Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2132

Dated: 20 Dec 2008




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Greece: the struggle continues

The anger that exploded in Greece following the police killing of 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos is still raging.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Get the Defend Council Housing newspaper

The new Defend Council Housing (DCH) newspaper will be available soon.

Tenants’ anger in Winchester

Council tenants in Winchester, southern England, are battling a major attack on council housing.

Challenging the decimation of Wirral council’s services

Around 300 workers and service users demonstrated outside Wallasey Town Hall in the Wirral, Merseyside, on Wednesday of last week against a drastic series of closures being proposed by the council.

Tony Benn in Chesterfield rallies support for resistance

Tony Benn addressed a rally in Chesterfield last Saturday – for the first time since he stopped being the local MP in 2001.

US factory occupation shows way to beat attacks

Workers who took over and occupied their Chicago factory have won a startling victory.

Reports round-up

Strike looming at Newcastle airport Around 120 baggage handlers, ramp staff and aircraft loaders at Newcastle Airport have voted almost unanimously in favour of strike action to defend jobs.

Jobs attack in Merthyr Tydfil

Supporters of the People Before Profit Charter held a meeting in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales on Wednesday of last week over job losses.

Where now for the public sector pay fight?

"Public sector workers: brace yourselves for the pay squeeze", a headline in the Financial Times newspaper warned recently.

Strikes planned at ENEHL

Unison union stewards in East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL), voted overwhelmingly to resume industrial action in January, in a dispute over trade union rights and the victimisation of union activist John McDermott.

Low paid workers to take on Chemilines

Around 100 low paid workers at the Chemilines pharmaceuticals company in Wembley, north west London, are set to strike over wages on Tuesday of this week.

New lapdancing laws - a step in the right direction

Recent changes in the licensing laws for lap dancing clubs should be welcomed, albeit cautiously. The clubs have been reclassified as "sex encounter establishments" and can no longer pretend to be simply a cafe or a restaurant.

Poznan talks offer little hope on climate change

Anyone who hoped that the recent international climate treaty meeting in Poznan, Poland, would come up with a solution to climate change will be severely disappointed.

Bus drivers’ fury after their terrifying ordeal

"I was terrified – I thought that I was going to be shot like Jean Charles De Menezes."

Back the battle to save the post

Up to 2,000 postal workers at seven sorting offices in England are set to strike on Friday of this week against the closures of their mail centres.

Fight for jobs at the Herald

Management at Scotland’s Herald group of newspapers have told workers that all staff will be made redundant and told to reapply for their jobs – but there will be around 30 fewer positions available.

Afghan occupation is ‘corrupt from top to bottom’

Kim Howells, the former foreign office minster responsible for Afghanistan, has described the occupation of the country as corrupt "from top to bottom".

Newham strike against academy

A strike by around 50 teachers at the Royal Docks School in Newham, east London, closed down the school on Wednesday of last week. The teachers, members of the NUT union, were striking over plans to shut the school and reopen it as an academy.

Pleural plaques delay condemned

The construction union Ucatt has criticised the failure of the government to outline any plans to deal with the issue of pleural plaques.

George Bush learns that there's no shoes like good shoes

In the end all it took was a well-aimed shoe. US president George Bush faced his final humiliation when an Iraqi journalist pelted him with his size 10s during the president’s "farewell trip" to the country he destroyed.

Kirklees Unison vote to strike over single status

Kirklees Unison union members in West Yorkshire have responded magnificently to the employer’s threat to sack and re-hire the whole workforce of 12,500.

Verdict shows police lied over Jean Charles

by Simon Basketter

Bus drivers striking for a break

Some 250 drivers at First Hampshire and Dorset, based in Southampton, are set to hold two one-day strikes in the run-up to Christmas, with a third strike set for the new year.

Aberdeen workers vote to accept improved offer

Workers at First Bus in Aberdeen have voted by 304 to 64 to accept an improved pay offer of 4.5 percent plus a one-off payment of £100 and full back pay to 1 April.

300 protest against the BNP in Brighton

The fascist British National Party (BNP) was thoroughly routed on Wednesday of last week when 300 people from Brighton & Hove shattered attempts to launch a BNP branch in the city.

