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Socialist Worker

Issue: 2283

Dated: 17 Dec 2011

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Scrooge Cameron’s festive message: "Merry crisis"

It’s that time of year again—a magical season of charity and gift giving. And may I take this opportunity to thank you for all my wonderful gifts. I was particularly fond of my £64,000 designer kitchen, not to mention my £550,000 pension pot.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Support prisoners during the holidays by writing a letter

As the holiday season approaches, Socialist Worker asks readers to write to political prisoners and those who have suffered at the hands of the system.

Unilever strikers - we all need to strike together

Klaxons boomed across the frosty Essex morning last Friday, as lorry drivers showed their solidarity with workers picketing the Unilever plant in Purfleet.

Bah humbug! Bosses cancel Christmas

Unilever’s miserly management has decided to punish workers for taking part in the strike.

Argos workers strike over pensions

Drivers and warehouse workers at retail giant Argos struck over pensions on Thursday of last week in Motherwell, near Glasgow.

After N30 unions discuss the way forward

There is a debate across the trade unions that joined the magnificent strike on 30 November about where the struggle goes next.

Unions reject government's divisive health offer

Unions and health workers have rejected the latest Tory attempts to rob their pensions.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence dropped

Former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal no longer faces the death penalty after 30 years on death row.

The new euro deal - your questions answered

What is the "eurozone"?

Cameron bought time by buying off rebels

The use of Britain’s veto at the European Union (EU) summit last week has triggered a huge row within the ruling class.

Survey shows less than 10 percent support Tory cuts

Fewer than one in ten people support the government’s cuts, according to the 28th annual British Social Attitudes Survey published in last week.

Solid strike against academies in Birmingham

Teachers and support staff at Montgomery Primary School in Birmingham struck today, Tuesday, against their school becoming an academy.

Tories plan DVLA jobs massacre

The Tories have announced plans to close 39 local Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) offices. The announcement—just two weeks before Christmas—puts 1,200 jobs at risk.

Union demands justice over deaths in custody

A London Underground union branch held a special meeting last week with relatives of two black men who died in police custody.

Unite union exec discusses results of N30

Last week the Executive Council (EC) of Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, met in London.

Bentley Motors reject pay offer

Workers have rejected a below-inflation pay offer at Bentley Motors in Crewe.

Improved offer at Selex Galileo

Workers in the Unite union were set to vote this week on an improved pay offer at defence manufacturing firm Selex Galileo.

Angry meeting in Royston against fire service cuts

Around 100 people packed into Royston Civic Hall near Barnsley on Wednesday of last week to defend their fire station.

Government reveals plans for firefighters' pension scheme

The government has set out more detail of the cuts it wants to make to firefighters’ pension scheme.

Farepak victims fight five years on

Victims of the Farepak savings scandal were set to take their fight for compensation to parliament on Wednesday of this week.

Deal to cut pay in half at steel firm

Steelworkers’ union Community has disgracefully agreed to a 50 percent pay cut for workers at steel firm Caparo Merchant Bar in Scunthorpe.

Action for Children workers get cash but pay freeze too

A pay freeze will go ahead at charity Action for Children after unions accepted a £60 per worker payment to call off strikes.

Protest against cosmetic surgery

Up to 100 activists took to the streets outside Harley Medical Group in London on Saturday of last week.

Strikers at Langdon win key concessions

NUT union members at Langdon School in Newham, east London, have voted to suspend further strikes and return to work on Wednesday of this week.

Wave of walkouts shocks the bosses

Rank and file electricians walked off jobs, protested and blocked roads in towns and cities across Britain on Wednesday of last week.

Where next for the sparks?

The employers are rattled by the unofficial strikes and protests. They made MJN Colston back off from breaking the JIB agreement.

Latest threats from Balfour Beatty

Bosses at Balfour Beatty this week sent another letter to every electrician threatening to sack them if they don’t sign up to pay cuts.

Education round-up

Oasis Media City Teachers at Oasis Media City in Salford struck on Tuesday against plans to turn the school into an academy.

Tax collectors walk out

PCS union members in Revenue and Customs (HMRC) struck for several hours on Monday in two separate disputes.

PCS DWP to hold consultative ballot

The PCS DWP group executive committee met last Friday to discuss furthering the national campaign on pay, pensions and jobs, and also to discuss two separate disputes.

Teacher in sixth forms to ballot

Teachers in sixth form colleges are preparing to be balloted over pay and cuts in government funding. The NUT union should begin the ballot in the new year.

UCU to escalate fight for pensions

Executive meetings of the University and College union have decided unanimously to escalate the current action around pensions in both the TPS and USS schemes.

John's Occupy London Diary

The City is taking us to court from 19 to 23 December, and then we will know if we will be evicted. But it’s not over yet.

Post workers in unofficial walkout

Postal workers on Merseyside walked out on unofficial strike last weekend.

Strikes signalled in Scotland

RMT union members at the West of Scotland signalling centre have voted to strike by almost 80 percent. The dispute is over management unilaterally dropping longstanding promotion practices for staff.

Disabled workers fight closures

Remploy workers and their supporters protested outside Huddersfield town hall, West Yorkshire, on Wednesday of last week, to demand that their factory stays open.

