Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2176

Dated: 07 Nov 2009

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Solidarity can win the post fight

Postal workers are escalating their battle against Royal Mail’s attacks on their jobs and conditions, and against management bullying, with two national strikes.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Vigils light up a challenge to homophobic bigots

Thousands of people stood together against homophobia last weekend when vigils against hate crime took place across the country.

London protesters face jail for standing up for Gaza

Mass arrests of protesters on a scale not seen since the Poll Tax Riot of 1990 have been used against people demonstrating in London for Palestinian rights.

New challenges for US movement against war

The quagmire in Afghanistan is worse than it has ever been. But the US anti-war movement finds itself in a desperately floundering situation, unable to adequately mobilise protest activity around Barack Obama’s Vietnam.

Support grows for Edinburgh anti-war demo

Defence ministers in the Nato alliance are to meet in Edinburgh on Saturday 14 November to discuss the continued occupation of Afghanistan.

Leeds Marches on against Nazis

More than 1,000 anti-fascist protesters opposed the invasion of Leeds by several hundred supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) last Saturday.

Stop the racist SDL in Glasgow

The next stop for the anti-Nazi movement is Glasgow on Saturday 14 November when the Scottish Defence League (SDL) plans to protest outside the Central Mosque.

Vestas profits up

Vestas, the wind turbine company that sacked 600 workers in the summer, has seen its profits shoot up by 70 percent to £150 million.

Support grows for Two Sisters fight

Sacked workers from the Two Sisters food processing giant brought their protest to London last week.

Another Education is Possible conference

Some 120 students from across Britain came to the national Another Education is Possible conference in London last Saturday.

Plymouth march against nuclear dumping

More than 300 protesters marched through Plymouth last Saturday, challenging plans to make the city a dump for waste from nuclear submarines.

Glasgow Nautical College staff to lobby graduation

Unison union members at Glasgow Nautical College are planning to lobby the graduation ceremony to save the college’s nursery.

Brighton bin workers set to follow Leeds

Brighton’s refuse collectors are set to start a work-to-rule on Thursday – followed by a week-long strike.

All routes lead to struggle on the buses

Drivers at First Bus in the north west of England took their ninth day of strike action on Monday of this week in a battle against a pay freeze. Hundreds of workers at First’s London depots are currently balloting to join the action.

Superdrug set for strike

Workers at a Superdrug warehouse in South Elmsall, Wakefield will go on all-out strike from Wednesday.

Battle against minibus firm

A dispute is developing between the Unite union and the owners of minibus firm Dot2dot at Heathrow airport.

The Shrewsbury pickets campaign

Vic Turner, a leader of the Pentonville Five, the dockers’ shop stewards who were jailed in 1972, has spoken of the need for trade unionists to back the call for justice for the Shrewsbury pickets.

General secretary election in PCS

More than 300,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union will soon be voting in the general secretary election.

Civil service workers discuss attacks in DWP

Leaders of the PCS civil service workers’ union in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) were to hold an emergency meeting this week to discuss attacks on their members.

More strike days called by firefighters in South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire firefighters in the FBU union have called another wave of strike action across four days this week. The firefighters are set to take rolling strike action from Friday to Monday.

Inquest opens into Mikey Powell’s death in custody

The inquest into the death in police custody of Mikey Powell opens on Wednesday of this week. It is expected to last for six weeks.

Campaigners for people who died in custody protest at Downing Street

Families of those who have died in police, prison and psychiatric custody held their annual remembrance procession last Saturday. The families met at Trafalgar Square and then marched down Whitehall to hold a vigil outside Downing Street.

Fujitsu pensions fight is on

Members of the Unite and PCS unions at the IT services giant Fujitsu are gearing up for a national fight over jobs, pay and pensions after voting overwhelmingly to take strike action over the issues.

Leeds bins: Investigation begins into employment of scabs

The all-out indefinite strike by Leeds refuse workers, which is now into its ninth week, is putting Leeds city council bosses under increasing pressure.

