Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1836

Dated: 01 Feb 2003



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Rise Up to Stop the War

March in London, 15 February, assemble 12 noon, Embankment and Gower St


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Don't let New Labour bully the FBU

THE GOVERNMENT is trying to break the firefighters. Everyone needs to fight to make sure its assault fails. The threats and intimidation came as firefighters struck for 48 hours this week and planned another strike starting from 9am on Saturday.

Clarke's top-up fees will mean a life of debt

A WAVE of outrage has greeted the government's white paper outlining plans to make students pay more for university education. Universities will be allowed to charge students top-up fees in three years time. The fees will be limited to £3,000 a year, but only until the election after next.

Tube bosses risk lives for profit

NEW LABOUR'S privatisation scheme for London Underground came within a hair's breadth of killing dozens of people last Saturday. A motor fell off a Central Line tube train, knocking it off the rails as it entered Chancery Lane station. The train smashed into the platform, and its doors were ripped off as some carriages slammed into tunnel walls.

There's billions for war but nothing for the poor

A WAR on Iraq will not just cost the lives of many tens of thousands of Iraqi people. It will also cost billions of pounds, money lavished on US and British weapons of mass destruction, while public services are crying out for investment.

'We've never seen anything like this'

THE BIGGEST political meeting in the town I can remember in 30 years-and the first when we've had to turn people away." That was how local activist Jane Hardy described the Stop the War Coalition public meeting in St Albans last Thursday, as 350 people packed into a school hall.

'People are mobilising in every area of our city'

Anti-war activists were out in force across the Greater Manchester area last Saturday to organise opposition to the war and a huge presence at the anti-war march on 15 February.

EWS workers: 'Our action must bite'

TRAIN DRIVERS working for freight company English Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS) plan to strike this Saturday and three subsequent Saturdays. We have become increasingly angry at management's refusal to hold proper talks about pay, the implementation of a 35-hour week, and pensions. At present EWS drivers are on the lowest rates for any rail company.

Health workers

AN IMPORTANT meeting for all health workers is set to take place in Birmingham this weekend. Every worker in the health service should try to come, whether you're a porter or a nurse, a cleaner or a receptionist, work in a hospital or in the community, are in Unison, GMB, Amicus or any other health union.

Peugeot

AN OVERALL majority of 53 percent of Peugeot car workers have voted in favour of strike action. They have rejected a management pay offer worth 7.3 percent over two years. Members of both the majority TGWU and Amicus unions recorded almost identical majorities.

Bradford kicks off battle

JOURNALISTS in Bradford are set to lead the action again in this year's low pay battles. Members of the journalists' NUJ union at Bradford Newsquest led the way last year with the first pay strike for a decade. They have now voted by 87 percent for a series of two-day stoppages, starting this week on 30 and 31 January.

Hackney council

AROUND 70 people attended a lively Beating Racism forum in Hackney, east London, last week. The meeting was called by Hackney Trades Council and supported by local union branches.

Colombia solidarity

"IF YOU keep fucking around we are going to kill you all." That threat was made by the Colombian army to workers at the EMCALI public utilities firm this week. The workers, based in the city of Cali in the South American country, are occupying offices and plants against the threat of privatisation. A year ago they beat off privatisation after an occupation.

Socialist Alliance

THE SOCIALIST Alliance received 4.5 percent of the vote in the local council by-election which took place in Tottenham Hale in Haringey, north London, last week.

News in brief

March to defend education THREE MORE schools in Hackney, east London, have voted in an indicative ballot to take strike action in solidarity with sacked union rep Indro Sen. Teachers at Kingsland School took one day's strike action in support of Sen two weeks ago.

Stakes even higher in the fire strikes

FIREFIGHTERS and staff in control rooms cheered this week when news came through that their FBU union executive had refused to bow to New Labour's bullying and was going ahead with planned strikes. Rank and file feeling outweighed heavy pressure on the executive members to end all the action and get trapped in talks that were going nowhere fast.


