Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2120

Dated: 27 Sep 2008




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Why should we pay for their mess?

The world financial system went into meltdown last week as the collapse of the housing bubble in the US and Britain brought down banks on both sides of the Atlantic.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

The BNP shows its true Nazi colours in Stoke

Anti-racist activists and trade unionists joined local residents to demonstrate in Stoke-on-Trent last Saturday against a fascist rally in the city called by the British National Party (BNP).

Fascists routed in Cologne

Richard Barnbrook was one leading member of the BNP who did not join the Nazi rally in Stoke last Saturday.

Reports round-up

Left meets in Manchester The Convention of the Left was held in Manchester last weekend.

Carrot and stick stops RMT rail action

Two separate strikes set for Monday and Tuesday of this week involving members of the RMT transport union at Southeastern Trains were called off for different reasons.

Notts Public Services Not Private Profit meeting

Notts TUC hosted a great meeting, with about 60 trade unionists present, on Tuesday of last week under the Public Services Not Private Profit banner.

Derby teachers strike against academy

Teachers in the NASUWT union at Sinfin Community School in Derby are to strike for three days over plans to turn the school into an academy.

Celebrating 100 years of the state pension in Southwark

Hundreds of pensioners and local people paraded around East Street Market in south London last Sunday to celebrate 100 years of the state pension in Britain.

Push hard for a fight over public sector pay

The fight against New Labour’s attacks on public sector wages is entering a crucial stage.

Vote to reject poor pay deal in the colleges

The drive for a united pay revolt across the unions received a blow last weekend after a decision by further education lecturers in the UCU union at a special sector pay conference.

London Underground cleaners continue fight for living wage

Cleaners on London Underground in the RMT union are continuing their fight for a London Living Wage of £7.45 an hour and against the suspension of a number of workers over their national insurance numbers.

Defend this tube union rep

Metronet, the failed tube maintenance consortium that was taken into administration last year, has suspended Andy Littlechild, the RMT union representative for Metronet Rail Infrastructure Services (MRIS).

Colleges round-up

Barnsley Some 200 lecturers at Barnsley College are being balloted for strike action to win the reinstatement of sacked UCU official, Bob Willerton.

Karen Reissmann wins Unison executive by-election

Sacked nurse Karen Reissmann won a major victory last week when she was elected to the Unison union’s national executive.

Is this the end of neoliberalism?

The financial crisis has spooked capitalism’s ideologues. Anatole Kalatsky, a widely-read hardline free marketeer, has written of the need to consider the "wholesale nationalisation" of the banking system. Calls for tougher restrictions on the City are everywhere.

Post workers protest at Labour conference

Around 600 postal workers and their supporters marched on Labour’s conference on Monday to demand that the government back off from its attack on a public postal service and those who work in it.

Bus workers’ fight for pay is spreading

The London bus workers’ campaign for the same higher wage at all bus operators has entered a new phase with workers at three major companies now balloting formally for strike action.

Unison’s call for arbitration in local government dispute is big set back

The fight by 600,000 Unison union members in local government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland against poverty pay took a disastrous turn for the worse last week.

PFI scam leads to soaring government debt

The government’s commitment to privatisation is putting schools, hospitals and the care of the vulnerable and elderly at risk.

Mass strike across Scottish councils

More than 150,000 local government workers struck across Scotland today.

We must win national public sector strike votes

Civil service workers in the PCS union will be balloting for strike action from Wednesday of this week to fight a series of below-inflation pay deals across different government departments.

Gun and knife crime marchers angry at politicians

Some 2,000 people turned out for an anti-knife crime rally in London last Saturday, called by the families of some recent victims of gun and knife crime.

Scottish strike can win on pay

We are taking to the picket lines this week with over 150,000 other local government workers. Colleagues in the Unite and the GMB unions are striking with us.

Inquest into de Menezes killing opens

A banner reading "Inquest Not Cover-Up" hangs from flats near The Oval cricket ground, south London, where Southwark Coroner’s Court is sitting for three months.

John Pilger: This conflict is repeating the historical patterns of imperialism

Veteran investigative journalist John Pilger is warning that the extension of the Afghanistan war into Pakistan has grim echoes of the past.

Thousands in Manchester to protest against the war

More than 5,000 people marched through central Manchester last Saturday against the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to oppose the spread of war to other countries.

