Dated: 10 May 2008
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Simmering anger at years of New Labour policies that promote war, privatisation and inequality boiled over last week as Gordon Brown presided over his party’s worst local election results in decades.
Thousands of people celebrated International Workers’ Day with marches taking place in towns and cities across the country.
A demonstration in support of sacked print workers took place last Saturday in Frome in Somerset.
Tens of thousands of dock workers across the west coast of the US struck on 1 May in protest at the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Somalia exploded in a wave of riots on Monday in protest at rocketing food price rises.
The US has announced it will deploy an additional 7,000 soldiers to Afghanistan to plug the gap left by its European allies. This brings the number of US troops in the country to 40,000—the highest since the invasion in 2001.
Over 800 people are feared dead in the poor slums of Baghdad following a brutal month-long siege by US forces and their Iraqi allies.
Delegates gathered at the Usdaw shop workers’ union conference in Blackpool last week. There was notable anger against Labour, especially around Gordon Brown’s removal of the 10p tax rate.
Members of the GMB union who work at the British Medical Association (BMA) have voted overwhelmingly for strike action over an imposed system of performance related pay.
Up to 100 people marched through Hastings last Saturday to protest against the sacking of Eddie Fleming, a PCS civil service workers’ union rep, by management at the Hastings Child Support Agency office.
Leeds Some 200 refuse workers in Leeds took a second day of strike action last Thursday over the implementation of a single status pay deal.
Shelter workers struck across the country for 48 hours last week in defence of pay and conditions as well as against dismissals and management bullying.
As I watched Ken Livingstone’s eyes water at the sight of Boris Johnson giving his victory speech, my feelings of sympathy were halted by the thought of some new signs that have gone up near me. One says, "A stunning new development at the heart of the regeneration of Dalston" and the other says, "Dalston Square – marketing suite open".
Wybone workers bin their bosses Some 26 workers at the Wybone bin factory in Barnsley have begun striking on Fridays over pay.
Members of the NUT teachers’ union at Withins School in Bolton were set to strike on Thursday of this week, after a 94 percent vote for action.
Students at the University of St Andrews protested on Friday of last week against the closure of Fife Park, one of the university’s two budget halls.
After two consecutive years of pay cuts the government is telling more than a million health workers that we must tighten our belts yet again with our new pay deal.
Delegates to the PCS civil service workers’ union conference in two weeks’ time will discuss the next stage in the union’s fight for decent pay.
Teachers in the NUT union are debating their strategy in the fight against Gordon Brown’s pay limit, following their hugely successful national strike on 24 April.
The six further education unions – UCU, GMB, Unison, Unite, ACM and ATL – have rejected a 2.5 percent pay offer.
Workers at Fujitsu’s Birmingham site are balloting for action ballot over the company’s plan to export production to Texas.
Two of the musicians who played at the recent Love Music Hate Racism (LHMR) carnival attended the Tuesday evening protest against the BNP held outside London’s City Hall.
Around 300 people rallied at short notice outside City Hall in London on Tuesday evening to protest against the fascist British National Party (BNP) grabbing a seat on the London assembly in last week’s elections.
On Tuesday 20 May the first vote on abortion law in 18 years will take place in the House of Commons. Anti abortionists are using the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill to table amendments that attack a woman’s right to choose – including cutting the legal time limit for abortion, imposing a compulsory "cooling off" period and counselling for women seeking abortion and removing the right of women who are carrying a foetus with severe disabilities to have access to abortion.
More than 200 health workers, trade unionists, service users and MPs packed into a room in the House of Commons yesterday to show their support for Karen Reissmann, the Manchester psychiatric nurse and leading union member who was sacked for speaking out against cuts and privatisation.
Some 15,000 people participated in the May Day demonstration in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
Shocking statistics reveal that the rate of farmer suicides in the Indian state of Maharashtra has gone up in recent years despite continual pledges of state assistance.
Garment factory bosses in Bangladesh have been forced to hand out sacks of subsidised rice to workers in response to a growing strike wave in protest at rising food prices.
