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Socialist Worker

Issue: 2235

Dated: 22 Jan 2011

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Revolution in Tunisia: ‘We have the power’

The revolution that is ripping through Tunisia has led to celebrations across the Arab world and beyond.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


BNP leader forced to run from journalists' club debate

Protesters stopped Nick Griffin, leader of the Nazi British National Party (BNP), from speaking at meeting on Thursday of last week.

Heinz strikes meanz a much better pay deal

Workers at the Heinz factory in Wigan voted to accept an improved pay offer from management this week.

Civil service workers strike back—now escalate

Almost 3,000 call centre workers were to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week over attacks on their working conditions.

Bury libraries: 'We need our books'

Around 300 people protested outside local libraries in Bury on Monday of last week against council plans to make cuts to the service. The council plans to shut a library in Unsworth, Whitefield.

Let Mirfat stay here

Mirfat Badallah is calling for solidarity to stop the Home Office deporting her to Yemen. She has lived in Birmingham for 11 years and has a British husband and British born children.

Tanker drivers to ballot for action

Oil and petrol tanker drivers are preparing to ballot for industrial action next month against attacks on their terms and conditions.

Camden anti-cuts meeting

Don’t make cuts, join the fightback. That was the message delivered to Labour councillors at a 200-strong meeting in Camden last Monday night.

BA ballot ends this week

Cabin crew at British Airways (BA) will finish their ballot for strikes on Friday of this week. All signs are that the vote will deliver an overwhelming vote for strikes.

National grid work to rule

Over 1,200 Unite union members will be starting a work to rule and overtime ban at the National Grid.

Haringey and Stockport protest against the cuts

Some 1,000 marched on Haringey council, stopping traffic on Wood Green High Road, over cuts on Monday.

Marching in Portsmouth

Up to 500 people marched against the cuts in Portsmouth last Saturday.

Biscuit makers may be sacked

Some 342 workers at Burton’s Foods have been told that they will be sacked and the Wirral factory closed.

Campaigners make MPs listen

More than 200 people from the legal and voluntary sectors converged on parliament on Wednesday of last week. Many of them were trade unionists.

Doctor: health bill is the start of full privatisation of NHS

The new NHS bill this week will lay the legislative foundations for the privatisation of the NHS.

Navy medic refuses to fight in ‘war based on lies’

Michael Lyons has got a fight on his hands—and he intends to win it. He is a 24 year old Navy medic, and a conscientious objector. He believes that the US and British occupation of Afghanistan is based on lies and greed.

BBC Arabic service on two-day strike

Journalists at the BBC Arabic Service began a 48 hour strike on Tuesday.

Rage at the bonus bankers

Hundreds of activists took part in anti-cuts protests across Britain last weekend.

Labour’s choice is to cut or fight

Labour’s resounding victory in last week’s Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election showed the depth of the government’s problems just eight months into its term of office.

Royal Mail sell-off plan sails through parliament

Postal services are heading for catastrophe as government plans to hand Royal Mail to a private firm took a step forwards last week.

Don’t let racists rampage in Luton

The racist English Defence League is mobilising to get racist thugs to descend on Luton on Saturday 5 February—the place where the group was set up in 2009.

Justice for Bolton: Police case collapses

Paul Sutcliffe, a 45-year old Unite Against Fascism (UAF) supporter from Halifax, walked free from court on Thursday of last week after the prosecution case against him collapsed.

Spying on the movement: questions for top cops

Revelations that undercover police officers have infiltrated environmental groups in Britain has sent shockwaves through the movement.

Bring the reckless bus bosses to a stop

A quarter of buses run by the Metroline firm in London have serious defects and should not be on the road. That was the shocking conclusion of a report in the Evening Standard newspaper last week.

Tories attack right to strike and bring in sack threat

David Cameron wants to make it harder for workers to strike. Last week he raised the threat of hardening up anti‑union laws even further.

Boris Johnson’s bonkers London Underground plan

Workers on the Northern and Bakerloo tube lines joined a second 24-hour strike from Friday evening of last week—defying London mayor Boris Johnson who launched a tirade of abuse against the tube workers.

Birmingham refuse workers suspend strikes

Some 480 refuse workers employed by Birmingham City Council suspended their planned two half-day strikes last week after management were forced to make concessions.

Britain trains Bangladeshi torturers: new evidence

Further evidence has come to light of the relationship between British governments and a Bangladeshi paramilitary death squad.

UCU ballot: Vote yes for a fight

The UCU union has confirmed dates for strike ballots in both the further and higher education sectors over jobs, pay and pensions.

More government attacks on Travellers

The Tories are preparing a fresh assault on Travellers.

Teachers face pensions attack

Half a million members of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) in schools, colleges and universities face steep increases in their monthly contributions.

Figure it out

8,000: The number of people who applied for just 200 apprenticeships at National Rail

Schools news round-up

Striking teachers at a Rotherham secondary school have saved three jobs after striking for three days.

Tony Blair caught out on war lies

Former attorney general Lord Goldsmith’s written evidence will make things hard for Tony Blair as he faces the Iraq inquiry again on Friday.

Left in Glasgow should unite

Former Respect and Labour MP George Galloway has announced that he will stand on the Glasgow regional list in May’s election to the Scottish parliament.

