Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2287

Dated: 28 Jan 2012




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Bankers are the real scroungers

When David Cameron came to office, he tried to dress up his vicious programme of cuts with the rhetoric of a "Big Society".


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

'Who got the power? We got the power!' say strikers at Montgomery school

Around 100 people joined a picket line at Montgomery Primary School in Birmingham today, Wednesday.

Statistics watchdog raps Tories over immigration spin

The government’s statistics watchdog has attacked ministers for releasing lurid figures last week suggesting some 370,000 migrants are claiming benefits.

NUT unanimously backs pension strike in March

The NUT teachers’ union has agreed to push for a coordinated, national public sector strike in March. The union’s national executive committee unanimously backed the plan today, Thursday.

Scottish education union backs more strikes over pensions

The EIS Scottish education union will lobby other education unions to organise a joint strike as soon as possible.

1,000 march in Haringey to say “Academy – calamity!”

Children led a march in north London today, Saturday, against academies.

Anti-war protest against Western intervention in Iran and Syria

Some 400 people rallied outside the US embassy in London today, Saturday, against any attack and sanctions on Iran and Syria.

Victory as Wandsworth council folds over riot eviction threat

Tory-run Wandsworth council in south London has backed off from its plans to evict a family from their council home over the riots.

National Gallery workers walk out in dispute over staffing levels

Workers at the National Gallery in London walked out for two hours today (Thursday) to demand that the gallery hires more staff. Around 40 workers in the PCS union picketed the gallery and held a noisy protest.

Death in custody campaigns unite to launch petition for justice

Campaigns demanding justice for those who have died in police custody join forces today to launch a petition calling for major changes in the criminal justice system.

Protesters celebrate as Nadine Dorries withdraws abstinence bill

A 100-strong protest at parliament turned into a celebration this morning, Friday, after Tory MP Nadine Dorries withdrew her abstinence bill.

Employment tribunal rules against rights for blacklisted agency workers

The multinational construction company Carillion won an employment tribunal (ET) today, Friday, against a blacklisted worker.

Setback for Gove over forced academy plans

Schools minister Michael Gove has retreated on plans to force a north London primary school to become a privatised academy.

What's wrong with academies?

Academies transfer huge amounts of wealth from the public to private sector

Unions join forces for Unilever strike

Workers at factories and offices across England and Wales have been walking out this week against attacks on their pensions from consumer goods giant Unilever.

'Equitable' Unilever boss rakes it in

Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman likes to present himself as a champion of "equitable capitalism".

Public sector solidarity for Unilever strikers

There was a warm reception for the public sector workers who visited the Colman’s mustard picket lines in Norwich on Tuesday.

Unilever - a turn to targeted tactics

Union tactics at Unilever have changed since the December national strike.

Pensions dispute - deadlock broken as more action called

Important shifts in the battle against Tory attacks on public sector pensions took place last week.

Bristol activists call meetings to build the fight

Union activists in Bristol are busy building a public meeting on the pensions dispute. Mark Serwotka and other speakers will address the event on Monday 6 February.

UCU names next strike day

The UCU union’s national executive committee (NEC) met last Friday. We faced a problem.

Mark Campbell: My vision for a fighting UCU union

Why are you standing for the position of general secretary?

BBC Birmingham workers strike against job cuts

Around 100 angry BBC workers at Mailbox Birmingham began a 24-hour strike on Wednesday of last week.

Special conference to discuss USS pensions

Lecturers in the UCU union were set to gather in London for a special delegate conference this coming Tuesday to discuss their pensions dispute.

Still striking over pay in Southampton

Southampton council workers are planning to strike again—more than a year after the start of their battle over imposed pay cuts.

Pay and conditions under attack at Stoke council

Unison union members in Stoke-on-Trent held two mass meetings last week over the council’s plans to cut their weekend pay and mileage allowances.

Privatisation plan beaten in Edinburgh

A special meeting of councillors in Edinburgh last Thursday voted by 31 to 23 to end plans to privatise a swathe of council services.

Lobby against cuts to adult social care in Norfolk

The Unison union lobbied Norfolk council together with anti-cuts campaigners on Monday against plans to slash adult social care services.

On strike against forced academies

Three unions were set to strike together on Wednesday of this week at Birmingham’s Montgomery primary school.

A new trades council launched for Fenlands

Over 70 people attended a public meeting to relaunch Fenlands trades council in Cambridgeshire last Saturday.

Build for a national electricians’ walkout

Electricians protested in Glasgow, Manchester and London last week.

Barnsley drivers’ mass meeting calls more strikes

Bus drivers in South Yorkshire held a mass meeting last Sunday to discuss the next steps in their pay dispute with their employer Stagecoach.

Union heads slam Miliband and Balls

The leaders of Britain’s three largest unions last week denounced Labour’s Ed Miliband and Ed Balls for supporting the Tory austerity agenda.

Unanimous vote to end dispute at Fujitsu

Unite union members at the Manchester site of IT giant Fujitsu have unanimously voted to accept an offer to settle their long-running dispute.

RMT suspends Glasgow action

The RMT union has suspended strikes by rail signalling workers in Glasgow in advance of talks with the Acas conciliation service.

Tories to plunge thousands of children into poverty...

The Tories suffered another setback to their brutal Welfare Reform Bill this Monday.

Leicester unites against racist EDL

People from across Leicester joined a public meeting to organise opposition to the English Defence League (EDL) last Saturday.

Protest at Wandsworth prison

The Defend the Right to Protest campaign has called a demonstration outside Wandsworth prison in solidarity with those inside.

