Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2181

Dated: 12 Dec 2009

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Sack the bankers

Gordon Brown and chancellor Alistair Darling are talking tough on bankers. Darling is even promising a "super tax" on their bonuses to try to calm public anger.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Photos of climate demos, 5 December 2009

Irish workers are let down

The Irish government’s attempts to push though devastating cuts received a helping hand last week.

‘War on terror’ brings tragedy as 100th British soldier dies

The 100th British soldier this year died in Afghanistan on Monday this week.

Assed Baig: Why is anti-fascist activist under attack?

A right wing campaign to remove Assed Baig, the president of Staffordshire University student union and anti-fascist activist, is continuing.

Give us a Christmas bonus: get the cash back from banks

The real cost of bailing out Britain’s banks was revealed this week – a whopping £850 billion.

Why was PCS union rep sacked?

Land Registry management have sacked Jane Brooke, a PCS civil service workers’ union rep in Weymouth. She and other workers have made an industrial injury complaint against their employer.

Mikey Powell inquest: Police give evidence

Police officers have been giving evidence to the inquest into the death of Mikey Powell who died in police custody in 2003.

Anti-war soldier Joe Glenton released on bail

Joe Glenton, the serving British soldier who refused to fight in Afghanistan, has been released from military prison in Colchester.

British Airways cabin crew to strike after massive vote for action

British Airway’s cabin crew belonging to the Unite union are set to strike for 12 days from 22 December. This follows a 92 percent vote for strike action among the 14,000 cabin crew in defence of pay, jobs and working conditions. Over 80 percent of those entitled to vote did so, a turn out far greater than at the last general election.

Joe Glenton: Army won’t free traumatised man

Anti-war soldier Joe Glenton is still being held in custody despite being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Obama’s Afghanistan surge offers no solutions

Barack Obama’s decision to send a "surge" of 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan will make the situation bleaker for the people of that country, and deepen the crisis for the occupying powers.

Police violence - remembering Ian Tomlinson

Gordon Brown’s government to slash jobs and services

The war of words between Labour and the Tories over who can slash more of public services stepped up this week.

Labour sets its sights on civil service workers

The government has launched a massive attack on workers that every boss in Britain will be watching.

Save Arrowsmith House care home

About 50 people took part in a march to save Edwin Arrowsmith House, a care home for the elderly in Handsworth, Birmingham at the end of last month.

Cabin crew set for strike vote

British Airways cabin crew in the Unite union are balloting for strike action over cuts that were imposed on 16 November.

HP is a source of resistance

Around 1,000 workers at Hewlett Packard (HP) Enterprise Services are set to strike over pay freezes and job losses on Thursday of this week.

Cleaner suspended

Union activist Juan Carlos Piedra was suspended from his job last week for the second time in recent months.

Hackney Empire closing? Oh no you’re not!

Around 50 people protested outside the press night of Aladdin at the Hackney Empire in London last week, over plans to close the theatre for an uncertain "period of reflection" on the artistic and financial direction of this community theatre.

Last week of Mark Serwotka campaign

Supporters of the campaign to re-elect Mark Serwotka as general secretary of the PCS civil service workers’ union are pulling out all the stops as the election enters its last week.

Essex Firefighters step up action

Essex firefighters are stepping up their industrial action from Monday by refusing new plans to make them work on their days off.

Merseyside FBU ballot for action

Firefighters in Merseyside are balloting for industrial action over planned cuts.

Protest over collapse of Ford-Visteon pension

Talks break down at Fujitsu

Talks between the Unite union and the Fujitsu Services IT company to resolve the long-running dispute over jobs, pay and pensions ended last week with the company making a new offer.

Islington Arts and Media School teachers ask for ballot

Teachers at Islington Arts and Media School in north London last week asked their NUT union to ballot them for industrial action if management doesn’t agree that teachers should only "rarely" be asked to cover for absent colleagues.

Northampton school strikes against academy conversion

Teachers at Weston Favell school in Northampton struck on Thursday of last week in protest at plans to turn the school into an academy.

Education round-up

Further Education pay The UCU union’s further education committee (FEC) heard how devastating cuts of up to £340 million are due to hit the sector at its meeting on Friday of last week.

Fight at Royal Mail is far from finished

Bosses at Royal Mail appear to be following their blueprint for slashing thousands of jobs next year by doing all they can to put off strikes before Christmas.

More anger on the tracks

Signal workers Signalling staff in the Wales and the Marches area are set to strike for six days next week against the imposition of rosters at the South Wales Control Centre that is due to open in January.

Single status: ‘Take a pay cut or the sack’

Two Tory-run councils are preparing to sack workers who don’t sign up for new contracts involving drastic pay cuts for many of their lowest paid staff.

Fighting the racist EDL in Nottingham and Harrow

Seven hundred anti-racists and anti-fascists stopped the Nazi thugs of the English Defence League (EDL) from marching through Nottingham city centre last Saturday.

Right to Work: Building resistance to cuts and job losses

Workers are told that the recession is easing and things are getting better, but still hardly a week goes by without job cuts.

