Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2168

Dated: 12 Sep 2009



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Tell Gordon Brown: Troops out of Afghanistan! Stop the jobs massacre!

New Labour is in crisis and it is responding by increasing attacks on ordinary people—including slashing jobs, attacking public services and freezing pay.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

'Easy-council': Tory councils are a testbed for cuts

Would you like your local council to be run like budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet?

Zeal for ‘reform’ means attacks on public services

New Labour and the Tories are engaged in a desperate bidding war to see who can slash the most from Britain’s public services.

Anti-Nazi protest in Birmingham forces racist thugs to retreat

Last Saturday afternoon began like any other in Birmingham’s Victoria Street.

Photos of Birmingham anti-EDL protest on 5 September 2009

Who are the EDL marchers?

The English Defence League (EDL) demonstrations began in Luton in April 2009.

Police protect racist demo

Many people believe the police did nothing to stop the EDL from rampaging through Birmingham city centre.

Stop the BBC ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for Nazi BNP leader on Question Time

A storm of anger greeted the news that the BBC is planning to invite British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin to appear on its flagship Question Time debate programme.

Bosses back off at Yorkshire hospitals

Health workers were celebrating this week after the threat of strike action forced bosses at Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals to abandon plans to downgrade staff being transferred to private contractor Balfour Beatty.

Unofficial action gets results on Edgware buses

Bus drivers in Edgware, north London, showed that militant action gets results when they won a stunning victory by walking out unofficially over rota changes.

Vestas workers win battle of the blades

Vestas workers scored a victory in their campaign to save their jobs when they stopped the wind turbine firm from moving blades out of the factory last week.

Support for Vestas day of action grows

Trade unionists and campaigners across Britain are gearing up for the Vestas day of action on Thursday of next week.

All-out strike remains solid at Tower Hamlets College

A huge battle is underway in Tower Hamlets College, east London.

London post workers to vote on Labour party affiliation

Post workers in London in the CWU union are so fed up with the way they have been treated by the government that activists have launched a consultative ballot to see if members want to continue supporting the Labour party.

Government academies plan means schools are going for free

The government is to hand over schools to businesses—for free. It announced this week that it is dropping the requirement for academy sponsors to make a donation to take over schools.

Postal workers are determined to win

Strikes by postal workers in many parts of Britain are hitting Royal Mail hard, with millions of letters and packets clogging up mail centres and sorting offices.

Brown's push for "British jobs"

Gordon Brown’s support for the poisonous "British jobs for British workers" slogan went up a little further this week when the government announced new employment rules.

Leeds refuse workers begin all-out strike

Over 200 refuse and street cleaning workers in Leeds walked out on indefinite strike on Monday of this week in a dispute over pay.

Food processing workers walk-out against racism

Around 100 workers at the Two Sisters poultry processing firm in Smethwick, in the West Midlands, have been taking all out strike action against racism.

Sunday was a day of rest for London Midland workers

Rail workers at London Midland hit back at their penny-pinching bosses last week by refusing to work on Sunday after the company decided to axe double pay.

Airport workers win a victory

Liverpool airport baggage handlers forced their bosses to back off from making compulsory redundancies.

Industrial round up

Workers will show who has power National Grid workers in Newcastle are set to strike on Friday of this week over plans to outsource work, which they fear will lead to job losses.

Firefighters must put out the cuts bonfire

Firefighters across Britain are facing attacks that pose a threat to our fire service­­—and they are fighting back.

Construction workers are building the fight on site

The war raging on construction sites reached a temporary ceasefire this week as the employers backed down over attacks on the new national agreement or "blue book".

United Left selects Unite general secretary candidate

Members of the Unite union met in Manchester last Saturday at a United Left meeting to select the left candidate for next year’s general secretary election.

Workers must stand against Network Rail jobs and safety cuts

Network Rail has announced that it will cut the number of frontline maintenance staff by 1,800 by April 2011.

Doncaster union rep suspended after speaking out

Doncaster council suspended Jim Board, the branch secretary of Doncaster Unison union branch on Monday of this week after he spoke out in the media.

Defend Council Housing meeting vows to step up the fight

Activists and tenants from around the country discussed new government proposals on the reform of council housing finance at a national Defend Council Housing (DCH) meeting last Saturday.

