Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2232

Dated: 18 Dec 2010




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Student protests show… Police are the real thugs

Since the student protest on the day of the university fees vote, the media has been filled with panic about the "violence" of student "thugs".


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Tube drivers' Boxing Day strike has big impact

A solid strike by train drivers in the Aslef union on London Underground has had a severe effect on the running of the tube network today (Boxing Day). The workers are furious that management have failed to offer extra pay for working on the bank holiday.

Jayaben Desai - death of a great fighter

Socialist Worker is sad to learn of the death of Jayaben Desai on 23 December. She was the Asian woman who was the most prominent leader of the strike at the Grunwick photo-processing lab in 1976.

Kent uni occupiers defy threats and call New Year vigil

Students occupying the University of Kent are defying college administration threats and plan to continue their protest against tuition fees and education cuts into the new year.

The future of the NSSN: a statement from NSSN officers and steering committee members

We are drawing attention to the disastrous outcome of the Steering Committee of the National Shop Stewards’ Network (NSSN) meeting on Saturday 4 December.

Does capitalism rule with our consent?

Riot police showed the brutal face of the British state on the streets of London last week. But protests that threaten governments—let alone the capitalist system—are rare. Much of the time it can seem that people are relatively content with the way things are.

Climate "deal" sells out the planet

The outcome of last week’s climate conference in the luxury resort of Cancun, Mexico, shows the utter contempt the world’s richest governments have for the planet.

Beans bosses will be toast when Heinz workers strike

Production of millions of cans of Heinz beans and other foods will be shut down this week as more than 1,000 workers at the company plant in Wigan are set to strike.

Medirest workers to strike against low pay

Some of the lowest-paid workers in the NHS are preparing to strike this week.

Tube workers to strike against victimisations

Three crucial strikes are set to take place on the tube over Christmas. Two of the walkouts are against the victimisation of RMT union activists.

Hull firefighters march over job cuts

Around 350 firefighters marched through Hull last Saturday in protest at plans to slash 170 jobs by reducing crew on fire engines from five to four.

Groups of Tower Hamlets workers move towards strikes

Teachers and council workers in Tower Hamlets, east London, this week moved a step closer to a borough-wide strike against cuts.

The anti-cuts movement is on the rise

The year ends with clear signs of the potential for local anti-cuts groups to mobilise big protests.

Villiers school strike is part of fight for change

Villiers High School in Southall, west London, was closed to most students on Wednesday 8 December when 60 members of the NUT and ATL teaching unions struck against management bullying.

EIS emergency cuts conference

Nearly 70 delegates from further education colleges in Scotland shrugged off the snow and met in Glasgow at an emergency EIS conference over the cuts last week.

NUT exec defers pension action decision

The NUT national executive has deferred a decision on a timetable for action on proposed changes to the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) until its next meeting on 20 January.

Action to spread at Newsquest

Strikes are set to spread across regional newspaper company Newsquest after journalists at its titles in Blackburn, Bradford, Bolton and York voted decisively for walkouts.

One Society Many Cultures conference

One Society Many Cultures—a coalition of unions, Muslim organisations and anti-racist groups to combat the rise of Islamophobia—organised a successful conference on Saturday 11 December.

Civil service workers' union suspends strike

The PCS civil service workers’ union has suspended a two day strike by 3,000 members in seven offices set for next week after a new offer.

Shaker Aamer demonstration

A demonstration and rally was held in south London on Saturday 11 December as part of the campaign to save Shaker Aamer.

Metroline vote rejects offer

Bus workers at Metroline in London have voted by 87 percent in an indicative ballot to reject a pay offer.

John McDermott: Unison demands costs

The Unison union is turning up the heat against union activist John McDermott by trying to claim legal costs, which could amount to thousands of pounds.

Ballot begins at Southeastern

RMT transport union members on Southeastern trains are balloting for action over plans to cut jobs and reduce the role of team leaders at London’s Charing Cross and Victoria stations.

Fighting to stop voluntary cuts

Around one hundred people from voluntary sector organisations and the Unite union protested on Tuesday 14 December against cuts in London councils.

Cash news soon in Yunus Bakhsh’s case

Victimised trade unionist Yunus Bakhsh was expecting to find out when his Employment Tribunal remedies hearing will take place as Socialist Worker went to press. The hearing will decide the level of compensation he will receive.

Bakkavor workers stand up to cuts

Workers were to rally against job and wage cuts at the Bakkavor food processing company in Spalding, Lincolnshire, this Friday 17 December.

Day X3 - the day students shook the Tory coalition

The vote on tuition fees in parliament last week showed British "democracy" is a hollow sham.

Workers support for students is key

Lots of workers support the students. They are cheered by the fact that people are fighting back against a hated government that wants to wreck our lives.

