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Archive for July 2006

6 July 2006

spotBus campaign prepares support for striking drivers

SHEFFIELD'S "WE Want Our Buses Back" campaign is preparing to support bus drivers as they are get ready to strike over a 1.8% pay offer from a company (First) that increased fares by nearly 50% last year, writes Calvin Payne, Sheffield.

6 July 2006

spotRoyal Mail - turn anger into action

AT THE recent Communication Workers' Union (CWU) conference an emergency motion was unanimously agreed that the union should take Royal Mail on over a number of issues, around the future of our industry, writes Gary Clark, CWU Scotland No 2 branch, vice-chair.

6 July 2006

spotThe Irish Civil War 1922-1923

The Irish Civil War (28 June 1922 - 24 May 1923) was a conflict between those factions of the IRA for and against the Anglo-Irish Treaty signed on 6 December 1922, writes Neil Cafferky and Niall Mulholland.

6 July 2006

spotThe Wind that Shakes the Barley

Directed by Ken Loach: "Twas hard the woeful words to frame to break the ties that bound us..."

6 July 2006

spotChile: Who killed Victor Jara?

Scandal of state compensation paid to mass murderer: AMONGST THE first to be slaughtered by the military dictatorship which seized power in Chile in September 1973 was the very popular folk singer and Communist Party member, Victor Jara, writes Tony Saunois, CWI, Santiago.

6 July 2006

spot'War on terror' undermining our democratic rights

One year after July London bombings: ON 7 JULY 2005 four suicide bombers on London's public transport system blew themselves up killing 52 people and injuring hundreds...

6 July 2006

spotIn Brief

Afghan conflict re-ignites; Guantanamo Bay - put Bush in the dock!: FIVE UK soldiers, part of US-led coailiton forces in Afghanistan, have been killed in Helmand province in clashes with Taliban fighters...

6 July 2006

spotIsraeli troops inflict 'collective punishment' on Palestinians

THE GAZA strip is again suffering a brutal Israeli army onslaught. Vital bridges have been blown up and Gaza's only power station hit by nine missiles, which cut electricity supply to 65% of Gaza. Judy Beishon writes.

6 July 2006

spotCome to Summer Camp!

NOW'S THE time to book up for Summer Camp. For three days at the end of August, you can relax in pleasant surroundings in the Essex countryside. You can participate in a wide range of political discussions - organised for every morning and evening. And there's plenty of time free to try out new sports and activities - like canoeing, mountain biking and climbing. Instructors supervise all activities, so beginners of any age can participate.

6 July 2006

spotBlairites trounced in Labour heartlands

Blaenau Gwent: "I'M VERY pleased - we're a socialist area and Labour has become Tory." This shopper in Ebbw Vale reflected thousands of voters' feelings in Blaenau Gwent at Labour's crushing defeat in by-elections for Parliament and Welsh Assembly, writes Dave Reid, Cardiff Socialist Party.

6 July 2006

spotHow the rich became super-rich

TWO OF the world's richest multi-billionaires, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, recently announced in a publicity exercise that they are giving away large parts of their vast wealth to philanthropic ventures...

6 July 2006

spotYoung people need a living wage!

AFTER LEAVING school at 16 I wanted to carry on my education. But I realised that my family cannot afford to pay me what I needed for living and studying, so I went for a job. I found myself working in a big pizza shop, writes Rozh Pavilov, Hull Socialist Party.

6 July 2006

spotBuild the Campaign for a New Workers' Party

THE LAUNCH meeting of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP) in Liverpool on 28 June attracted 49 people. National CNWP secretary Roger Bannister opened the meeting by saying that the loudest cheers at UNISON conference...

6 July 2006

spotPublic services not private profit

Public-sector workers lobby their MPs
THOUSANDS OF public-sector workers met on 27 June to lobby their MPs over the mass privatisation of public services. Bill Mullins reports.

6 July 2006

spotThe NHS: What the Socialist Party says

*No to NHS job losses, cuts and closures.

