Dated: 15 Nov 2008
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Workers in Britain are threatened by a mass cull of jobs on a scale not seen since the grim days of Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s Tory government.
Around 100 people came to a Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) gig in Stafford on Friday of last week organised by community website <a href="http://StaffordForum.com">» StaffordForum.com</a>.
Around 500 people attended the fifth annual Historical Materialism conference in central London last weekend.
The national executive of the PCS civil service workers’ union last week voted to suspend a strike by 270,000 members over pay, which was due to take place on Monday.
The public sector pay fight suffered a serious setback last week when the NUT teachers’ union decided not to call further strikes over pay. This was good news for the government and employers.
If you’ve got money maybe you can buy some extra life. If you haven’t you’re only worth what the NHS can afford. That will be the effect of the government’s decision last week to allow cancer patients to pay for extra drugs without forfeiting NHS treatment.
Around 200 people protested in Manchester last Saturday against the killing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the deportation of Congolese asylum seekers.
Both the Labour government and the Tories are holding out the carrot of tax cuts, and promising these will be targeted at those most in need.
Will increased public spending get us out of the recession?
London bus workers in the Unite union were set to take their campaign to City Hall on Wednesday of this week.
Last week saw a serious setback for the movement to challenge Gordon Brown’s public sector pay limits as the leaderships of two big unions decided against calling nationwide strike action that their members had voted for.
Campaigners fear that the government is preparing to hand the running of a bank account used by four million pensioners and other claimants to a private firm.
Scores of Labour MPs who are funded by trade unions voted against legislation aimed at easing the Tory anti-union laws last week.
Rising job losses are again stalking one of the areas hardest hit in the recessions of the 1930s and 1980s.
Legal aid, a crucial service that thousands of ordinary people rely on, is coming under attack.
Students will march on the government’s department for innovation and skills on Friday of this week to protest against the massive budget shortfall in higher education.
The GMB, Unite and Community unions have launched an initiative to save jobs and services in York.
Supporters of the People Before Profit Charter, which puts forward ten demands to improve the lives of working people in the face of economic turmoil, are mobilising for a number of important events.
Across the globe the scale of the economic crisis is becoming clearer every day as more job losses, factory closures and cutbacks are announced.
The Strasbourg protest will begin with a counter-summit bringing together anti-war activists, writers and politicians from around the world. It will start on Thursday 2 April.
The government’s latest bizarre solution to the housing crisis is to consider taking away yet more rights from council tenants.
Up to four in ten households are on waiting lists for council housing in some parts of England.
Schools Against Racism And Fascism launch success Around 300 people came to the launch of Schools Against Racism And Fascism, a joint initiative between Love Music Hate Racism and the National Union of Teachers (NUT), on Friday of last week.
Members of the GMB and Unison unions in the London Fire Authority have called a lobby of a meeting of their employer that will consider cuts in the organisation’s budget next week.
Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members from all parts of the country will hold a rally and lobby of MPs at the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday of this week.
Around 80 people attended the national conference of the Left Alternative in central London last Saturday.
Members of the Amicus section of the Unite union are preparing for a crucial election for general secretary.
Some 200 workers at the Appledore shipyard in north Devon struck on Friday of last week and Monday of this week over pay.
The Media Workers Against the War group has organised an important half-day conference titled Under Siege: Islam, War And The Media in central London this Saturday.
Details of a deal between management at British Telecom and the CWU union over the future of the company’s pension scheme were emerging as Socialist Worker went to press.
Workers at the Dover Harbour Board are set to demonstrate this Saturday and to strike next Tuesday to demand that their jobs are not outsourced.
Two Unite union bus reps are calling on other trade unionists and bus workers to support them when they appear in Westminster magistrates’ court in December. The case relates to an incident that took place after the demonstration that launched the London bus workers’ campaign.
The UCU union held a special pay conference last Saturday for lecturers and researchers in universities. Delegates voted overwhelmingly to prepare for a major pay battle in 2009.
A growing wave of protests and occupations continues to sweep Italy in opposition to the government’s programme of savage education cuts.
Ireland Ireland’s biggest union Siptu has announced a strike of Aer Lingus workers for next week over the airline’s plans to make 74 million euros worth of cuts.
A Nato airstrike killed scores of civilians at a wedding party near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan last week.
The European anti-war movement is calling for mass protests at next year’s Nato summit in Strasbourg, France, including an international demonstration and a counter-summit.
The surest thing to emerge from Labour’s surprise victory last week in the Glenrothes by-election is that Alex Salmond doesn’t walk on water any more. The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and first minister of Scotland has dominated politics north of the border for the past few years.
George Bush and Tony Blair – leading architects of a war that has killed more than a million people in Iraq – appear side by side. Bush wears a stars-and-stripes lapel badge, a symbol of belligerent nationalism and the self-declared "war on terror". Blair wears a poppy.
Millions of people around the globe celebrated last week as Barack Obama won the US presidential election, turfing George Bush’s hated regime out of the White House.
The widespread exhilaration at Barack Obama’s victory will be tempered by fear that his administration will not make the radical changes that so many are demanding.
Some of the names being touted for Barack Obama’s cabinet show the twin pressures faced by the new president. Many people will find little comfort in his selections.
Jim Baldridge – Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Baltimore ‘I went with a busload of union members from Maryland to Richmond, Virginia, to support the Obama campaign.
Does the election of a black president mean that the US is now a society that has moved beyond bigotry? Certainly the election delivered racism a tremendous blow.
‘The common reaction of black people in Britain to Obama’s election is that it’s a big poke in the eye to racists. There’s a euphoric feeling among many people.
‘I was so excited that I stayed up most of the night to see if Obama could win. But some time after three I nodded off.
Last week we saw how neoclassical economists argued that "free markets" would lead to a stable situation where everything was shared out as fairly as possible.
When Gordon Brown condemned excessive bonuses, perhaps he meant the £10 million bonus given to consultancy firm CLM last year.
The Bank of England announced a record interest rate cut of 1.5 percent last Thursday – cutting interest rates to their lowest level since 1955.
On Tuesday of last week – the night of the US elections – Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, ordered an attack on the Gaza Strip designed to scupper a truce that gave a welcome respite to the suffering of Palestinians.
Abby Kerr from south London died recently at the age of 36 from a cancer she had resisted for three years.
Engaging with Obama I work at Liverpool University and on Wednesday of last week I was due to teach a class of 100 students about poverty in 19th century Britain.