Keep fighting to end SATs

The government’s long-awaited independent review of the primary curriculum, which was published last week, will disappoint anyone hoping to see an end to the hated SATs tests.

De Menezes quotes

"I heard them say, ‘This is definitely our man’."Charlie 2, one of the firearms officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes, claiming that surveillance officers identified Jean Charles as a target

Stop the privatisation of East Thames Buses

Bus workers in the Unite union have vowed to oppose plans unveiled by Transport for London (TfL) to privatise East Thames Buses, London’s only publicly-owned bus operator.

Stagecoach end strike

Drivers at Stagecoach Bluebird in north east Scotland have called off planned action after accepting a revised pay offer that takes basic pay to £9 an hour. The deal is a slight improvement on management’s previous offer.

Ballot at First Bus in Bradford

Some 500 bus drivers employed by First Bus in Bradford were voting on a revised pay offer as Socialist Worker went to press. If the offer is rejected the workers will strike for three days from Wednesday of this week.

London bus workers to lobby mayor over pay

London bus drivers are to lobby the mayor’s Question Time on Wednesday of this week as part of the ongoing campaign to win equal and higher pay across all London bus companies.

International appeal in defence of the South Korean Candlelight Movement

We would like to express our concern at the arrest of leading members of the South Korean Candlelight movement against the import of US beef.

Egyptian protesters jailed

An emergency security court in Egypt has jailed 22 textile workers and their supporters for their role in the uprising in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla al-Kubra. A further 27 were acquitted.

Lively scenes outside Chemilines factory as workers stage mass picket

Some 120 mostly Asian women workers mounted a mass picket this morning at the Chemilines pharmaceuticals factory in north west London on the first of three strike days over pay.

Fight Labour’s plan to sell off Royal Mail

Up to 50,000 postal workers jobs were put at risk yesterday after the unelected Secretary of State for Business Lord Peter Mandelson announced that he plans to sell off parts of the Royal Mail.

Greece's hot winter of protest continues

Mass protests and strikes are continuing in Greece, two weeks after the police killing of 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. The mass movement that has taken to the streets has intensified the pressure on the right wing New Democracy government. Alexandros’s killing has become a focus for all the general discontent in society.

Occupation at US university

We have just occupied New School University.

Greece: anti-racist march another sign of the anger

Over 2,000 people took to the streets of Athens on Saturday 20 December against the Greek state’s attacks on migrants. The march was a sign of the deepening anger in the country against the right wing New Democracy government.

Death notice: Gary Kelly

We regret to report the death of our friend and comrade Gary Kelly.

Stop the slaughter in Gaza: protest at 2pm on Sunday 28 December

Israeli F-16 bombers are raining down missiles upon Gaza, one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed already.

Hundreds killed in Israel’s murderous attack on Gaza

Israel has launched a barbaric attack on the Gaza Strip killing over 200 people, including scores of women and children. Some 750 people have been wounded.

Thousands of demonstrators block road outside Israeli embassy in London

More than 2,000 people occupied the street outside the Israeli embassy in West London today to protest at the bombing of the Gaza Strip.

Photos of demonstrations against Israeli attacks on Gaza

Preston rallies against Israel's onslaught

Around 450 people braved a cold evening in Preston on Sunday to demonstrate against the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The demonstration was called at less than 24 hours notice and organisers were delighted at the turn-out.

Glasgow and Edinburgh show their solidarity with Gaza

Over 500 people attended a vigil in Glasgow yesterday as part of a 24-hour response to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza coordinated by a range of groups.


International

United fight for education in Ireland

Over 120,000 parents, teachers, and school and university students have joined protests against the Irish government’s cuts to education.

Italian general strike rocks right

A general strike by millions of workers in the CGIL union federation against Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s right wing government on Friday of last week was a big success.

Dubai: free market monument wavers

It was dubbed the sparkling jewel of the Persian Gulf – and held up as proof of the wonders of the free market.


Comment

Labour’s benefits plans hark back to workhouses

James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, is a modern version of Charles Dickens’ Mr Bumble – hypocritical, self-righteous and disdainful of the "undeserving poor".