International


Comment

This blue city is turning red

THERE WAS a small revolution in St Albans last week, one that should give Tony Blair pause for thought as he shackles Britain to the chariot wheels of US imperialism. A meeting called by the Stop the War Coalition turned out to be the biggest protest meeting the city has seen in living memory.


Features

A vital challenge for unions and activists

THE ELECTION last week of a fifth Nazi British National Party (BNP) councillor in Britain needs an urgent response. Adrian Marsden got 679 votes to become BNP councillor in the Mixenden ward in Halifax, West Yorkshire. He beat the Liberal Democrat candidate by just 28 votes and Labour by 38 votes.

The price of not having any control

WORK dominates our lives. Yet it is often the thing we hate the most. Why? After all, work is part of what being human is about. People have always worked on the natural world to secure the necessities of life. Work can be a pleasure too. Look at the enthusiasm with which people pursue hobbies.

Now the parasites are taking over mansions

No. We're not talking about asylum seekers... The mansions here are owned by two English men. Chilham Castle belongs to multimillionaire Stuart Wheeler. He bought the 400-acre estate in Kent because he said the three people in his family "needed somewhere bigger to live".

When United Nations backed unjust wars

BUSH AND Blair would like to have United Nations (UN) backing for a war on Iraq. Opinion polls show that UN support would blunt opposition to a war from some people. Nobody should believe that UN support means that a war will be more just. Nor can the UN be relied on to block war.

Iraq war? No tanks

James Thorne is a former commander in the Royal Tank Regiment. He was trained at Sandhurst, the elite school for army officers. James came from a military family and joined the army for a career. He served in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. He tells Socialist Worker why he is now opposed to war

Against a world of war and poverty

TWO THINGS formed the background to last weekend's World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. One was the threat of a devastating war against Iraq within weeks. The other was the swing to the left in Latin America, expressed in the victory of left wing candidates in presidential elections in Brazil and Ecuador, and in the failure of the coup attempt against Hugo Chavez's government in Venezuela.

More barriers to working class children

VIRGINIE is at Parswood Technical College in Manchester. "I want to study medicine so the idea of top-up fees really worries me. After three years you could have £20,000 of debt, but I might be at college for four, five or six years. I could be in debt for the rest of my life. I knew it would be hard just to live for three years at university-now it is worse, because it's not just living expenses but fees as well.


Reviews

Scaling walls of Fortress Europe

ADF have been out of the spotlight for the last few years-what have you been doing? We've been all over the world and what we've seen influenced us enormously. We've played in the former Yugoslavia to 28,000 Bosnians and Serbs. We went to Brazil and took an idea for a track called "19 Rebellions" with us. We worked with young Brazilian musicians to create the track as it appears on the album.

Graphic tales of Gaza resistance

BETWEEN 1987 and 1992 Palestinian youth undertook a heroic uprising-the first intifada-against their Israeli oppressors. Towards the end of this period the journalist and artist Joe Sacco took himself to the West Bank and Gaza to try to understand what was happening.


What We Think

Seize the chance to make history

What happens in Britain in the next few weeks will shape history. Everyone in the anti-war movement can be part of making that history. The clock is ticking relentlessly towards war. On Monday chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix reported that his team had found no evidence of any Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction". We cannot trust the UN to block the war.


Other Categories

Learning to toe the class line?

LABOUR'S CHANGES in education will mean many students are expected to choose their future jobs aged just 13. They won't have to learn foreign languages, history or technology. Instead they will be taught a narrower work-based curriculum tailored to meet the demands of employers.

Cloning? Paws for thought

A BIZARRE experiment has shattered much of the nonsense surrounding the recent media debate of cloning. Scientists in Texas last year produced the world's first cloned cat. The kitten was dubbed Cc, for carbon copy, after it was produced from genes taken from a cat called Rainbow.



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