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Archive for September 2008

2 September 2008

spotRussia / Georgia war exposes limits of West

Editorial: LESS THAN a decade ago US imperialism believed that, like a colossus bestriding the globe, it could act as an all-powerful, lone, global super-power...

2 September 2008

spotTrades Union Congress: Building a real leadership against the bosses

PCS is calling for public-sector trade union unity. Birmingham Council workers on strike, April 24, photo S. O Neill

PCS is calling for public-sector trade union unity. Birmingham Council workers on strike, April 24, photo S. O Neill

This year's Trades Union Congress promises to be more interesting than in previous years. The main resolutions reflect issues such as the battle in the public sector over the government's pay restraint...

2 September 2008

spotJohn Mc Donnell MP protests at Unison witch-hunt

The Socialist has carried many reports of the witch-hunt against activists within Unison. At a recent meeting to oppose this witch-hunt, John McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington spoke...

2 September 2008

spotBuilding a new workers' party: trade unionist initiative needed

A number of left trade union leaders have recognised that the Labour Party in councils and in government is not going to stop trying to push through privatisation, writes John McInally, vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), in a personal capacity.

2 September 2008

spotPoland: Biggest workers' demo since the 1990s

WARSAW CAME to a standstill for many hours as over 50,000 workers demonstrated in torrential rain last Friday (29 August), writes Paul Newbery, GPR (CWI, Poland).

2 September 2008

spot'Them and us' economy hits the rocks

PCS Passport workers on strike in Belfast, photo Peter Hadden

Major struggles are inevitable - trade union action needed to protect our future. Picture: PCS Passport workers on strike in Belfast, photo Peter Hadden

"The economic times we are facing are arguably the worst they've been in 60 years", blurted out chancellor Alistair Darling in an unguarded moment on his summer holiday, writes Dave Reid.

3 September 2008

spotArrested for selling The Socialist

TONY AITMAN, a long-time Socialist Party member was arrested on 30 August for selling copies of The Socialist on a stall in Liverpool city centre, writes By Merseyside Socialist Party members..

3 September 2008

spotOpposing the far right

THE BIGGEST demonstration the village of Codnor has seen in recent years marched towards the far-right BNP's Red White and Blue Festival (RWB) on 16 August, writes By a Notts anti-fascist.

3 September 2008

spotSchool and college students fighting back!

Six months before New Labour came to power in 1997, Blair famously claimed that his three main priorities for government were "education, education, education", writes Kat Jayawant, Sussex Downs College International Socialist Resistance (ISR).

3 September 2008

spotWinners and losers at the Beijing Olympics

Comment: Many people across the world, particularly young people, will have been entertained and not a little inspired by many of the athletic performances in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, writes Peter Glover.

3 September 2008

spotInside Egypt: the land of the Pharaohs on the brink of a revolution

A new book describing the disintegration of Egyptian society claims it is a country on the brink of revolution. As if to prove the author's point, the government has banned its sale...

3 September 2008

spotNHS: Save our casualty unit!

SWANSEA'S SINGLETON Hospital casualty unit is threatened with yet another downgrading. The Trust proposes to replace this important minor casualty service with just a single GP and nurse team!, writes Alec Thraves, Swansea Socialist Party.

3 September 2008

spotNHS 'surplus' = cuts in care

HEALTH DEPARTMENT officials have announced that the government's spending policies will result in an expected NHS budget surplus of 1.75 billion by the end of the financial year, writes Dave Carr.

3 September 2008

spotSwollen profits, suffering patients

TWENTY SIX top cancer consultants wrote to the Sunday Times, attacking the government's health watchdog NICE for denying seriously ill patients with diseased kidneys, four life-extending cancer drugs on cost grounds...

3 September 2008

spotWater quality threat to health

FOR THE third time in three years, an outbreak of the parasite cryptosporidium has hit water supplies in Gwynedd and Anglesey, writes Iain Dalton.

3 September 2008

spotInequality - the world's deadliest disease!

A "TOXIC" combination of bad policies, politics and economics is responsible for people dying "on a grand scale" around the world, says a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report, writes Roger Shrives.

3 September 2008

spotBuilding industrial militancy

Socialist Party meeting: Seventy five trade unionists packed into the Socialist Party's national trade union meeting on 30 August, writes Alison Hill.

