico School in south London into an academy.

Left gains in NUT elections

The elections for the national executive of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) have meant a slight but significant shift towards a majority for the combined left.


International

Tibet rises up against decades of oppression

Tibet was rocked by its biggest uprising for almost 20 years this week as protesters fought running battles against police. China’s rulers responded by sealing off the province from the media and instituting a brutal crackdown.


Comment

Why has Ken Livingstone stopped being red?

With less than six weeks to go to the 1 May elections for the mayor of London and the London Assembly, polls have shown Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson are neck and neck.

Public sector pay limits are an attack on our living standards

Make no mistake – the government intends to hold down public sector wages for many years to come. Gordon Brown’s advocacy of three-year pay deals, limited to around 2 percent, gives that message very clearly.

Growing signals of US threat to Iran

Every anti-war activist should have a little gauge that measures, week by week, the risk of an attack by the US on Iran. Last week that gauge rose sharply.


Features

Who’s to blame for racism?

There is a recurring theme in the media’s discussion of racism – that white working class people are more racist than other sections of society. The reality is that racism comes from the top of society and is deliberately propagated by the ruling class.

Colombia: vicious friend of the West

Colombia’s government is not just a vicious regime that targets trade unionists and civil activists. It is also George Bush’s key ally in Latin America and on the front line of his intervention in that region.

Kim Howells’ dirty friends

The Welsh TUC last week called on Gordon Brown’s government to halt military aid to Colombia. It joined a chorus of condemnation of Kim Howells MP, the foreign office minister and Pontypridd MP, who was pictured sharing a joke with General Mario Montoya, head of the Colombian army.

Oppression and curse of Coke in Colombia

On 12 February a brown envelope was left outside the home of Coca-Cola worker José Domingo Flórez. The note inside was from the Black Eagles, a right wing paramilitary death squad.

Colombian paramilitaries kill march organisers

Four trade union leaders were assassinated in the week following the 6 March day of protests against paramilitaries and state crime. These protests took place across Colombia and in many parts of the world.

A new generation battles for women's liberation

Women in Britain have made great gains since the days of the Women’s Liberation Movement. We are now a permanent part of the workforce and have a degree of economic independence previously denied to us.

Shocking instability that is built into capitalism

How big a mess is capitalism in? In February when New York economist Nouriel Roubini suggested $1,000-2,000 billion in losses in the financial sector alone, mainstream commentators thought he was mad.

Why the finance crisis is a threat to whole system

Financial markets across the world plummeted early this week as traders reacted with panic to the news of the collapse of Bear Stearns, one of the US’s oldest and most prestigious investment banks.


Reviews

The Counterfeiters

Set in Germany during the Second World War and based on a true story, the film looks at Operation Bernhard – a Nazi plan to destabilise the Allies by flooding their economies with forged currency.

The Iceberg

Oliver Birch’s play tells the story of Lord Frederick Smith, a 19th century explorer ashamed of the barbarity of the British Empire.

Theme Time Radio Hour With Your Host Bob Dylan

"I never understood no border control when it came to music," says Bob Dylan, who has turned to DJing on his own radio show.

Gomorrah: insider view of the mafia

Gomorrah has become an international publishing sensation. In Italy it has sold a million copies and it has been translated into 33 other languages. A theatrical version of the book has already been performed, and a major film is currently under production.

Under The Bombs: blending fact and fiction to bear witness to war

Under The Bombs is an extraordinary film. Shot in Lebanon following Israel’s bombing in 2006, the actors improvise a script while real events unfold around them.


What We Think

Close child prisons

The chief inspector of prisons called last week for a privately run child prison to be shut due to alarming levels of restraint used against children.

Respect’s Left List: a fight for democracy

Every politician in Britain proudly proclaims himself or herself a democrat.

Movement marches to stop spiralling war

In the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq five years ago, while much of the media was banging the drums of war, the anti-war movement warned of coming catastrophe.


Other Categories

Gordon Wray 1934-2008

Comrades in Leeds were saddened by the news that Gordon Wray passed away on 10 March. Gordon was a lifelong socialist and trade unionist.

Tim: how capitalism works

Letters

Letters

Economic who says

"A poisonous cycle has taken hold... There is a whiff of 1929 about all this."



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