*No to health privatisation and 'the market'. Rebuild the NHS as a publicly funded service free at the point of use, and with immediate cash to end the crisis of under-funding.

*Unite the many campaigns already in existence to defend the NHS...


6 July 2006

spotStop NHS Logistics sell-off

A RALLY on 1 July in Maidstone, Kent, protested at the proposed sell-off of the five NHS Logistics depots nationwide. NHS Logistics, an award-winning, not-for-profit service, supplies and delivers all the essentials to NHS hospitals, writes Jackie Berry, Kent Socialist Party.

6 July 2006

spotFighting back against cuts and closures

Whipps Cross Hospital workers demonstrate
"NHS - ARE you bovvered?" asked a little girl's T-shirt. "Yes we are", said over 200 health workers and residents of Waltham Forest, on a lively demo against NHS cuts and privatisation at Whipps Cross Hospital, writes Ken Douglas.

6 July 2006

spotNHS: Not for sale!

Picture: RCN-Unison lobby of parliament. Paul Mattsson
EVERYTHING IS for sale. The message from New Labour is loud and clear. Last week they put out an ad inviting multinational vultures to take over 'buying' our healthcare. £64 billion worth of services for them to make a profit from.

13 July 2006

spotBuild the Socialist Party

National committee report: The National Committee meeting on 6-7 July had a packed political and organisational agenda reflecting important developments and opportunities ahead, writes Nick Chaffey Southampton.

13 July 2006

spot'Storming heaven': Battle for Spain - The Spanish Civil War

ON THE 70th anniversary of its outbreak, PETER TAAFFE reviews Battle for Spain - The Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 by Anthony Beevor (Weidenfeld and Nicolson £25)...

13 July 2006

spotNational Blood Service: Fighting job cuts

AMICUS MEMBERS in the National Blood Service are fighting 200 proposed job losses in the National Blood Service (NBS) laboratories in Birmingham, Southampton and Plymouth, writes Andy Ford, Amicus rep, NBS (personal capacity).

13 July 2006

spotHow the farmworkers got organised

1834, 1906, 2006: EVERY YEAR thousands of trade unionists journey to Tolpuddle in Dorset, to celebrate the brave and pioneering work of six agricultural workers who were sentenced to seven years transportation in 1834 for trying to form a union...

13 July 2006

spot"Join the union to change the union"

Organising a fightback at Somerfield: A YOUNG shopworker, a member of USDAW and a shop steward, recently spoke to the socialist about organising in his workplace. Supermarket chain Somerfield was taken over by a consortium involving Barclay's Bank last year...

13 July 2006

spotRMT conference: Striking back against privatisation

THE RMT, railworkers and seafarers' union, conference met in Dublin last week to face up to attacks from employers on privatisation, pensions and pay, writes Ken Smith.

13 July 2006

spotNetherlands: Coalition government falls apart

ON 29 June the Dutch right-wing coalition government collapsed. It was made up of the Christian-democrats (CDA) led by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, the right wing liberal party (VVD) and the so-called 'left-liberals', writes Ron Blom, Offensief (CWI, Netherlands).

13 July 2006

spotAnother stolen presidency in Mexico?

HUNDREDS of thousands of presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's supporters rallied in Mexico City to demand a full recount of the country's hotly contested presidential election...

13 July 2006

spotIsraeli regimeís air invasion of Lebanon threatens regional war

"We will turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years". This threat from an Israeli general is now being implemented by a brutal bombardment of Lebanon by the Israeli army, the IDF. Within seven days, many parts of Lebanon...

13 July 2006

spotWales launches Campaign for New Workers' Party

A WELL-attended meeting, mainly of trade union activists and largely drawn from South Wales, met in Cardiff on 29 June to launch the Campaign for a New Workers Party (CNWP) in Wales...

13 July 2006

spotFighting the far-right BNP

THE FAR-right British National Party (BNP) achieved significant advances in the May 2006 local elections, where they won 33 more councillors bringing their total to 55 nationally, writes Andy Bentley, Stoke Socialist Party.

