Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2125

Dated: 01 Nov 2008



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Capitalism is bankrupt

Until A few weeks ago, supporters of free market capitalism were confident enough to proclaim that their system was the only way that the world could be organised. Now their certainties have vanished.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Kurdish protest in Sheffield

Asylum seekers speak out about persecution and a life on the edge

The government and the mainstream press are attempting to scapegoat asylum seekers in Britain. But there is a stark contrast between the lifestyle the media allege they have and the reality.

Asylum worker: ‘The government treats vulnerable people like criminals’

‘The Home Office isn’t a just or fair organisation. The law is constantly changing, which makes it almost impossible to work with.

Anger as government blocks pro-choice amendments

Women in Britain had a chance to win improved abortion rights for the first time in 18 years last week. But the plans were disgracefully scuppered by a diktat from New Labour that blocked MPs from even debating the measures.

Labour is still cosying up to the ultra-rich

Gordon Brown’s latest answer to the recession is to spend his way out of it. Having defended the dogma of the free market for the past ten years, he has now shifted to talk of state intervention and Keynesian economics.

The police protect the state

According to "C12", one of the police officers who killed Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell on 22 July 2005, "Everything I have ever trained for – threat assessment, seeing threats, perceiving threats and acting on threats – proved wrong."

Tenth annual march for those who died in police custody

Reports round-up

Demand justice for Jose Stalin The Unison union at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) in central London is demanding its members are balloted for strikes over the suspension of branch chair Jose Stalin.

Death notice: Abby Kerr

Socialist Worker was sorry to hear of the death of socialist activist Abby Kerr. We will print a full obituary next week. For funeral details phone Moira on 07961 592 556 or Helen on 07905 212 297.

Fights, not deals can save workers' jobs

There’s a right way and a wrong way for unions to confront job losses—and this was highlighted last week by the crisis in the manufacturing industry.

Journalists protest at police use of anti-terror laws

Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), instigated a meeting on Tuesday with Vernon Coaker, the minister of state for security, counter-terrorism and policing.

Resist attempt to whip up racism

One danger that trade unionists can face in a time of recession is the argument that migrant workers are to blame.

Stop the War tour packs them in

The Stop the War Coalition World Against War national tour has been a big success.

Karen Reissmann's dismisser complains of unfair dismissal

The manager who sacked Unison union activist and nurse Karen Reissmann last year is now taking action herself for unfair dismissal.

What’s Gone Wrong in Unison conference

Activists on the left in the Unison union have organised a national conference, What’s Gone Wrong in Unison.

Huge vote for strikes over pay at Appledore Shipyard

Workers at the Appledore Shipyard in north Devon have voted to take strike action over pay.

Health activist appeals against dismissal

Leading Unison activist Yunus Bakhsh is appealing against his sacking by Northumbia Tyne & Wear Health Trust. The appeal is now set for Wednesday 3 December—some six months after his dismissal.

Standing up to the 'blame culture' at Castrol

Some 46 Castrol tanker drivers in the Unite union struck on Thursday of last week in defence of a dismissed worker.

Sheffield activists may challenge academy result

Campaigners against academy schools in Sheffield are considering whether to challenge a "consultation ballot" that took place in the city over plans to turn Parkwood School into an academy.

Council says ‘Reapply for your own job’

Hammersmith & Fulham council in west London has effectively sacked its entire workforce and demanded that 4,283 employees reapply for their own jobs on worse conditions.

US raid into Syria shows tension

A US military attack on the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal has exposed growing divisions among the "coalition of the willing" behind the invasion of Iraq.

Scottish council unions call for ‘no’ vote

Union leaders have urged 150,000 Scottish council workers to vote no in the pay ballot that began last week.

Firefighters challenging increase in deaths at work

Firefighters across the country are building for a lobby of parliament on Wednesday 12 November to campaign for significant improvements to training, safety and staffing for the fire service.

Anger at London fire brigades job cull plan

Unison union members in the London Fire Brigade are to hold a consultative ballot on strike action against job cuts.

Protesting for pensions

Over 1,000 pensioners and trade unionists lobbied parliament on Wednesday of last week demanding a decent state pension for all.

Battle is on for the future of Unite

There is a major fight underway for the future leadership and direction of Britain’s biggest union, Unite.

A storm of protest is sweeping Europe

Suddenly Europe is aflame. There are mass demonstrations of workers on the streets, students in revolt in the colleges and schools, and pensioners are joining a movement to defend the welfare state they created.

Opposing the Nazis in Stoke

People in Stoke-on-Trent have voted to scrap the city’s system of elected mayors.

Stagecoach Bluebird bus workers set to strike

Around 480 bus workers in the Unite union at Stagecoach Bluebird in north east Scotland are set to strike over pay on Thursday of this week.