3 September 2008

spotLondon buses: Strikers pack picket lines

I went to Westbourne Park bus garage in west London, during their strike over pay on 29 August. There are nearly 1,000 drivers at the garage and the strike there was solid. I was told that only 20 buses...

3 September 2008

spotFight threat to Ford Transit plant jobs

Ford is cutting production, making contract workers redundant and hanging the threat of closure over their Transit plant in Southampton, writes Nick Chaffey, Southampton Socialist Party.

3 September 2008

spotCoastguards strike over bank holiday in pay protest

On 23 August, 700 PCS members in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency went on a 48-hour strike over pay. Sean Brogan, an ex-marine radio officer, from Teignmouth, Devon, reports:...

3 September 2008

spotAdding colour to The Socialist

From issue 548 of The Socialist, out on Thursday 18 September, the paper will contain some full-colour pages...

3 September 2008

spotTerry Fields memorial meeting

"TERRY FIELDS was a great comrade, loved and respected by many socialists, trade unionists and political activists, writes Clara Paillard.

10 September 2008

spotEnd the wars and occupations

Anti-war protest during the USA Republican Party convention organised by Youth Against War and Racism, a Socialist Alternative initiative, photo USA Youth Against Racism

Anti-war protest in USA, photo USA Youth Against Racism

AMERICAN SPECIAL Forces backed by jet bombers killed up to 90 civilians, including many children, on 22 August in Azizabad, Afghanistan, writes Hugh Caffrey, Manchester Socialist Party.

10 September 2008

spotUS mortgage bank nationalisation - sign of deepening crisis

Editorial: In the biggest banking bail-out in American history, mortgage companies 'Fannie Mae' and 'Freddie Mac' have been 'nationalised' by the US federal government...

10 September 2008

spotCan we have 'the right to travel' - without adding to climate change?

Transport and the environment: The recent collapse of Metronet, which was responsible for maintenance on some London Underground lines, was just the latest disaster in the saga of public transport privatisation, this one leaving public finances to foot a bill of over a billion pounds, Pete Dickinson writes.

10 September 2008

spotScotland council tax to be scrapped

The SNP government has set out its proposal to scrap the discredited council tax and replace it with a local income tax (LIT), writes Brian Smith and Philip Stott.

10 September 2008

spotWorkers' anger surfaces at TUC

ON THE first day of the Trades Union Congress conference, the TUC leaders were extremely anxious to get controversial motions out of the way before Labour ministers arrived with the press, writes Bill Mullins.

10 September 2008

spotProtest against harassment!

Issue 546 of The Socialist reported that Socialist Party member Tony Aitman was arrested for so-called "wilful obstruction", ie selling the paper and collecting petition signatures in Liverpool's Church Street, Merseyside Socialist Party members write.

10 September 2008

spotThailand in grip of political deadlock

LESS THAN a year after elections that ended military rule, yet another political crisis has gripped Thailand, writes Raviechandren, CWI Malaysia.

10 September 2008

spotUSA: Defying police, students walk out against the Republican national convention

DESPITE POLICE attempts to intimidate students from participating, hundreds of Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St Paul) youth walked out of high schools on 4 September to protest against the Iraq war on the final day of the Republican national convention...

10 September 2008

spotBoom to bust in Cardiff Bay

Another building development in Cardiff Bay has been frozen as the credit crunch bites. The Bay is peppered with half-finished apartment blocks, newly-built relics of boom and bust, semi-permanent eyesores...

10 September 2008

spotFans pay for the success of the 'beautiful game'

"We need a billionaire," wailed Everton Football Club chairman Bill Kenwright, 'only' a millionaire himself, writes Kevin Parslow.

10 September 2008

spotScotland: Council pay battle at critical stage

Scotland's council workers are entering a key phase in their campaign to secure a decent wage rise. The magnificent day of action on 20 August saw almost 200,000 workers strike across the three trade unions...

10 September 2008

spotLondon bus workers inspired by strike

The strike by First bus drivers in London on 29 August showed management that bus workers are serious about our claim for decent pay, a London bus driver writes.

10 September 2008

spotFighting for decent pensions

The pensions workshop at this summer's National Shop Stewards Network conference was very informative and an issue of key importance to all workers, writes Alec Thraves, Swansea trades council.

10 September 2008

spotIn brief

PCS strike ballot over pay: Balloting over a national civil service-wide strike over pay will run from 24 September to 17 October...