Week of strikes by oil tanker drivers

Around 70 oil tanker drivers and their supporters rallied outside the Immingham oil terminal on Tuesday morning.

Cops knew Milly’s phone was hacked

Surrey Police knew for nine years that the News of the World hacked the phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler.

Blow dealt to internet censorship plan

Attempts by US lawmakers to restrict internet freedom have been postponed after high profile opposition.

Higher education attacks in doubt

The government is planning a major climb down in its assault on higher education, according to reports circulating as Socialist Worker went to press.

Occupy London and the courts

Occupy London activists are currently involved in two ongoing legal processes.

Tory hard right hatchet men target trade union reps

A cabal of hard right Tories is at the centre of attempts to witch‑hunt trade union reps for doing their job.

NHS workers ordered to leave their homes

Hundreds of low paid NHS workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’s trust in London have been told to leave their subsidised accommodation with just three months’ notice.

Opposition grows to NHS privatisation plans

Government plans to outsource NHS commissioning hit obstacles on Tuesday of this week.

Refugees’ last minute reprieve

Campaigners won a last minute stay of deportation for two Cameroonian asylum seekers last week.

Dale Farm faces further threats

Tory-run Basildon council has stepped up its campaign against Travellers at the Dale Farm site in Essex.

Strike ballot on Heathrow Express over victimisation

The RMT is balloting for strikes on the Heathrow Express train service over the unfair dismissal of driver Zahid Majid and the victimisation of RMT rep Liaqat Ali.

PCS executive meets to discuss strikes

The PCS executive met last Thursday and reiterated the need for more coordinated national strikes before the end of March. But no further decisions were made as to likely or preferred dates to take to other unions.


International

Workers protests rattle European leaders

Governments across Europe are set on imposing cuts that will wreck lives, slash jobs and destroy services. But resistance is spreading.

Greece: a new wave of fightback

Workers in Greece’s Attica region, which includes Athens, are fighting austerity. Their strike last week was in solidarity with people losing their jobs and facing unpaid and cut wages.

Brutal slum eviction in Brazil

More than 2,000 police forcibly evicted residents of the Pinheirinho slum district of Sao Jose dos Campos near Sao Paulo, Brazil, early last Sunday morning.

Ethnic division in Nigeria can be overcome by spirit of solidarity shown during strikes

The West African state of Nigeria was shaken by a series of bomb explosions on Friday of last week.

Civil servants strike in Zimbabwe

Civil service workers across Zimbabwe began a five-day strike on Monday, demanding a doubling of wages.

No to West’s threats to Iran

The European Union (EU) implemented a ban on all new oil contacts with Iran this week, and ruled that any existing ones will be terminated in July.

Arab League's Syria mission crisis

A deadlock is developing in Syria as the Gulf Cooperation Council and Saudi Arabia withdrew their observers from the Arab League mission to the country.

US marine pleads guilty over Haditha killings - faces three months imprisonment

A US marine has pled guilty to a charge of "dereliction of duty" in relation to the massacre in Haditha, Iraq, in 2005. He was originally charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault.


Comment

Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: Was 2011 the year of Revolution 2.0?

There isn’t enough positive writing about revolt in the modern world. So it’s good that Paul Mason’s new book, Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere, is so enthusiastic about revolution.

Don't leave Unison: stay and fight to get the action put back on

The fallout from the unions’ response to the government’s "heads of agreement" on pensions is still being felt.

Labour’s betrayal is nothing new

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have said that Labour must prove itself as a "responsible opposition" by accepting wage freezes and pay cuts.

Preparing for the anniversary of the revolution in Egypt

Egypt is gearing up for the big day tomorrow (Wednesday 25 January), the anniversary of the start of the revolution.


Features

Remaking history - understanding the revolutionary wave of 2011

The Arab revolutions have shown an astonishing tenacity. They have overthrown some dictators and shaken others. Above all, they continue.

Ahdaf Soueif interview: ‘Bread, freedom and dignity’

Your writing about the Egyptian Revolution celebrates the courage, imagination and resilience of ordinary people. Why are they your focus?

Timeline of the Egyptian Recolution


Reviews

Coriolanus: Shakespeare tragedy puts masses on stage

Director Ralph Fiennes’s new film of William Shakespeare’s tragedy about ancient Rome is excellent.

Alienation: A small book that makes a big idea simple to grasp

This short book is a welcome addition to the reading list for those, like me, who are relatively new to the socialist tradition.

Big Society!

Comedian Phill Jupitus has joined left wing theatre company Red Ladder for a timely attack on David Cameron’s "big society".

Robin Hood: People’s Outlaw and Forest Hero

Why does a mythical hero from 14th century England still inspire Hollywood movies, BBC dramas and even financial transaction taxes?

Massobs—Project One

This website provides "mass observations" of everyday life filmed by groups of postgraduate students from Coventry University.


What We Think

Racist myths are attempt to shift blame from real con artists

Usually we hear that immigrants are taking all our jobs. Now we are told they’re taking all our benefits too. "370,000 migrants on the dole" declared the Daily Telegraph. "Stop this abuse of British hospitality" demanded the Daily Mail.


Other Categories

Tim's view

Tim: Dysfunctional family

Letters

Benefit process makes disabled people sick Your front page on disability benefit claimants (Socialist Worker, 21 January) gave an accurate picture of the disgraceful treatment disabled people face.

Who says?

‘They did not treat us well at all. I still feel ill about it. It was disgraceful. It should have been handled better. They should apologise publicly’



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