Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2143

Dated: 21 Mar 2009




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Don’t let capitalism wreck our future

A generation of young people is growing up facing a future of mounting debt and unemployment.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Jane Loftus: ‘We need a far more determined fight’

Comrades,

Angry tube workers pledge to resist job losses and stand up for the service

Tube workers packed into an RMT union mass meeting in London on Thursday of last week. They are preparing to take on London Underground bosses.

Dundee occupiers at Prisme are fighting for us all

The inspirational occupation of the Prisme packaging factory in Dundee is winning huge support from the people of the city and far beyond.

Love theatre - hate stereotypes

There will be a second protest this Saturday against the National Theatre’s play England People Very Nice, which presents a series of crude and racist caricatures of ethnic minorities in London’s East End.

Two days’ action at rail company

Around 100 train conductors at London Midland depots in Bletchley, Watford and Northampton struck on Friday of last week and Monday of this week in a row over Sunday working.

Airwave workers strike to save jobs

Workers in the CWU union at the emergency services tele­coms network company, Airwave, struck on Friday of last week and Monday of this week.

Stop the jobs cull in abattoirs

Hundreds of abattoir workers in Anglesey and Flintshire will take industrial action over plans to impose 21 redundancies.

Schools round-up

Head sparks ballot at academy Teachers in Walthamstow Academy, which is run by the United Learning Trust, are balloting for industrial action over alleged bullying by the head teacher.

Network rail rejects action

The result of the TSSA union’s ballot of its 7,000 members at Network Rail to defend the Railway Pension Scheme was disappointing.

Voting on action in key train ballots

The results of industrial action ballots involving thousands of workers at different rail companies across the country were set to be announced as Socialist Worker went to press. Yes votes could mean co-ordinated and hardhitting action that would bring rail services to a halt.

Fight to stop course cuts at Liverpool university

Around 700 students and workers joined a demonstration on Wednesday of last week against proposals to close up to eight departments at the University of Liverpool.

Job cutting London Metropolitan university has millions in the bank

Management at London Metropolitan University last week presented stunned union reps with a detailed list of all university departments and jobs they wanted to cut.

Lobby of parliament for Shrewsbury pickets

Building bosses targeted health and safety reps with blacklist

The scandal of the construction blacklist is outraging workers across the industry.

Strike threat wins equal pay for all on construction site

The threat of strike action by construction workers last week forced a subcontractor to increase the wages of the Polish workers it employs on one of its sites.

Ucatt safety dossier

Construction union Ucatt has published the dossier it has submitted to the government’s inquiry into construction fatalities.

No faith in Trust schools

New Labour is facing a growing revolt over its education policies, which are wreaking havoc in schools across Britain. Increasing bureaucracy, testing and marketisation mean more stress for teachers and a worse education for children.

Strikes against BBC sackings could start wider fight

Thousands of journalists at the BBC have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.

Royal Mail sell-off fight now at a critical stage

Around 1,000 angry postal workers joined a lively march in the Bilston constituency of Post Office minister Pat McFadden last Saturday.

Journalists’ strike votes save jobs

Derry Journal Jobs have been saved at the Derry Journal in Ireland after National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members voted 100 percent in favour of strike action.

Anger and celebration at Miners’ Strike commemorative meetings

London Arthur Scargill, leader of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) during the great strike of 1984-5, delivered a robust defence of the action at a meeting last week.

11,000 in local government strike ballot

Glasgow local government Unison union branch is to ballot its 11,000-strong membership for strike action.

Hackney Army Shop protest

Hackney Stop the War staged a protest at the newly opened army "Show Room" inside the Kingsland Shopping Centre, Dalston, east London, on Monday of this week.

New student occupations for Gaza

Newcastle University Students at Newcastle University went into occupation on 10 March making demands in solidarity with people in Gaza.

Danger in new grades for Metroline bus workers

Bus workers at Metroline in north London voted last week by around 82 percent to accept a 4.2 percent pay offer.

Resist the attacks on jobs at equality commission

Members of the PCS civil service workers’ union at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) are fighting plans to cut 50 jobs from its public helpline and close the Manchester helpline altogether.

PCS ballot at Revenue & Customs call centres

Around 10,000 members of the PCS union working for Revenue & Customs contact centres are balloting for industrial action against the imposition of a new shift rota and other issues.

Britain’s cover-up of torture is unravelling

There were more revelations this week about the British government’s complicity in the torture of suspects as part of the "war on terror".

Babar Ahmad’s court case begins

Babar Ahmad, the south London IT worker who has been detained without charge in Britain for over four years, started his civil suit against the Metropolitan Police for assault in the High Court on Monday of this week.

Put People First Coalition can reach out

The Put People First demonstration on Saturday 28 March is being organised by a umbrella organisation of trade unions, campaigning organisations, charities and pressure groups.

Summit won’t help Africa

‘For over 20 years we have been hit by the policies of the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund.

