Socialist Worker


Debate sprouts among activists

Around 150 activists from all over Europe met in Brussels, the Belgian capital, last weekend to plan a European Social Forum. This will be modelled on the World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The World Social Forum was a great gathering of the worldwide movement against global capitalism.

Hundreds pack into meetings on campus

Two hundred medical students turned up to a meeting last week to hear George Galloway MP speak out over the war drive against Iraq. It was the first political meeting for years on a site of University College London where medical students at Guy's Hospital, south London, have lectures.

Row deepens trade unions' discontent with Labour

Tony Blair has gone too far even for the leaders of the Trades Union Congress. They have been reluctant to criticise Tony Blair. But union leaders at a TUC general council meeting last week were fuming about Tony Blair's agreement with right wing Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi. Blair and Berlusconi met two weeks ago and agreed to try to push through "economic liberalisation", "flexible labour markets" and "minimum labour standards".

Traffic chaos: are congestion charges the solution?

The traffic chaos in London is getting worse by the month. The rush hour used to be an hour, but today it stretches for most of the day. The choked roads mean misery for commuters battling to get to work. Pollution from exhaust fumes plays a major role in the rising levels of asthma in children. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children aged one to 14 years old.

Pensions crisis

"Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid," was the Guardian's headline. "Britain is hurtling towards a pensions crisis," said the Sunday Telegraph. That was the alarm raised recently in the media over pensions. Big firms are stealing tens of thousands of pounds from workers' pay packets. They are robbing by stealth. They are taking from pensions, which are a form of pay set aside for the future.

Celebrate uprisings of women workers

'The working women's day of militancy." That was how the Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai described the first ever celebration of International Women's Day in March 1911. That probably isn't how most people view International Women's Day, which is on Friday of this week, if they have heard of it at all.

Union rifts with Labour deepen

"There is a great deal of discontent among our rank and file with Labour." That is how Billy Hayes, leader of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), summed up why the union last week threatened to withhold £1 million from its donations to the Labour Party.

Stephen Lawrence's mother speaks out: 'Black people still on outside'

Nothing has changed. That is the damning verdict of Doreen Lawrence three years after the Macpherson report. That report was into the police handling of the 1993 racist murder of Doreen's son, black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Full spectrum dominance

"War fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict." That is what all this weaponry is for. The war against Afghanistan and the preparations to attack Iraq are part of the US's drive for global dominance.

Can we defeat the US's evil empire?

The world now faces the greatest war machine in history, lashing out at whoever it decides is "evil". US military aggression and arrogance are creating opposition among hundreds of millions of people across the world. "The good news is we're the world's only superpower," said Joseph Biden, chair of the US Senate's foreign relations committee, last month. "The bad news is we're the world's only superpower."

Manu Chao interview: 'The music of a movement'

Many people in Britain heard of you for the first time during the Genoa protests against the G8 last July. Why were you there?

Henry Kissinger: war criminal

This man is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. He is not on trial in The Hague this week, and his name is not Slobodan Milosevic.

'Everyone wants to join protests'

"People are enraged. It's fantastic. They're not prepared to take it any longer."

Socialist Alliance gears up for May local elections

It is less than ten weeks before local council elections across England on 2 May. In London every council seat will be up for grabs. The elections will be a chance to challenge New Labour and the other main parties.

Tory Britain - 1 in 3 children in poverty / Blair's Britain - 1 in 3 children in poverty

Baby biys in Bethnal Green today are more likely to die before their first birthday than in 1950. From the housing estates of the east London area you can see the towers of the City of London, the biggest concentration of wealth in the country.

David Blunkett wants to arrange YOUR marriage

Home Secretary David Blunkett unveiled New Labour's latest crackdown on immigration, asylum and British citizenship last week. He won rapturous praise from Tory MPs for attacks on the ability of immigrants to speak English and on British people marrying partners from the Indian subcontinent.

A new feeling of anger and resistance across Britain: 'People have just had enough now'

Hundreds of workers queued in the rain and biting wind outside the Caterpillar factory in the Durham town of Peterlee on Thursday morning of last week. They waited patiently, then one by one stepped forward to formally sign a declaration of "no confidence" in the managing director.

Message from World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil: 'We know another world is possible'

The demonstration was supposed to begin at 5pm in Porto Alegre's market square. There were groups with banners at various corners, but they seemed dispersed and separate. But at seven that evening, when the summer showers had ended, 40,000 people flowed into a single column. They were young, old, black, white, men, women, Latin Americans, Africans, and a European contingent that included 1,500 Italians full of the enthusiastic spirit of Genoa.

200,000 homes at stake in two ballots

Decisive battles are set to take place. They are part of a hidden war waged by the New Labour government. It is a war to destroy one of the pillars of the welfare state-council housing. New Labour is out to privatise three million council homes. In Birmingham tenants will begin to vote on 18 March on whether their homes are handed to private housing associations.

Privatisers stalking the postal service

"I know many of our union's members will be concerned about what the government is doing. Don't all rush to send motions to the union conference about the way we use our political fund. I can tell you the leadership of the union will be suspending funds for Labour unless there is a substantial change in policy." That was the message to union reps from John Keggie, the union's deputy general secretary, last week. He was speaking to reps from all over Britain. They had gathered the day after a ballot had overwhelmingly backed a national postal strike over pay.

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