Socialist Worker



If you have been impressed by headline news that the government is going to let parents with kids opt for "family friendly" shifts at work, look again. This is a measure that is supposed to help working mothers the most.


I am Somali woman living and working in London who decided to join Health Workers Against the War. I took that decision after my seven year old daughter came home from school and said it is not right that poor children should be bombed in Afghanistan. If only Bush and Blair had the same morality as a child!


Here in Ipswich in Suffolk we're campaigning in the first by-election since the general election in June. I'm standing again for the Socialist Alliance. In the general election the main plank of our campaign was opposing privatisation. Now it is opposing Bush and Blair's war.


I will be on the anti-war demonstration in London on 18 November, and I hope there are tens of thousands of others who will be as well. This is not just some routine march. I really feel that this is a crucial moment for all of us to do something about the war.


David Blunkett has finally been forced to accept that the government can't control people smoking cannabis, so he has had to make concessions. Stamping down on drugs hasn't worked. New Labour have now reclassified cannabis from a category B drug to a category C.

German Green war machine

THE ONCE-pacifist German Green Party held a conference two weeks ago where the leadership announced its support for Bush's war against Afghanistan. Green Party leader and foreign minister Joschka Fischer's speech echoed the war hysteria and propaganda of Bush, Blair, and German chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the Social Democratic Party.

Blair's great fees disaster

EDUCATION secretary Estelle Morris announced last week that the government is going to change the arrangements for university fees and grants. There will, at a minimum, be grants for some students, and possibly all fees will go, to be replaced by a graduate tax.

Don't let our rights be lost

AS A lawyer specialising in human rights, civil liberties and asylum, I am extremely concerned about the climate of intolerance, fear and racism which surrounds our government's declaration of a "war on terrorism." We cannot claim to be fighting for democracy and human rights if we start off by abrogating basic freedoms and perpetrating injustice. Proposals to bring in even more draconian terrorist laws and laws against asylum seekers will carry with them expectations that this will somehow result in the identification of terrorist suspects.

We have had enough death

I WORK at a school in north west England. I was very shocked by the deaths at the World Trade Centre and I still feel horrified whenever I see the pictures on the television. But I am also very determined that this horror should not lead to others, such as the further destruction of Afghanistan.

Satpal Ram is innocent

THE struggle to free Satpal Ram continues, despite the home secretary's decision to overrule the recommendation of the parole board for him to be released immediately. On only three occasions in the last 20 years have home secretaries overuled recommendations by the parole board.


Workers fight the BNP in Oldham WE MET last week to launch Oldham Trade Unionists Against Racism and Fascism. Around 20 people, mostly local union reps and shop stewards from a range of unions including MSF, AEEU, UNISON, NUT, PCS and others, attended our inaugural meeting.

Burnley carnival: Fight this ban

FOLLOWING recent events here in Burnley, readers may be aware that Lancashire police-unelected members of society-have decided to call upon home secretary David Blunkett to ban the planned anti-Nazi demonstration and carnival on 1 September.


Refugees: Their fight is ours The new immigration law passed in Spain last December is a clear attempt to undermine immigrant rights, leaving them in inhuman conditions. The law cuts their right to vote, strike, meet and unionise. The right wing Spanish government wants to keep the "sans papiers" in a situation of slavery.


The Prudential insurance firm has just announced it is axing some 2,000 staff – nearly 20 percent of its entire British workforce. I work in one of the Prudential call centres in Reading. Most of those who are being sacked are "field staff". These are the people who visit policy holders in their own homes and deal with individual cases. They are all being done away with.


We fund them, they whack us I am fed up with our union giving the Labour Party hundreds of thousands of pounds while in government that party attacks us. I am a postal worker in the Communication Workers Union (CWU). New Labour is pushing "joint ventures" and privatisation which are a huge threat to our jobs and conditions.

Letters: Still up against racism

A 1996 report into policing in Tottenham, north London, described how officers believed they were "at war" with the local community. Despite the promises made after the Lawrence report two years ago, that war is still going on. People in Tottenham are sickened by the continuing casualties.


Nuclear protesters found not guilty On 18 January in Manchester Crown Court a jury of six men and six women found two Trident Ploughshares campaigners not guilty of a charge of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.


: A very fruitful Bristol protest I was one of the people who heard Tony Blair speak when he came to Bristol on Tuesday of last week. As I approached the council building where he was to be speaking I was delighted to see many different protest groups demonstrating. People were there protesting against the government's policy on Iraq, and children and parents shouted against the closure of their schools. The Bristol Socialist Alliance (BSA) were there too.


Steel workers feel betrayed The steel maker Corus has issued 150 compulsory redundancies in Scunthorpe as part of this year's job cuts. Workers who have spent their whole working lives in steel are now being sacked because they don't fit management's criteria. These workers feel betrayed. For the last 20 years steel workers in Scunthorpe have faced annual job losses. British Steel told its workers that they could only make their future secure by becoming "leaner and fitter". Each year steel workers delivered better productivity.

Refugees: No festive spirit from Straw

JACK STRAW'S seasonal greetings were bogus. They did not stretch as far as those seeking asylum. Solomon was told that he had to sign on at the police station on 25 December, between 7pm and 8pm. His crime? None. Solomon was a hard working student. He worked to keep himself and was successful in his studies. Then the government had a crackdown on asylum seekers. Now Solomon has been criminalised.

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