UCU union demands inquiry into policing of student protest

Hundreds of UCU members joined students protesting outside parliament on Thursday. We were outraged at the police brutality—kettling people for hours in the cold, charging with horses, and causing many injuries with batons and shields.

Where next for student movement?

Students are already planning protests for the new year.

Peterborough protesters drive back EDL racists

The tables were turned on the racist English Defence League (EDL) in Peterborough last Saturday, 11 December.

Lib Dems in crisis - and what's Ed up to?

The vote for increased tuition fees has not solved the coalition’s problems—it has deepened them.

BNP plots return to the streets—and Oldham by-election

The Nazi British National Party (BNP) planned a political turn at its annual conference on the weekend of 10 December in Leicester.

Student occupations have focused the struggle

Some students suspended university occupations this week as the winter holiday approaches—but others are vowing to stay in over Christmas and more began new occupations.

Why top cop's head should roll

The last Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Ian Blair, resigned in large part because he misled the public about the police shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes in 2005.

Kirklees: ballot for 5-day strike

Thousands of council workers in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, are balloting for strikes over jobs.

Tories cut the poor and cushion the rich

Cuts to council services will hit the poorest areas hardest.

Tommy Sheridan trial: Andy Coulson on the stand

The trial of socialists Tommy and Gail Sheridan for perjury took a revealing twist last week when Andy Coulson, now David Cameron’s media chief, took the stand.

Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah: Cop tried to ‘inflict pain’

Damning new evidence has emerged at the inquest into the death of Habib "Paps" Ullah in police custody in High Wycombe, Berkshire.

Death after boss takes fire engine

A woman has died in a fire in Holloway, north London, after bosses took a fire engine from the local fire station.

20,000 kids on food handouts

Thousands of people will be forced to take charity food handouts or go hungry this winter because of soaring poverty.

Will ex-ministers lose passes?

The parliamentary Commons Standards and Privileges Committee has recommended suspending the parliamentary passes of former Labour ministers Geoff Hoon, Stephen Byers and Richard Caborn for breaching lobbying rules.

Wikileaks: Defend Julian Assange against the US government

The Stop the War Coalition protested outside Westminster Magistrates Court against attacks on Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, on Tuesday.

Pupil premium is a big con

Education secretary Michael Gove has proudly announced a pupil premium for poorer pupils—but it’s recycled money and he’s been forced to admit it!

Postal workers threaten strikes against privatisation

Leaders of the postal workers’ union today warned the government that plans to privatise Royal Mail could be met by strikes.

‘Violence of police put our lives at risk’

Police nearly killed one student protester last week and viciously abused a disabled man. But instead of feeling ashamed, they are demanding more power to use force.

Alfie’s friends kettle Scotland Yard

Around 60 supporters of Alfie Meadows protested outside Scotland Yard on Tuesday to tell Met police to end kettling and violence towards protesters.

Pay blackmail won’t save jobs

Bosses are trying to blackmail more than a million NHS workers into accepting pay cuts in exchange for paper-thin "guarantees" of job security.

Tax dodgers: make firms pay up

Protesters will take to the streets across Britain this Saturday 18 December to step up the pressure on companies that have used legal scams to avoid paying billions of pounds in tax.

Middlesex students and staff issue open letter on Alfie Meadows

We, current and former students and staff of Middlesex University, wish to make plain our disgust at the behaviour of the Metropolitan police at the demonstration against tuition fee rises in London on 9th December. A Middlesex student, Alfie Meadows, sustained life-threatening injuries and underwent brain surgery as a result of an attack by the police. Protesters wishing to leave the demonstration had been told by police to exit via Whitehall, where many were then kettled and attacked. At around 6pm, the police launched a series of unprovoked charges, using horses, truncheons and shields on protesters trapped in Whitehall. Hundreds of peaceful protesters were lined up on the south side o

German students release statement supporting British students

Solidarity with British Students!

Islington trade unionists and students march against cuts

Around 300 local trade unionists marched through Islington yesterday. They were joined by students from the London Metropolitan University occupation.

Students continue protest over the holidays

Occupying students in two universities are planning to stay in occupation over the Christmas holidays.

Solid Wigan Heinz strike rocks bosses - and more action planned

A strike by more than 1,000 workers at Heinz’s factory in Wigan meant that millions of cans of beans and other foods were not produced at the Kitt Green site this week.

Report of Medirest NHS workers' strike in Amersham

Low paid NHS workers struck for 48 hours from Wednesday against bosses’ refusal to honour their agreed terms of contract. Over 100 domestics, porters, and catering staff employed by Medirest at Amersham and Wycombe hospitals in Buckinghamshire walked out.