March for education on 29 January

College and school students are taking their futures into their own hands.

Defend student protester Bryan Simpson

The government and the police have cracked down on the student movement.

Anti-academies: Schools fight is an inspiration

The Anti Academies Alliance (AAA) annual general meeting last weekend was lifted by the experience of the student movement. One teacher described it as "Inspiring".

Victory against academy plan in Deptford

Campaigners have won a significant victory in Deptford, south east London. Governors at Tidemill primary school are to withdraw their application to become an academy after campaigners exposed flaws in the proposal.

Anti-union laws halt DLR train strike

The legal right to strike received another blow today as a High Court judge granted an injunction on technicalities to halt a 48-hour strike by Docklands Light Railway (DLR) workers in London.

Students marching to defend EMA

More than 1,000 students are marching on parliament in London, as students protest over Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in towns and cities across the country.

Huge march in Haringey against cuts

"Sack the bankers, not the workers." That chant rang out through Wood Green Shopping City, in Haringey, north London, on Monday as 1,000 teachers, council workers and anti-cuts campaigners marched on Haringey Civic Centre.

Solid strike at Jobcentre Plus

Around 3,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union are striking today (Thursday) and tomorrow over attacks on their working conditions. Their action is severely hitting seven "contact centres"—former benefit processing centres—in Glasgow, Newport (Gwent), Norwich, Sheffield, Bristol, Makerfield and Manchester—that Jobcentre Plus management want to turn into call centres.

Southampton: council workers' meeting ends in cuts protest

Up to 1,000 council workers held a mass meeting and march against cuts in Southampton yesterday (Thursday).

BA cabin crew vote for strikes - now Unite should call action

British Airways cabin crew have voted by a fantastic 78.5 percent for strikes on a 75 percent turnout.


Desperately poor are the real flood victims

The pictures from Brazil, where well over 600 people have already died in the floods and mudslides, are all too familiar. However it was the floods in Australia that got most of the attention.

Portugal faces presidential election as attacks, and resistance, deepen

Portugal faces a crucial presidential election this week as the economy continues to collapse. Many commentators believe that Portugal will be the next European Union country to need a financial bailout.


US and China in a battle for influence

China's leaders are busy touring the globe. President Hu Jintao has been visiting the US a week after vice-premier Li Keqiang, whom Hu backs as the next prime minister, did the rounds of the European Union (EU).


The battle of Wapping

For more than a year police battered workers fighting for their rights, while the full force of the media and the government was used against those battling for justice. That was what happened 25 years ago when press baron Rupert Murdoch sacked 6,000 print workers.

Socialist Worker warned of plans for scab plant at Wapping that union leaders ignored

Most histories of the Wapping strike talk about how Murdoch "fooled" the union leaders by saying his new plant was for a fictitious newspaper, called the London Post.

Mass protest topples tyrant

Revolution sweeps away a hated dictator. Thousands fill the streets to celebrate their newly won freedom. The scenes sound like something from a history book. But this is Tunisia in January 2011.

The new government will be weak

The situation on the ground remains quite volatile. The flight of Ben Ali gave remnants of the old regime a platform to regroup—despite the fact that it was on its last legs—and they are trying to organise a counter-revolution.

Threatening the power of Arab rulers

This is the first time in decades that the Arab world has witnessed an insurrection that brought down a dictator. The revolt started with demands for work, bread and water, but these soon merged with political demands for freedom and liberty.

Eyewitness to the fall of brutal dictator Ben Ali

Mohammed, a Tunisian socialist living in London, flew to Tunis last week to take part in the mass protest that forced Ben Ali to flee the country. He spoke to Socialist Worker:

‘A lesson no Arab regime should ignore’

Across the Arab world, millions of people suffer the same poverty, unemployment, soaring prices and oppression that lie behind the Tunisian revolution.

Permanent revolution: how to win liberation in the Middle East

Hossam Bahgat of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said he was glued to the news from Tunisia.

Tunisia timeline

1881: France invades and Tunisia becomes a French colony. Hundreds of thousands of Tunisians flee after a rebellion is crushed9 April, 1938: French troops open fire on independence demonstrators, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians20 March, 1956: Tunisia becomes independent after 75 years as a French protectorate. Nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba is named prime minister25 July, 1957: The monarchy is abolished and Tunisia becomes a republic. Bourguiba becomes president. US aid floods in19 July, 1961: Bourguiba demands that French forces leave their nava

Trotsky: Preserving Marxism for the future battles

The struggle against Stalinism was not confined to Russia. Leon Trotsky’s view that Stalinism was counter‑revolutionary in Russia led him to the conclusion that it would have the same effect internationally.

Eyewitness to the fall of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali to speak at London meeting

A socialist from Tunisia who was present during the uprising which toppled dictator Ben Ali will speak. Professor Phil Marfleet, who has recently returned from Egypt, will talk about the situation across the Middle East.


What We Think

Tunisia: workers can transform the world

Revolutions often appear to come from nowhere. People living under a brutal regime who for generations have got on with their everyday lives—making a living, studying—suddenly revolt.

Other Categories

Tim's view


Bigoted scaremongers want to turn clock back Reporting of the way a small number of women have been failed by the Implanon contraceptive implant tells us a lot about the agenda of the right wing press.

Who says?

‘Grow up’

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