13 July 2006

spotWelfare Reform Bill scapegoats disabled people!

THE BLAIR government has brought out a new Welfare Reform Bill that aims to 'save' billions in incapacity and other benefits by forcing disabled people (among others) into poverty...

13 July 2006

spotParents win High Court victory

Socialist Party member Rob MacDonald meets the press
Education: THE CAMPAIGN Against Academies in Merton (CAAM) has won an important first victory in the High Court in the first of three test cases over the government's divisive academy schools proposals...

13 July 2006

spotLow Pay,No Way!

ISR campaign against poverty pay: YOUNG AND working this summer? Chances are it's a low paid 'McJob', a job with no opportunities to get better pay, and no job security where we can be hired and fired seemingly at will. Or so it seems, writes Tom Penman, Leicester ISR.

13 July 2006

spotTUC lobby

THE LOBBY of the health unions at the TUC organised by UNISON health branches has caused the union leadership to get active. Not in support of the idea of a national demo against the cuts in the NHS, but in threatening to discipline...

13 July 2006

spotSave our hospital

I LIVE in Runcorn on an estate only a ten minute walk away from Halton Hospital. This is a vital service for those elderly and infirm on the estate including my own mother, who relies heavily on its services, writes Simon Swanick (PCS Wirral branch - personal capacity).

13 July 2006

spotHewitt hides from health protesters

Protesting health workers and patients in Leicester
HEALTH SECRETARY Patricia Hewitt hid from protesting health workers and patients from her own area last Saturday, 8 July. 300 people took part in the march in Leicester in protest against health service cuts and privatisation, writes Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party.

13 July 2006

spotNHS: Uniting to fight the cuts

Demonstration in Stoke against NHS cuts earlier this year
NHS WORKERS, patients and members of the public will march in Birmingham on Saturday 15 July. They will come from all over the Midlands and beyond, writes Andy Bentley, secretary North Staffs NHS SOS Campaign

20 July 2006

spotSerious crisis for Scottish Socialist Party

Tommy Sheridan court case: THE PRESS in Scotland have dubbed it the libel trial of the decade. A case that has already resulted in saturation coverage in the Scottish media. Tommy Sheridan, Scottish Socialist Party MSP and former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party versus the News of the World. Philip Stott, International Socialists, reports.

20 July 2006

spotBury campaign SOCs it to the council

Schools victory: THE SAVE Our Schools (SOS) campaign in Bury, Greater Manchester, has scored a significant victory over the council in the fight to save Broad Oak School and Prestwich Arts College, writes Paul Gerrard Bury SOS campaign (personal capacity).

20 July 2006

spotNew Labour's attack on the sick and disabled

THERE IS no doubt that Britain's welfare benefits system is complex, unwieldy and hard to understand for those who claim it and those who administer it, writes Carol Williams.

20 July 2006

spotRMT rejects move back to New Labour...

THE KEY political debate at the Rail Maritime and Transport workers' union (RMT) meeting in Dublin this month was on the crisis in working-class political representation...

20 July 2006

spotGordon Brown steps up attacks on the public sector

Gordon Brown announced last week that he was going to step up the attacks on public-sector workers, no matter who runs the Labour government, writes Bill Mullins.

20 July 2006

spotCan the Left reclaim Labour?

John McDonnell leadership challenge: THE WEAKNESS of the Left in the Labour Party, and the changed character of the Labour Party has been graphically revealed by the fact that Left MP John McDonnell could not get the support of one-fifth of Labour MPs (about 71) to mount a 'stalking horse' challenge against Blair...

20 July 2006

spotSea of sleaze rises around Blair

DESPITE HIS bravura performance at the G8, Tony Blair may not be able to deliver his promise to see all the other leaders at next year's summit...

20 July 2006

spotAnger in St Petersburg as the 'Big Eight' arrive

MORE THAN $10 billion is being spent on the 'Big Eight' in St Petersburg, including a massive security operation. Guests of Vladimir Putin, president of what is being dubbed the 'energy superpower' of the world, spent two days agreeing policies that won't change one iota the fate of the majority of the world's population who live in poverty and fear, writes Elizabeth Clarke, St Petersburg, Russia.