Firefighters, bus and post workers - Sheffield is a city of strikes

Around 100 striking firefighters, bus drivers and postal workers came together at a rally last Saturday on the Central Fire Station picket line. It had been built by their CWU, FBU and Unite unions at four days notice.

BA workers show their determination to strike

Over 3,000 British Airways (BA) workers crammed into an electric mass meeting at the Sandown racecourse on Monday of this week, as their Unite union prepared for a strike ballot.

Policeman who assaulted Babar Ahmad acquitted of racially aggravated assault

Babar Ahmad is a south London IT worker who has been in jail for five years. The Metropolitan Police admitted to beating him up in December 2003 and paid him £60,000 in compensation.

South Yorkshire firefighters’ strike off as talks start

The FBU firefighters’ union has called off all strike action in South Yorkshire and gone into talks.

London bus drivers to strike over pay

More than 2,000 drivers at East London Bus Group (ELBG) are to join the growing wave of unrest on the buses by striking on Monday over pay and conditions.

Tragically Chris Harman has died

Supporters and readers of Socialist Worker as well as socialists from around the world will be sad to hear the tragic news that Chris Harman died last night in Cairo where he was speaking.


Poverty and Western intervention lies behind piracy

A Somali pirate rang the BBC last week demanding a ransom for a British couple who have been kidnapped from their yacht. He said, "We only need a little amount of $7 million."

Austrian students in mass revolt

A wave of student protest is sweeping Austria. Students at the Fine Arts University in the capital, Vienna, began it by occupying their college after the principal announced fee increases and changes to course funding.

Undocumented workers strike for their rights in France

Some 4,000 undocumented workers ("sans papiers") are striking in the Parisian region. They come from sub-Saharan Africa but lack the official papers that entitle them to the benefits that French workers enjoy.


Fighting for an entirely different vision of sexuality

The LGBT movement has made massive gains. A little over 40 years ago gay sex was illegal in Britain, but in 2005 we saw the first civil partnerships.

Hypocrisy and hysteria on drugs

Cannabis, LSD and ecstasy cause less harm than cigarettes and alcohol. That is the simple truth.

The Daily Mail vs the Nazis?

There was a curious sight at the newsstands the morning after Nick Griffin’s Question Time appearance last month. All the papers featured either the Nazi British National Party (BNP) leader on their front pages, or the magnificent Unite Against Fascism (UAF) demo against him outside the BBC studios. And all of them were bitterly hostile to Griffin and his fascist agenda.

Chomsky is too pessimistic on Palestine

Noam Chomsky, publicised as the world’s greatest philosopher, addressed thousands of students in London last Thursday on the subject of Palestine in the era of Obama. The talk at the Institute of Education and sponsored by the Palestinian student society at the School of African & Oriental Studies (Soas), London University, and similar student organisations, was beamed to universities across the UK with additional links to the Middle East. It was chaired by Soas progressive scholar Gilbert Achcar and introduced by Tariq Ali.


The revolutions of 1989 - bringing down the Wall

The events of autumn 1989, and the end of the East German state, can be traced back to the spring and summer before the Wall came down – and even further back in history as well.

Poland 1989: Promises that weren’t kept

Two big promises were made in 1989. First, that Poland would be a democratic society. And second that living standards for the mass of people would match those in the West.

Czechoslovakia after 1989: Big tasks for the left

On 17 November 1989 tens of thousands of students marched through the streets of Prague. They were marking the 50th anniversary of the suppression of student resistance to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. The air was full of the feeling for change.

1989: Timeline of revolution

1989 revolutions - scaling the heights

In 1989 popular revolutions across Eastern Europe overthrew their Communist dictatorships. These countries had nothing to do with socialism. The state and party bureaucracy that ruled society acted as a collective capitalist that exploited the working class.

1989 revolutions: The end of a dream?

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 were widely hailed as the triumph of free market capitalism.

