Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2155

Dated: 13 Jun 2009




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Time to fight back together

Gordon Brown’s government is in meltdown after the MPs’ expenses scandal and the disastrous Labour vote in last week’s elections.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Left makes gains in Euro-elections

The radical left won impressive votes in many parts of Europe. The results show what is possible when the left is organised and can give a clear alternative.

Open letter: Left must unite to create an alternative

Labour’s vote collapsed to a historic low in last week’s elections as the right made gains. The Tories under David Cameron are now set to win the next general election.

Anti-fascist movement can push back the BNP after their Euro success

Thousands of people reacted with anger and dismay when the news broke early Monday morning that the fascist British National Party (BNP) had made a major breakthrough into mainstream politics – picking up two seats in the European parliament.

EIS conference shows determination to resist attacks on jobs and education

This year’s EIS (Scotland’s teaching union) annual general meeting in Perth last week took place against a backdrop of massive budget cuts combined with a major overhaul of the curriculum from nursery to secondary.

Education round-up

Walkout at Tower Hamlets college Around 200 teachers, support workers, youth workers, admin staff and students walked out at Tower Hamlets college, east London, on Monday.

Glasgow council workers' united fight against cuts

Around 1,300 Glasgow council parks, street lighting and street cleaning workers are due to begin an all-out indefinite strike at 5am on Friday of this week.

Bristol bins strike off as workers accept deal

Refuse workers in the Unite union in Bristol have called off a planned all-out strike over pay, which was due to start on Wednesday of this week.

Dockers march through Grimsby

Around 150 dock workers, their families and supporters marched through Grimsby last week in protest against threats of compulsory redundancies and attacks on terms and conditions by the Associated British Ports (ABP).

All-out strike at Linamar to defend rep

Workers at the Linamar (former Visteon) plant in Swansea, south Wales, were set to begin an all-out strike from 6am on Thursday of this week in defence of their sacked Unite union convenor Rob Williams.

Thousands of jobs at risk after LDV failure

The van-maker LDV went into administration this week, causing hundreds of redundancies at its Birmingham plant and threatening thousands of jobs in its supply chain.

NUJ Left demands jobs and rights

Left activists in the NUJ journalists’ union are calling for mass action to support local authority workers who refuse to work with the fascist BNP members elected as councillors in last week’s elections.

Essex firefighters launch ballot

Firefighters in the FBU union in Essex are to ballot for industrial action over plans to cut fire services in the county.

BA launches big attack on workers

An industrial relations crisis is developing at British Airways (BA) as the impact of the recession hits the company hard. It faces losses in excess of £400 million.

National construction workers strike ballot has the potential to unite all workers

The Unite and GMB unions are expected this week to begin a national ballot of tens of thousands of construction workers for strikes over pay.

Nominate in NUT elections

There are two vital elections happening in the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

CWU conference: Ferment in union as Labour hits buffers

The CWU union met in Bournemouth this week amid uncertainty over the government’s plans to privatise Royal Mail, a wave of management attacks on the union, and a political crisis that is gripping the government.

Regional ballot paves the way for defeat of Royal Mail privatisation

Postal workers are preparing for strikes at a number of offices across Britain – and are likely to be soon voting on national action.

CWU conference: The political fund

Dennis Kilgariff from Oxford moved a motion calling on the union to withdraw support from MPs who have not backed the union’s Early Day Motion against privatisation.

CWU conference: Burslem

Union reps and activists from the Burslem delivery office in Stoke-on-Trent who have been victimised by Royal Mail organised a well-attended fringe meeting to tell delegates about their case.

Post workers to strike in Watford

Postal workers in Watford have voted to strike in defence of the union’s area safety rep Bob Kennedy, who has been suspended without charge for nine weeks.

Defending union members in Carphone Warehouse

Another theme at the conference was the CWU’s efforts to win new members in businesses outside of postal services and British Telecom, which provide the bulk of the union’s membership.

Labour falls apart as voters stay at home

Low turnout meant that no party’s votes rose on any significant scale in last Thursday’s European elections.

Greens pick up left vote across the country

The Green Party made a number of gains in last week’s elections.

What lies behind UKIP’s success?

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) polled over 17 percent nationally in last week’s European elections, coming second to the Tories.

Tube strike: for justice and jobs

Thousands of tube workers in the RMT transport union brought the London Underground system to a halt from 7pm on Tuesday with a 48-hour strike over pay, job cuts and management bullying.

Protests against the Nazi BNP

Opposition to the Nazi British National Party (BNP) brought hundreds onto the streets on Monday evening – just hours after the news that the BNP had picked up European Parliament seats in the North West and in Yorkshire & the Humber.

Nazis make breakthroughs in Europe

Several of the British National Party’s Nazi allies across Europe made a breakthrough in the elections.

‘The BNP’s answer to blame immigration is clearly no solution to the crisis’

Sarah Hewitt, CWU rep Doncaster delivery office ‘Hearing that the BNP had won a big vote in Doncaster and an MEP in my region left me feeling shocked and betrayed.

