Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 1837

Dated: 08 Feb 2003



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Take to the Streets


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

GLOBALiSE THiS !

GLOBALISE Resistance will be touring colleges in the week running up to the anti-war demonstration on 15 February. The "Globalise This!" tour features three fantastic overseas speakers.

Help to combat the Nazi threat

THE BRITISH National Party wants to try to appear respectable in the run-up to the council elections this May. The Anti Nazi League is urging people to get active against the BNP Nazis and help expose their true Nazi face.

Bullying, bribing and lying to justify killing

BUSH AND Blair are ready to ignore the vast majority of the world's people to launch their war. They are ready to wage war with or without getting it sanctioned by the United Nations (UN).

US plan to use nukes

THE US has drawn up plans to use nuclear weapons in an attack on Iraq. The terrifying prospect was revealed in a classified presidential directive leaked to the Washington Times newspaper. Stratcom, an arm of the Pentagon, has drawn up a list of possible nuclear targets in a "Theatre Nuclear Planning Document".

Anti-war fever is sweeping Britain

AROUND 50 TGWU shop stewards at a Vauxhall car plant on Merseyside heard a representative of the Stop the War Coalition at their union meeting last week. It is a sign of how the anti-war movement is reaching down into individual workplaces, estates, schools and colleges.

Catastrophe for a people

A POWERFUL open letter to Tony Blair recently appeared in two authoritative medical journals-the Lancet and the British Medical Journal. Some 500 staff, students and academics from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine had signed the letter, which urged Blair not to go to war.

We will fight for council housing

AROUND 1,800 council tenants and trade unionists descended on parliament from across Britain last week. The lobby and accompanying rally had been called by the Defend Council Housing organisation, which is at the heart of the fight to stop New Labour privatising council housing.

Police guilty of racism, violence and lying

POLICE OFFICERS racially abused and violently assaulted a black man in Brixton, south London, a judge ruled last week. Sylbert Farquharson, aged 57, was awarded record damages of nearly £250,000. Judge Dean said Sylbert was "subjected to explicit racist abuse in the street, and a particularly vicious and cowardly form of racist abuse at the police station.

Fighting for more control

OVER 270,000 members of the PCS civil servants' union were to start a crucial vote over the future of their union from Friday this week. The vote is on whether to increase democracy in the PCS by having annual national executive elections and conferences.

Anti-Nazi protest

UP TO 200 local people marched round Halifax shopping centre last Saturday in protest at last week's election of a British National Party (BNP) councillor, Adrian Marsden. Asian teenagers led the march. Workers from a community arts project brought down life-size puppets made by local schoolchildren.

A lesson in not weighting

UNIVERSITIES and higher education colleges across London were closed on Tuesday as lecturers and admin and manual workers continued their campaign for a decent London weighting payment. The unions involved-Natfhe, AUT, Amicus and Unison-are claiming a London weighting payment of £4,000.

Journalists

JOURNALISTS AT the Bradford titles of Newsquest-a division of the giant US media firm Gannett-walked out over low pay on Thursday and Friday of last week. The members of the NUJ union are to strike again on 10 and 11 February, and then on 19 and 20 February. The action involves staff at local papers in Bradford, Shipley, Otley, Keighley, Skipton and Ilkley.

Bradford trials

ASIANS IN Bradford who were charged and imprisoned after the 2001 riot went to the court of appeal last week. Four had their sentences reduced-so much for David Blunkett's attack on campaigners as "maniacs" who were "whining" about high sentences. But Lord Justice Rose ruled a further 11 would keep their sentences of between four and six and a half years.

Train drivers

DRIVERS ON English Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS) struck solidly last Saturday and plan another strike this Saturday. They run freight trains and are members of the Aslef union. EWS drivers are demanding what they have been campaigning for over the last three years-a proper pay rise, a 35- hour week, all of pay to count towards pensions, and a maximum ten-hour day.

