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Storm grows against Blair


An important meeting of the national committee of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) took place last weekend. The meeting agreed that we are facing a decisive and unprecedented political situation both internationally and in Britain.

March ignores the real issues


The Countryside Alliance will be marching through London on Sunday. March organisers say they are standing up to "unite rural Britain, for liberty, and for all those whose jobs are based in the country". In fact those at the centre of the Countryside Alliance and the march represent some of the richest and most reactionary people in Britain. Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith will be there, and Britain's richest landowners are backing the march.

Don't trust these men to stop Bush


BLAIR: Bush's poodle, chief warmonger in Europe PUTIN: butcher of Chechnya, linked to gangster capitalists JIANG ZEMIN: Chinese leader thanks to the bloodshed of Tiananmen Square CHIRAC: wants to make money from blood spilt for oil

TUC: new anger at labour's policies


War may have been at the centre of the debates that rocked the TUC congress, but it was far from being the only issue where unions and the government seemed set on a collision course. The prospect of the first national firefighters' strike for 25 years, anti-union laws, and attacks on workers' pensions all surfaced on the first day of the conference.

Shaking up New Labour


AWARD-WINNING campaigning journalist Paul Foot has been selected as the Socialist Alliance candidate in October's election for mayor of Hackney in east London. Voting begins on Monday 7 October, in three weeks time. His campaign has already attracted national media attention. Socialist Worker spoke to Paul Foot.

A stronger left voice


THE POLITICAL temperature has rocketed in recent weeks. There is the potential for the coming together of mass opposition to the war on Iraq and a very important industrial battle in the fire service. A senior Labour MP said last week, "I don't know about regime change in Iraq, but we certainly need regime change in Downing Street."

Oil, blood and the West's imperialism


"THIS WHOLE affair has nothing to do with a threat from Iraq - there isn't one. It has nothing to do with the war against terrorism or with morality. Saddam Hussein is obviously an evil man, but when we were selling arms to him to keep the Iranians in check he was the same evil man he is today. In the same way he served Western interests then, he is now the distraction for the sleight of hand to protect the West's supply of oil. Under the cover of the war on terrorism, the war to secure oil supplies could be waged." That was the case argued by Mo Mowlam last week. Mowlam was for four years a New Labour cabinet minister - and the most popular one. Her attack on Bush and Blair's war pl

Stalin


MARTIN AMIS'S book Koba the Dread has caused a storm of comment. Its subject is Stalin, socialism and the possibility of social change. He argues that the reality of Stalin's crimes has been largely ignored, especially by the left.

What's happening in Sunderland?


THE MURDER of an Iranian refugee in Sunderland two weeks ago has shocked many local people. Peiman Bahmani was stabbed in the street he lived in at 3.40pm. He died later in hospital. A man has been charged with murder and racially aggravated assault. The tragedy shows what happens when the Nazis gain a foothold in an area by whipping up racism, and provide a false focus for ordinary people's frustration and discontent.

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Manchester ANL carnival: black and white unite against the Nazis


The biggest anti-racist event in the north of England for two decades struck a major blow against the Nazi British National Party at the weekend. Some 30,000 people joined the day-long Anti Nazi League "Love Music-Hate Racism" carnival in Manchester on Sunday.

Hot air from world leaders


TONY BLAIR claimed to be leading the world on tackling poverty and environmental destruction at the Earth Summit this week. The truth is that the summit's outcome represents no progress at all. On key areas it will guarantee things get worse, not better. That is why 25,000 protesters, mainly the poor of South Africa, defied the police and government and staged an angry march on the summit last Saturday (see report below).

Report slams policy over 'feckless' poor


AN IMPORTANT new study has blown a hole through the central ideas behind New Labour's welfare "reform". The study is called Poverty and the Welfare State: Dispelling the Myths by social policy expert Paul Spicker. It is published by the "think-tank" Catalyst, whose members include Labour's former deputy leader Roy Hattersley.

Socialist causes a panic for Blair


PAUL FOOT, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the mayor of Hackney in east London, is frightening New Labour. The Independent newspaper reported last week, "Such was Millbank's consternation at the prospect of Paul Foot standing for election in east London that it turned to Mo Mowlam to become the Labour candidate. "But the former secretary of state for Northern Ireland had little hesitation in declining."

Hell on earth


NO ONE can forget the horror of the news pictures as the hijacked planes hit the twin towers a year ago, and the awful consequences for those trapped inside. But George Bush and the US government, backed enthusiastically by Tony Blair, cynically used that tragedy to unleash even greater horror. US president Bush claimed he would "rally the world against international terrorism".

Does movement need parties?


MANY PEOPLE are deeply hostile to mainstream political parties, and rightly so. They are utterly fed up with political leaders who lie and spin, who ignore their views and shamelessly promote the interests of big business. Others are suspicious of all political organisations. They fear that parties will seek to impose their own agenda on any campaign and use it for their own ends.

Sweet land of liberty?


"DEMOCRACIES, RATHER than dictatorships, are taking the lead in curbing civil liberties." That is the conclusion of a human rights report recently published by Amnesty International. It highlights the US and Britain's attacks on civil rights in the wake of 11 September.

Murder backed by US


THERE IS another 11 September, but there will be few tributes in the media to its victims. As the Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman says: "11 September has been a date of mourning, for me and millions of others, ever since that day in 1973 when Chile lost its democracy in a military coup, that day when death irrevocably entered our lives and changed us forever." On that day the Chilean military, led by General Pinochet, overthrew the elected president, Salvador Allende.

Even Bush's allies warn against war


GEORGE BUSH'S drive for war has opened up bitter rows in the US establishment - even among those who share his long term objectives. But in a speech this week aimed at those with misgivings, US vice-president Dick Cheney said the danger of "inaction" is greater than the risks of war.

One fire it will be hard to put out


OVER 2,000 firefighters and their supporters converged on Belfast from around Northern Ireland and Britain as the firefighters' campaign for decent pay hotted up last weekend. This latest Fire Brigades Union (FBU) demonstration had the same confident and vibrant spirit shown on previous demonstrations on the streets of London, Glasgow and other cities.

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