10 September 2008

spotRichard Dawkins: The genius of Charles Darwin, (Channel 4)

Review: Richard Dawkins' three -part series The Genius of Charles Darwin on Channel 4 was an interesting and thought provoking set of programmes, but, from a socialist perspective, it left many questions unanswered. Review by Phil Clarke.

10 September 2008

spotCome to Socialism 2008!

Socialism 2008 logo

Saturday 8 November - Sunday 9 November
University of London Union, Malet Street London WC1
Nearest tube: Euston or Goodge Street
Rally for socialism:
Saturday 8 November 5.30pm-8.30pm
Speakers include Matt Wrack (FBU general secretary) and Peter Taaffe (Socialist Party general secretary)

10 September 2008

spotFighting start to freshers fairs

Thousands of young people across the country are hoping to expand their horizons by starting courses at colleges and universities this term, writes Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national organiser.

10 September 2008

spotYoung workers ripped off

A recent TUC report has exposed massive exploitation of young apprentices by unscrupulous employers, with the blessing of the New Labour government and the Low Pay Commission, writes Jake Moore.

10 September 2008

spotBangor University students union fees referendum

Over the last year Socialist Students and the Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) have been tirelessly campaigning for our students union to take a campaigning approach to the question of tuition fees, writes Iain Dalton, Bangor University Socialist Students.

10 September 2008

spotMay Day detainees fight for justice

REPRESENTATIVES OF the 'May Day detainees' aim to get a judgement overturned in the House of Lords in November...

10 September 2008

spotNo to post office closures

SHEFFIELD PEOPLE have taken to the hills to protest at threatened post office closures. On 6 September campaigners marched from two post offices to show how inaccessible Post Office Ltd's so-called 'alternative'...

10 September 2008

spotHousing Crisis: Brown has no answers

"Home owners need to know that we will do everything we can to keep the housing market moving forward", promised Gordon Brown last week, Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party writes.

17 September 2008

spotNo to racism: Yes to decent jobs, homes & services!

 Love Music Hate Racism demonstration 2008, ISR contingent, photo Paul Mattsson

Love Music Hate Racism ISR contingent, photo Paul Mattsson

In 2008 more than 25 people have been fatally stabbed and another 14,000 have received hospital treatment for knife wounds, writes Andy Bentley, Stoke Socialist Party.

17 September 2008

spotMiddle East: End imperialist aggression!

The brutal occupations and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories continue, causing great suffering to millions of people. This week Peter Taaffe, the general secretary of the Socialist Party, answers questions posed by The Socialist.

17 September 2008

spotConflict in Georgia - independent position needed

A Letter was sent by the Socialist Party to the Stop the War Coalition, following a statement on the Georgia conflict issued by some officers of the coalition...

17 September 2008

spotBrown's feeble fuel package

HOUSEHOLD ENERGY bills have been rising rapidly and are expected to average 1,400 next year. The 'big six' energy utilities operating in Britain put up their prices to customers by 38% this year...

17 September 2008

spotLondon bus strike: "Showing them our power"

The first round of London bus strikes on 29 August was confined to First bus company and mainly affected north London routes, but the strike soon spread to Metro bus routes all the way south to Croydon, writes Neil Cafferky.

17 September 2008

spotProtest at war and occupation

International Socialist Resistance demonstrate against war

International Socialist Resistance demonstrate against war

SEVEN YEARS of war and occupation in Afghanistan, and five and a half years in Iraq, have produced hundreds of thousands of casualties and fatalities in those countries, writes Dave Nellist.

17 September 2008

spotPanicky MPs turn on Labour

CRISIS STORMS in the world economy, price inflation roars in the British economy; now rebellion bellows in the Labour Party. Well, 'bellows' is a bit of an exaggeration...

17 September 2008

spotPickets cheer in West London

At 7.45 am, Socialist Party members in west London went down to Westbourne Park bus garage to show solidarity with the First bus drivers on strike for better pay, writes Kevin Simpson, West London Socialist Party.

17 September 2008

spotSocialist candidate gains 40% of vote, stuns Usdaw leaders

SOCIALIST PARTY member Robbie Segal shook the entire shopworkers' union Usdaw by gaining 40% of the vote for general secretary, in the ballot result announced on 15 September, writes Alex Gounelas.

17 September 2008

spotFord workers meet to defend jobs

Southampton: On 11 September, Ford workers and their supporters met to discuss the recent job cuts of 120 contract workers at Ford in Southampton and the threat hanging over the future of the plant, writes Nick Chaffey.