Students

A DEBATE on the government's funding plans for higher education was held on Monday of last week. The education minister Charles Clarke and Oxford University student union president Will Straw were to be the headline acts. Clarke seems happy to preside over the most serious attacks on students since the introduction of top-up fees and the abolition of the grant.

Firefighters furious at 'tinpot tyrant' Prescott

FIREFIGHTERS ERUPTED in fury last week over the government's intervention in their pay dispute. The government hoped that by using the big stick of the law it would intimidate firefighters. But the effect was the precise opposite.

Campaign against 'Agenda'

"THIS IS about modernisation in the Blairite sense-things are going to get a lot worse for health workers and patients." That's how health worker Gill George explained why it is a priority for all health workers to campaign against the government's new package "Agenda for Change".

This is no time to put out the fire

FIREFIGHTERS' union leaders decided on Tuesday not to call any further strikes in order to get talks going with the employers and the government. The decision is a serious mistake. The employers have not ditched the Bain review. They have not dropped their agenda of 4,500 job losses, "modernisation" and station closures.


International


Comment

'Big' men and old questions

RETURNING FROM the World Social Forum (WSF) at Porto Alegre in Brazil, I feel as if I have just emerged from a vast, multicoloured sea that swept all the participants along in a great exuberant wave.

Night of the living dead

QUESTION TIME is the kind of TV show that spends much of the year trying to drum up support for itself. Anxious trails from David Dimbleby tell us that we'll be lucky enough to hear the views of a panel made up of cold sponges, wet towels and old flannels. It's as if he's warning us not to switch over to Newsnight or we'll miss hearing from someone as thrilling as Margaret Beckett - a politician sadly afflicted by a strange illness.


Features

'Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men...'

BLOOD brothers Bush and Blair met in Washington last week to plan the final elements of their war against Iraq. Days before, both had made chilling speeches about the era of permanent war. Answering questions in the House of Commons, Blair laid out his readiness to attack Iraq.

Kurdish refugee 'I fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq...'

Helen Shooter went to Salford in Manchester to talk to refugees and find out what their lives are really like.

Are charges solution to the traffic chaos?

ON Monday 17 February London mayor Ken Livingstone's congestion charge comes into force. Between 7am and 6.30pm on weekdays drivers will have to pay £5 a day to drive into central London.

How we beat the Nazis last time round

THE BRITISH National Party (BNP) hopes to make wider gains after getting council seats in Burnley, Blackburn and now Halifax. The Nazis want to start establishing the kind of strength their counterparts in Europe like Le Pen's National Front have achieved. Ten years ago the BNP Nazis thought they were on the brink of such a breakthrough in Britain.


Reviews

Accusing past and present wars

BUSH AND Blair's plans to attack Iraq will create devastation and kill thousands of civilians. We are unlikely to be shown the full extent of the horror while the war goes on. But there have been many films, books and songs that have shown the true face of war and protested against it.


What We Think

Build the march Blair fears most

THE BIGGEST demonstration in British history is set to take place next Saturday. The anti-war march is already expected to be so big that it has to have two assembly points. It is no wonder the government is panicking. Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, tried to ban the march from its usual rallying point in Hyde Park.


Other Categories

Nick Hopkins

COMRADES WILL be very saddened to learn of the death of Nick Hopkins after a short illness. Nick was only 42 and will be missed by his comrades and friends.

Victims of the cruellest cuts

FIVE ELDERLY people have died within eight weeks of their residential home in Liverpool being closed. This appalling treatment caused blazing anger at our weekly Merseyside Pensioners' Association meeting on Wednesday of last week. One man who is in his nineties said it was a disgrace that the government could spend millions on war but abandon pensioners.

Blair's lapdog is laid bare

THE PRO-WAR camp notched up a notable supporter last week-nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow. Perhaps you thought he was just a sleazy businessman who makes his money from exploiting women in lap-dancing clubs.



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