Voices of resistance call for troops to come home

"If you don’t speak up, nothing’s going to change," said Falak, a young woman from Liverpool.

New Labour whitewash at the party fringe

You wouldn’t have known that both the Labour Party and the economy faced serious problems from some of the fringe meetings at the conference.

Labour conference: Policies and personalities are linked

The phrase "We should be talking about policies not personalities," has become the mantra of Labour left wingers when questioned on Gordon Brown’s leadership.

Will the crisis lead to the rebirth of the Labour left?

Some in the Labour Party believe that the economic crisis will herald a revival of the party’s left wing.

Gordon Brown reassures the rich that he’s still on their side

Despite the economic turmoil unleashed by the banks last week, Gordon Brown has signaled that New Labour’s love affair with finance and big business will continue.

Ministers and Civil servants on the PFI gravy train

Alan Milburn, Health Secretary from 1998 to 2003 Alan Milburn is listed in his declaration of members’ interests at the House of Commons as a director of Covidien, which describes itself as "a $10bn global healthcare products leader". He is also a member of Lloydspharmacy’s Healthcare Advisory Panel. Milburn is an advisor to the European advisory panel of leading private equity firm Bridgepoint, which specialises in healthcare investments. Milburn declares his income from these senior appointments as over £30,000 a year from Bridgepoint; over £25,000 from Lloydspharmacy; nothing listed for Covidien; and a further over £20,000 as


International

Will the economic crisis help Obama?

Is Barack Obama making a turn to the left? His recent statements on the US economy seem to suggest so.

Poor trampled to death in Indonesia as they rush to claim £1.75 handout

Pasuruan is a small, undistinguished town in East Java. Known nationally in Indonesia as the hometown of popular female singer Inul Daristuta, it recently filled the headlines for a much different reason.

South Africa: Tensions grow in the ANC

South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki resigned on Sunday, to be replaced by Kgalema Motlanthe.

Danger in Zimbabwe compromise deal

The deal between president Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC has been widely hailed as heralding the end of the crisis in Zimbabwe.


Comment


Features

Explaining the toxic crisis of capitalism - questions and answers

Is this crisis over? Was it the result of a few rogue bankers? Is the world economy “fundamentally sound”? Could more regulation of financial markets stop this chaos? Or is this a crisis rooted in something more fundamental – the failure of the free market and capitalism itself?

Tragic divisions behind Burmese movement’s defeat

Twenty years ago this month the Burmese army crushed a nationwide democracy movement that had grown out of increasing dissatisfaction with military rule and economic mismanagement.


Reviews

Whatever They Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

This acclaimed art exhibition has moved from Wales to Portsmouth.

Exit Ghost - Philip Roth

The ageing and ill Nathan Zuckerman, the acclaimed US writer Philip Roth’s alter-ego, returns to New York in November 2004, just before George Bush’s re-election.

Linha de Passe

The title of this new film set in Brazil’s Sao Paulo is the name of a football game where people try to keep the ball in the air. It’s a game played by four brothers, Denis, Dinho, Dario and Reginaldo, whose single mother Cleuza has struggled to bring them up.

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

This film centres around a comfortable middle class family, seen through eyes of Bruno, the eight year old son.

Riding on Fire: Iraqi Art Under Occupation

Alan Gibbons: 'Libraries are under threat'

"Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone," sang Joni Mitchell. This could have been written about the challenges facing school and public libraries.


What We Think

We need to create a bigger left

There is a problem facing the left. Across Britain there are millions of people who have marched against war, global poverty and privatisation. These people reject the central tenets of New Labour’s pro-market, pro-US agenda and would never vote for David Cameron.

Karl Marx and the markets

Daily Telegraph readers had a shock last week when they opened their paper to find the main cartoon was of Karl Marx laughing in his grave at the woes on Wall Street.

The war spreads deep into Pakistan

Who is responsible for the massive blast that levelled the Marriot hotel in Islamabad? Authorities blame Islamic militants, others claim it is a plot by Pakistan’s security services.


Other Categories

Tim: Told you so

Letters

Brown’s Lehman love-in "I would like to pay tribute to the contribution you and your company make to the prosperity of Britain." These were the words of Gordon Brown to the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers at the opening of its building in London’s Canary Wharf in 2004.

Who says?

"The world is on the brink, the market is puking all over us. There’s no capital left in the world."Senior London banker on the scale of the financial crisis



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