Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2102

Dated: 24 May 2008




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New Labour lurches to the right

Gordon Brown’s government is reacting to its growing unpopularity by increasing its shift to the right.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Reports round-up

Redistribute the wealth at Argos Two thousand distribution workers in the Unite union at Argos are currently balloting to strike over pay.

High court pensions blow to firefighters

In a bitter blow to firefighters, the high court decided last week to back a government ruling that strips pensions payments from firefighters injured in the course of their duties.

TSSA conference report

The conference of the TSSA rail workers’ union last week debated the union’s relationship with Labour, and in particular Gordon Brown.

Hunger strike for workers’ rights

Two sacked airport workers in Northern Ireland are on hunger and thirst strike for the second time in a month.

Refuse workers strikes

Blackburn with Darwen Refuse workers in Blackburn with Darwen council are planning another one-day strike with a mass rally through Blackburn town centre on Friday of this week.

Preston Nakba commemoration

Around 200 people gathered in Preston Flag market on Thursday of last week to commemorate 60 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Newsquest York journalists set for five day strike

Members of the NUJ journalists’ union at Newsquest York were set to strike for five days from Thursday of this week over management’s below-inflation pay offer of 3 percent.

London-wide pay fight on the buses

Unite union members working on London’s buses met last week for the London Busworkers Conference.

Harrogate bus drivers vote for strike

Bus drivers in the Unite union at Transdev Harrogate and District have voted in favour of strike action over a new driving schedule and rota system.

Brighton and Hove bus drivers to strike

Almost 600 bus drivers in the Unite union at Brighton and Hove Buses are set to strike over a pay deal that would also make changes to workers’ conditions.

The Left List: Debating the election results

The national council elected at Respect’s annual conference last year met last weekend, joined by branch representatives from around the country. The main subject of discussion was the elections held earlier this month.

Schools protests and strikes

Oldham protest against academies Over 100 parents, children, teachers and local residents held a lively and noisy protest at the planned site for one of three proposed city academies in Oldham in Lancashire on Wednesday of last week.

Post union must use its power to stop sell-off

Not content with allowing Royal Mail to close hundreds of post offices around the country as part of a bid to become more market friendly, the government is said to be considering plans to part-privatise the entire postal service.

Housing regeneration: a ‘des res’ mess

There is another, less famous May 1968 anniversary this month – the partial collapse of the Ronan Point tower block in Newham, east London. Twenty two storeys high, this block was based on a Danish system that was only designed to go up to six storeys.

Key blow against union suspensions

Leaders of the Unison union were delivered two shattering blows last week when the trade union certification officer ruled that a crackdown on two of the union’s best known left wingers broke the union’s own rules – and in one case even broke the law.

Tony Staunton: union activist was wrongly barred from executive election

The Trade union certification officer found that Tony Staunton, a member of the Unison union’s south west regional council for more than a decade, was "unreasonably excluded" from being a candidate in the 2007 national executive elections.

More pay strikes set to hit New Labour

More than a million people employed by local authorities could take on the government in the growing battle over public sector pay.

Lobby your MP on 9 June

Workers from different public sector unions will come together on 9 June for a TUC lobby of parliament over pay.

Big battalions prepare to join battle with Brown and bosses

The need for more united action to beat Gordon Brown’s pay freeze is clear to many.

Support grows for anti-Nazi demonstration

The national march against fascism and racism called for Saturday 21 June in London is building momentum.

Raytheon Nine trial set to start

The trial of the "Raytheon Nine" anti-war activists is set to start this week in Belfast, and last for up to six weeks.

US soldier refuses to fight in Iraq

A 24-year old US soldier has refused his deployment to Iraq.

US forced to end Iraq seige

The US military and its Iraqi allies have abandoned the siege of Sadr City, the poor Shia slum of Baghdad, after failing to disarm the Mehdi army – a resistance organisation led by rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Crucial vote on abortion is about women’s rights

Key amendments to the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill – which include the biggest attacks on abortion rights for 18 years – were being debated as Socialist Worker went to press.

