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Archive for November 2008

4 November 2008

spotGeorge Bush's toxic legacy

Bush - the angel of death, cartoon by Alan Hardman

Bush - the angel of death, cartoon by Alan Hardman

Editorial: As George Bush's last term as US president draws to a close he leaves behind a nightmare legacy that includes an economy in recession, a huge public deficit, a wider gap between rich and poor and the quagmire of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...

4 November 2008

spotIf Obama wins - Looking beyond the hope bubble

US president Barack Obama supporter, photo Paul Mattsson

US president Barack Obama supporter, photo Paul Mattsson

Writing before Obama's sweeping victory, a Nigerian socialist give a perspective from Nigeria: BARACK OBAMA'S candidature and campaign for the US presidency has become a global phenomenon, not just in America and Europe but also in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, writes Taiwo Hassan Soweto, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI in Nigeria).

4 November 2008

spotStriking against low pay

PCS workers on strike, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS workers on strike, photo Paul Mattsson

On 10 November, tens of thousands of government workers will be on strike.

This is the next stage of the campaign by civil service union PCS members to defend their jobs, their standard of living and the vital services that they provide, writes Marion Lloyd, PCS national executive, personal capacity

5 November 2008

spotObama wins, neo-cons routed in US presidential elections

US president Barack Obama supporters, photo Paul Mattsson

US president Barack Obama supporters, photo Paul Mattsson

The overwhelming victory for Barack Obama in the US Presidential elections and the major gains scored by the Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives represent a turning point for the USA.

5 November 2008

spotSri Lanka: Acting out oppression

OVER 20 amateur actors caught the attention of those out in East Ham, east London, on Sunday 2 November...

5 November 2008

spotWhat recession?

FORMER PRIME Minister Tony Blair has 'earned' £12 million since he left office eighteen months ago, writes Roger Shrives.

5 November 2008

spotVictory over Tory school closure plan

Part of the Mirfield protest in Kirklees against a school closure forced a u-turn, photo J Grunsell

Part of the Mirfield protest in Kirklees against a school closure forced a u-turn, photo J Grunsell

LAST WEEK, the Tory council cabinet in Kirklees was forced into a remarkable u-turn by announcing a reprieve for Castle Hall school from threatened closure, writes Mike Forster, Unison education chief steward, personal capacity.

5 November 2008

spotAustria: Socialist players suspended from football club for anti-fascist activities

ON 27 October, CWI* members, Margarita D-ller, Lucia D-ller and Irene Müller were suspended from Hellas Kagran, the football club they played for in Vienna whose president is Martin Graf, a prominent far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) MP, writes Laura Rafetseder, Sozialistische Linkspartei (SLP - CWI in Austria).

5 November 2008

spotFast news

Ford protest: National and local leaders of the trade unions in Ford have called a lobby of Southampton council on 26 November...

5 November 2008

spotCanary Wharf: Low paid workers welcome socialist campaigners

In the build up to Socialism 2008 we have leafleted workplaces, colleges, shopping centres and stations all over London, writes Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party secretary.

5 November 2008

spot1918 revolution: When German workers entered the stage of history

German revolutionary socialist Karl Liebknecht addresses a mass workers

German revolutionary socialist Karl Liebknecht addresses a mass workers' demonstration

The 90th anniversary of the November 1918 German revolution comes at a significant time. The current economic convulsions of world capitalism are recognised by some as "the greatest loss of wealth in history".

PETER TAAFFE, in the first of two articles written for The Socialist, comments on the momentous events of 1918 in Germany.

5 November 2008

spotLiverpool City Council: Housing maintenance workers fight for jobs

Since being privatised in 2000, Liverpool's housing maintenance workforce has been transferred to three different employers and has been reduced from 800 to just 300, writes Dave Walsh, TGWU/Unite branch secretary and Liverpool city council worker, personal capacity.

5 November 2008

spotFighting for a socialist solution to the crisis in the car industry

In the recession in the 'real' economy, the car industry is one of the first to be hit. Ford workers at Southampton have taken their first action against plans to close the plant there, whilst Ford at...

5 November 2008

spotShipyard strike for fair wage

On 31 October, workers at Appledore shipyard in North Devon took part in the first of six days of strike action, which will continue every Friday and Monday after that up until 17 November, writes Jim Lowe, North Devon Socialist Party.

