Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2131

Dated: 13 Dec 2008

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‘Why are the bankers bailed out when we are left with nothing?’

Christmas was ruined for thousands of families two years ago when the Farepak savings scheme collapsed. The HBOS bank pulled the plug on the scheme’s parent company – and 120,000 people lost a total of £38 million in savings.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Jean Charles de Menezes jury reject police case as family say coroner failed

Key parts of the police account of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes are untrue according to the jury at the inquest into his death.

Councils’ privatisation frenzy is gathering pace

Barnet council in north London is considering privatising all its basic services, including children’s services – and its plans are provoking opposition.

Is everything for sale in Somerset council’s venture?

A possible sign of things to come in the councils is the Southwest One project in the south west.

Send cheques for Karen Reissmann’s campaign

A legal fund has been launched for Karen Reissmann, the Manchester mental health nurse who was sacked for speaking out against privatisation.

Hospital protest in Bishop Auckland

Over 800 people gathered in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, last Saturday to demonstrate against proposals to close the local hospital’s accident and emergency department.

Chemilines set for three strike dates

Some 78 GMB union members at pharmaceuticals company Chemilines have voted unanimously for three days of strike action over pay.

Tube shift workers call for pay parity

Shift workers responsible for fault-finding and maintaining the electrical supply on London Underground took their second 36-hour strike this week.

Unite health workers’ day of action

Thousands of health workers in the Unite union held a work-to-rule on Wednesday of last week to protest against the government’s three-year below inflation pay deal.

Abortion Rights AGM: Pro-choice demos build campaign

Around 90 delegates attended the annual general meeting of Abortion Rights in London on Saturday of last week.

Striking out against school privatisations

Teachers in the NUT union at the Royal Docks school in Newham, east London, are set to strike on Wednesday of this week against proposals to transform the school into an academy.

Lecturers’ union wins recognition at Nottingham Trent

The UCU lecturers’ union at Nottingham Trent university has won a new union recognition agreement after three months of struggle.

Staff and students at Birkbeck College demand end to poverty pay

Birkbeck College, an evening university for part-time students in London, saw its first protest for many years on Wednesday of last week.

Labour’s nasty attacks on benefit claimants

Labour and Tory politicians have been falling over each other to prove that they are the toughest on those who claim welfare benefits.

Is there an underclass of welfare dependents?

The conviction of Karen Matthews for kidnapping her daughter, Shannon, has led politicians and the media to denounce the supposed "underclass" of benefit claimants that exists in Britain.

Government uses Queen’s Speech to signal new draconian legislation

Alongside the attacks on welfare, a number of other bills announced in last week’s Queen’s speech effectively dispel any notion that Labour is making a turn to the left.

Saving art ‘for the nation’: The art of robbery

If you have visited the National Galleries in London or Edinburgh recently you will probably have noticed the huge "Campaign for the Titians".

Setback for the BNP in Hastings

Anti-fascists in Hastings delivered a blow to the British National Party (BNP) on Monday of this week, when their pressure forced the cancellation of an event the fascists had organised.

Yunus Bakhsh starts appeal

Health worker Yunus Bakhsh began his appeal last week against the decision by his employers to sack him.

PCS wrong to accept civil service pay deal

There is anger among members of the PCS civil service workers’ union after their leaders voted to accept a national agreement in a long-running dispute over pay.

Dover strikes suspended as boss forced into talks

Three strikes that were planned for this week by Unite union members at the Dover Harbour Board (DHB) have been called off pending talks.

Buoyant and determined on Aberdeen bus picket lines

Not a single bus left the First Bus depot in Aberdeen last Saturday as drivers, mechanics and cleaners who are members of the Unite union struck in support of a 5 percent pay claim.

Jean Charles de Menezes: Shot, then slandered and still no justice

On 22 July 2005, Jean Charles de Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder with hollow tip bullets by police who had followed him on to a tube train at Stockwell, south London.

Greek mass movement rises up against the state

The furious response to the police killing of a 15 year old boy in Athens last Saturday has seen mass protests, strikes and student walkouts rock Greece's right wing government.

Stop the G20 in London in April

The next meeting of the G20 group of nations will take place in London on 2 April.

Taliban ‘slowly encircling Kabul’

The Nato-led occupation of Afghanistan is coming under severe threat, with Afghan resistance forces led by the Taliban threatening to encircle the capital city Kabul.

Pension lifeboat is under threat

A government scheme to guarantee the pensions of millions of workers is in danger of collapsing because of the huge growth in corporate pension shortfalls.