17 September 2008

spotJournalists win union recognition victory

JOURNALISTS AT South West Wales Media Limited (SWWM) have voted decisively in favour of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) being recognised by the company, writes Mike Evans, Swansea NUJ.

17 September 2008

spotProtesters tackle Metro privatisation

To chants of 'Robbing Fat Cats' a hundred privateers were met by around 50 trade unionists and community activists who oppose privatisation plans for the Newcastle Metro, writes Elaine Brunskill.

17 September 2008

spot2008 Trades Union Congress: Pressure from below begins to show

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber declared at the TUC conference last week that "nationalisation is unpopular" at a time when even the Bush government has been forced to carry out one of the biggest nationalisations in history, writes Bill Mullins.

17 September 2008

spotSwansea rail workers fighting for a living wage

SIXTEEN train cleaners, members of the RMT, have been involved in a one-day strike for better pay and conditions at Swansea's High Street railway station. Alec Thraves spoke to RMT rep Ian Fynch on the picket line.

17 September 2008

spotNo to post office closures

PLANS TO close nine sub-post offices, vital local services, across the Huddersfield/ Colne Valley area are a hammer blow to these communities, Huddersfield Socialist Party members write.

17 September 2008

spotWelcome to the real Manchester

NEW LABOUR leaders will queue up at this week's Labour Party conference to proclaim Manchester an economic success story. The true picture makes grim reading, writes Jim Cessford, Manchester Advice senior Unison steward (personal capacity).

17 September 2008

spotFighting city needs a fighting party

A PROUD tradition of the Socialist Party is linking major national and international issues, such as the occupation of Iraq, the economy, industrial struggle etc, writes Steve North, Central Manchester and Salford Socialist Party.

17 September 2008


PCS pay ballot begins: 270,000 PCS members will soon be voting in a ballot for a national civil service-wide one-day strike over pay...

17 September 2008

spotInterview with Cindy Sheehan: "Some kind of populist uprising needs to happen"

WHEN CINDY Sheehan's son, Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq in 2004, she quickly became one of the country's most high-profile anti-war activists...

17 September 2008

spotScotland: Tactical questions for local government pay battle

On 20 August almost 200,000 Scottish local government workers across three trade unions took united strike action forcing the employers to move from a three-year offer to a one-year deal...

17 September 2008

spot'Bob Marley' reviewed by Jason Toynbee

Over the past 50 years of music history only a few artists have a legacy which lives on and whose influence is easily seen in successive generations. Review by Dave Gorton.

17 September 2008

spotIt's time to fight back!

Unison Local Government strike 16-17 July in London, photo by Paul Mattsson

Unison Local Government strike 16-17 July in London, photo by Paul Mattsson

Recession, Banking Crisis, Inflation, Pay Freeze, Wars... Shockwaves spread globally as two of the biggest multinational banks collapsed - Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch - and a third could follow, writes Dave Nellist, Socialist Party councillor, Coventry.

17 September 2008

spotCapitalist crisis - Karl Marx was right

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

"It is a moment Karl Marx would have relished. From every angle financial capitalism is taking a battering." (The Guardian) The economic witch-doctors and soothsayers of capitalism were wrong and the socialists and Marxists were right...

23 September 2008

spotNew Labour flounders in face of economic crisis

Editorial The Trades Union Congress took place less than a month ago. Its leaders reflected their members' anger at New Labour, demanding that the government introduce a windfall tax on the utility companies...

23 September 2008

spotMake the super-rich pay!

British capitalism in crisis: This was the week that the world changed. For over two decades all we have heard from the UK government is that the market must decide. Schools, hospitals and public services have been cut and privatised...

23 September 2008

spotScrap tuition fees!

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

Exeter Socialist Students protest

"THE MAXIMUM annual fee paid by students will not rise above 3,000 (uprated annually for inflation) during the next Parliament, writes Neil Cafferky.

23 September 2008

spotTheir failure, their system: make capitalists pay

FAT-CAT bankers from Wall Street to the City of London are reeling from the white-knuckle ride of last week's financial crisis. Capitalism has taken an almighty battering, writes Elaine Brunskill.

24 September 2008

spotThem & us

Even fatter cats: ANDY HORNBY, who brought HBOS bank to the brink of collapse as chief executive, will retain his job following the Lloyds TSB takeover and is set for a 2 million shares windfall...