5 November 2008

spotStriking for trade union rights

UCU members at Nottingham Trent University were on strike on 21 October against the de-recognition of the union by the university management, writes Steve Score.

5 November 2008

spotTurkish dockers fight workplace 'massacres'

GREENWICH UNISON branch was recently visited by an international guest. Cem Dinc is the president of "Limter-Is", the harbour, shipyard, ship construction and repair workers' union of Turkey, writes Onay Kasab, Greenwich Unison.

5 November 2008

spotNew Labour retreats on promises to students

When Gordon Brown took over as prime minister in July 2007 his promises to help students were met with a fanfare, writes Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national organiser.

5 November 2008

spotRepublic of Ireland: Student fightback

Following large regional demonstrations around the country, including 6,000 students on the streets of Cork, up to 15,000 Dublin students took to the streets on Wednesday 22 October, writes Laura Fitzgerald, Socialist Party, Ireland South.

5 November 2008

spotYear 9 SATs abolished: Now get rid of the rest!

I did my SATs last year. It's definitely true that SATs put more pressure on kids that are going to have pressure in the years to come with their GCSEs, writes Niall Haley, Walthamstow.

5 November 2008

spotLabour bashes lone parents

Lone parents need decent wages and benefits, photo by Paul Mattsson

Lone parents need decent wages and benefits, photo by Paul Mattsson

FROM 24 November lone parents claiming benefits for the first time, whose youngest or only child is 12 or over will no longer be able to claim income support, writes Eleanor Donne.

6 November 2008

spotPolitical Awakening Propels Obama to Victory

On Tuesday, voters delivered a decisive, historic defeat to the Republican agenda of corporate greed, corruption, and war. While the total voter turnout remains unclear, experts are estimating up to 64% of eligible voters cast ballots, the highest in at least 40 years, potentially the highest in a century. Ty Moore and Tony Wilsdon, Socialist Alternative (CWI USA)

11 November 2008

spotVideos of Socialism 2008 Sunday discussion forum

Dave Nellist, Mark Steel, Kevin Ovenden, Hannah Sell, address the question of the need for a new workers party

11 November 2008

spotThe working class needs its own mass party

The closing rally of Socialism 2008, hosted by the Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP), was on the theme of the fight for a working class political voice, writes Dave Carr.

11 November 2008

spotA future for youth

A whole generation has grown up during a boom in Britain but are now faced with the crisis in the world economy and its consequences...

11 November 2008

spotLatin America in revolt

Secretary of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) Tony Saunois, introduced the session on Latin America with a vivid account of the struggles of the working class and poor...

11 November 2008

spotToo late to save the planet?

To open the discussion on the environment, Pete Dickenson highlighted the latest evidence showing a rapidly worsening global warming situation, which indicates some of its effects are now irreversible, writes David Petrie.

11 November 2008

spotSocialism 2008 - an inspiring weekend

Capitalism is a system of crisis, a blind system based on the creation of obscene profits for a tiny minority on the backs of the graft of the majority, writes Greg Maughan.

12 November 2008

spotWhy Labour won the Glenrothes by-election

THE GLENROTHES by-election on 6 November produced a shock result - Labour won! After a series of by-election defeats for Gordon Brown's deeply unpopular government, including Crewe and Nantwich and Glasgow...

12 November 2008

spotA political awakening propels Obama to victory

US president Barack Obama supporters, photo Paul Mattsson

US president Barack Obama supporters, photo Paul Mattsson

THE REIGN of George W Bush, the most hated US president in modern history, is over. On top of that, the election of an African-American as president of the United States, less than 50 years since legal racial segregation ended, is being greeted with widespread euphoria. Ty Moore and Tony Wilsdon, Socialist Alternative (CWI in USA) write.

12 November 2008

spotIraq, Afghanistan... End the occupations!

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

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

LAST WEEK was Remembrance Sunday when we had the spectacle of hypocritical politicians mourning the war dead while condemning more young men and women to tragic, unnecessary deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, writes Tom Baldwin.

12 November 2008

spotSocialism 2008 - an inspiring weekend

Capitalism is a system of crisis, a blind system based on the creation of obscene profits for a tiny minority on the backs of the graft of the majority, writes Greg Maughan.

