31 May 2003
AROUND 80 people protested against the first council meeting of Nazi BNP councillor John Savage in Sandwell, West Midlands, on Wednesday of last week. The protesters were mainly members of Sandwell Unison union. Tony Barnsley, the assistant branch secretary of Sandwell Unison, said, "We think the BNP have conned their way into power by blaming asylum seekers. Our members, particularly our black and Asian members, feel threatened by the BNP. I will refuse to work for them and we are encouraging our members to do the same." Another BNP councillor failed to show up for the meeting.
03 May 2003
THE MEDIA has reacted in typical fashion to the SARS flu-like disease. Truth has been the casualty in a media frenzy driven by the need to sell newspapers, outdo rivals, and push particular ideological agendas over issues like racism. Some, headed by the Daily Mail, talk as though we were all about to be wiped out by SARS.
29 March 2003
ANTI-IMPERIALISM: A Guide for the Movement (Bookmarks, £10) is a new book which critically analyses key aspects of imperialism. It begins with an excellent introduction from Tariq Ali and continues with articles on oil and imperialism, racism, nuclear weapons, civil liberties and much more.
23 March 2003
SUPPORTERS OF the war pour scorn on anyone who says it has to do with oil. But there would be no war if Iraq did not have the world's second largest proven reserves of oil. Oil is by far the world's most important raw material. Control over it is an asset to any state - and its business interests - wanting to gets its way in disputes with other states. This is particularly true of the US.
08 February 2003
POLICE OFFICERS racially abused and violently assaulted a black man in Brixton, south London, a judge ruled last week. Sylbert Farquharson, aged 57, was awarded record damages of nearly £250,000. Judge Dean said Sylbert was "subjected to explicit racist abuse in the street, and a particularly vicious and cowardly form of racist abuse at the police station.
08 February 2003
RETURNING FROM the World Social Forum (WSF) at Porto Alegre in Brazil, I feel as if I have just emerged from a vast, multicoloured sea that swept all the participants along in a great exuberant wave.
18 January 2003
POLITICIANS AND columnists have been queuing up to condemn the glorification of guns among young people, launching particularly bitter attacks on hip-hop and rap music.
04 January 2003
"THERE IS every reason to think we are about to enter the most dramatic year in the story of New Labour." "At home and abroad in the year ahead the prime minister and New Labour will be tested as never before." These predictions (from key articles in the Financial Times and the Observer) are spot on.
21 December 2002
THE MEHMETI family have won the right to stay in Britain after a ten-month campaign to stop them being sent back to Kosovo. Thousands of people in Bristol backed the campaign - trade unionists, community groups, political groups and even the local Evening Post newspaper. The adjudicator in the case said that given "the level of community ties and huge local support for them remaining, and given their particular difficulties, the balance is in favour of the family remaining in the UK". Jo Benefield
14 December 2002
ON THE anniversary of the declaration of Human Rights last Saturday, 100 asylum seekers and their supporters joined the annual "speak-out" in Manchester. Young asylum seekers read articles from the declaration, and through poems and songs, dance and drumming showed their strength of spirit. This government excludes many asylum seekers from even the most basic rights - a home, family life, work and refuge.
07 December 2002
BILLY HAYES, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, has responded to two recent articles in Socialist Worker. One was by Exeter postal worker Fran Choules, the other by Socialist Worker journalist Charlie Kimber.
23 November 2002
THE FIREFIGHTERS' strike dominates the headlines and causes something approaching panic in New Labour leaders and hysteria in the right wing press. Two arguments in particular are launched against the strikers from inside the labour movement. From the right comes the view of New Labour's favourite (and knighted) professor, George Bain.
09 November 2002
THE NAZI BNP is standing in a council by-election in Blackburn, east Lancashire. The vote, in the Mill Hill ward, takes place on 21 November. During the campaign the BNP has been stirring up racism and targeting asylum seekers. This propaganda is particularly disgusting because it is going out in an area where three asylum seekers were attacked, two of them hospitalised.
26 October 2002
THERE IS vast inequality in what people get paid. The press may criticise one or two particular fat cats, but it takes for granted the everyday inequality between managers and most workers. Why should such inequality exist?
31 August 2002
THE US spent £165 million on the biggest war game in military history earlier this month. According to one key participant it was rigged to ensure that US forces beat their "Middle Eastern" opponents. "The exercises were almost entirely scripted to ensure a US win," General Paul Van Riper, a retired marine lieutenant-general, told the Army Times.
10 August 2002
ANOTHER OPINION poll in Britain last week showed the shock and anger many people feel at George Bush's rush to start a war on Iraq. Some 91 percent of Daily Mirror readers said in a phone poll that they were against the war. The paper has run several articles critical of an attack on Iraq and the war on Afghanistan. "Mr Blair will next month face one of the biggest anti-war protests in Britain for years," said the Mirror last week. Protesters will mass in London on 28 September. A string of Stop the War Coalition events will be held over the next few weeks."
03 August 2002
WHILE the US and Britain prepare to use vast resources for war, 14 million people in southern Africa have been left to starve. People in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are particularly affected. Politicians claim that the suffering is because of drought or "African corruption". In truth people are dying because they are the subjects of a crazed mass social experiment: take a poor society, let the market rip, and see what happens. Far from showering prosperity on Africa, the market prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have produced bigger mounds of corpses.
08 June 2002
MARTIN AMIS is a novelist. He's also someone who the broadsheets turn to for his views on the state of the world, the meaning of art, and the purpose of life. Last weekend the Guardian kicked off its new weekly books supplement with an article by Amis on the state of the world, the meaning of art, and the purpose of life.
11 May 2002
FOR THE last few years I've kept my mouth shut when I've heard people saying that the sales of Harry Potter books were doing wonders for children's reading. On some occasions I defended the books, particularly if they were under attack from snobs. These are the kind of people who only want kids to read the books they read as a child, like Alice in Wonderland and the Just William books.
04 May 2002
AROUND 100 postal workers lobbied the Department for Trade and Industry offices in London last week. They were protesting at the unfairness of the employment tribunal system, and particularly at the way Mick and Tom Doherty have been treated. The brothers worked for the Post Office in north London and were sacked nearly two years ago.