Were the 'Communist' regimes socialist?

For Karl Marx, socialism was about self-emancipation. Unlike capitalism, where a rich elite rule, socialism would mean power for the vast majority of people – the working class.

Why we can’t rely on left wing union leaders

By the early 1970s there were 12 million trade unionists, organised by a network of 300,000 shop stewards.

Notes from a postal striker in the north: Sack the dimwit duo and cronies

It has become very clear as to where the blame lies for the postal dispute – with Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier and  Lord Peter Mandelson, the dimwit duo.

We’re standing up to Royal Mail’s bullies

Bullying by Royal Mail managers has reached epidemic proportions – and is a major factor behind the strikes that have swept Britain.

Postie soldier is bosses’ target

A part time soldier awaiting deployment to Afghanistan is among CWU union reps being targeted for disciplinary action by Royal Mail.

They’re all doing their bit to back the post strikers

Students at Stow College in Glasgow have been doing weekly collections around the campus. They then take the money to their local picket line at the Baird Street depot.

Last week’s solid strikes showed workers’ strength

Around 120,000 postal workers took strike action last week and CWU union activists across Britain told Socialist Worker that their action remained absolutely solid.

Shut down the scab centres

Protesters against Royal Mail’s attempt to set up a mass scabbing operation found more than they bargained for when they leafleted casual workers at the company’s "outhouse" operation in Dartford, Kent, on Wednesday of last week.

Job centres ban casual ads

Royal Mail’s attempt to hire 30,000 casual workers to help break the strikes hit trouble last week as job centres refused to advertise their vacancies.

We should come first

‘Chancellor Alastair Darling found another £40 billion to hand over to the banks this week.

Only a good deal will be enough

Rumours of a deal to end the postal workers’ strike abounded as Socialist Worker went to press, while talks between the union and Royal Mail continued.

A junk article in the Sun

The Sun newspaper got it spectacularly wrong when it attacked CWU union deputy general secretary Dave Ward on Monday of this week.

Mandelson goes all quiet on us

Some Labour MPs have joined post workers on their picket lines – to their credit. It is also remarkable that the government has retreated into sudden silence over the postal strike.

Union leaders must do more

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has put itself in the bizarre position of brokering talks to try and end the dispute.

Step up the action to win

Escalating the strike is the best way for postal workers to win. CWU rep Mick Chambers, from Chiswick delivery office in west London, speaks for many when he says that the union must increase the tempo of the action.

A day in the life of a post support group

About 20 post strike supporters came together in Brent trades hall in West London last night to prepare for the week ahead.

Where now for workers' struggle after post strikes suspended?

The postal workers have not been defeated or crushed. Instead their fightback has been curtailed by the CWU union leaders’ decision to conclude an "interim agreement" and halt the action.

Why post union should not have stopped strikes

Leaders of the CWU postal workers’ union have suspended national strike action planned for today and Monday of next week following a new offer from Royal Mail.


Revolution in Paper: Print Making in Mexico 1910-1960

Celebrated muralist Diego Rivera’s print of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata and his horse forms the centrepiece of the British Museum’s new exhibition.

Before, during and after - three DVDs about eastern Europe in 1989

The Lives of Others is a gripping thriller focusing on the role of the East German secret police – the notorious Stasi – in mid-1980s Berlin.

Ghosts in Armour

This project involves 15 artists who have created original works that reference the closing and demolition of the Whiteheads steelworks in Newport, Wales.

Home Grown: The Story of UK Hip Hop

This innovative exhibition charts the development of the British hip-hop scene over the last three decades.

Picasso, I want my face back - Grace Nichols

This is the latest collection of poems from one of Britain’s best contemporary poets.

What We Think

Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: Give a hand to the postal workers

Tim: Lying


The protests that got BBC workers talking I was working a shift at BBC TV Centre on the evening that Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP) joined the Question Time panel. With protesters besieging the building, the atmosphere was electric and there was a slight air of anarchy inside the building.

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