Mail centres vote to go on strike at Christmas

Postal workers in seven mail centres have voted to take one-day strikes in the run-up to Christmas.

A World in Crisis: Debating socialist solutions as the recession bites

The Socialist Workers Party hosted A World In Crisis: the Socialist Solution, a special one-day conference on Saturday of last week.

Bank workers: ‘We must fight these job losses’

The bosses, pundits, press and politicians have all had their say on the credit crunch. The one voice that hasn’t being heard is that of the workers in the banking industry.

Lenders use ‘charging orders’ to grab people’s homes

People who have taken out unsecured loans are increasingly finding that their homes are under threat – thanks to the scandal of moneylenders going to the courts to obtain "charging orders" on their loans.

Thousands march to demand climate action

Around 10,000 people marched in London last Saturday at a demonstration called by the Campaign Against Climate Change. The march was young, noisy – and prepared to take direct action.

Three-day strike planned at First Bus in Bradford

More than 500 bus drivers employed by First Bus in Bradford are set to strike for three days from Wednesday of next week in a dispute over pay.

London Pay campaign: busworkers must seize the mood to fight

A mixed pattern of ballot results at three London bus companies last week shows the urgency of calling new strike dates and building a network of activists that can take the campaign forward.


Soaring job losses intensify crisis in US

Workers in the US are facing mounting attacks on their pay, jobs, pensions and services as the recession grows ever deeper.

Worries for car workers

The US Congress and the White House seem set to finalise an emergency $15 billion short-term loan to keep the General Motors (GM), Chrysler and Ford car companies afloat.

Strange alliances in Thailand’s ruling class

The Thai ruling class is seriously split. The royalist People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is set against supporters of the government and populist leader Thaksin Shinawatra.


Why we need to get the Nazis out of workplaces

Last month’s leak of a list of British National Party (BNP) members and supporters has raised the issue of what we should do about fascists in our workplaces and communities.

Damian Green, the police and civil liberties

How should socialists react to the immense furore over the police arrest of Tory frontbencher Damian Green and search of his parliamentary office and home?


Why read Lenin today?

About 40 years ago, an ageing relative gave me a leaflet from 1925. Under the heading "Lenin Lives!" it urged us to "come en masse" to New York’s Madison Square Garden for a Sunday afternoon event.

France: crisis and revolt

The neoliberal government of French president Nicolas Sarkozy has confronted the economic crisis with a mixture of denial, hypocrisy and above all a determination to make workers pay.

Alan Krivine on France’s new Anti-Capitalist Party

Alain explained that the new party has emerged out of a period of consultations involving some 400 local committees across France.

Berlin’s days of hope turned into despair

The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) betrayed the ideas it had fought for for over 50 years when it decided to support the slaughter of the First World War.


Building Biographies: Architecture in Scotland 2006-2008

The is the fourth biennial survey of architecture in Scotland. The exhibition comprises film, photography and models to focus on eight recently completed Scottish buildings of note – mainly in the Highlands and Islands – alongside six buildings from mainland Europe.

Press the * then say Hello

Dinu Li’s photographic portraits capture people from many of Manchester’s different migrant communities using some of the city’s phonebooth shops to call family and friends abroad.

Justice For All: The legacy of the Black Panthers

The December edition of the regular news DVD by the activist video collective is out now.

Non-fiction books for Christmas

The Myth of Mars and Venus – by Deborah Cameron Cameron’s book demolishes the notion that men and women have naturally different ways of using language – "the myth of Mars and Venus".

John Milton: poetic genius who was at the heart of revolution

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of John Milton’s birth the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library mounted a splendid exhibition entitled Citizen Milton.

What We Think

Crazy competition over car production

There were three million unsold cars sitting in storage or salesrooms across the US last month. Even before the current crisis, car production has far superseded the level of sales needed to achieve the scale of profit the companies demand.

Unjust show trials at Guantanamo

Five men accused of connection with the 9/11 attacks of 2001 emerged this week from the isolation of the Guantanamo detention centre to stand before a military commission. Each entered a guilty plea and demanded the death sentence. Their spokesperson Khaled Sheikh Mohammed had been subjected to torture.

Western intervention at root of Zimbabwe’s disaster

The British government’s hypocrisy over the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe is jaw-dropping. Gordon Brown has said that "enough is enough" and that the United Nations security council should meet to discuss action against Robert Mugabe’s government.

Other Categories

Tim: toxic pigs


We need the Irish spirit over here Tens of thousands of teachers, parents and students protested in Dublin last Saturday against the Irish government’s plans to make cutbacks in the education budget.

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