24 September 2008

spotLibDems aping the Tories

IN HIS leader's speech to the Lib Dems' party conference, Nick Clegg denied that they were becoming too similar to David Cameron's Conservatives, writes Ken Douglas.

24 September 2008

spotRevolution and counter-revolution in Bolivia

EVO MORALES, the Bolivian president, won a crushing victory in the 10 August re-call referendum, winning 67.4% of the national vote on a turnout of over 83%, writes Tony Saunois (CWI) and, Roberto Antezana (CWI, Bolivia).

24 September 2008

spotFighting the racist BNP in Stoke

ON 20 September, the far-right racist BNP held a national rally in Stoke-on-Trent despite opposition from community organisations, anti-racist groups and thousands of people across the city, writes Andy Bentley.

24 September 2008

spotWe won't take the RAP on pollution

ON TUESDAY 30 September, Residents Against Pollution (RAP) are holding a protest outside Waltham Forest town hall against incinerators and other polluting waste facilities being built around Lea Valley, north east London, near to working-class residents...

24 September 2008

spotHealth Trust concessions on Swansea casualty unit

DESPITE HUGE concerns and demands for an open public debate, Swansea Community Health Council (CHC) has voted by five votes to two to deny a 12-week public consultation over plans to change Swansea's minor casualty unit at Singleton Hospital into a GP led service, writes Alec Thraves, Swansea Socialist Party.

24 September 2008

spotSalford councillors play blame game

SALFORD CITY council recently held "The Big Ask", supposedly an opportunity for residents to ask leaders of the council's three main parties about local issues, writes Steven North.

24 September 2008

spotThe Dark Knight: Batman's latest crime-buster

Hot on the heels of Iron Man, this summer's big cinematic release sees another super-rich capitalist buying some high-tech war gear and waging war on crime...

24 September 2008

spotMcMafia: Crime Without Borders

As the title indicates, this book is a penetrating insight into the close co-existence of big business and organised crime throughout the world...

24 September 2008

spotCivil service strike ballot begins

All Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) members working in the civil service and related pay areas - some 270,000 workers - are being balloted for national action over the government's pay restraint policies, writes Katrine Williams, PCS DWP group executive, personal capacity.

24 September 2008

spotWorkers vow to fight Ford's closure plans

Last week Ford announced to their Southampton workforce that production of the Transit van would end here in 2011 with no commitment of further production at the Swaythling plant, writes Nick Chaffey, Southampton Socialist Party.

24 September 2008

spotNorth Staffs NSSN launched

North Staffs branch of the National Shop Stewards' Network got off to a flying launch on 17 September. It drew participants from UCU, Unison, CWU, PCS, Unite and North Staffs TUC, writes Phil Burton-Cartledge, Stoke Socialist Party.

24 September 2008

spotJamie's school dinner staff threatened with privatisation

After a meeting with Greenwich council managers on 17 September, Greenwich Unison expressed alarm at the council's intentions to privatise school catering and cleaning...

24 September 2008

spotMerseyside CNWP calls for socialist policies

The following resolution on the world economic crisis was unanimously carried at a meeting of the Merseyside Campaign for a New Workers Party on 18 September...

24 September 2008

spotProtesting against Bush and Brown's wars

AROUND 3,000 demonstrators joined the Stop the War Coalition (STWC) march in Manchester on 20 September, writes Paul Gerrard, Socialist Party Manchester.

24 September 2008

spotEducation a 'them and us' system

Evidence to show how Britain's wealth gap affects education abounds. An OECD report placed Britain fourth in terms of large class sizes, and worst in terms of the gap between private and state school...

24 September 2008

spotStudents seek out socialists!

At Northumbria freshers fair it was very interesting to hear what students are saying. Socialist Students members campaign on a number of issues and it appeared that students are concerned about all of them...

29 September 2008

spotThe great implosion: Capitalist finance system nears meltdown

Editorial, Socialism Today, October 2008: Over recent years, we have often been accused of being 'catastrophists'. This is because we predicted that the debt-driven bubble economy, dominated by high-profit, high-risk finance capitalism, would...

30 September 2008

spotVideo: The credit crunch

Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party interviewed.

30 September 2008

spotMarket meltdown

Defend workers

Defend workers' living standards. Photo International Socialists

Profit system failing: The world economy, already in turmoil from the credit crunch, was swept further into an abyss by the thunderbolt news that the US congress had rejected a 'blank cheque' $700 billion bailout of failing banks...

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