Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2122

Dated: 11 Oct 2008

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Capitalism isn’t working

This week our front page declares "capitalism isn’t working" – a subversion of the Tories’ 1979 "Labour isn’t working" election poster that reflected anger at growing unemployment.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Urgent campaign being built to defend and extend abortion rights

Abortion rights campaigners are mobilising to stop the continuing attacks on a woman’s right to choose in Britain. They are also fighting to get those rights extended.

Student loans: private companies tighten grip on graduates’ wallets

The economic crisis is having a major effect on the ability of graduates to pay back their student loans.

Credit crisis sparks debate on campus

Universities and colleges have become sites of debate and discussions as tens of thousands of students question the basis of society in the face of deep economic turmoil.

Thousands march to demand an end to child poverty

Britain is the fifth richest country in the world. Yet one in three children in Britain is growing up in poverty – and their numbers are growing.

Horror of home repossessions is returning today

Imagine paying a mortgage for years and then being forced to hand your home back to the bank for no money, while you and your family are made homeless.

Britain is hurtling towards recession

The financial crisis is spreading into the real economy and is set to hit already hard-pressed working class people even harder.

Has Black History Month become too safe?

Every year in late September I get a flurry of emails from council officials telling me that October is Black History Month and that a number of events are taking place to celebrate it. These are typically accompanied by flyers featuring pictures of Mary Seacole or Nelson Mandela.

Launch Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning

Up to 200 people attended a meeting to launch the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning (Call) on Tuesday of last week.

Nottingham Trent University union derecognition battle

Up to 300 people attended a lobby called by Nottingham Trent University UCU union branch on Monday of this week. They were demanding that management’s threat to derecognise the lecturers’ union is lifted.

Anti-academies round-up

Parkwood School Anti Academies Alliance campaigners from around the country were out canvassing parents in Sheffield last Saturday, arguing for a no vote in a council ballot over whether Parkwood School should become an academy.

Kirklees Unison members reject single status deal

Over 2,000 Kirklees Unison members met last week at Huddersfield football stadium to discuss the council’s proposals on single status.

Unison stifles debate on council pay talks

The leadership of the Unison union in local government met last weekend but failed to have a proper debate over the decision to go to binding arbitration over the pay claim covering workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

100,000 to ballot for strike in the NHS

The Unite union is to ballot its members in the NHS to strike over pay. The ballot will open on 28 October and close on 12 November. Members will be asked to vote on strike action and on industrial action short of strike action, with a recommendation to vote yes to both questions.

Good response to PCS ballot

The ballot of 270,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union to strike over below-inflation pay is into its second week, and activists are reporting a good response to the union’s campaign.

Vote yes for public sector pay strikes

The NUT teachers’ union began balloting its 250,000 members on Monday of this week. The ballot is for national strike action against a below-inflation, three-year pay deal.

UCU ballot continues

Further education lecturers in the UCU union are currently balloting over whether to accept a below-inflation pay offer.

Don’t extradite Gary McKinnon

Around 40 people protested on Sunday 28 September in support of the campaign by the family of Gary McKinnon to prevent his extradition to the US on charges of hacking into Pentagon computers.

Huntingdon march to defend hospital

Over 100 people demonstrated in Huntingdon last Saturday against plans to hand over management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital to a private company.

Sedgley fights for its fire station

The West Midlands Fire Authority is trying to close down the region’s only retained fire station. The station, at Sedgley, is the most cost-effective in the region and deals with 800 calls a year.

Bookmakers strike at Aintree

Members of the Usdaw union working at the bookmakers Ladbrokes call centre in Aintree held a second 24-hour strike last Sunday to protest against their below-inflation pay offer of 3 percent.

Dismay as ITV plans regional news cuts

There was anger last week after ITV News announced cost-cutting plans to slash over 400 workers across its regional services.

Copperas Hill post workers refuse to cross picket line

Postal Workers at Copperas Hill mail centre in LIverpool, which is earmarked for closure, refused to cross a picket line put up by striking Romec engineers on Monday of this week.

Post workers' union must hit back

Some 500 CWU post workers’ union reps met last week for a two-day national briefing.

Unite union executive to vote on merger issues

An emergency meeting of the national executive of the Unite union was to be held this Thursday. The meeting was to consider two proposals by the joint general secretaries, Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley.

Scottish signallers’ green light for action

Around 450 rail signallers and signal supervisors in the RMT transport union began the first of two 24-hour strikes at 12 noon on Tuesday of this week.