12 November 2008

spotConfined to one room

AROUND FOUR and a half million pensioners in Britain are forced to stay in just one heated room to save on fuel costs, a new report reveals, writes Roger Shrives.

12 November 2008

spot'Students in the Red' day of action

The National Union of Students (NUS) called a day of action on student debt on 12 November. Members of Socialist Students welcomed this action, the first called by NUS on student finance for two years,...

12 November 2008

spotEast Anglia region demands free education

On Wednesday 5 November around 100 students marched through Cambridge town centre as part of the East Anglia regional 'Students in the Red' day of action, writes Edd Mustill, Cambridge University Socialist Students.

12 November 2008

spotFast news

Rewarding failure: Sir Ian Blair, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, is to get a pay-off worth £1 million...

12 November 2008

spotNUT leadership fails to call strike

In April, the morale of trade unionists across England and Wales was lifted when tens of thousands of teachers took strike action to oppose the years of below-inflation pay awards being imposed on them by New Labour, writes Martin Powell-Davies, convenor, Socialist Party Teachers.

12 November 2008

spotScotland: Victory for the Vale of Leven Four

The SNP-led West Dunbartonshire council has dropped an investigation into four teachers from Vale of Leven Academy who refused to cross a picket line during recent industrial action by local government workers in pursuit of a decent wage settlement, writes a West Dunbartonshire council worker.

12 November 2008

spotThe workload of a teacher

A day at the chalk face: When the alarm goes off at 6.15 I get up and am instantly depressed by the knowledge that tonight there is a parents' evening. This means I won't return home till ten in the evening, a Huddersfield teacher and member of the National Union of Teachers writes.

12 November 2008

spotPCS union: Strike threat wins talks

THE NATIONAL strike by civil service union PCS over pay has been suspended as the employer, at the eleventh hour, offered meaningful talks aimed at resolving our long-running dispute, writes John McInally, national vice-president PCS.

12 November 2008

spotPrescott: the class system and me

TV review: On 27 October, BBC 2 viewers watched a programme fronted by former deputy prime minister John Prescott, purporting to explain the class system in contemporary Britain...

12 November 2008

spotDefend workers' jobs and pay

Economy in recession: "Buy one car, get one free", was the desperate offer of a Colchester car sales broker. Nationally, car sales have fallen to a level not seen since 1966. And now falling consumer spending and the credit...

13 November 2008

spotVideos of Socialism 2008 Rally

Now with mp3 audio

13 November 2008

spotVideos of Socialism 2008 Rally

Now with mp3 audio

18 November 2008

spotVideos of the debate between the Socialist Party and the SWP

Debate about where the Socialist Party and the SWP disagree on policy and tactics but also on what basis it would be possible to collaborate in the future.

19 November 2008

spotFast news

Gender inequality worsening Women working full time will be paid £369,000 less over their working life than their male counterparts according to government figures...

19 November 2008

spotProgramme of action to fight unemployment is needed

Editorial When Tony McNulty, New Labour's minister for (un)employment was asked by the TUC if the government would consider increasing unemployment benefit because of the number of workers now losing their jobs, he said no - because it would stop people looking for jobs if it is set too high...

19 November 2008

spotJCB: Pay cuts haven't saved our jobs!

A further 400 redundancies have been announced at JCB. This brings the total jobs lost since August this year to over 1,000 at its UK factories, a JCB worker writes.

19 November 2008

spotWorld food crisis: A systemic failure of capitalism

The world could be facing a repeat of this year's food crisis, as the impact of recession unfolds. This month, despite what has been described as "harvest bumper crops", the UN Food and Agriculture...

19 November 2008

spotU-turn over post office card account

Successsful campaign stops closure of post office in Stroud, photo by Chris Moore

Successsful campaign stops closure of post office in Stroud, photo by Chris Moore

In a delayed and surprise announcement last week, arch-Blairite Work and Pensions secretary James Purnell announced that the government is abandoning the competitive tendering process and awarding the continuation of the Post Office Card Account contract to the post office for a further five years from 2010, writes Alistair Tice, Sheffield Communities Against Post Office Closures.

19 November 2008

spotStroud post office saved!

POST OFFICE campaigners in Stroud, Gloucestershire were celebrating the reopening of Uplands post office, despite the best efforts of the government and Post Office Ltd to close it, writes Chris Moore, Gloucestershire Save Our Post Offices.