BAE lobby in defence of jobs

Over 100 workers from BAE’s manufacturing plant in Brough, east Yorkshire, were set to hold a lobby of parliament on Wednesday of this week.

Activists discuss housing fightback

Defend Council Housing held a national meeting last Saturday.

Exposed: racist EDL’s secret wealthy backers

The shadowy network of strategists behind the English Defence League (EDL) ran out of hiding places this week.

Hacking: Theresa May accused of ‘stonewalling’ over murder

The brother of murdered private detective Daniel Morgan has accused home secretary Theresa May of stonewalling.

Anti-union MP’s Nazi ‘do’

The Tory MP who has been leading the charge against union facility time has been caught attending a Nazi-themed stag party.

Mark Duggan probe delay

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into the shooting of Mark Duggan won’t be finished until April 2012.

Uni bosses ban Brum sit-ins

Birmingham University has won a high court injunction against all occupation protests on its campus for the next 12 months.

Fred’s lawyers shred criticism

There’s something missing from the report into the failure of RBS bank released this week—any real criticism of its boss.

Spy exposed in Zimbabwe trial

The defence team in the trial of six Zimbabwe socialists resumed its cross-examination of the main prosecution witness last Monday.

Vigil held for Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer

Supporters and friends of Shaker Aamer held a vigil outside Downing Street last Saturday. He is the last British resident to be held in Guantanamo Bay, where he has been imprisoned for nearly ten years.

Construction workers unite for mass stay-aways

Protests on construction sites across Britain again turned into mass stay-aways today (Wednesday).

Casual mail workers walk out in Cornwall

Workers at the mail centre in Truro in Cornwall walked out yesterday as they had not been paid. Every December, Royal Mail takes on casual workers to help sort the Christmas mail. These are typically students or the long-term unemployed. Workers in Truro complained to management when they were not paid on time at the end of last week.

Thousands of Congolese protesters block central London

Several thousand Congolese protesters thronged through central London on Wednesday afternoon, protesting at fraud in the recent presidential election. They started at the BBC near Oxford Circus, where they complained about a relative news blackout on election violence. They marched across the West End to Whitehall, chanting, "Kabila must go". The demonstrators say the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) sitting president Joseph Kabila fixed the election to ensure he was re-elected and that his main opponent Etienne Tshisekedi was the real victor.

Jesse Jackson calls for public inquiry into British deaths in custody

Veteran US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson joined with campaigners in London today (Thursday) to throw his weight behind calls for a public inquiry into deaths in police custody.

No to a pensions sell-out

The great pensions fightback is in danger. Some trade union leaders – and the head of the TUC – are urging acceptance of a rotten deal that betrays the magnificent 30 November strike by 2.5 million workers.

Trade unionists say, 'Don't give up pensions fight'

A group of leading trade unionists have issued the following statement after reports of moves to end the present pensions dispute:

Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt statement about assault on Cabinet Office occupation

Down with the rule of the military criminals! The military junta, who are the sons of Mubarak in power, have added a new crime to their list of offences.

Join protest today at Egyptian Embassy in London against violent crackdown in Cairo

Demonstrate: 4pm, Saturday 17 December 2011, Egyptian Embassy, South Street, London W1K 1DW (nearest tubes Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch).

Union branches back lobby of TUC tomorrow

The emergency lobby of the TUC tomorrow over pensions at 2pm is now backed by the London region of the UCU, East London NUT and NUT branches in Camden, Lewisham. Hackney, Lambeth, Ealing, Southwark, Merton and Greenwich.

Trade unionists tell TUC: We won't give up on pensions battle

Some 200 trade unionists and campaigners gathered in the rain outside the TUC's headquarters in central London this afternoon (Monday).

Organise to keep up the pensions fight

The government has tried to wipe out the revolt by millions of workers over pensions. But it has failed for now.

Tories celebrate - then panic - over pensions deal

The Tories and their Lib Dem collaborators are crowing that they have won the pensions battle. But this afternoon also displayed the fragility of the deal, and the possibility it can be defeated.

Unions suspend pensions agreement!

In an extraordinary move, the Tories have provoked the local government unions into withdrawing from the agreement they reached yesterday. Unite, Unison and GMB have just issued the following statement:

Unite the Resistance calls lobby and national meeting

Unite the Resistance (UtR) is backing a lobby of the TUC on Thursday 12 January, when union leaders meet to discuss the government’s pensions offer.

Pensions: clear lead needed at a key time

Further confusion broke out today (Wednesday) over possible deals on pensions as two unions – Unison and GMB – said they were "back on track" with a deal in local government, but Unite appeared not to be. And Unite general secretary Len McCluskey issued an "action alert" to the union’s members stressing that no deals had yet been done.

Video: A Christmas Day message from Occupy London

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Support for Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists after attack

Revolutionary socialist activists in Cairo warned yesterday that the latest round of the media attacks against them show there is an organised campaign to stop the revolution itself.

