The Daily Record, a Labour-supporting tabloid in Scotland, has organised a march against drugs on 1 April as part of its "war on drugs" campaign. Brian Souter, the anti-gay millionaire owner of Stagecoach, is supporting the march.
Over 500 people packed a meeting last Saturday to look at what has changed two years after the Macpherson report into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. Labour MP Diane Abbott spoke, condemning Jack Straw's decision not to sack Paul Condon, head of the Metropolitan Police, after the Macpherson report. The number of people at this year's meeting rose sharply from last year. But many felt frustrated that their high hopes for change in the wake of the Macpherson report have not been realised.
"Next time there's an unofficial strike in the post we will sack those who have led it and encouraged it." That is what Post Office bosses warned leaders of the CWU union at the end of last week.
Vauxhall workers struck for the day last week against the closure of the Luton plant by giant US multinational General Motors. Luton strikers were joined by workers at the Ellesmere Port plant who also had a solid one-day strike. Socialists, the media, two local Labour MPs and the regional TGWU official swelled the small number of pickets at Luton. Workers argued, "You won't have a job if you keep on doing what management tell you to do!" with workers who crossed the picket lines, mainly MSF members who voted against action.
Protests are to hit the clothes chain Gap next week. Why Gap? Why next week? Because next Thursday, 8 March, is International Women's Day, a day established nearly 100 years ago, inspired by women workers in the New York garment industry, many of who were immigrants. They struggled to survive the horrible sweatshops but they also fought back and organised.
Mobile phone companies all over Britain are taking part in a mad scramble to throw up transmitter masts before laws are passed which might inconvenience them. Soon they will need to apply for planning permission and-to their horror-possibly face some measure of democratic control over their activities.
The following resolution was passed at last Sunday's national meeting of delegates from SWP branches:
A liverly, noisy demonstration of over 400 people took place in Greenock near Glasgow on Saturday of last week against the possible closure of the Rankin Maternity Unit at the Inverclyde Royal Hospital. The march, which took place despite freezing weather, was the culmination of six weeks of well organised activity by a group of committed members of the local community.
Maureen Brennan confronted Michael Meacher, New Labour MP, as he arrived at a conference over safety on construction sites in central London on Tuesday. She is the mother of Michael Brennan, who was killed on a construction site ten years ago. She is still fighting for justice. Maureen joined other victims' families and construction workers in an angry 100-strong lobby.
There will be a national policy conference for the National Network of Socialist Alliances on Saturday 10 March. The meeting will decide the Socialist Alliance's election manifesto. All members of the National Network of Socialist Alliances are urged to attend.
West Sussex councillors told a public meeting last week that they want to build an incinerator to the north east of Crawley, just the width of a motorway away from a housing development and a school. Everyone in the room was very angry and applauded me when I attacked the council's plans.MURIEL HIRSCH
Unison union members in Knowsley council, Merseyside, were due to take their third round of strike action on Thursday of this week. They have had overwhelming support for action against an increase in the working week for white collar workers from 35 to 37 hours.
Some 40 protesters picketed a book signing by Tory Ann Widdecombe at Waterstone's bookshop in Nottingham last week. One of the protesters was Pete Radcliff, the prospective Socialist Alliance candidate for Nottingham East.
Bradford's hung council voted by 43 to 38 to privatise the city's 27,000 council homes last week. The Defend Council Housing campaign in Bradford has pledged to oppose the sell off. Tenants have the final say in the ballot to be held later this year. A preliminary survey by the council shows 82 percent of tenants want to stay under council control.
Rolls Royce workers at Ansty in the West Midlands stepped up their fight against up to 1,300 job cuts with a second round of strike action on Monday of this week. Cars tailed back for miles from both gates as workers in the MSF and GMB unions caused massive disruption to the site. "We're having a serious effect," one engineer told Socialist Worker. The strike by 500 workers, mainly skilled engineers and office workers, has been solid.
Thousands of staff and students at the University of East London (UEL) have signed a statement of no confidence in the university's senior management. Over 200 staff have lost their jobs in the last four years. Now vice-chancellor Frank Gould has demanded another £3 million in cuts and redundancies. A meeting of 250 staff and students recently confronted UEL governors. Martin Hoyles, chair of the lecturers' NATFHE union branch, told the governors, "This management must go."
Some 75 people came to a "Renationalise the rail" public rally in Nottingham last week. Speakers included Alan Simpson MP, Jim Creamer, branch secretary of East Midlands RMT, and a Dudley hospitals striker. The meeting brought together Labour Party activists, Socialist Alliance members, environmental campaigners, and members of the World Development Movement. Some 13 people joined the Socialist Alliance, which will be standing a candidate against John Heppell in Nottingham East. Heppell is John Prescott's parliamentary private secretary and refuses to support the call to renationalise the railways.
Around 70 people came to a hustings meeting in central London for the candidates for general secretary of the postal workers' CWU union last week. John Keggie, the present union deputy general secretary, is standing against Billy Hayes, a union national officer.
Around 70 people attended a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting in Glasgow last week. Scottish National Party MSP Shona Robison and leading pro-Palestinian academic Dr Michael Prior were joined by Palestinian and Jewish speakers in calling for solidarity with the intifada.
Firefighters in Derbyshire are "withdrawing goodwill" with the Labour-controlled county council over a £1 million cut in the budget. A spokesperson for the firefighters' FBU union told Socialist Worker, "Last time we went into dispute with the council they hid behind a Tory government. They cannot do that now. Gordon Brown should spend some of his billions on essential services."