Storms in Burma had killed tens of thousands, with many thousands more still missing, as Socialist Worker went to press.
The government of Hosni Mubarak announced last week that all Egyptian public sector workers would receive a 30 percent wage increase as part of an effort to head off growing militancy. Egyptians who work in the informal sector are not included in the rise.
Bolivia is at a crossroads once again. A referendum last weekend on increased autonomy for the country’s largest state had one clear purpose – to undermine the democratically elected government of Evo Morales.
Why did you decide to write a book about world history?
A major debate on abortion will take place in the House of Commons on Monday 12 May, writes Farah Reza. Amendments to the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill will seek to limit women’s access to abortion and MPs have been given a free vote on them.
In the beginning there was no war. For millions of years, in the Old Stone Age, small bands of hominids (human-like species) roamed across the landscape seeking food by hunting, gathering, and scavenging.
New Labour’s plans for a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow airport in west London are another example of how the government puts business before people and planet.
‘If a third runway is built at Heathrow, my house will be directly under the flight path. It would mean a massive increase in noise and pollution.
The Caribbean country of Haiti has long been a centre of resistance to imperialism and slavery. It was the first black slave colony to rise up and overthrow its overlords, with a revolt led by Toussaint L’Ouverture beginning in 1791. The country declared itself an independent republic in 1804.
New Labour was thrown into disarray last week after polling its worst election results in 40 years in local council elections in England and Wales and losing the high profile election for London mayor to Tory candidate Boris Johnson.
Many people across Britain are horrified at the apparent "resurgence" of the Tory party after last week’s elections.
The fascist British National Party (BNP) managed to grab a London assembly seat last week. The fascists also gained a net ten seats in council elections across the country.
The rout suffered by New Labour on Thursday of last week and the defeat of Ken Livingstone as mayor of London have left millions of people fearful of the prospect of a return to Tory government.
The closely fought mayoral contest between Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson dominated the London elections – and seriously hampered the Left List’s ability to make an impact.
The underlying assumption behind Ken Livingstone’s campaign for re-election as London’s mayor was that the votes of the left were in the bag, and that his key job was to capture the votes of the right.
In an echo of the general trend, Labour lost over a quarter of the seats it was defending in the elections in Wales.
The appalling election results last week have sparked a refreshing, if slightly panicked, debate inside the Labour Party.
Every previous Labour government has provoked a major rebellion from the left after it betrayed the hopes that had led to its election.
The alternative of "reclaiming" Labour has proved a dead end.
‘Labour has become the stupid party – dumb, directionless, depressing.’Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee gives her take on the election aftermath
Honeydripper is set in Alabama in the 1950s and stars Danny Glover. The film is a comic drama about a juke joint run by Tyrone Purvis during the beginnings of the rock and roll era.
The Nobel prize for literature winner Harold Pinter’s first full-length play returns to the theatre it made its debut at 50 years ago.
Meaghan Delahunt’s second novel is about the coming together of three very different characters in India.
John Pilger recently edited a book of articles by investigative journalists including Martha Gellhorn, Robert Fisk, Seymour Hersh and Paul Foot, written over recent decades.
Art in The Age of Steam is an exhibition at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool that shows the various ways in which steam train travel has captured the imagination of artists, from its early days in the 19th century through to its decline in the 1960s.
It is December 2009. The American Empire's disastrous "war on terror" continues to fuel new terrorist attacks and in the name of "homeland security". The US itself is now under effective martial law.
Time magazine has just revealed a list of who it believes are the 100 most influential people in the world.
Thousands dead and more than a million homeless – a grim statistic from Burma in the aftermath of the severe cyclone that hit the country last weekend.
Sixty years ago next week the state of Israel was founded through the violent theft of historic Palestine.
Preston SWP are deeply saddened by the death of Ron Yates. Ron, who was 86, had been a left activist all his life.
Price of food policies It is a sick irony to see leaders of the world’s trade and finance bodies expressing concern and calling for "action" over rising food prices and the threat of global hunger.