Plots, panic and paralysis as New Labour fractures

Gordon Brown stumbles from crisis to crisis. Every day the headlines scream news of new resignations and tales of the fresh challenges to Brown’s leadership – which are then followed by breathless announcements that he is safe for now.

The crooks in Brown’s new cabinet

Ten ministers have gone from Gordon Brown’s corrupt government – so far.

Undemocratic manoeuvres in the Lords

Glenys Kinnock has replaced Caroline Flint as the new Europe minister.

Crisis leads to confusion at the top

The bosses’ desired solution to the recession is to make workers pay for it. The political class agrees, but is unsure how far and how quickly it can try to make this happen.

Why the right held up its vote

Last Thursday’s elections saw the right win the largest share of the vote in the majority of European Union states.

What about the radical left?

Despite Labour’s vote collapsing, overall the radical left did not register gains in last Thursday’s elections.

Strike for jobs, pay and justice hits the tube

A solid strike by thousands of members of the RMT transport union at London Underground and Transport for London severely hit tube services from 7pm tonight.

Victory as Rob Williams is reinstated

Rob Williams, the sacked Unite union convenor at the Linamar (ex-Visteon) plant in Swansea, South Wales, has been reinstated.

Tube strike has a major impact

The first full day of a strike by thousands of members of the RMT transport union at London Underground and Transport for London had a big impact on tube services in the capital today.

Second day of tube strike even more powerful

Tube workers in the RMT transport union responded to Tory mayor Boris Johnson and management’s bluster by ensuring that their strike had an even bigger impact on its second day.

Anger and protests against Soas immigration raid

Students and workers at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) have organised an emergency protest for 8.30am on Monday 15 June to defend cleaners at the site who are facing imminent threat of deportation.

Soas students occupy director's office

Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) in central London have occupied the director's offices at the university in protest at the detention and deportation of nine cleaners.


International

Eyewitness to the wreckage of Iraq

When you step out on the streets of Baghdad you notice immediately that all is not right in Iraq.

Western-backed parties win crucial Lebanese elections

The governing coalition in Lebanon swept back into power in the general election last Sunday.


Comment

Does Obama’s speech in Cairo signal change?

The sight of a US president receiving a standing ovation from students at Cairo university is not one we could have imagined a couple of years ago.

Is society moving to the right?

Europe and Britain are shifting right, that is one common sense explanation for the meltdown experienced by Labour and its European counterparts.

We must resist bosses’ laws

Every trade unionist who attempts to stand up for their rights comes up against the threat of the law.


Features

The united front: unity in action

Newspapers report that Labour Party members conspiring to end Gordon Brown’s leadership have taken to quoting the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky’s phrase – "March separately, strike together".

SWP Democracy Commission conference looks to future

More than 200 delegates from SWP branches across the country attended a special conference last Sunday to reassess and renew the party’s structures.

Why bailing out General Motors could help the environment

As a climate activist I hate Exxon Mobil and General Motors (GM). But now GM has gone bankrupt and, the TV tells us, Barack Obama has stepped in to "rescue" the company.

The threat of the dole

‘The government has been putting a position, ably assisted by the mainstream media, that it had somehow got rid of the problem of unemployment. But in many areas unemployment never went away.

Right to Work conference is chance to organise a fightback

The Fight for the Right to Work conference is an important opportunity for employed and unemployed workers to come together to build a real campaign for jobs.

Young people on the scrapheap

The level of unemployment in Britain is growing faster every month. It is not hitting everyone in the same way.

Facts about unemployment

Where are jobs being lost? Every month there are fewer jobs. Between February and April job vacancies fell by 51,000 – or

Lessons of Italy’s corruption scandal

17 February 1992 was a busy day for Mario Chiesa, the manager of a old people’s hospice in Milan. His second appointment that day was with a cleaning company boss who wanted to win the hospice contract.

The agony of occupation

You’re probably best known as a writer for Casualty and the musical drama Blackpool. Occupation is a long way from that. What made you decide to write a drama about British troops in Iraq?


Reviews

The City and The City competition winners

Congratulations to Clare Solomon, James Nowlan, Chris Breen, George Thompson and Dyana Rodriguez.

Cosi Fan Tutte - English National Opera

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Cosi Fan Tutte (All women behave that way) was first performed in 1790, the year after the French Revolution.

Cinema and the Spanish Civil War - BFI

The BFI’s new season contains films that explore the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9.

Sugar: sweet baseball movie swings at US society

Sugar follows the life of a 19 year old baseball player from the Dominican Republic in the US. The film takes its name from the "sweet" way he pitches a knuckle curve.

Looking for Eric

Looking for Eric combines a comedy with a story about postal workers and former Manchester United star Eric Cantona.


What We Think


Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: Clean up

Tim: Turkeys at Christmas

Letters

How festival stoked-up the anti-racist cause Since the recent Love Music Hate Racism festival in Stoke there has been a noticeable change in the mood in the city – a change for the better.

Labour's leadership crisis in quotes

"The Labour Party does not want a new leader. There is no vacancy, there is no challenge."David Miliband, foreign secretary, speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday



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