Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1865

Dated: 23 Aug 2003



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You're guilty Blair!

'We will call him to account next week' THE revelations about the lies and cover-ups over the war on Iraq are exposing the rot at the heart of New Labour. Blair and his circle distorted what even his closest advisers were telling them was the truth in order to launch a war for oil and US power. Now it's time to call Blair to account for his war crimes. Next week, on Saturday 30 August, the Stop the War Coalition is holding a People's Assembly to charge Blair.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Shock in West Yorkshire at BNP poll win

THE NAZI BNP won a council by-election in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, on Thursday of last week. They disguised their most racist policies and concentrated on other issues, picking up 1,607 votes.

News in brief

Refusing to give up their holidays UNION REPS for Edinburgh's 350 refuse collectors were set to meet city council officials this week, in a bid to resolve a long-running dispute. In 1991 refuse collectors entered a five-year agreement to "sell" six of their ten days public holiday entitlement for just over £1,000 each. The agreement ran out in 1997 and the issue has never been resolved.

Forcing bosses' climbdown

ACTION BY health workers has defended resources and stopped threats of disciplinary action. Several weeks ago staff in the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) in south Manchester were told that after a £5 million overspend last year a consultant post would be left vacant.

Pensions

THE AMICUS union is planning a protest at the Labour Party conference in September against the haemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs. The march and rally will take place on Monday 29 September in Bournemouth, the same day that chancellor Gordon Brown will be giving his conference speech.

York City campaign

YORK CITY football fans disrupted Persimmon Homes' show home opening in York last Saturday. They are angry with the company's plans to "redevelop" the club's stadium at Bootham Crescent. They hung banners from fences and flagpoles and organised a game of football on Persimmon's manicured lawn. One fan said, "They want to build houses on our ground, so there's nowt wrong with us playing football on theirs."

Hit the streets for Brent East election

THE Socialist Alliance has called a national day of action in Brent, north west London, on Sunday 31 August. We are urging activists from across England to come into the constituency on that day to help campaign for our candidate in the forthcoming Brent East by-election.

Rhodia

WORKERS AT Rhodia chemical factories in Widnes, Cheshire and Oldbury went out on strike again to defend their pensions last week. The company wants to close the final salary pension scheme to new workers. But the 600-strong workforce is determined to stop the erosion of their pension rights.

PCS pensions action

THE PCS civil servants' union is calling for a national day of action, involving all unions, over attacks on pensions. New Labour is increasing the pension age of many public sector workers from 60 to 65. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka says, "Public servants are very angry about this proposal."

London Underground

LONDON Underground workers have been left wondering whether to laugh or cry following the end of the pay campaign for 2002. After two days of strikes last year, London Mayor Ken Livingstone stepped in, offering to settle the dispute via binding arbitration. London Underground had imposed 3 percent, provoking the strikes.

Cluster bombs protest

CHILDREN AGAINST War held an angry demonstration against the use of cluster bombs last Sunday. They marched on Downing Street to protest against the use of the weapons by the US and British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Opposing Sly cutbacks

OVER 80 members of the GPMU media workers' union were to strike this week against the planned closure of the library and copy-taking departments at the Daily Record. They say 19 jobs will go if these departments are moved to Watford.

Buses

YORK BUS drivers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. The TGWU transport workers' union balloted drivers when employer the First Group rejected a demand for £8 an hour pay. Support for the strike was solid, with 205 voting in favour and only ten against. The turnout was 82 percent.

WTO meeting

THE WORLD Development Movement is holding a public meeting on Thursday 18 September to discuss the outcome of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting which will take place from 10 to 14 September in Cancun, Mexico. Speakers include George Monbiot, Professor Yash Tandon (African delegate to the WTO), Carmen Diaz and Barry Coates.

Prepare for crown duel

WORKERS AT Peckham Crown Post Office and Camberwell Green Crown Post Offices in south London have launched campaigns to stop their offices being privatised and downgraded. The 30 people employed in the two offices have over 300 years experience serving the community. CWU union assistant sectional secretary Steve Whale said, "We were only informed of the privatisation when the press rang our union room for our comments."

A tidal wave of lies about refugees

THE SUN fell to new lows with another sickening campaign against refugees this week. Monday's poster front page ranted "Halt The Asylum Tide Now", labelling asylum as "Britain's biggest crisis". The Sun used a loaded online poll to claim over 80 percent of the population agree with its witch-hunt. But the poll only measured how well the Sun spreads its filthy racist message to its readers.

Post workers ready to fight bosses hard

AROUND 160,000 postal workers across Britain begin a strike ballot over pay next week. London postal workers will also vote in a second ballot over London weighting. Nationally postal workers have been offered a 4.5 percent rise over 18 months. Any larger increase is dependent on mass job cuts, a worse service and even harder terms for the workers.

Top spies are 'uneasy'

WEAPONS EXPERT Dr Kelly wasn't even against war with Iraq. Like other "intelligence" officers, he grew angry at the way the government exaggerated weapons claims. The Hutton inquiry heard how two senior intelligence officers had taken the unusual step of formally protesting over the way the government was using their reports.

