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Archive for February 2006

2 February 2006

spotDefence workers battle privatisation

A THOUSAND-strong rally of Ministry of Defence (MOD) workers from across Britain on 25 January heard trade union leaders like Mark Serwotka and Janice Godrich promise to back their fight against job losses and privatisation...

2 February 2006

spotFighting council cuts in Devon

MANY LOCAL councils are considering cutting services to try to keep council tax increases down. A new survey suggests that 28% admit to planning cuts in jobs and services, blaming increased fuel bills and above-inflation rises...

2 February 2006

spotPost Office: National action needed to defend jobs

R0YAL MAIL claim to have gone from a crisis with record losses to a miracle turnaround almost overnight. The opening up of the markets, along with 'downstream access' (where other postal operators can put mail in the postal...

2 February 2006

spotCivil servants strike back at Blair's cuts agenda

MEMBERS OF the PCS civil service union held two days of strike action in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 26-27 January, affecting JobCentres, benefit offices, pension centres and the Child Support Agency...

2 February 2006

spotLambeth students' successful boycott

HUNDREDS OF students and staff joined Lambeth College Student Union's boycott of canteens on 26 January. In all four canteens only a handful of meals were bought. We believe that 95% of students and staff who normally use the...

2 February 2006

spotCampaigning against privatisation of schools in Hackney

Hackney Socialist Party (SP) and International Socialist Resistance (ISR) are campaigning against the threat to turn local secondary schools into city academies...

2 February 2006

spotPublic health not private profit

HOW CAN the NHS generate more patient treatments and income when it has to close beds and lay off staff to pay the PFI charge, or face closure?...

2 February 2006

spotPolitical earthquake as Hamas wins election

YET ANOTHER political earthquake has struck the Middle East. Hamas, standing for the first time in national elections, achieved a massive landslide victory in Gaza and the West Bank with 76 seats out of 132 in Parliament...

2 February 2006

spot100 British victims of Blair's war

ON 31 January, it was announced that the 100th British soldier had been killed in the war and occupation of Iraq. This government is risking the lives of young soldiers in order to help fight US imperialism's battles to control...

2 February 2006

spot2006: Year of opportunity

Socialist Party Wales conference: Welsh Blairite MP Alun Michael claimed in a recent newspaper article that "as the 21st century starts to mature, Wales faces a quite remarkable period of good fortune and opportunity"...

2 February 2006

spotHealthworkers back RMT and Socialist Party initiatives

FOLLOWING THE success of the RMT railworkers' union conference on working-class political representation, Socialist Party member Len Hockey, who is secretary of Waltham Forest UNISON health branch, sent the following letter to Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT...

2 February 2006

spotBuilding a new shop stewards' movement

Linking the industrial to the political: AT THE recent RMT rail union discussion conference on the crisis of working-class political representation, RMT general secretary Bob Crow argued for the building of "a cross-industry national shop stewards' movement"...

2 February 2006

spotFirefighters prepare to strike against pensions' robbery

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, speaks at Socialism 2005
Matt Wrack was elected general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in May 2005 as a left-wing challenger to the incumbent general secretary Andy Gilchrist...

2 February 2006

spotUnited mass action can defeat Blair's pensions plans

AFTER THE government's climbdown in signing the framework agreement on public-sector pensions, the socialist warned that this was just one battle in the pensions war but that the war itself was far from over...

2 February 2006

spotPensions: 'Back down or we strike!'

That's the warning served on the government last week by the leaders of eleven public-sector unions representing over a million workers. They announced they are to begin a strike ballot on 20 February for a series of strikes,...

9 February 2006

spotAre Trotsky’s ideas of socialist revolution still relevant today?

100th anniversary of the ‘Theory of Permanent Revolution’: ONE HUNDRED years ago, while in a St Petersburg jail awaiting trial for his leading role in the defeated 1905 Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky formulated the ‘Theory of Permanent Revolution’...

9 February 2006

spotSri Lanka: Back from the brink of war?

JUST A week or so ago, the four-year long ceasefire in Sri Lanka's civil war was on the verge of collapse...

9 February 2006

spotVenezuela: We are a mighty river

'SOMOS UN rio crecido' ['we are a mighty river'] read one of the banners on the massive pro-Chávez (the country's radical, populist president) march on 4 February in Venezuela...

