Dated: 15 Feb 2003
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THE UNITED Nations (UN) Security Council was due to meet on Friday to hear the latest report from the weapons inspectors. War would be wrong whether or not George Bush and Tony Blair get support for military action from the UN. No veneer of diplomatic cover can justify the murder of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children.
"IN JULY last year I had my jaw broken and face scarred and I was in hospital after a racist attack. It has taken six months for me to be able to start getting my life sorted out. I've had a lot of support from this community. A lot of people came forward to give evidence. But the problems I have had have been mainly with the police. They haven't told us what's been going on. Something needs to be done in the community. We should get rid of these racist people who do things like they did to me."
THREE DISPUTES show car workers in major factories across Britain are fed up with low pay and poor conditions. Peugeot workers at the Ryton plant in Coventry were set to walk out for 24 hours this week. Gerry Jones used to work at the plant. He told Socialist Worker:
OVER 2,500 drivers from English Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS) struck on Saturday across Britain, leading to the cancellation of around 200 trains. Drivers, members of the Aslef union, want better pay and pensions plus cuts in hours.
THE PROSPECT of a strike has forced bosses at Jarrolds, a Norwich-based printing company, to retreat. The company planned to sack around 60 workers and cut pay by 15 percent for those that were left.
SOME 3,500 workers at Herefordshire council decided at a meeting on Friday of last week to strike against threatened job losses and pay cuts. Bosses broke off long running negotiations last week and tried to impose a pay deal. Regional GMB union organiser Roger Jenkins said the council is cooking up "a recipe for conflict".
THE FIRE brigade employers showed at the start of this week that they have little intention of seeking compromise with firefighters and control room staff. The employers reneged on a promise to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) that they would extend the legal deadline for calling strikes while talks take place. They retreated on Monday.
ACTIVISTS ACROSS the PCS civil servants' union have been organising to win the union's ballot for more democracy. They are fighting to win annual conferences and annual national executive elections.
ACTIVISTS IN Unison have been shocked by the decision of a disciplinary appeals panel to expel Candy Udwin, London Region deputy convenor and University College London Hospital (UCLH) branch secretary, and Dave Carr, UCLH branch chair, from union membership.
THE ANNUAL conference of the NATO military alliance has for 40 years been an occasion for mutual backslapping and bland statements by leaders of the Western powers.
THE US and British governments churned out a barrage of claims to justify war over the last week. US Secretary of State Colin Powell marshalled his case speaking to the United Nations. The British government produced yet another dossier. Barely had Powell finished speaking and the British document been published before much of their "evidence" fell apart.
£22,691 a year. Many workers in Britain dream of getting that amount. That was the amount of the pay rise awarded to Tony Blair's friend, the Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine, last week. Public outrage forced Irvine to put it on hold.
TONY BLAIR wants to force the victims of war on Iraq back into the path of bombs and bullets. He announced last week that he wanted to halve the number of refugees coming to Britain by September. Iraqis are the single largest group of refugees who come to Britain.
WHY DO George Bush and Tony Blair want to attack Iraq? Colin Powell gave the official answer to the United Nations last week - Saddam Hussein either has, or plans to develop, weapons of mass destruction. Few really believe this, although Tony Blair certainly says he does. A couple of weeks ago he also suggested taking on North Korea once Saddam Hussein had been "dealt with"!
TONY BLAIR is not only kowtowing to US power in acting as George Bush's poodle. Britain's rulers have their own interests in dominating the Middle East and ensuring that "rogue states" do not threaten the profits of multinational corporations. BP - one of the world's biggest oil companies - is British owned. Half of another, Shell, is British.
FOR WE who live on this planet under capitalism, there is the daily drip, drip, drip of frustration and resentment. And then, with eerie regularity, there are the horrors of famine, plague and war. The horrors have their roots in the daily apparatus of pedestrian human suffering. Thirty years ago I became a socialist and a revolutionary. Two things drove me to it.
WE NEED to identify what "Empire" means. Does it mean the US government (and its European satellites), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and multinational corporations? Or is it something more than that? In many countries Empire has sprouted other subsidiary heads, some dangerous by-products-nationalism, religious bigotry, fascism and, of course, terrorism.
"IN THE hours immediately following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld asked for plans to be drawn up for an American assault on Iraq. The following day, in a cabinet meeting at the White House, Rumsfeld again insisted that Iraq should be "a principal target of the first round in the war against terrorism".
DAMON ALBARN, lead singer of the band Blur, explained to Socialist Worker why he supports the Stop the War Coalition.
Parliament is not nearly democratic enough. We need a revolution to get genuine control, writes Paul Foot
"I WAS out in Saudi Arabia for the 1990-91 Gulf War. My job was as a dispatch rider for one of the armoured brigades. I had quite a lot of freedom to roam around on the bike. I saw the utter devastation caused by the RAF Tornadoes; carpet-bombing and the artillery. It sickened me. One day I drove my bike into a mass grave. The British army was bulldozing the Iraqi bodies into a big hole.
NEVER IN recent times has the gulf between a government and the people been so wide. Tony Blair marches to war while the vast majority resolutely oppose him. Saturday's demonstration shows that huge numbers of people are prepared to actively oppose the government's war plans.
BLAIR'S PLAN to cut the number of asylum seekers is shocking. One way the government justifies its plans is to say children's education suffers if they are taught with children who don't speak English. I am a parent governor at my daughter Sorcha's school, in a very deprived area of central London.
THOUGHTFUL bureaucrats at the United Nations ensured that nothing would embarrass US Secretary of State Colin Powell last week. While Powell was giving his speech UN officials covered up a tapestry of one of the most famous murals in the world-Picasso's Guernica - because it shows the reality of war.