Tories are still no friends of working class people

"Who would have thought that a Labour government would abolish the 10p tax rate, increase taxes for the least well off and cut tax for the rich? We need to make Gordon Brown listen."

Attack on abortion rights pushed back

Attempts to limit women’s access to abortion were defeated on Tuesday evening. Anti-abortionists had tried to hijack the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill by putting various amendments that would restrict a woman’s right to choose – including cutting the current 24-week time limit to between 12 and 22 weeks and forcing pregnant women to undergo compulsory counselling.

Raytheon Nine trial starts

The trial of the Raytheon Nine got underway after a number of delays and postponements on Tuesday at Laganside Court in Belfast.

Labour routed in Crewe & Nantwich after right wing campaign

New Labour was routed in the Crewe & Nantwich by-election because Labour voters wanted to punish Gordon Brown. The decision to increase taxes for some of the poorest paid and for many pensioners topped the list of grievances but working class people are seeing prices soar as this government tries to hold wage rises below inflation.


International

Greek strikes against privatisation

South African activists call for solidarity against attacks on migrants

A series of brutal attacks on migrant workers in South Africa in the last two weeks has left dozens dead and forced thousands to flee.

Italy’s right launches tidal wave of racism

A Roma camp in Naples is burnt to the ground as crowds cheer the attackers. Meanwhile police round up hundreds of illegal immigrants, deporting many of them immediately.

Regime in Lebanon looks to US intervention

The US-backed government in Lebanon is attempting to wriggle out of a deal that ended days of heavy fighting in the country last week.


Comment

Spiralling oil prices threaten recession

There has been a slight recovery of nerve in the financial centres of Wall Street and the City of London over the past few weeks.


Features

What is fascism?

Many people reading the mainstream media coverage of the British National Party (BNP) will have been struck by a curious coyness when it comes to describing the nature of the organisation.

Who are the British National Party and what do they stand for?

The roots of the British National Party (BNP) lie in the splinters of the National Front (NF), the main fascist organisation of the late 1970s.

Which way now for the left?

The collapse of the Labour vote and the resurgence of the Tories in the recent local elections sent a shiver down the spine of millions and should have sounded the death knell for New Labour.

Exposing hidden lives of vulnerable workers

Instant pay cuts, a minimum wage that exists on paper but not in pay packets, 70-hour weeks, unpaid overtime, no holidays, rotten conditions and instant dismissal are the daily grind for at least two million workers in Gordon Brown’s Britain.

Vulnerable workers' voices: ‘I never know if I’ll have work’

The TUC report includes many interviews with vulnerable workers, giving snapshots into the reality of life for many in Britain.

Gordon Brown leads Europe in blocking agency workers’ rights

Agency workers are paid much less than their directly employed counterparts.

War and industrialised imperialism today

At the beginning of the First World War, lines of French infantry in blue coats and red trousers charged machine guns and modern artillery. The French lost one man in four in a month.


Reviews

The Flying Pickets: The 1972 Builders’ Strike & The Shrewsbury Trials

This book is about a period that, for so many of us who were involved, was one of the most memorable and extraordinary of our lives.


What We Think

Hope and despair in South Africa

Alexandra township was at the forefront of South Africa’s fight against apartheid. So it is shocking that it is now at the centre of attacks on migrants. But the experience in the townships of 14 years of African National Congress (ANC) government has been the slow removal of hope.

Armed forces day is an insult to intelligence

A Saturday at the end of every June will see armies parade through the streets, showing off their military might. Sporting events on the day will acquire a "military flavour".

Abortion is a political issue, not a moral one

Thanks to Gordon Brown’s pandering to the bigots inside his own cabinet, Labour MPs had a free vote on anti-abortion amendments put to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in parliament this week.


Other Categories

Pauline Campbell 1948-2008: inspiring campaigner cruelly failed by state

Pauline Campbell was a formidable campaigner and a tower of strength for those whom the state willfully chose to neglect.

Tim: wipe out

Letters

We can organise the unemployed It is notoriously difficult for us to organise ourselves when we are unemployed because we have no workplace.

Who Says?

‘Rising energy and import prices will almost certainly push inflation up further, possibly significantly, in the coming months.’ Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England



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