9 February 2006

spotVenezuela: Women occupy Caracas factory

FOR THE past six weeks, a group of around 40 women have led a struggle for jobs and pay at the Selfex factory in the south east of Caracas...

9 February 2006

spotCampaign for a New Workers' Party

Following the RMT conference on working-class representation supporters of the campaign for a new workers' party are now looking towards the conference on 19 March...

9 February 2006

spotGet organised, get active!

International Socialist Resistance (ISR) and Socialist Students are holding their annual conference on 4 March 2006. We are aiming to get hundreds of young people and activists to it, to discuss and debate the way forward for...

9 February 2006

spotFighting the far-right BNP

ANTI-FASCIST protesters chanted "You're going down" and "where's your Fuehrer gone " outside far-right British National Party's (BNP) leader Griffin's trial in Leeds...

9 February 2006

spotNHS - hands off our GP services!

PRIVATISATION OF General Practice is Labour's latest act of destruction of the NHS. In the former North Derbyshire coalfield and inner-city Derby, two General Practices are being put out to tender. The giant US company, United...

9 February 2006

spotVictory for trade union militancy

FOR NEARLY 13 years, further education (FE) in England and Wales has been market-driven, given the effective privatisation of the sector...

9 February 2006

spotStrike for pension rights

UNISON's ballot of its one million members is due to start on 20 February. UNISON will be joined by 11 other unions in defence of the local government pension scheme. The ballot will finish on 10 March, with the first strike...

9 February 2006

spotBush not going Green

HAS US president George Bush, the die-hard neo-conservative former Texan oil man, gone green? His state of the union speech attacked his country's "addiction" to imported oil. Instead, he proposed all manner of alternative...

9 February 2006

spotSocialists must build a united workers' movement to fight divisions

Protests in London, photocredit Marc Vallee
THE PUBLICATION of cartoons depicting Mohamed in various European newspapers has provoked worldwide Muslim protests...

9 February 2006

spotEnd the occupation

Iraq death toll rises: BLAIR WANTED Iraq to be his legacy. It's that all right. But not the legacy of liberation, democracy and prosperity that he promised. No! 99, 100, 101 ...that's the ever-rising number of British soldiers killed. How many more...

16 February 2006

spotMarching for jobs and services

AN UNRELENTING series of attacks on jobs in Sheffield and the subsequent cuts in services has led to a growing willingness of workers and community groups to voice their anger...

16 February 2006

spotSick of the system

ON 7 February, council workers in Tower Hamlets, east London went on strike. They walked out because of a new sickness procedure that the New Labour-dominated council imposed last September. The strike is a first step to force...

16 February 2006

spotStriking postal workers build support

HUNDREDS OF striking Belfast postal workers attended a city centre rally on 14 February, organised by Belfast trades council. Royal Mail has been paralysed by a magnificent show of solidarity by postal workers across Belfast, fighting...

16 February 2006

spotLesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month

LGBT history month logo
FEBRUARY IS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month. The idea comes from Black History Month as a way to redress the lack of acknowledgement of the history of LGBT people in society, schools, colleges...

16 February 2006

spotThe housing scandal

JEREMY SANDFORD'S drama, Cathy Come Home, about a young family who slide into homelessness and poverty was a defining moment in 1960s television, demonstrating how far drama could influence the political agenda...

16 February 2006

spotLabour's pro-business policies are punished

THE DUNFERMLINE and West Fife by-election on 9 February was a major defeat for New Labour. The Liberal-Democrats overturned an 11,000 Labour majority in a solidly working-class constituency - with a big ex-mining community that...

16 February 2006

spotKeep fighting New Labour's Education Bill

EVER SINCE the controversial Education White Paper was issued in the autumn, speculation has grown that the government could be forced to retreat from their plans to privatise and fragment education...

16 February 2006

spotNew Labour attacks the sick and disabled

Welfare reform: THE NEW Labour government has plans to get people off incapacity benefit. They claim that "it's healthier to work than be sat at home with nothing to do". Of course it is, but if you can't work why should you be harassed...

16 February 2006

spotBuilding an alternative to the profit system

Socialist Party Conference 2006: 250 DELEGATES and visitors attended the Socialist Party's national conference, held in Skegness from the 11-13 February. Below are reports from the main debates at the conference. These can only give a flavour of the rich discussions...

16 February 2006

spotHaitian poor rebel at suspected poll-rigging

HAITIANS WENT to the polls on 8 February for the first vote since the populist president Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a US-backed coup, two years ago...