Fights, not concessions, can save workers’ jobs

Unemployment in Britain was set to pass two million over the Christmas period. As the economic crisis bites, it brings more announcements of job losses and reasons for people to be fearful for their jobs.

A year of revolt and recession

The New Year will begin with a sense of fear gripping both the top and bottom of society. Working people across the globe fear for their jobs, pensions and services. At the top there is fear that the economic crisis is entering freefall and will lead to widespread resistance.


Features

The First Crusade: for faith and plunder

The princes, knights, peasants and pilgrims who answered the pope’s call for the First Crusade in 1095 were driven by many different motivations, writes Conor Kostick

The route of the First Crusade

Scotland’s solidarity with Republican Spain

"If I don’t go out and fight fascism, I’ll just have to wait and fight it here." That was how John Patsy McEwan explained his decision to leave Dundee to go and fight in the Spanish Civil War – alongside hundreds of others.

Greece in revolt

The current struggle in Greece is the latest in a long line of battles against different governments. Both the centre-left Pasok party and the right wing New Democracy party have tried to attack workers’ rights – and they have always faced resistance.

Voices from the Greek struggle

Yiannis Theoharis Yiannis Theoharis is a member of the steering committee of the union of workers of the Intracom telecoms company in Athens

1973: the student uprising that drove out the colonels in Greece

One of the high points of resistance in Greece is the Athens Polytechnic uprising of 1973, which helped to sweep away the right wing dictatorship that ruled the country.

Kenyan asylum seeker: ‘I fear for my life if I am deported’

Steve, an asylum seeker living in Manchester, fears for his life if he is sent back to Kenya.

New Labour’s asylum policies are cruel and unjust

The cruel hypocrisy of the government’s approach to asylum was driven home last week as home secretary Jacqui Smith attempted to use the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe to tighten asylum laws.

Video of Adrian Mitchell at the Royal Albert Hall in 1965

Anti-Vietnam war poetry reading

Video of Adrian Mitchell at Marxism 2008 event

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Reviews

Free Christmas treats

Supertoys exhibition This exhibition looks at the lack of control that children and parents have over the manufacturing of their toys.

Christmas books: tour de forces for teenagers and toddlers at Xmas

For teenagers, few write better than Malorie Blackman. Noughts And Crosses is an original, thought-provoking, emotionally charged story of love, racism and betrayal. The fourth book in the series, Double Cross continues the story.

Che: the inspiring life of a vibrant revolutionary

Sympathetic cinema portraits of great revolutionary figures are rare. So this new film – by Hollywood director Steven Sonderbergh – about Che Guevara, which is released on 1 January, is extremely welcome.


What We Think

Bernard Madoff: a Wall Street crook

The German playwright Bertolt Brecht once asked, "What is the crime of robbing a bank compared to the crime of owning a bank?"

Lisbon treaty: Irish can say no to neoliberal Europe again

Next October the Irish people will be asked to vote once again on the European Union’s (EU) Lisbon Treaty. This is despite the referendum held in June this year, when 1.6 million people turned out and rejected the treaty by a margin of over 110,000 votes.

A split ruling class with no answer to the crisis

Gordon Brown has been stung by remarks from Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, who described Britain’s response to the economic crisis as "crass Keynesianism".


Other Categories

Adrian Mitchell 1932-2008

Adrian Mitchell died at four in the morning of 20 December. He had been suffering from pneumonia and while in care in hospital had a heart attack from which he didn't recover. He was 76.

Harold Pinter 1930-2008

Harold Pinter, who died on Christmas Eve, aged 78, was, arguably, the greatest English playwright of the 20th -century. From early dramas, such as The Birthday Party (1958) and The Caretaker (1960), through such remarkable works as The Homecoming (1965) and No Man’s Land (1975), to the powerful One for the Road (1984), his theatre was startlingly original, breathtakingly poetic, disconcertingly ambiguous and profoundly humane.

Tim: accurate targetting

Letters

Solidarity at Woolworths Having heard that Woolworths workers were facing the dole, we decided to shift our Socialist Worker paper sale last week to the Woolworths store in Camberwell, south London.



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