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Socialist Worker

Issue: 2157

Dated: 27 Jun 2009

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Solidarity can win - Spread the strikes

Thousands of construction workers have walked out of work and taken illegal unofficial strike action. The wildcat strikes follow the Total oil multinational’s sacking of over 600 workers at the Lindsey refinery site in Lincolnshire.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Open letter responses: 'We need unity in struggle'

Many hundreds of socialists and left activists in Scotland are still nursing wounds from the catastrophic, and I believe completely unnecessary, schism on the left north of the border in 2006.

Lecturers lobby Queens University against cuts

Lecturers in the UCU union at Queens University in Belfast are appalled at management plans to cut hundreds of jobs and close departments.

Barnet College workers threaten action over new contracts

Workers in the UCU and ATL unions at Barnet College, north London, may take industrial action if their management try to impose new contracts on them.

Demonstration at Tower Hamlets College

The vibrant campaign to save jobs at Tower Hamlets College, east London, continued last week with a demonstration on Thursday.

Barnsley college march

Around 200 workers, students, and local trade unionists demonstrated in Barnsley last Saturday against proposed redundancies at Barnsley college.

Anti-fascist workshop held in Newham

Twenty local young people attended a workshop on fighting the fascist British National Party (BNP) in Newham, east London, on Tuesday of last week.

Carphone Warehouse accused of union busting in Wednesbury

Activists in the CWU union are accusing bosses at Carphone Warehouse’s repair centre in Wednesbury in the West Midlands of attempts at union-busting after the company upheld the sacking of union rep Sulinder Kumar.

Many strike ballots for post workers

A growing mood for national strike action in the post can be seen by the number of CWU union branches that have requested strike ballots in recent weeks.

Anti-Sats meeting in Wakefield

Wakefield and District NUT union and the NAHT headteachers’ organisation held a public meeting to launch their campaign against the hated Sats tests last week.

Tamworth lobby against academy

Teachers in the NUT and NASUWT unions in Tamworth, Staffordshire, continued their campaign against a proposed academy in the town with strikes and a mass lobby of a council meeting last week.

Prestwich Arts College votes for action

Members of the NUT teachers’ union at Prestwich Arts College in Bury have voted for industrial action.

Protest against academy in Barrow

Last Friday was just like any other June day in Barrow – it had been raining and there were angry clouds in the sky threatening more.

Royal Docks campaign shipwrecks academy plans

Anti-academies campaigners in Newham, east London, have won a major victory after the local council confirmed that a planned academy, to be sponsored by Ark, will not be going ahead.

Action strikes a blow to Royal Mail

Striking postal workers in London and Edinburgh hit back last week at bullying Royal Mail managers and their attempts to undermine the CWU union by ramming through "cost saving" measures.

Occupation wins victory for Soas cleaners

Students occupying the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) last week won a victory in their campaign for justice for deported and detained cleaners from the school.

Nazis show true colours at Blackpool protest

Britain’s fascists let their mask of respectability slip when they were confronted by a lively 150-strong protest in Blackpool last Saturday.

Community unites to resist attacks on Roma in Northern Ireland

The simmering sectarianism that dominates Northern Ireland boiled over last week as a series of racist attacks forced more than 100 members of the Roma community out of their homes in Belfast.

Debates around reporting BNP

Around 50 media workers met in the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) headquarters last week to discuss how best to respond to the threat of the Nazi BNP.

Even censors can’t hide extent of expenses scandal

Gordon Brown promised we are entering a "new chapter" in British politics with the election of Tory MP John Bercow as the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

Gordon Brown can’t escape the crisis he created

Not long ago Gordon Brown looked like he was finished.

Tamils’ London protest against detention camps

Some 50,000 Tamils and their supporters marched through central London last Saturday.

Picture of Tamil demonstration in central London

Glasgow council workers strike

Around 450 social work admin workers at Glasgow council are to start an indefinite strike from Wednesday 1 July.

Visteon workers still fighting for pensions

The fight by former Visteon workers to save their pensions continues. Around 50 people held a protest outside the Visteon headquarters in Chelmsford on Monday of this week.

London Hillsborough march

Thousands of football fans marched through London last Saturday, demanding justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough Disaster in Sheffield on 15 April 1989.

Journalist wins court battle

Suzanne Breen, the Irish journalist who police pressured to reveal the identity of Real IRA members, won a massive victory for journalism and the NUJ union last week.

First Aberdeen bus workers ballot for action

Around 460 bus workers at First in Aberdeen are balloting for strike action over pay. The ballot includes drivers, mechanics and cleaners in the Unite union.

Strike threat wins at nuke rail firm

The threat of strike action by train drivers at the Carlisle‑based nuclear rail freight company DRS has forced bosses to climb down over pay threats.

Left captures spirit of Unison conference

The Unison union’s national delegate conference last week was left reeling by general secretary Dave Prentis’s opening speech in which he said the union would issue "no more blank cheques" for Labour.

Stoppage shunts the tube bosses

The powerful 48-hour strike by London Underground and Transport for London workers two weeks ago has forced management back to the negotiating table.

