Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1863

Dated: 09 Aug 2003



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The facts they can't spin away

Blair lied to start war on Iraq... Dossiers were fiction... No weapons of mass destruction found... Iraq did not try to buy uranium... Huge global movement against the war... 7,500 Iraqi civilians killed during the war...


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Anti-Nazis keep up the pressure

BERNARD Manning, who has made his name out of telling racist "jokes", says he will not play the British National Party's "festival" in August. Manning was booked by his manager to play at the BNP's "Red, White and Blue" annual event, to be held in a field on the edge of Sawley village, Lancashire. Manning's manager claims, "it's just the same as playing at a Labour or Tory event." But Manning claims he knew nothing of the booking.

London councils

ON WEDNESDAY of this week strikers from 30 London Unison union branches were due to march through central London to a rally. This action came at the end of their latest four week long round of selective strike action in pursuit of a London weighting allowance of £4,000. The latest strike has seen the highest involvement of strikers, with 1,500 members bringing a range of council services to a standstill. The employers have been left in no doubt about their workers' determination to win the full claim.

Nursery nurses

NURSERY NURSES in Central Scotland and in Dundee took three days of strike action last week. This was the latest phase of action in the fight of nursery nurses across Scotland for a decent pay rise and recognition for the valuable job they do. At its height the fight has involved up to 6,000 nursery nurses in strike action, with noisy protests in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Housing

CAMDEN TENANTS are in the midst of a battle against the council, who are trying to bring in an ALMO (Arms Length Management Organisation) to run council housing. ALMOs are the government's strategy for privatising council housing where they can't get tenants to accept stock transfer.

News in brief

Court frees Lewisham two ALL OF the charges against two of the Lewisham Three, Rene Bravo and Marcela Massingnotti, were thrown out by the magistrate at Belmarsh last week. Rene and Marcela are the parents of a student and all three were taking part in peaceful anti-war activities on the day war broke out.

It's time to turn the screw on Stagecoach

SEVEN hundred Stagecoach bus workers in south and east Devon are set to take four more days of strike action in their fight to win £6.50 an hour. Strikes were planned for Thursday and Saturday of this week and Monday and Wednesday of next week.

Amicus union

AN INDUSTRIAL tribunal found that trade unionists who have been on strike against the William Cooks foundry business for over two years had been "unfairly dismissed". The 80 workers, in the GMB and Amicus-AEEU unions, were sacked in 2001 when they were involved in an official strike. Eddie Grimes, Amicus-AEEU member and striker, spoke to Socialist Worker about the result:

Arms fair protest

PROTESTERS ARE organising to challenge Britain's biggest arms exhibition, due to be held in London on 9-12 September. More than 600 companies and suppliers have already booked stands at the fair, which is funded by the Ministry of Defence.

Would Tories deny Ali treatment?

THE TORIES sank further into the gutter last week with a new attack on migrants coming to Britain. Liam Fox, Tory health spokesman, said a Tory government would force immigrants to pay to be screened for illnesses like TB and HIV in their own country before they could get travel visas.

Group 4 slammed at Yarls Wood trial

THE JURY was still out in the trial against the Yarls Wood refugees as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday. The five defendants left at the end of the three-month trial faced prison terms if found guilty. They were charged after the fire that swept through Yarls Wood centre in Bedfordshire on 14 February last year.

Growing gulf in jobs and wages

NEW RESEARCH shows the widening gap between the incomes of people at the top and those at the bottom. It also exposes how "average" figures hide the truth. "If Mr Brown's aim was to create a more equal society, he has failed," said the Financial Times.

US hides deaths

A REPORT this week confirmed that US military casualties from the occupation of Iraq have been more than twice the number most Americans have been led to believe. The high number of accidents, suicides and other non-combat deaths have gone largely unreported in the media. Since 1 May, when President Bush declared the end of major combat operations, 52 US soldiers have been killed by hostile fire, according to Pentagon figures quoted in almost all the war coverage.

Pressure from below forces vote

POSTAL WORKERS across Britain will start voting in a strike ballot over pay in two weeks time. At the same time a separate ballot begins in the capital over London weighting. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) postal executive voted to call the ballots last week. Their decision is the result of huge pressure from below. Postal workers are fed up with grafting harder and harder for a pathetically small pay packet and they have told their union they want action.

'We made the bosses listen to us'

"WE STOPPED the BA juggernaut in its tracks." That's how a Heathrow worker described the end of the dispute that erupted with spectacularly effective walkouts on 17 and 18 July. British Airways check-in workers are delighted that just a few hundred of them forced the bosses of a huge multinational to back down.