20 July 2006

spotArrested on suspicion

ON 7 July, while Britain remembered last year's appalling 7/7 terrorist attack, the right-wing media and government were fabricating panic and prejudice, writes Rozh and Senan.

20 July 2006

spotPolice not to face charges

THE FAMILY of Jean Charles de Menezes, the young Brazilian electrician killed by police marksmen a year ago at Stockwell station in south London, were furious when they heard that no police officers would be prosecuted over the fatal shooting...

20 July 2006

spotLow pay, no way!

PRIMARK PAYS peanuts!" "BBC are misers!" "New park nursery - charges parents a fortune, pays workers a pittance". Young people around the country are adding managers, supervisors and well-known retail chains to ISR 'walls of shame' that name these Scrooge bosses, writes Ben Robinson, ISR national coordinator.

20 July 2006

spotWhat the Socialist Party says

* No to NHS job losses, cuts and closures.
* No to NHS privatisation and 'the market'.
* Rebuild the NHS as a publicly funded service free at the point of use, and with immediate cash to end the crisis of under-funding.
Unite the many campaigns already existing to defend the NHS...

20 July 2006

spotActivists organise for action

A UNISON health activist meeting has been called for Saturday 29 July in Birmingham, to respond to savage job cuts and ward and hospital closures throughout the NHS...

20 July 2006

spotNo to cuts, no to privatisation

NHS SERVICES in the Pontefract and Wakefield district face a shake-up. The council's planning committee has given the go-ahead for the £250 million hospitals development project that proposes to replace Pontefract General Infirmary, writes Mick Griffiths, secretary and Adrian O'Malley, chair, Wakefield and Pontefract Hospital UNISON (personal capacity).

20 July 2006

spotWest Mids march builds links

THEY CAME from all around the West Midlands as 150 people marched and rallied in Birmingham on 15 July. The march was organised by Staffordshire NHS SOS and the Socialist Party and 45 people came to the Socialist Party meeting...

20 July 2006

spotHundreds march to stop Labour's 'leeches'

Trowbridge: A DEMONSTRATION of over 500 health workers, trade unionists and patients in Trowbridge, Wiltshire on 15 July marched to demand that the town's hospital was not closed, writes Paul Moorhouse.

20 July 2006

spotFighting for the future of the NHS

Health workers demonstrate at Whipps Cross hospital in East London, photo Paul Mattsson

Health workers demonstrate at Whipps Cross hospital in East London, photo Paul Mattsson

Healthworkers and campaigners step up their struggle: ACROSS BRITAIN people are marching in their thousands to defend their NHS. From ward closures to bed cuts, to ripping off patients' relatives for phone calls and parking charges, people have had enough of New Labour's running...

20 July 2006

spotLebanon: Israel's air war threatens regional war

"WE WILL turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years". This threat from an Israeli general is now being implemented by a brutal bombardment of Lebanon by the Israeli army, the IDF, writes Kevin Simpson.

20 July 2006

spotStop the carnage

THE ISRAELI government is bombing Lebanon into rubble. Airports, roads, buildings and, not least, hundreds of human lives have been destroyed. Workers and young people around the world were already sickened by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) attacks on Gaza, but what has taken place in the last few days is a massive escalation of the nightmarish crisis in the Middle East...

27 July 2006

spotSocialist Party national trade union meeting

Saturday 2 September, 10.30am - 5pm, central London...

27 July 2006

spotBus drivers vote to strike

SOUTH YORKSHIRE First bus drivers have voted overwhelmingly in a postal ballot, by 4:1, in favour of taking strike action to secure a decent pay rise...

27 July 2006

spotMilitant pioneer dies

Ted Grant 1913-2006: TED GRANT, one of the founders of Militant, the forerunner of the Socialist Party, has died at the age of 93 in London, writes Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary.