Bus drivers: ‘Bullying, stress and overwork make us ill’

"You can never get away from the stress. You take it home with you," says Shaad, a driver with First Bus in London. "And it is not just you who is affected – your whole family suffers."

New bus strikes in east London and Essex

Hundreds of drivers in Essex and east London have called strikes over pay in the run up to Christmas.

First Bus deal is a wasted opportunity

Drivers at First Bus in Bolton, Bury and Wigan voted last week to settle their dispute over pay. It was an unsatisfactory and unclear ending to the dispute.

Copenhagen: the secret plan to hit the poor and burn the planet

United Nations climate talks finally began in Copenhagen this week, after months of speculation and infighting among those at the top.

Massive climate ‘Wave’ protest turns up the heat on the government

A blue sea of protesters flowed through central London last Saturday as Britain’s biggest ever climate protest hit the city.


Iran protests break out again

Protests against June’s disputed Iranian election results broke out again this week.

Letter from Bolivia: Evo Morales re-elected with a mandate for change

Barely two hours after the voting for Bolivia’s president had ended last Sunday, Movement towards Socialism (MAS) supporters began to fill Plaza Murillo, the heart of the capital of La Paz.


Scottish independence: Is Britain set to break up?

Will David Cameron be the last prime minister of the United Kingdom? With the prospect of a Tory government looming in 2010, the argument for independence is once again front page news in Scotland.

Neoliberalism is a failed ideology that lives on

The whole neoliberal, or free market, order that has dominated the world for over 30 years was called into question when the system plunged into economic crisis in the autumn of last year.


Photo of the Austrian student occupation

Llanelli 1911: war on the railways

The wave of strikes in Britain between 1910 and 1914 saw millions of workers fight over wages and conditions with the most militant methods. The period became known as the Great Unrest.

Voices from student occupations in Austria and Serbia

Voices from student occupations in Austria and Serbia

Katharina Litschauer, University of Vienna - ‘We surrounded parliament’

Students across Austria have been in occupation for more than three months, battling against a government that is assaulting education funding and attempting to push through neoliberal reforms.

Dietmar Meister, University of Vienna - ‘Working groups involve thousands of students’

For weeks now students have shown that they are capable of organising themselves – and not only in Austria. More than 100 working groups have grown out of the occupation at the main university in Vienna.

Matija Medenica, Belgrade university - ‘Pull together all who are being made to pay for the crisis’

For the past two weeks a new wave of student protest has swept through the streets of the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Four marches with thousands of students taking part have opened up a new chapter of opposition to the neoliberal "reforms" in education and beyond.

Simon Englert, University of Sussex - ‘A year ago this would have been unthinkable’

Seeing the recent wave of student occupations and demonstrations across Europe and the world, some people argue that nothing like it will ever happen in Britain.

Can nuclear power be green and safe?

The threat of climate change has led some in the environmental movement to back nuclear power as a green source of energy.

Climate change: don’t get blinded by science

What is climate change?


Enzo Apicella exhibition

Satirical cartoonist Enzo Apicella’s work has been appearing in publications from the Guardian to Private Eye for half a century.

Splendor in the Grass - Pink Martini

This is the fourth album from the multilingual retro band from Portland, Oregon.

Magic Show exhibition

This is an exhibition of work by 24 artist-magicians, who explore the relationship between magic, art, power, trickery and suggestion.

The Maintenance of Headway - Magnus Mills

"It’s a bit like buses – you wait for one and three come along." The solution served up by those in power to challenge such mocking of the industry has been to create "the maintenance of headway".

Me And Orson Welles - recreating the creativity and radicalism

This is a coming-of-age movie with a twist. The story of a young man looking for success and love is set within a real historical context – Orson Welles’s production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in November 1937.

Orson Welles timeline

1915 – Born in Wisconsin, USA1936 – Establishes his reputation with production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth for the Federal Theatre Project (part of New Deal public works, which put unemployed actors to work). Works with all-black cast in Harlem, with play set in Haiti. 1937 – Works on highly political musical The Cradle Will Rock. Premiere at government funded theatre cancelled. Runs into union opposition. Impromptu performance in nearby theatre huge success.

What We Think

Darling's austerity measures declare war on working people

Chancellor Alistair Darling’s pre-budget statement was a declaration of war against working people. It is only the opening shots, and much worse will come in the future. But the basic features of the attacks are already in place.

Other Categories

Colin Cameron 1946-2009

Comrades in Fife, Scotland, were saddened to hear that lifelong socialist Colin Cameron died of cancer last week.

Leon Kuhn: Collecting the peace prize

Tim: Bonus culture at Christmas


Victory over privateers inspires new NHS fight The Camden Keep Our NHS Public campaign is celebrating victory over our local primary care trust and its plans to set up a new privately-run health centre in the borough.

Quotes from the week's news

"One agent did come up with something – the ‘45 minutes’, allegedly discussed in a high level Iraqi political meeting."Former British intelligence officer and now Tory MP Adam Holloway on Tony Blair’s "dodgy dossier" and the claim that Iraq could deploy Weapons of Mass Destruction quickly

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