Iran repression: a regime in crisis

Iran is in the grip of a popular rebellion, the like of which has not been seen since the 1979 revolution.

Workers’ action is key to the success of the Iranian movement

The diversity of the movement in Iran reflects the different forces that have been drawn onto the streets.

US brutality in Afghanistan

US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan have launched air strikes in the Helmand province as they try to secure bridges and river crossings to beat back the Taliban.

Demand more from Iraq inquiry

The row over the transparency, or otherwise, of the inquiry into the war on Iraq has exposed the continuing influence of Tony Blair on the Labour Party – and the weakness of Gordon Brown.

Lindsey is a battleground for the future of the unions

There is a war going on in the construction industry, and its outcome will affect us all.

'We won't go back crawling on our bellies'

Hundreds of pickets marched down the road around the Lindsey refinery to the entrance of the nearby ConocoPhillips site on Monday morning.

'British jobs' slogan pushed back but the argument remains a danger

The construction industry has been at the heart of debates over "British jobs for British workers". This slogan was raised during a series of unofficial strikes earlier this year over contractors who were using "foreign" or "non-local" labour.

Company wants Total obedience

Bosses at Total insist they did not trigger the dispute at the Lindsey refinery. Yet according to the GMB union the company ensured that workers it described as "unruly" were not re-employed.

Build support for the strike

Trade unionists are rallying behind the striking construction workers. Delegations from the Unison union, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and Chesterfield trades council all joined protests at the Lindsey site.

Union leaders and the law

The workers who walked out unofficially at Lindsey and elsewhere have shown the power that can beat the anti‑union laws.

Solidarity action spreads

Workers at refineries, power stations and major construction sites have walked out in support of the strike at Lindsey.

Photos of construction strike meetings



Mendelssohn and the documenting of Nazi absurdities

Some years ago a British National Party (BNP) thug told me that I didn’t know what it meant to be British. When I asked for a definition his response was that it meant being an "Anglo-Saxon".

David Aaronovitch: Cover-ups, collusion and conspiracies

In 2003 the political commentator David Aaronovitch wrote these words on the Iraq war and the search for the weapons of mass destruction supposedly held by the regime:

Scrap this private health rip-off

As Labour and the Conservatives argue over who is or isn’t going to cut public sector spending after the next general election, it is worth having a look at a report produced by the employers’ organisation, the NHS Confederation.

Fred Perry: the radical of Wimbledon

It's tennis time again at Wimbledon and everybody is watching Andy Murray – the great British hope. The last male British player to win the trophy was Fred Perry in 1936. Unlike Murray, the Wimbledon establishment never accepted him.

Victory at Lindsey shows how to fight

Construction workers have won their dispute at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire. An immediate walkout when job cuts were announced, backed up by thousands of workers striking at other sites, has won a huge victory.


Who’s who in Iran

Ayatollah Khomeini – Cleric who rose to power in the 1979 revolution. Supreme leader until his death in 1989.Ali Khamenei – A key figure in the revolution and Iran’s president from 1981-9. He became supreme leader following Khomeini’s death. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Won the 2005 elections, and was declared winner of the 2009 elections. He rose through the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards during the war with Iraq.Mohammad Khatami – Considered the figurehead of the reform movement. Won the 1997 presidential elections and was re-elected in 2001. Although popular, he is widely seen as faili

Protests bring a chance of change for Iran

The Iranian revolution of 1979 was a mass popular uprising. Some 30 years on, the Iranian people are again out on the streets in their millions.

A vital moment for the movement

Events in Iran are at a pivotal moment. This is a struggle over the legacy of the 1979 revolution.

The West’s bloody role in the Middle East

There is a dark shadow that hangs over all events in the Middle East. In Iran they call it the "hungry wolf". Imperialism has been such a destructive and powerful force in the region that many suspect that it has a hand in all events that take place there.

Zombie capitalism

Your new book about the economic crisis is called Zombie Capitalism. What is this?

Marxism 2009: in a world gripped by capitalist crisis we need socialist answers

Capitalism isn’t working. That much is obvious. We are faced with the biggest economic crisis for generations, millions are being thrown out of work, and war and poverty ravage the globe.

Behind Iran’s rising

The Iran that emerged after its long and bloody war with Iraq in 1988 was not one envisoned by those who rose to power after the overthrow of the Shah in 1979.


Madam Butterfly

Giacomo Puccini presents a paradox insofar as this resolutely non-political composer wrote two operas—Madam Butterfly and Tosca—with strong political themes. Madam Butterfly, one of the most popular operas in the repertory, tells a powerful, tragic story in which the issues of colonialism, racism and sexism are closely interwoven.

Win Eric Cantona ‘Sardines’ T-shirt

Ken Loach’s new film Looking for Eric features footballer Eric Cantona. Philosophy Football’s Cantona "sardines" T-shirt is now available.

What We Think

Other Categories

Leon: Total bollocks

Tim: Parasites

Tim: equal opps Nazi


Class questions over Mass protests in Iran I support the protests in Iran wholeheartedly and I’m very excited by the potential for change. If people have more freedom they will be more able to campaign in the future.

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