27 July 2006

spotJohn McDonnell's leadership bid

THE SOCIALIST Party welcomes John McDonnell's statement that his leadership campaign will be explicitly socialist and a serious challenge, writes Hannah Sell.

27 July 2006

spotHope and desperation

Labour Representation conference: THE LABOUR Representation Committee (LRC) held its annual conference on 22 July. It was dominated by Labour MP John McDonnell's announcement that he will be standing for the leadership of the Labour Party, writes Jim Horton.

27 July 2006

spotSchools victory scored in Bury

BURY'S SCHOOL Organisation Committee (SOC) has voted down the council's decision to close Broad Oak High School by 3:1. This partial reprieve referred the issue to the Schools Adjudicator. Paul Gerrard of the Bury SOS campaign and SOS candidate Unsworth Ward, writes in a personal capacity.

27 July 2006

spotClass - a matter of life and death

"NINE YEAR gap between social groups. Why class dictates how long you live". This was the front page, not of the socialist but of the right-wing newspaper - the Daily Express!...

27 July 2006

spotYoung people in revolt

Three million on the streets of France, a million in Chile. 415 out of 456 colleges occupied in Greece. Mass student rallies and demonstrations in Germany. Young people are fighting for their future all around the world. Ben Robinson examines why these events are taking place and what links them.

27 July 2006

spotStrike ballot at NHS Logistics

THE UNISON national leadership has given the go-ahead for the five branches covering NHS Logistics (NHSL) to organise an industrial action ballot of its 700 members, writes Brian Loader, UNISON national staff side secretary, personal capacity.

27 July 2006

spotRomsey says: "Save Our Birthing Centre"

AROUND FIFTY mothers, children and campaigners demonstrated in Romsey on 22 July against Southampton University Hospital's Trust plans to close their local NHS birthing centre, along with birthing units in Hythe and Lymington, writes Toby Harris.

27 July 2006

spotPhysios protest at lack of jobs

LAST WEEK 600 Gloucestershire health campaigners, including a nine-month old baby and a grandma of 82, boarded the Save Our NHS special train heading for London, writes Chris Moore, Stroud.

27 July 2006

spotNHS workers must organise for action

UNISON stewards/activists meeting: EACH DAY the steady dismantling of the health service continues, up to now unchallenged by the national leaders of the health unions and the TUC, writes Lois Austin.

27 July 2006

spotResistance grows to NHS cuts and closures

THE EFFECTS of the financial 'crisis' in the National Health Service are meeting resistance nationwide. Campaigns are being built against closures of hospitals and wards, against job cuts and service reductions...

27 July 2006

spotNo politics please, we're anti-war

AT THE Stop the War Coalition (STWC) Steering Committee on 15 July a resolution was moved by a UNISON delegate on developments in Italy and, in particular, the left party Communist Refoundation (RC)...

27 July 2006

spotWhen Israel occupied Lebanon (1982-2000)

THE JUNE 1982 invasion - "Peace in Galilee" - was the plan of the then Israeli defence minister Ariel Sharon, the 'Butcher Of Sabra And Chatila', (Sharon was later to become prime minister) and prime minister Menachem Begin...

27 July 2006

spot'The politicians and generals are dragging us into the quagmire'

THE FOLLOWING leaflet (translated from Hebrew) against the Olmert government's war plans, was issued by members of Maavak Sozialisti (Socialist Struggle) the Socialist Party's counterpart in Israel...

27 July 2006

spotThousands march against Israel's attacks on Lebanon

TWENTY THOUSAND people demonstrated on Saturday 22 July in London, against Israel's onslaught on Lebanon. Smaller demonstrations also took place in many other towns and cities across Britain...

27 July 2006

spotEyewitness account from socialist in Lebanon

"THE BOMBING has been continuous and and intensive - nobody is safe. You can hear warplanes overhead all the time...

27 July 2006

spotBush gives green light to the Israeli onslaught

THERE HAS been rage and revulsion worldwide at the barbaric treatment by Israeli forces of innocent families in Lebanon fleeing in terror, writes Kevin Simpson, CWI London.

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