LAST WEDNESDAY Tony Blair jetted in on a brief visit to England. While quite at home in the company of dictators, warlords and George W Bush, Blair soon felt in need of protection from his own backbenchers. One minute you can be a great international statesman, a war leader in almost freakish control of your party.
WORKERS ACROSS Britain are beginning to voice their anger and frustration with the New Labour government. They see continuing privatisation and the government pandering to its big business friends while workers have to battle over pay, conditions and job cuts. Trade unionists spoke to Socialist Worker over what they feel about New Labour. They raised questions about the unions funding the Labour Party.
Peter Hain, former anti-apartheid activist and now minister for Europe, attacked the anti-capitalist movement last weekend. He claimed that the 300,000 people who protested against the G8 richest countries in Genoa last July were the "violent elements of Europe's middle class".
TWO corporations, whose dodgy dealing led to the biggest bankruptcy in history, have deep links to New Labour. US energy giant Enron was the world's seventh biggest company until it collapsed a month ago with billions of dollars of debt. The scandal surrounding its collapse threatens to engulf US politicians close to Enron, including George W Bush.
WORKERS ACROSS Northern Ireland have given a marvellous glimpse of how to defeat bigotry and sectarianism. Protestants and Catholics struck together, marched together and stood united against sectarianism on Friday of last week.
A REVOLT over pay and the disastrous impact of privatisation is spreading across the rail industry. Everyone who wants to see a better transport system should get behind the rail workers and their unions as they stand up to the private rail companies. Over 600 guards and conductors on Arriva Northern were set to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week.
Bloody Sunday should fill the British ruling class with shame. Instead they send up flurries of outrage to distract attention from the truth. The two new TV dramas marking the thirtieth anniversary of the massacre have been denounced by a variety of politicians and commentators. Some of these people didn't feel the need to see the films before delivering their judgement.
What motivated you to make a film about Bloody Sunday?
I WAS asked to do it about six years ago and I refused. I thought, "I'm an Englishman. I can't do that." I agonised over that. Four years ago I was invited across to the Bloody Sunday commemorative march.
MUCH OF the media thinks there is an easy answer to threatened strikes at the moment. It is to say that they could mean a return to the Winter of Discontent of 1978-9. The argument goes that of course everyone knows the Winter of Discontent was a disastrous period when trade unionists were too strong.
THE BIGGEST smear campaign against left wing union leaders for over a decade. That is the only conclusion following a flood of scare stories in the right wing press aimed at union leaders whose members are rightly demanding action. Rupert Murdoch's anti-union Sun ran two pages on Monday claiming that a "new breed" of union leaders are "plotting a new Winter of Discontent" against the New Labour government.
SOCIALIST WORKER has seen vital documents about the involvement of the Trades Union Congress in the current elections to high office of the RMT rail union. They make it clear that at least one official at the TUC has been plotting with a right wing official of the RMT to improve the vote of right wing candidates and smear rivals from the left. The main documents are:
EVERY TRADE unionist should be asking questions about what is happening inside the TUC. While some newspapers denounce the "politically motivated union men" behind the rail strikes, we can show who the real plotters were.
TRANSPORT IS the number one political issue in Britain. For the whole of last year it registered at the top of people's concerns in opinion polls. Now the crisis has blown up in New Labour's face. It has taken industrial action by rail workers to force the government to take notice of the bitterness of millions of people as they struggle to complete even short journeys. Tony Blair's response last week was to attack striking rail workers. But transport was in chaos long before the recent strikes. The biggest reason is that successive governments have spent so little on the basic infrastructure. Spending on transport as a share of national wealth has halved in the last 20 years. In its f
"Street Crime Is So Bad I Fear For My Children". This was the sensationalist front page headline of the Daily Express last Wednesday. The words were from John Denham, New Labour's crime reduction minister. Other alarming headlines screamed "Huge Surge In Mobile Phone Thefts", "The Gangs We Can't Do Anything About" and "Black Youth Carry Out Most Street Robberies".
DO YOU think there's going to be a Winter of Discontent?
I THINK there is a real possibility. Before the attacks in New York on 11 September we saw a rising mood of bitterness in the trade unions over privatisation, and discussions about breaking the link between the unions and New Labour. That was beheaded on 11 September. When the TUC conference was called off, so was the debate over privatisation. Blair got away scot free.
BLINDFOLDED, hooded and manacled-that's how Afghan prisoners have arrived at the US military base on Guantanamo Bay. The Taliban and Al Qaida suspects were dragged stumbling and terrified from a cargo plane. Some had been diagnosed with TB. Others were drugged. Some had their beards forcibly shaved off. They were not allowed to use toilets during the 27-hour flight from Kandahar.
TWO ISRAELI bulldozers rolled into the Palestinian refugee camp in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on Thursday of last week. Guarded by Israeli soldiers, they crushed the homes of 112 families, leaving over 600 people homeless, around half of them children. The Israelis also tore up the runway of Gaza airport.
transport chaos bosses attack union action scares companies and labour
THE UPRISING in Argentina shows that revolution is still possible in the modern world. It has shown mass action from below can topple governments and inflict a defeat on big business policies.
THE PEOPLE who did not vote at the general election last year are not apathetic. They are angry about the present state of the parties and many of them are disillusioned about the entire political set up.