Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2123

Dated: 18 Oct 2008




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Seize the wealth of the City

This week saw Gordon Brown spending £37 billion of our money on buying up shares in two failing banks – HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland – as part of his staggering £500 billion bailout plan.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Liverpool housing workers vow to fight redundancies

Hundreds of workers in Liverpool unanimously voted to say they would take strike action against redundancies at a mass meeting on Thursday of last week.

Iceland bank failures burn council fingers

The drive of the market into public services and the ongoing economic turmoil has opened up the prospect of council workers across the country not being paid at the end of the month.

Jamie Oliver: food for thought

In the last few years a moral panic over food has taken hold in Britain. Working class people are given rubbish to eat. This can mean a lifetime of health problems such as diabetes, obesity and even early death. We are then blamed for these effects.

Reports round-up

Campaign beats back BNP vote The fascist British National Party (BNP) received a very welcome drubbing at the Alexandra Park ward by-election in Haringey, north London, on Thursday of last week.

PCS union members prepare for pay fight

The ballot of 270,000 civil service workers in the PCS union for a programme of industrial action over pay is to finish on Friday of this week.

Lecturers accept pay deal

Lecturers in further education in the UCU union have voted by 89 percent to accept a 3.2 percent pay deal from October.

Fighting deportation of teacher Farhan Zakaria

Farhan Zakaria, a popular teacher and NUT union activist at Sarah Bonnell school in Stratford, east London, is threatened with imminent deportation to Bangladesh.

Teachers campaign to win strike ballot

There is a serious fight on in the NUT teachers’ union to win the ballot for strike action over pay.

Scottish council workers to ballot on new pay offer

A meeting of the Scottish Unison union local government branches last Friday agreed to reject the employers’ latest pay offer.

Anti-bank protest in Birmingham

Unions plan action against redundancies at London Fire Authority

The London Fire Authority has announced a 15 percent budget cut on all non-front line services. This has led to management proposals to make 28 staff redundant in six months, including three Unison shop stewards.

Striking against sackings at Barnsley College

Barnsley college was brought to a virtual standstill on Tuesday of last week by a strike by over 200 lecturers in the UCU union.

Unison court case against leading activist Yunus Bakhsh

Do you want to find out how your union is being run? Well, be prepared to stump up over £500. That is the dangerous conclusion of a court case brought by the Unison union against leading activist Yunus Bakhsh.

Demonstrating for the right to protest in Liverpool

Activists gathered in Liverpool city centre for a mass leafleting last Saturday in protest at police harassment of political stalls.

Success for Bolton campaign against academies

Members of the NUT teachers union in Bolton scored a significant victory last week in our ongoing campaign against academies in the town.

Strike at State bank of India in Britain

Bank workers in the Unite union at the State Bank of India have voted overwhelmingly to strike over pay, and their terms and conditions.

Unite merger on hold

There is a political crisis at the top of the Unite union with an emergency executive council last week agreeing to delay the full merger of the former T&G and Amicus sections for six months.

Signallers win concessions

Effective strike action last week by 450 rail signallers and signal supervisors in the RMT transport union in Scotland has won serious gains from their Network Rail employer. The workers were angry at the company’s plans to impose roster changes at short notice.

Stop attacks on our abortion rights

Abortion rights are under attack again – and we have less than a week to mobilise to defend them.

Solidarity on London Underground

The result of the ballot of 2,500 London Underground maintenance workers at the Metronet company was to be announced on Wednesday of this week. The workers were voting about striking over the victimisation of health and safety rep Andy Littlechild.

High court stops Metrobus strike

Management at Metrobus, part of the Go-Ahead transport group, went to the High Court just hours before last week’s strike. They won a ruling to stop 1,000 drivers in the Unite union taking their second day of strike action.

Unity can win on London's buses

The stakes are rising in the London bus workers' pay campaign, with around 5,000 workers striking last Friday and workers at two major companies voting overwhelmingly to join an even bigger strike on Wednesday of next week.

PFI hospitals risk collapse

The crisis is also threatening financial meltdown at new hospitals built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) as NHS trusts find it difficult to refinance their debts.

What can you get for £500bn?

Gordon Brown’s decision to gamble £500 billion of public money in an attempt to stem the crisis in the banking industry has stuck in the throats of millions.

Rich need help with their money

The bosses’ Financial Times newspaper’s How To Spend It supplement rushed out a special "bonus issue" this week, in a timely bid to celebrate the wealth of bankers and other City high flyers.

Radical voice gets a hearing

There has been a sharp rise in sales of Socialist Worker during the weeks of the economic crisis as people search for an alternative to the brutal chaos of the market.

How we pay for bosses’ crises

Pensions More than seven million people with pension schemes have lost an average of £20,000 this year. This is because their schemes are linked to the stock market.

42-day detention gets thrown out

One aspect of New Labour’s attacks on civil liberties crashed to the ground this week when the government was forced to abandon its plans for interning people for up to 42 days without charge.