New Labour warmongers condemned by their own words

Tony Blair and his key lieutenants knew full well that they were lying to justify war with Iraq. They knew that Saddam Hussein was "no threat", but deliberately lied to try and persuade people to back war.


International

The power of profit switches lights off in the US

MILLIONS OF people across the US last week glimpsed a small part of what their government and military have inflicted on people in Baghdad. From New York to Detroit and Cleveland, and across the border to Toronto and Ottawa in Canada, the lights went out and the power died.

Repression won't cool down strikers in Chile

CHILE SAW its biggest national strike last week since protests against the military dictatorship in the 1980s. The one-day strike came only weeks before the 11 September 30th anniversary of the coup which saw General Pinochet topple the elected government.

Activists in Egypt need our support

AFTER 111 days in detention, ten of them on hunger strike, Egyptian anti-war activist Ashraf Ibrahim was finally charged on 7 August. Alongside four other activists-Nasser Farouq, Yehia Fakry, Mustafa El Basiony and Remoan Edward Gendi-he stands accused of forming an illegal left wing organisation.


Comment

Diana Mosley: A dedicated follower of fascism

Diana Mosley, who died last week, was a particularly unpleasant fossil. Fossils are relics of living things that tell us something about the past. Sometimes what they tell us is so deeply upsetting to the conventional wisdom that people make great efforts to hide it.

Cracks showing in US consensus

Whatever the outcome of the Hutton inquiry, it's clear that the Iraq war is putting not just the Blair government, but also its more powerful partner across the Atlantic increasingly on the defensive.


Features

The education system grades young people like eggs

THOUSANDS OF school students have been agonising over their A level and GCSE results in the last two weeks. Last week's A level results were the best ever, with the number of young people getting grades A to E up 1.1 percent to 95.4 percent of all those who take the exams. This week's GCSE results were expected to show a similar trend.

Why jury cleared refugees of arson

The trial of 13 men accused of burning down the Yarls Wood detention centre ended last Friday with Group 4 being condemned by all

Notting Hill: Carnival of Unity

Not so long ago the right wing press and the police tried to ban the Notting Hill Carnival. When all else failed, they physically attacked it. From its beginning they have hated it because it is a symbol of black resistance and black and white solidarity. The Notting Hill Carnival survived because of the resistance by black, and many white, people. The carnival was a response to the vicious race riots in August 1958.

Immigrants: 'We're here to stay'

I grew up in Dominica in the West Indies and came here in 1960. You couldn't miss the discrimination. People told you to get back where you come from, but not so polite. You couldn't get a job. I spent two years out of work. Then Harold Wilson brought in a law saying everywhere employing a certain amount of people had to have ten of the workforce non-white. This opened doors for us.

Britain's sordid role in the world: Interview with author Mark Curtis

Your book gives a devastating account of Blair's previous wars in Kosovo and Afghanistan. What would you say to those who claim they were a success?


Reviews

Property: Slaves prove they're no one's property

Valerie Martin’s novel Property tells the story of a slave revolt on a sugar plantation in the US Deep South. Manon, the planter's wife, narrates it. Manon misses the excitement and culture of New Orleans, where she was brought up. More than anything she wants to be free of her boorish husband. She is appalled by his violence and sadistic cruelty and contrasts him with her father, who had a paternalistic attitude to his slaves. In the background there are rumours of slave rebellion.

Masters and Servants: Rich are still the masters

In the new "reality" TV series Masters and Servants, two families take turns at being the masters and then the servants. In the first programme the posh Cheryl Allen Stevens and her husband showed themselves to be arrogant, disdainful and willing to humiliate those they thought beneath them.


What We Think

Who will face the heat this autumn?

AUGUST IS traditionally part of the "Silly Season" when the press scrabbles to find serious news to fill its pages. This year things have been very different. The Hutton inquiry into the death of the scientist David Kelly has ensured that Iraq and the scandal over weapons of mass destruction have remained in the media spotlight.


Other Categories

Letters

Larzac success is a great sign for Paris The Larzac festival in France two weeks ago was the biggest anti-capitalist event France has seen. Over 250,000 people attended. Besides the usual activists lots of people came to the festival out of the vast social movements that have swept France in the last six months. Workers have struck against the Tory government's plans to attack pensions.

George Monbiot has misrepresented Marx's Communist Manifesto

George Monbiot, the Guardian columnist, is always worth reading, even when I disagree with him-over the euro, for example. His recent book, The Age of Consent, gives a damning critique of the modern world. Those key institutions of modern world politics and economics-the UN, IMF, World Bank, WTO- work against the interests of the poor world. He offers a programme for fundamental reform.

Private armies to fight in dirty wars

A RECENT advert placed in the British newspaper the Western Mail offered "excellent pay" for former soldiers "wanted for security work in Iraq". The add was placed by US firm Secureforce. The death of a private "security operative" in Iraq last weekend has highlighted the extent to which mercenaries are already being used in war zones.



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