Protests gather pace as G20 talks stall

Trade unions, NGOs, climate campaigners and anti-war activists are gearing up for a week of protests when the G20 summit of world leaders comes to London on 2 April.

Climbdown on rent hike

The government has been forced to back down over planned council rent increases.

Degree? That’ll be £21,000

Tuition fees for university students could reach a staggering £7,000 a year – raising the prospect of graduates leaving college tens of thousands of pounds in debt, just as the economy goes into freefall.

Child protection report offers more of the same

Lord Laming’s report into child welfare identifies the damaging impact of bureaucracy on social work but does little to address the problem, say campaigners for the Social Work Action Network (Swan).

Why New Labour wants cheap labour in the name of eradicating poverty

New Labour is continuing to trample the hopes of thousands facing unemployment by pushing ahead with its draconian welfare reform bill.

People’s Charter launched in House of Commons

Tony Benn joined Labour MPs John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn and union general secretaries Bob Crow, Mark Serwotka and Matt Wrack and campaigning lawyers Michael Mansfield and Imran Khan to launch the People’s Charter for Change last week.

Campaign aims to stop BNP Nazis grabbing seat

Anti-Nazi activists are stepping up their campaign against the fascist British National Party (BNP) in the ­run‑up to the European elections on Thursday 4 June.

London Met workers lobby governors against job cuts

"We know you've got the money – save London Met." That was the demand of workers and students on Wednesday of this week as they lobbied a meeting of governors at London Metropolitan university.

Italian student protest batoned by riot police

Police blocked and attacked students at Rome’s La Sapienza university preventing them from leaving the campus in order to join a trade union rally in the city on Wednesday.

London Met university vice-chancellor resigns in cuts row

Brian Roper, the disgraced vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan university, has resigned.


International

Students protest across Spain

Tens of thousands of students demonstrated and went on strike all over Spain last Thursday. They were protesting against the imminent imposition of the Bologna Plan – a European Union directive to homogenise university education.

Pakistan crisis grows as judge reinstated

Mass demonstrations in Pakistan have forced the government of Asif Ali Zardari to reinstate judges sacked by the former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

General strike rocks France

The second general strike in two months brought France to a standstill on Thursday. Millions demonstrated in 200 cities and towns around the country. 


Comment

This crisis still has a long way to run

Last weekend’s warm-up to the G20 meeting in London next month delivered few tangible results. At their meeting in Sussex, finance ministers resisted US pressure for yet more government spending to prevent the world economy sliding deeper into trouble.


Features

The fall of Rome

With the world economy in freefall, it is not such a great leap of imagination to consider what the collapse of society might look like today.

Northern Ireland: the peace illusion

The British media were filled last week with weasel words of peace from politicians following a spate of armed attacks on British troops and the police in Northern Ireland.

Behind Northern Ireland’s peace walls

A wave of anger against segregated housing lay at the heart of the civil rights movement that erupted in Northern Ireland at the end of the 1960s.

Who are the Republicans?

Violence wasn’t introduced into Northern Ireland by the "terrorists".

Can ‘new markets’ rescue the bosses?

As the recession deepens capitalists face a quandary – how are they going to make money?

Are political parties all the same?

You’ve decided that the capitalist system breeds poverty, oppression and war. You know that this system has to be overthrown to secure real change. You agree that mass movements are the engines that drive history. What next?


Reviews

Runaways

This new three-part drama for Children’s BBC lifts the lid on the world of child runaways.

The Dirty Thirty: Heroes of the Miners’ Strike

This book, which has been published to mark the 25th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, tells one of the little-known stories of the year long struggle.

London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

The 23rd festival celebrates the continuing creativity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film-makers from across the world.

Chains: breaking the chains of slavery means tackling racism

As the American Revolution of 1775-83 rages around her, Isabel, a 13 year old slave girl, begins her own struggle.

Deep Cut: Playing a part in the fight for answers

The deaths of four young recruits between 1995 and 2002 brought the Deepcut barracks in Surrey, and the British army, under public scrutiny.


What We Think

Obama fails a foreign policy test

Barack Obama was elected on a wave of hope and the expectation of a clean break with the disastrous policies of George Bush.

We can afford equal rights

The recession means that women can’t have equal pay with men. Astonishingly, that is what the government body charged with safeguarding equality believes.

Rape case shows sexism ingrained in the police force

The recent revelation that a London taxi driver drugged, abused and raped tens of female passengers has rightly shocked many people.


Other Categories

Tim: Afford the fees

Letters

‘We must continue the fight that Alan Walter started’ We are shocked and immensely sad at the death of Alan Walter, who was the chair of the campaigning group Defend Council Housing (DCH). The many messages of condolence on the DCH website show how far and wide he was appreciated.

Quotes from the week's news

‘We have lent a huge amount of money to the United States. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.’Chinese premier Wen Jiabao



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