Time’s right to give bankers a fright

This Friday is Halloween—and student and trade union groups will be protesting in cities across the country against the horror that capitalism has brought upon the world.

Critical time for bus workers

Unite union activists representing bus workers across London met on Friday of last week for a crucial discussion on how to take their pay campaign forward.

Socialists offer an alternative vision

One effect of the economic crisis is that many people are becoming interested in alternatives to capitalism—and are engaging with socialist ideas about how to transform the system.

Save Crewe mail centre

As Royal Mail prepared to announce profits of over £177 million, around 500 postal workers and supporters marched in Crewe last Saturday to demand the local mail centre is kept open.

Last few days of NUT ballot

There are just a few days of voting left in the NUT teachers’ union’s ballot for strike action over pay.

Labour victimises disabled claimants with attack on incapacity benefit

The New Labour government has brought in changes to disability benefits this week that will make it even harder for sick and disabled people to claim benefits.

Civil service pay strikes to hit Gordon Brown hard

Monday 10 November will see a national strike by around 270,000 civil service workers in the PCS union. This will be the latest stage in the battle of public sector workers against Gordon Brown’s pay curbs.

Meeting discusses trade union unity in face of recession

The London region of the UCU education union initiated a meeting last week to discuss organising a joint trade union response to the recession.

Success in Hackney

Following the recent successful London-wide rally hosted by the People Before Profit Charter, supporters in Hackney, east London, along with Turkish and Kurdish activists, called an organising meeting for the charter.

People Before Profit Charter gets strong backing

People Before Profit Charter supporters in Southend held a successful "freeze-in" last Saturday highlighting the plight of pensioners and calling for a windfall tax on energy companies.

Stock market fall wipes £157 billion off pensions

The plummeting stock markets are having a devastating effect on the pensions of working people.

Questions and answers on the developing crisis

Can public spending solve the crisis? Many economists and politicians – Gordon Brown included – are calling for major public spending projects to stave off the worst effects of the recession. This is sometimes dubbed a "Keynesian" solution.

Halloween protesters ‘bury capitalism’ by Canary Wharf

Protesters staged a mock funeral of capitalism outside the headquarters of the failed Lehman Brothers bank in Canary Wharf on a bitterly cold Halloween night.


International

Mass strikes and protests across Italy

Up to a million students, teachers, lecturers, school students and their supporters demonstrated through Rome on Thursday 30 October, as parliament approved laws introduced by Silvio Berlusconi’s government to slash education funding and to axe thousands of teaching posts. Over 90 percent of the country’s schools were shut.


Comment

Thinking through the current crisis

There have been a flood of pieces in the international press recently about how the financial crash has meant Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes – reduced to intellectual pariahs in the heyday of neoliberalism – are back in fashion.


Features

Workers in struggle: the other America

The enormous enthusiasm that surrounds Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign is an expression of the desire of millions to see change.

Discovering the source of wealth

Adam Smith is considered to be the founder of modern economics. He was a pivotal figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, a period of intellectual and scientific creativity that swept across Scotland in the mid to late 18th century.

The state is the strong arm of capitalism

Capitalism is a uniquely crisis prone system. It lurches from boom to bust and back again, and produces wars and revolutions with a regularity previously unknown in history.

The workers of the world

Stock markets across the world plunged last week as financial institutions began to face up to the reality of a new global downturn. Revenues, profits and economic growth are all going to plunge as the recession begins to bite.


Reviews

In Prison My Whole Life

This documentary focuses on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther party organiser who has been on death row since 1981.

The Dying of Today

A stranger visits a barber. He has, he says, "bad news" to impart – in fact the news is so bad that the adjective "bad" barely suffices. For 70 minutes the two men talk.

It Happened Here: East London’s Landscape of Struggle

A new photograph exhibition celebrates east London’s rich political history and the individuals who took a stand for their rights and to improve their quality of life.

Take Me To The River: US South’s soul sounds that knew no bounds

At a time when some racist Southern US states went so far as to ban inter-racial chess games in public spaces, something subversive was happening down in Tennessee.

Orwell’s Animal Farm takes the stage

George Orwell’s "fairy story" Animal Farm stands as one of the most powerful indictments of Stalinist Russia.


What We Think

Appalling injustice for Chagos islanders

British justice last week delivered another blow against the Chagos Islanders when the law lords voted by three to two against their right to return home.

Can Gordon Brown bounce?

There is talk of a renewed "Brown bounce" ahead of next week’s Glenrothes by-election as polls show increasing support for Gordon Brown’s handling of the economic crisis.

Why is there no cash to bail out the planet?

Our rulers are using the global recession as an excuse to cut back on measures to tackle climate change.


Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: Freeze profits, not pensioners

Letters

Letters



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