16 February 2006

spotUniversities and the arms trade

Campaign ends Exeter's 'unethical investment': A SOCIALIST Students member at Exeter University, JIM THOMPSON, recently started a campaign against the University's investment in the arms trade...

16 February 2006

spotThe real cost of BP mega-profits

OIL GIANT British Petroleum (BP) made £11 billion in annual profits in 2005, 25% up on the year before. But that record-breaking surplus would become an £18 billion loss if you start calculating the firm's damage to the environment,...

16 February 2006

spotID cards: 'Creeping compulsion' and grovelling MPs

YET ANOTHER threatened 'backbench revolt' on identity (ID) cards by Labour MPs fizzled out on 13 February after some minor concessions swayed most 'rebels'...

16 February 2006

spotHands off our schools!

OVER 100 people assembled for the Hands Off Hackney Schools campaign meeting on 8 February. They were showing their opposition to the new education White Paper (see editorial page 2) and to Hackney being used as a test ground for...

16 February 2006

spotFight for your future

International Socialist Resistance: What does capitalism mean to young people? More than ever it compels us to fight back if we want any kind of future. We are the first generation since World War Two to be facing a worse life than our parents. And the frustration...

16 February 2006

spotTroops out of Iraq

Protest against anti-Muslin cartoons
THE SICKENING video images showing British soldiers kicking and beating unarmed Iraqi teenagers in 2004 and new images of abused Iraqi prisoners at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, will come as little surprise to those in the anti-Iraq war movement...

22 February 2006

spotUniversity staff vote to strike over pay

UNIVERSITY LECTURERS have voted by a big majority, on a high turnout for the sector, to go on strike over pay. An even bigger majority backed action short of a strike...

22 February 2006

spotGet your May Day greeting into the socialist!

Celebrate May Day: The socialist strives to express the growing anger of workers, reporting on strikes and demonstrations from the workers' point of view...

22 February 2006

spotGood Night and Good Luck

Good Night and Good Luck arrives in Britain on the back of a wave of critical acclaim...

22 February 2006

spotMusic industry: Do we only hear his master's voice?

AN OUTLINE of how the modern popular music industry has developed provided the background to our discussion at last autumn's Socialism 2005: The music industry, do we only hear his master's voice?...

22 February 2006

spotKhrushchev: The Stalinist who denounced Stalin

50 years ago...: AT THE 20th conference of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1956, first secretary Nikita Khrushchev denounced the crimes of Stalin (who had died in 1953)...

22 February 2006

spotTrade wars and protectionism

THE FAILURE of the capitalist powers at the recent WTO (World Trade Organisation) talks in Hong Kong to further 'liberalise' world trade reflects the growing difficulties and contradictions inherent in the world economy...

22 February 2006

spotCar workers fight layoffs

HUNDREDS WERE expected for the picket line outside Delphi Flint East, Michigan, on 16 February to protest the auto parts manufacturer's drive to lay off 24,000 workers and cut wages by 60%...

22 February 2006

spotBush and Blair's total failure

IRAQI AUTHORITIES in three regions have withdrawn all co-operation from British forces in response to the sickening videos showing prisoners abused in 2004...

22 February 2006

spotWhy rural workers need socialism

AS RURAL workers feel capitalism's effects acutely, the Socialist Party's influence is spreading into rural parts of England and Wales...

22 February 2006

spotDaggers at NHS's heart

TONY BLAIR recently met and welcomed the NHS Partners Network, a coalition of 'independent' private sector healthcare companies who intend to privatise operations...

22 February 2006

spotGas price rise the biggest in history !

BRITISH GAS is increasing prices by 22%, the second rise in six months; most household energy bills will probably now exceed £1,000. Newspapers call it the biggest gas price rise in British history...

22 February 2006

spotCampaign for a New Workers' Party conference

MARK SERWOTKA, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has agreed to speak at the opening rally of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference...

22 February 2006

spotFight for your future!

THIS IS going to be an essential conference for every young person in England and Wales who is thinking about how to change the world, who is fed up with the daily grind of low-paid work and of the student experience of debt and poverty and fees...

22 February 2006

spotUnite Save pensions, jobs and services

WE WORK for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). We're charged with delivering the government's education policies. They want to reduce our staff by 31%.That'll make Blair's election mantra "Education, education!"...

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