Scottish councils campaign to reject pay cuts

Council workers in Scotland have been offered an additional 0.5 percent pay rise this year – but at the price of accepting a two-year deal.

Cashing in on the bus industry

While bus workers’ lives are dominated by the stress of living on low pay and working long hours, private bus operators are reaping in record profits.

Bus strikes can shut down London

Up to 6,000 London bus workers across different companies will strike over pay on Friday of this week. This will be followed by an even bigger strike on

Organising to fight the effects of recession

While Gordon Brown rushed to guarantee the savings of the tiny minority who have over £35,000 stashed in a bank, millions of us were lying awake worrying about our jobs, homes, pensions and how we can afford to put food on the table.

Crisis in the Metropolitan Police

The Metropolitan Police Service has been plunged into crisis after Sir Ian Blair, the Met’s commissioner and Britain’s most senior police officer, was forced to resign by London mayor Boris Johnson.

Desperate Gordon Brown brings back New Labour hatchet man

Gordon Brown’s spin doctors rushed to proclaim that Peter Mandelson’s shock return to the cabinet last week underscored the prime minister’s "pro-business" stance at a time of growing economic turmoil.

US and Britain fall out over Afghan occupation

It’s official – the occupation of Afghanistan is "doomed to fail". That stark warning comes from the top British commander and the top British diplomatic envoy to Afghanistan.

'We won't bail out the bankers' protest at Bank of England

Hundreds of students and activists are marching on the Bank of England at 4pm today to protest against the massive bailouts financial institutions have received.

Solid bus strikes rock the capital

More than 5,000 London bus workers struck today over pay. The drivers at First Group and Metroline took action as part of a campaign by the Unite union to win a wage of at least £30,000 for drivers across all companies in London.

Video of protest at Bank of England, Friday 10 October 2008

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‘Don't bail out the bankers’ demonstration stops the City

Several hundred students and other activists brought the City of London to a standstill in a flash protest on Friday evening.



Europe more at risk from crisis

Initially many establishment figures in continental Europe thought they could ride the global financial crisis out. This was, they said, a problem generated by "Anglo-Saxon" free market capitalism that had nothing to do with the well-regulated economies of the euro-zone.


We don't need coal or nuclear power stations to save planet

No coal plus no nuclear equals no lights. No power. No future." This was the claim made by former business secretary John Hutton at the recent Labour Party conference.

Logic of a system based on profit is driving our world towards destruction

The fact that climate change is threatening the existence of our planet is one of the strongest indictments of the capitalist system.

Planning our way out of economic crisis

The crisis ripping through financial markets means that thousands of people are asking whether there is an alternative to the current system &#8211; and what that alternative might be.

Twilight of the American century?

On 7 February 1941 an editorial entitled "The American Century" appeared in Life Magazine signed by its founder and publisher, Henry Luce. It argued that the US had missed its chance at the end of the First World War to mould the world around its economic and social model.

Contradictions at the heart of capitalism

With capitalism appearing to collapse all around us today even some right wing commentators have been forced to admit that Karl Marx might have been right about the crisis-ridden nature of the system.

Can world leaders avert the crisis? - questions and answers

What happened over the last week?



Sunshine is a three part comedy drama.

The Godfather’s R&B

Long before he helped invent funk in the mid 1960s, James Brown had already done more than most to put the music of black America on the jukeboxes of white teenagers.

Punkara - Asian Dub Foundation

The latest album from Asian Dub Foundation (ADF) combines punk, hip-hop and bhangra to create an invigorating sound.

Mark Thomas interviewed on his new book about the campaign against Coca-Cola

Activist and comedian Mark Thomas’s new book Belching Out The Devil chronicles the growing campaign against Coca-Cola’s activities around the world.

What We Think

Top-up fees could be Chris Patten’s new poll tax

You would think that the middle of an economic crisis would be the worst time to argue to lift the cap on top-up fees for students.

The world's poorest left to rot

It would cost roughly $375 billion to clear the debt of the world’s 49 poorest countries and $2.9 trillion to end all "Third World debt", according to Jubilee Debt Campaign figures.

Neoliberalism - history sweeps away a failed ideology

An intractable economic crisis. A discredited Labour government. A pervasive sense of bitterness, anger and fear across the working class. It’s no wonder that many commentators are comparing current events with those of the late 1970s.

Other Categories

Tim: 'Are we redundant?'



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