Released 1981 documents reveal Tory panic over strikes and riots

"Deeply worried" by strikes and riots – Thatcher lied over Irish hunger strikes – The secret war in Afghanistan – Arms to Egypt


General strike in Syria intensifies the revolt

The uprising in Syria took a dramatic turn on Sunday as workers held a general strike.

Pakistan kicks US out after lethal airstrike

Hostilities between the US and Pakistan have dramatically escalated after a US airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last month.

Captured US drone exposes covert operations

Iranian forces claim they can reverse-engineer a US drone they captured earlier this month—and use it for their own purposes.

Downing Street welcome for Bahrain's brutal dictator

David Cameron met King Hamad bin Essa Al Khalifa, the ruler of Bahrain, at Downing Street on Monday.

Occupy Seoul activists rally against neoliberalism on day of action

Hundreds of protesters gathered to occupy Seoul in front of the Deoksu Palacein the capital on Monday. They came to express solidarity with the second global day of action called by the Occupy movement.

Egypt's generals cling onto power

For Egypt’s military rulers, the revolution has come to an end. Elections now under way will, they say, produce a new government.

Russia rocked by anti-Putin protests

At least 80,000 people protested in Moscow last Saturday against the falsification of parliamentary election results.

Congolese anger at Kabila’s disputed election victory

Violence has erupted across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as it was announced last week that sitting president Joseph Kabila had won presidential elections.

Italy’s Monti faces strike wave

A huge strike wave involving thousands of workers kicked off in Italy this week. The country’s three main union federations—the CGIL, CISL and UIL—joined together for their first united strikes for six years.

Complaint withdrawn against Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) who were playing a leading role in the orchestrated campaign against the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) dramatically changed their position on Sunday.

Crackdown on Egyptian activists: prosecutor investigates Revolutionary Socialists, police raid NGOs

State security prosecutors in Egypt are investigating the complaint brought by a leading Muslim Brotherhood lawyer against the Revolutionary Socialists (RS), according to the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice newspaper.


Austerity will drive the crisis deeper

The summit of European Union (EU) leaders last week marked a turning point in the development of the euro crisis. Their previous attempt to fix the crisis in late October ran out of steam just two days after it was agreed.

Durban climate conference: a bitter disappointment

The United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa, have ended. Evil has been done on a scale that is hard to grasp.


Frantz Fanon's struggle

‘If Africa is to be free we cannot beg. We must tear away by force what belongs to us. All forms of struggle must be adopted, not excluding violence." Those were the words of Frantz Fanon addressing an anti-colonial conference in Ghana in 1958.

Interview: 'Fanon was a brilliant charmer and disciplined militant'

Pierre Chaulet and Claudine Chaulet joined the struggle in Algeria in the early 1950s. They were part of a small group of Algerians of European origin who were committed to the revolution.

The rich get richer

<a href="graphics/2011/keep/2283_08_09.pdf">Download full spread as pdf</a>

Stephen Lawrence trial: Bloodstain on jacket “practically impossible” to be caused by contamination

The theory that a bloodstain on the jacket of a man accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence was caused by contamination is "practically impossible", a court has heard.

Egypt’s generals launch murderous crackdown on demonstrators

Troops have killed some 60 demonstrators over the past six weeks during protests in Egypt’s capital city Cairo. Snipers stationed in buildings around Tahrir Square have shot activists in cold blood.

Egypt's Revolutionary Socialists hit back at state attacks

The ideological battle between Egypt’s ruling generals and the activists leading the struggle to deepen the revolution in the streets and workplaces has entered a new phase.

'We will free Egypt from tyranny' say protesting women in Alexandria

It started when young women in Alexandria planned a march against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf). We had seen the shocking video of the girl stripped by the soldiers in Cairo—and every woman felt that she could have been that girl.


Out of the Ashes : David Lammy's riot analysis sides with the system

Time, it would seem, changes everything. Looking back to the Tottenham riots of 1985, David Lammy’s memories of its causes are as articulate as they are angry.

Michael Rosen's Christmas story: It's not all plain sailing for the bosses

Six men went fishing. One of them was the captain and it was his boat. The five men caught ten fish.

Stop the War: A Graphic History

The Stop the War Coalition has brought together some stunning images from over the past ten years in this new graphic history.


The phone hacking scandal gets the satirical treatment in this one-off comedy from writer Guy Jenkin.

The Great British Property Scandal

Channel 4’s excellent season on the housing crisis finishes this week.

We Have A Pope

The Pope’s dead and a new one must be found. But what if God’s envoy on earth doesn’t want the job?

Reader offer: Goodbye Barcelona

Goodbye Barcelona is a critically acclaimed new play at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston, London.

What We Think

EU panics as economy gets worse

The robber barons of Europe have fallen out—but their rows are an expression of a much deeper crisis. They face the prospect of economic catastrophe.

Durban climate ‘roadmap’ offers no solution to global warming

Politicians from around the world last week gave up any attempt to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.

Other Categories

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

The news of the writer Christopher Hitchens’s death fills my mind with contradictory images and feelings.

Tim: Ho Ho Ho

Tim's view


Nuclear power—it’s not safe and it’s not necessary George Monbiot used his Guardian column last week to attack the environmental movement.

Who says?

‘Tinned goods and small calibre weapons’

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