De Menezes inquiry: officer admits to altering his notes

A senior police officer has admitted that he tampered with his notes about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian man shot seven times in the head by the police at Stockwell tube station in July 2005.

Hundreds of angry protesters storm the City

Hundreds of angry protesters storm the City

Joy at abolition of Sats tests in secondary schools

There will be jubilation in secondary schools at the announcement by schools secretary Ed Balls that Sats tests are to be scrapped with immediate effect. But there will be despair in primary schools where the tests are to be retained.


International

Desperate bid by Bush to rally support for Afghan war

George Bush is planning a "surge" of 10,000 US troops to Afghanistan in a desperate effort to turn the tide of defeat there.

Barack Obama rides high on wave of anger

Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are on course to transform the US political landscape.

Ecuador's new constitution reveals tensions in Latin America

On 28 September, more than 60 percent of Ecuador’s population voted to support a new radical "Bolivarian" constitution.

Thousands protest against Berlusconi in Italy

Last week Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi told people how they could stave off financial disaster – buy shares in two national energy companies – yet by the end of that day’s trading they had lost 7 percent and 8 percent in value.


Comment

Gordon Brown's bailout leaves the bankers in charge

The government has bought up the banks at the heart of the economic crisis. But it is refusing to take charge of them, preferring to leave them in the hands of the very bankers responsible for the turmoil in the first place.

Time to step off the roller coaster

The crash of 2008 is forcing governments to make previously unimaginable inroads into the private sector. Pumping capital into the banks by partly nationalising them – the key measure announced by the New Labour government in Britain last week – looks set to spread to the US and Europe.


Features

Resistance in recessions can still be successful

As the recession bites, the bosses, politicians and the media will lecture workers about how we must accept job losses, pay cuts, cuts in public services and other attacks to help the economy regain stability.

Battles to create a socialist society

The ruling class attempts to portray Karl Marx simply as a thinker – someone who analysed capitalism but did little to bring about revolution.

Tommie Smith interview: Olympic black power gesture of defiance

Mexico City, 16 October 1968. Two black athletes stand on the podium at the Olympic Games with their fists raised. They wear black gloves and keep their heads bowed throughout the US national anthem. (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carlos-Smith.jpg">» The famous image</a>)

The Market vs Marx

Eamonn Butler Is capitalism’s werewolf greed now devouring it? Some people think this is the inevitable collapse. A lot more don’t – but want to see more regulations and controls on the system. My view is that you should let the market economy get on with what it’s good at – creating and distributing goods and services – and that it is too much control and regulation that got us into this mess.

People Before Profit Charter wins new backers

The People Before Profit Charter is continuing to win new supporters across the trade union movement.

Challenging evictions and repossessions

More and more people risk losing their homes through repossession or eviction due to the looming recession.

‘We stood up against redundancies at our car plant, inspired other workers and gained a victory’

The fight against redundancies at the Jaguar car plant in Coventry in the early 1990s shows how workers’ collective strength can hold back the bosses’ plans.


Reviews

Prophecy engages the horror of occupation

The mainstream media continues to disregard the reality of the occupation of Iraq, but a new play Prophecy offers an insightful perspective on another US enforced catastrophe.

Burn After Reading

This film verges on spoof. Two scatty gym workers find the autobiography of a recently sacked FBI agent and attempt to bribe and blackmail him while selling the information to Russian intelligence.

Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970

This period from the end of the Second World War to the mid-1970s was one of great political tension and exceptional creativity that touched all aspects of life. This exhibition explores the design of both sides in the Cold War between the superpowers of Russia and the US.

The Off the Shelf Literature Festival

The Off the Shelf Literature Festival features readings by well-known authors, workshops, storytelling, competitions, and literary walks.

Matthew Herbert: music that punctures the illusions of the system

There’s Me And There’s You is the latest album from composer and jazz musician Matthew Herbert – and it’s his most explicitly political work to date.

Babylon: A call to arms in the fight against racism

Every so often a film comes along that so brilliantly captures an era that it can tell you more about how life was than any historical document. Babylon is one such film.


What We Think

Smoking out Tony Blair

New Labour’s love affair with big business goes back a lot further than Gordon Brown’s bailout for the banks.

Don’t miss the mood of resistance

Last Friday several hundred demonstrators in the City of London grabbed headlines in Britain and around the world.

We need a different system to end crisis

In what has been billed as the greatest comeback since Lazarus, Gordon Brown has been hailed as the architect of the latest international rescue plan for global capitalism.


Other Categories

Irene Bruegel 1945-2008

Socialists and activists everywhere will be saddened to learn of the untimely death of Irene Bruegel at the age of 62.

Tim: 'I've just been mugged'

Letters

Police row reveals the racism of the state The high levels of racism inside the Metropolitan Police, exposed by the Black Police Officers Association when they said that people from ethnic minorities should not join the force, comes as no surprise to socialists.



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