West commits another bloody Afghan massacre

Occupation forces have committed another slaughter of Afghan people—despite a pledge by the new supreme military commander to halt attacks on civilians.

Army backs off from attempt to gag anti-war soldier

Joe Glenton, a British soldier who has refused to fight in Afghanistan, last week won a major victory in his battle with the British army when it dropped key charges against him.

Release shows 'control orders' programme is in disarray

The government was forced to release a man it had held for over three years under its draconian "control orders" system on Monday.

How to get to the protest at Labour Party conference

Transport to Brighton is being organised from across Britain.

Postal workers union backs Labour Party conference demo

The Communications Workers Union has voted to back the demonstration outside Labour Party conference on Sunday 27 September.

Striking postal workers say no deal until victory

Postal workers across south west London piled pressure on Royal Mail this morning by taking an extra day of action on top of yesterday’s capital-wide strike.

Tripod steps up Vestas blockade

Vestas wind turbine workers on the Isle of Wight have stepped up their blockade of the factory by building a tripod outside the back gate.


International

South African troops protest over pay

Up to 3,000 South African soldiers fought running battles with riot police across the government district of Pretoria, the country’s capital, at the end of August. They had been marching to demand a 30 percent pay rise and improved conditions.

Sri Lanka expels charity official

The Sri Lankan government is expelling James Elder, a senior official in the United Nations Unicef children’s charity, after he spoke out against its treatment of Tamil civilians.

Egypt clamps down on independent union

Independent trade unionists in Egypt are facing a new campaign of intimidation and legal threats.


Comment

Breakthrough for German left

The radical left Die Linke party made significant gains in the German state elections last month.

Crisis is not over for world leaders

Less than a year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the banks are back. Puffed up with profits, they are flexing their muscles again.


Features

How Afghanistan became the graveyard of the Russian empire

In the early 1990s a common sight in the Moscow metro was young men in military uniform begging for money. They had no legs. These were some of the victims of Russia’s disastrous occupation of Afghanistan.

Doncaster ‘Hell boys’ were neglected by a service paralysed by cuts

Savages, evil, hell boys, sadists – these are just some of the phrases that have been used to describe the two young brothers from Edlington, Doncaster, who were convicted last week of a horrific attack on two other children.

Ten myths about immigration

I can remember July 1978 very clearly. I was ten years old, and I got my first kicking in a subway. It was a shock – he hit me pretty hard. And I didn’t know why.

How media is distorting the facts about birth rates and immigration

New population statistics caused quite a stir in the press recently.

Graph: mothers’ country of origin

Copenhagen climate summit: All targets, no action

The countdown to the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen has started. The December meeting will bring together environment ministers and world leaders to reach a new agreement to succeed the 1997 Kyoto climate change treaty.

The working class is a force for change

What forces can the working class trust? How should we fight for more democracy? Can we get rid of class society?


Reviews

Bridge into the New Age

Jazz was in crisis in the early 1970s—the death of John Coltrane and the demise of the civil rights movement left many players disorientated.

A New World: A Life of Tom Paine

Radical writer and director Trevor Griffiths has made an inspiring play telling the true story of an ordinary man transformed by the extraordinary times he lived through in the revolutionary upsurge at the end of the 18th century.

All Names Have Been Changed

Irish writer Claire Kilroy’s novel is about emotions rather than events.

Living with the Wall, Berlin 1961-1989

In the summer of 1989, I stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin with my uncle. Looking at the Berlin Wall, he told me that it would be there forever. He couldn’t imagine a Berlin without it. Yet within a few months it was history.

AL Kennedy interview: understanding a world connected by loneliness

Inspired by Jimmy Ruffin’s song "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?", AL Kennedy’s fifth collection of short stories is written in the distinctive literary style that has won her awards and widespread acclaim.


What We Think

New spirit of militancy spreads across the unions

The industrial coverage in this week’s Socialist Worker highlights the new wave of struggles breaking out in different areas across Britain.


Other Categories

Tim: Bomb plotters still at large

Letters

Labour’s barbaric policy of detaining children Official confirmation came this week that 470 children have been detained in immigration centres in the first half of 2009.

The week in quotes

"Gordon Brown and I have spoken of the hard choices needed in public spending over the coming years. We won’t flinch from the difficult decisions that will be necessary."



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