International


Comment

No substitute for organising at grassroots

BETWEEN THE peaks of excitement over who won Big Brother and the whys and wherefores of Geoff Hoon's holiday arrangements, you may have missed an unnerving and at times unpleasant TV history of the Baader-Meinhof episode. It told the story of what happened when a group of Germans in what was then West Germany formed the Red Army Faction.

When recovery brings the sack

THE RECESSION in the US is over, according to the guardian of American economic statistics. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NEBR) announced recently that the recession actually ended nearly two years ago, in November 2001. Tell that to the Americans who are still losing their jobs. The US economy shed jobs for the sixth consecutive month in July.


Features

Gun crime, the police and racism

Over the last few months there has been a barrage of headlines about black people and crime.The tragic shooting of two young women in Birmingham at new year led to an outpouring of grief and a moral panic about gun crime. Politicians queued up to tell us that rap music was the cause of the problem. But the whole idea of black on black crime has been falsely created by the police.

Vibrant history of resistance to war

GLASGOW IS a city with a rich socialist tradition. The roots of its reputation go back to the First World War when the Red Clyde was part of a great wave of working class revolt that swept Europe. The impact of the war made munitions centres like Glasgow fertile territory for labour unrest and socialist agitation. It produced many fine working class fighters, including Britain's greatest anti-war socialist, John Maclean.

What's Lenin got to do with our struggle now?

STRATEGIES AND tactics sometimes seem like dirty words to young activists getting involved in the movement today. They see tactics as something used to fool people. People say, why can't we just confront our enemies head on? But the new movement, born at Seattle in 1999, has already had to face tactical questions.

Opposite of a Blairite selection meeting

A LEFT challenge to New Labour was launched at a vibrant convention of the left in the Brent East constituency last week. Over 90 people attended the meeting in west London in the run-up to a by-election in the area. Everyone there was determined to build an alternative to Tony Blair's pro-war, pro-privatisation policies.

Proud of links with Muslims

JOHN REES'S timely article (Socialist Worker, 2 August) was an important statement on the tasks facing the left. I want to focus on one particular element-the link between socialists and radicalising elements in the Muslim community. I was elected as the Socialist Alliance's councillor in Preston.

Civil servants

THE NEW national executive of the PCS civil servants' union has held its first full meeting since the left and democracy candidates swept the board in last month's elections. The executive agreed to step up the union's national pay campaign in response to the government's recent policy of forcing departments to make unacceptably low offers.

A response to John Rees

IN HIS assessment of the left after the war, John Rees writes, "The Blairites have so marginalised the left that it is difficult to see how the Labour Party can be easily reclaimed. "Even the 175-strong selection meeting for the Brent East by-election, open to all Labour Party members, chose the pro-war, pro-Blair MEP Robert Evans." This ignores two rather inconvenient facts.

Can intervention bring peace to Liberia?

NO SANE person could be unmoved by the terrible suffering of people in the West African state of Liberia. Fourteen years of brutal civil war has seen at least 200,000 people killed out of a population of three million. Many others have been injured or lost their homes.


Reviews

Slick, multi-layered and angry

The Unpeople The Unpeople

And he knows

Refusal Shoes Tony Saint Serpent's Tail £10

Standing in the Shadows of Motown: tribute to a supreme music

Heard of James Jameson? No? How about Joe Messina, heard of him? He's one of the white guys. Still nothing? Never mind. How about Joe White? No? Well, don't worry, I didn't know who they were either. Though I suspect a number of aficionados are already smiling and ready to name the dozen or so most significant musicians in popular music for the last 50 years.


What We Think

Row eats at heart of establishment

TONY BLAIR has been forced to admit that his official spokesman tried to discredit dead weapons expert David Kelly as a "Walter Mitty" fantasist. That revelation came on the eve of Kelly's funeral. The timing showed just how callous this government is, but also how it is desperately losing control. There are now bitter recriminations between three of the central institutions that promote capitalist stability in Britain-the government, the BBC, and the secret services.


Other Categories

FBU proud to support lesbian & gay members

This year's lesbian and gay Pride march witnessed a return to political values. Many more floats from trade unions were present on the march. For the first time the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) provided a fire engine for its gay and lesbian members to march alongside.

Some things we can learn from America

STEPHEN BYERS MP, for a brief moment in his dismal life, was a member of the International Socialists. Since then, he has travelled far to the right. For a while, he was a New Labour minister. Now he promotes racism. On 30 July Byers suggested that any asylum seeker who fails to register with the government should be denied access to schools and hospitals.

Tell the station to scramble all cars

THE POLICE spent £50,000 on a video surveillance operation investigating eggs thrown at a car. It surely had nothing to do with the fact that the owner of the car was a former police inspector.



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