Perjury charges against Gail Sheridan dropped

Gail Sheridan was cleared of perjury today (Friday). Gail had been accused of lying in court during her husband, Tommy's, successful libel action against the News of the World. Police responded to that successful action with a huge investigation leading to the couple's current perjury trial.

On strike against Medirest in Southampton

Over 100 low paid porters, cleaners, catering staff and domestics at Southampton general hospital took to the picket lines on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

'Payday' tax protests shut dozens of shops

Protests against corporate tax dodgers have shut down dozens of high street shops in more than 50 towns and cities across Britain – on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Birmingham refuse workers strike against pay cuts

Street cleaners were in upbeat mood on the Lifford Lane depot picket line today during the strike by refuse workers in Birmingham. No workers crossed the picket line and reports from other areas confirm that the strike by Unite, GMB, Ucatt and Unison union members was solid across the city.

Heinz workers on strike again, and another date planned

Workers at food giant Heinz struck today (Tuesday) as part of their continuing fight for decent pay.

Kent uni occupiers determined to stay in over Xmas

Students occupying the University of Kent have vowed to continue their protest against tuition fees over Christmas, despite threats of legal action.

London firefighters vote to accept shifts deal

Firefighters in London have voted to accept new shift patterns proposed after their union called off strikes.

Kirklees council workers vote for new year strike

Some 7,500 council workers in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, have voted for a strike. And their regional Unison union officials have said they will recommend this is now turned into hard-hitting action.

Trials and arrests underline EDL racism and violence

The arrest and conviction of supporters of the racist English Defence League (EDL) in the last few weeks underlines the lie that they are a peaceful, anti-racist organisation – and proves that it is right to build a movement big enough to drive them from our streets.


International

Greek workers set for seventh general strike of the year

Workers in Greece were to end a year of struggle with a general strike this Wednesday 15 December—the day of the government’s budget.

Huge protests in Italy as Berlusconi escapes 'no confidence' vote

Protests broke out today (Tuesday) as Italy’s corrupt prime minister Silvio Berlusconi survived a vote of no confidence.

Massive general strike shows power of Greece's workers

Greece’s year of struggle hit another high point when the seventh full general strike rocked the country on Wednesday 15 December.

New wave of struggle in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is in the grip of a fresh round of protests by garment workers.


Comment

Racism, not Islam, is the problem

The man who apparently blew himself up planting a bomb in Stockholm, Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly, lived in Luton.

A postal worker's poetic story about solidarity at Christmas

At Christmas when you open your gifts and cards.


Features

China: the masses are on the move

In the last twenty years, China’s economy has grown faster than any other country in the world—and it has even managed to grow through most of the current recession.

LSE occupation: Life Inside a rebel base

In a rather lavish room, a student is pointing a stick at a big computer screen showing a Google map of London. "This is the Strand, this is Whitehall," he gestures. "Here’s parliament. We go down here, and here…"


Reviews

Pantomime is a load of rubbish. ‘Oh no it isn’t!’

Pantomime is a debased cultural product used to take working class people’s money at Christmas because it is "traditional".

Tell Me A Story - Grace Petrie

When Grace Petrie played Glastonbury’s Leftfield stage, an awestruck Billy Bragg declared that she "stole the fucking show".

Socialist Worker’s pick of the Christmas flicks

Among such Yuletide gems as Kirstie and Phil’s Perfect Christmas, Jamie’s Best Ever Christmas and Lorraine Kelly’s Children’s Hospital at Christmas will be the odd film and drama that are actually worth watching.

Competition winners

Congratulations to Stephen Lowdon of County Durham and Jimmy Burns of Southport who won our competition and will now receive a Lenin kitchen apron and a Big Red Diary—also available from <a href="http://www.redstuffshop.com">www.redstuffshop.com</a>

Video: Grace Petrie - Emily Davison Blues

Grace Petrie performing "Emily Davison Blues", outside Nick Cleggs Sheffield Constituency Office. 13th December 2010


What We Think

Signposts for the fightback in 2011

The student revolt nearly defeated a key coalition policy last week. The demonstrations that flowed to the gates of parliament so rocked MPs that the Tory-Lib Dem majority fell to just 21.

Sources of hope in attitudes survey

The right wing papers have used the latest British Social Attitudes survey to suggest that Britain has become more Thatcherite.


Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: Copshop

Tim: Away in a manger

Tim: Royal transport

Letters

I want a velvet school revolution My name is Red Justice (yep, it is actually Red Justice). I am a socialist as well as a 12&#8209;year old schoolboy. I detest my school as it is a complete dictatorship.

BBC journalist interrogates disabled protester

‘I was attacked and pulled out of my wheelchair on two occasions’Jody McIntyre, who has cerebral palsy, describes how police treated him on last week’s student protest



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