THERE IS a massive potential for a serious fight to tackle low pay. The strikes and ballots called by trade union leaders we report on these pages are a reflection of a deep anger among ordinary workers. The immediate battles are concentrated among workers in public services.
IRAQ'S OFFER on arms inspections wrong-footed the US state at the start of this week. This means we can expect a torrent of lies to blunt opposition to a murderous attack on Iraq. The goalposts have already been shifted. We were told a few weeks ago that Iraq is a nuclear-armed state on the brink of invading its neighbours. But a study last week found that Saddam Hussein does not have nuclear weapons. None of the six states that border Iraq fear invasion. So now we are told Saddam Hussein is a bad man who could possibly get nuclear weapons in the future if someone gave him the technology possessed by only a handful of states.
TONY BLAIR is marching towards the deepest crisis he has yet faced. He is caught in the jaws of mounting opposition on two fronts. Delegates at the TUC conference this week ripped into his craven support for Bush's war against Iraq, and into the heart of New Labour - profit before people. They backed the firefighters, who are heading for national strikes next month against low pay. Those union leaders who spoke out echoed the clear majority of people in Britain.
THE GOVERNMENT is pushing for a minute's silence to mark the anniversary of the 11 September attacks next Wednesday. People will want to mark the pain and anguish of a day which saw almost 3,000 people killed in New York. But Tony Blair has his own agenda. He wants to exploit the anniversary to boost support for Bush's plans to launch war on Iraq.
THE PROTESTS against the rich and powerful at the Earth Summit in South Africa have been inspiring. Following on from the protests in Barcelona and Seville earlier this year, they are a powerful rebuttal to all those who claimed the anti-capitalist movement was dead after 11 September.
THE EARTH Summit starts in Johannesburg, South Africa, next week. World leaders will talk about tackling poverty, dealing with the environmental crisis and embracing "sustainable development". US president George W Bush is hostile even to making such noises. This could lead some people to think that the summit must contain something good.
GEORGE BUSH and Tony Blair are more isolated than ever over war on Iraq. But the madman in the White House is determined to press ahead, and a Downing Street spokesman insists the prime minister is "not going wobbly". The scale of opposition to the war shows the potential to make Blair more than wobble.
WHY IS George Bush so hell bent on a war on Iraq? The US devastated Iraq in a war 11 years ago. US-backed economic sanctions have already killed 500,000 Iraqi children, according to Unicef. A US war on Iraq risks destabilising the Middle East and sparking wider wars. It looks mad, but behind Bush's crazy logic stands his desire to have a war to assert US dominance around the globe.
THE RIGHT wing axis of Blair, Berlusconi and Aznar has united to drive privatisation policies through Europe. Now Blair hopes to turn their axis into one that backs the US war. Even Germany's leader Gerhard Schršder has come out against the war on Iraq. These two issues, war and privatisation, are at the centre of the European Social Forum which is being held in Florence, Italy, in November.
NEW LABOUR is facing its biggest challenge yet from the unions. The strike of one million council workers, the election of left wing general secretaries, and the number of left wing motions at the coming TUC congress in September have all got Tony Blair worried.
"A DEFINING moment in the history of the labour movement." That is how the bosses' Financial Times described the shock defeat of Tony Blair's closest trade union ally, Sir Ken Jackson of Amicus. Jackson was finally forced to concede victory to his left wing opponent Derek Simpson last week.
THE STRIKE meant more than a justified fight over low pay. In Northern Ireland, for example, Catholic and Protestant workers picketed together, united for a common cause. In Burnley, Oldham and other areas where Nazis and racists have been seeking to divide people, black, white and Asian workers struck together.
WEDNESDAY'S walkout by over one million council workers is the biggest strike yet under Tony Blair. It has brought the reality of life for millions of working people-low pay and insecurity-to the streets of hundreds of towns and cities.
GEORGE BUSH is beating the drum of war louder as financial scandals sweep the US. He has brought forward a meeting with his loyal manservant Tony Blair to discuss attacking Iraq. Leaked papers from the US military talk of deploying 250,000 troops in the Middle East to launch a full scale invasion.
THE SUMMER months are shaping up to be very different from the political "silly season" that's usually inflicted on us. The strike of 1.2 million council workers against low pay called for next week is a major challenge to New Labour.
MURDER, TORTURE and lies have been the hallmarks of the US invasion of Afghanistan. Events this week have tragically underlined that reality. US warplanes bombed a village in Afghanistan on Monday killing at least 30 members of a wedding party and injuring many more.
TONY BLAIR has more to worry him than the jibes of the right wing press. According to the Guardian, "Tony Blair is seeking to avert what threatens to be the biggest wave of industrial unrest in the public services since Labour came to power in 1997." Blair is used to entertaining big business fat cats and socialising with media celebrities.
SEVILLE IN Spain sees the two different faces of Europe this week. Tony Blair and other European leaders are meeting to force through even tougher legislation to victimise those seeking refuge from war and famine. Blair is at the heart of a right wing axis. Downing Street has leapt in to dub right wing French president Jacques Chirac "a man we can work with", as he plans huge tax cuts for the rich and an assault on French workers.
IS THE tide of history flowing to the right? The claim is put forward by politicians like Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, and echoed by a growing number of commentators. Four years ago Labour-type parties were in government in 13 of the 15 European Union (EU) countries.
NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE hung over the world throughout the years of the Cold War. It now threatens to become a reality of almost unimaginable horror. Those who target the missiles and run the Indian and Pakistani governments are horrifying. But all the major Western powers share the responsibility.