Dated: 13 Oct 2001
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Other states in his sights.
Saturday 20 October, Werneth Park, Oldham Carnival against the Nazis Called by Oldham United Against Racism. Supported by North West Region TUC, ANL, local NUT, Greater Manchester FBU Region Five, PCS, TGWU and UNISON
SALES OF Socialist Worker are soaring. This reflects the growing movement against the war and the thirst for arguments opposing the military campaign. Coverage of protests across the world for peace interests a wide layer of people.
WORKERS AT Chivas Regal whisky plants across Scotland are striking over pay in a series of one-day strikes. The 1,000-strong workforce, who are members of the GMB, AEEU and MSF unions, were angered when management put forward a one-off payment of £650. The two one-day strikes have been 100 percent solid.
ELECTRICIANS who were sacked for taking unofficial action were right to strike, an employment tribunal said last week. The ruling is a boost for the 250 electricians who worked for Britain's biggest electrical contractor, Balfour Kilpatrick, on the Pfizer site in Kent. They struck for seven and a half weeks over health and safety in April last year.
AROUND 150 ancillary workers in the UNISON union at the new PFI hospital in Carlisle have voted by three to one to strike against the conditions offered by the Interserve private company they work for.
A WELL attended liaison meeting of delegates from local Socialist Alliance groups met last Saturday in Birmingham. The meeting agreed to affiliate to the Stop the War Coalition, and to encourage all Socialist Alliances to throw themselves into campaigning against the war.
OVER 7,000 council workers in the UNISON union in Bradford are due to begin balloting on Monday for strikes against the restructuring of workers' conditions in the city. The Tory-Liberal council coalition is withdrawing from its 20-year agreement with the unions in an attempt to bring in more privatisation.
THE POST Office has launched a policy of slash and burn through the workforce combined with a relentless drive for privatisation. It is the greatest challenge the postal workers' CWU union has ever faced. The board of directors had gathered on the day of the World Trade Centre suicide attacks to finalise their latest strategy.
"EVEN THE threat of military action has made the humanitarian situation worse. Military attacks on Afghanistan will make the problems worse." That damning comment came from the director of the charity CAFOD. It exposes Bush and Blair's lies that they are waging a "humanitarian war". The meagre aid dropped from planes will not feed the millions of starving Afghan people.
US DEFENCE Secretary Donald Rumsfeld now argues openly that bombing Afghanistan is to be "part of a much wider effort. It will likely be sustained for years, not weeks or months."
NEW LABOUR hopes the World Trade Centre deaths can be used to cover up unpopular policies, according to a leaked memo. "It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury," read the e-mail from Jo Moore, political adviser to transport and local government secretary Stephen Byers.
AROUND 15,000 people protested in Rome on Monday against the war. The protest was called by COBAS, the trade union organisation, and left wing political party Rifondazione. Also in Italy, in Milan 5,000 protested, while around 2,000 people joined demonstrations in Naples.
"EXECUTED AS planned." That was how US president George W Bush described the bombing of Afghanistan this week.
THERE IS no such thing as a "clean war" or "precision bombing". The same US and British generals who now say they are using "smart weapons" in Afghanistan were only two weeks ago telling the media they were "resigned to civilian casualties".
A KEY aim of the US attack on Afghanistan is to intensify the civil war that has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The forces of the "Northern Alliance" were informed of the timing of the first air strikes and began shelling areas held by the Taliban. The Northern Alliance is composed of rival groups.
THE ATTACK on Afghanistan has provoked a wave of anger against the US and Britain across the Middle East. As the first bombs fell, protests erupted in Palestine, Syria, Egypt and many other countries.
SAUDI ARABIA is at the centre of US policies in both the Middle East and Central Asia. This Western ally, one of the world's biggest oil producers, is ruled by the royal family-and there is no democracy whatever. The US and Britain armed Saudi Arabia, and used it as the key military base in the war against Iraq.
PAUL ROBESON was without doubt one of the most extraordinary men of the 20th century. A black American born at the beginning of the last century, Robeson was an uncompromising fighter against war and oppression. His death in 1976 went virtually unnoticed. But over the past few years new generations of activists have been inspired by his life.
IMPERIALIST WARS like the one that has just been launched against Afghanistan always put the left to the test. It's always possible to find some excuse for supporting imperialist rulers.
"WE WERE just herded out onto the streets." So said Jeanette Dearden, one of 700 workers at two Viasystems factories on Tyneside who have been thrown out of work.
The exchange between longstanding anti-war activist Tariq Ali and Peter Hain took place at a 200-strong fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference after Tony Blair delivered his speech.
Tony Blair summed up Labour's mission as, "Let us reorder this world," when he spoke at the Labour conference last week. He said the "international community" could sort out the world's problems. But when Blair talks of the "international community" he does not mean ordinary people showing solidarity with one another.
THE spectacular collapse of Railtrack ought to be the final nail in the coffin for privatisation. Shareholders were screaming for compensation this week. And Railtrack was threatening legal action to free up £350 million to hand to them.
TUBE DRIVERS in London were set to strike on Friday of this week in a dispute that should be a rallying point for everyone opposed to New Labour's privatisation plans for London Underground.
THE SOCIALIST Worker Appeal has shot up by over £14,000 in the last week. Our readers and supporters have raised a total of £75,332 so far. Every penny of this is being thrown into campaigning against the war, and the cuts and privatisation Blair is trying to sneak through.
"BLACK WEDNESDAY". That was the Mirror's banner headline last week as the scale of the job cuts sweeping Britain became clear. Behind the figures lie workers whose lives will be devastated as they are thrown on the dole. Thousands more workers will be terrified that they too could be caught in the jobs cull.
PARTICIPATING in the demonstrations in Genoa was for many a life-changing event. We saw Italian trade unionists join the diversity of the anti-capitalist movement in the biggest demo Europe had seen for many years. We knew another world was possible, and we came home and tried to tell as many people as possible.
ENIGMA IS a war movie that is worth a look. It is fiction, but is based against the background of real events, the successful breaking of the Nazi Enigma code machine by the Allies in the Second World War. It is well acted, with a decent plot, and has a sharp screenplay by playwright Tom Stoppard.
GEORGE MONBIOT'S detailed and devastating account of how the corporations are subverting areas of public life that are supposed to be "democratic" is now available in paperback.
EDUCATION secretary Estelle Morris announced last week that the government is going to change the arrangements for university fees and grants. There will, at a minimum, be grants for some students, and possibly all fees will go, to be replaced by a graduate tax.
THE movement to stop the war against Afghanistan is growing. People are united in opposition to war. But within the movement for peace a whole series of debates about the alternatives to war have sprung up. People opposed to the war are quite rightly advocating a political and not a military solution.
TONY BLAIR proclaims that "the values we believe in should shine through" in the war. A glance at the regimes Blair and Bush are courting as allies illuminates those values.
BIG BUSINESS is making every effort to woo New Labour ministers. The profit-hungry were particularly targeting health ministers during the shortened Labour Party conference last week. Health secretary Alan Milburn addressed a fringe meeting on "Will the NHS deliver?" on Monday of last week, where wine and snacks came courtesy of drug giant Merck, Sharpe & Dohme. Milburn was also on the platform for the "Towards stakeholder healthcare" meeting sponsored by Norwich Union.