19 November 2008

spotCoventry fights post office closure

THE SOCIALIST Party and its councillors in Coventry have collected 5,000 signatures against the closure of Hertford Street Crown post office and the transfer of its business, by a national privatisation deal, to WH Smith...

19 November 2008

spotLewisham housing: Arguments against privatisation win

LAST WEEK saw another victory by Lewisham tenants in the battle against privatisation of council homes, writes Clive Heemskerk.

19 November 2008

spotDemocratic republic of Congo: Civil war erupts once again

RENEWED FIGHTING has broken out around the city of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between armed forces led by the rebel general Laurent Nkunda and those of the Congolese president Joseph Kabila, deepening the region's humanitarian crisis...

19 November 2008

spotG20 conference: Summit for nothing

LAST WEEKEND, the world's political leaders gathered at the G20 summit in Washington - hosted by the soon to depart US president George Bush - in a bid to rescue the world economy from financial instability and deepening recession, writes Dave Carr.

19 November 2008

spotDrop the witch-hunt in Unison fight to Defend trade union democracy

The Socialist has reported extensively on the witch-hunt in Unison. In June 2007, the Unison bureaucracy launched a disciplinary investigation into five union officers. They were attacked for daring to...

19 November 2008

spotUSA: Challenging the two parties of big business

LAST WEEK, The Socialist carried an analysis of the US presidential election and the political awakening among the American working class which propelled Barack Obama into the White House and routed the Republicans...

19 November 2008

spotFirst ever all-Germany school students' strike

One hundred thousand school students went on strike on Wednesday 12 November. This was the first ever national school students' strike in Germany. The largest was in Braunschweig (Brunswick) with 10,500...

19 November 2008

spotEyewitness report: Italian students occupy

"Noi la crisi non la paghiamo" (We won't pay for your crisis) chanted hundreds of thousands of Italian students attending a mass demonstration in Rome on Friday 14 November against €1.5 billion cuts in the education sector, writes Sarah Wrack, Sussex Socialist Students.

19 November 2008

spotStudent democracy under attack

The National Union of Students (NUS) extraordinary conference in Wolverhampton on 12 November voted through a raft of attacks on union democracy contained in the NUS governance review, writes Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national organiser.

19 November 2008

spotPrivatisation = FE college students suffer

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a means-tested weekly payment of £10, £20 or £30 to further education college students...

19 November 2008

spotSocial workers say: investment needed

Interviews: In the aftermath of the horrific death of 'Baby P' the media has been casting around for people on whom to pile the blame...

19 November 2008

spotSacked for being pregnant!

Every year 30,000 women lose their job as a result of becoming pregnant. Employers often give other reasons. The Socialist spoke to a south London worker, sacked as soon as she announced her pregnancy...

19 November 2008

spotScotland: Unison local government: Close vote on pay

In a turnout of nearly 50%, Unison members in Scotland have voted by 51% to 49% to accept the latest offer from the local government employers, despite the recommendation to reject from the negotiators, writes Ronnie Stevenson, Unison convenor, Social Work Services, Glasgow, personal capacity.

19 November 2008

spotDover port workers strike

On 15 December, 500 workers marched to defend jobs at Dover Harbour Board (DHB), ahead of a 48-hour strike starting on 18 November, writes Jacqui Berry.

19 November 2008

spotUnite/Amicus general secretary election

The nomination period for the general secretary election in the Amicus section of Unite has opened. This was necessary following a challenge made by sacked and victimised Rolls-Royce convenor Jerry Hicks...

19 November 2008

spotIn brief

Appledore: The well-supported strike at Appledore shipyard is currently suspended pending negotiations currently taking place between the unions and Babcock Marine...

19 November 2008

spot'We're not taking these job cuts'

Super-rich bailed out by public purse while the rest of us are sinking, photo Suz squashdonkey.co.uk

Super-rich bailed out by public purse while the rest of us are sinking, photo Suz squashdonkey.co.uk

BT slashes 10,000 posts: BT's recent announcement of 10,000 job cuts, as well as the loss of pension benefits, is an attempt by senior management to offset their poor performance, writes Bernard Roome, Communication Workers Union (CWU) national executive member, personal capacity.

23 November 2008

spotHouse of Lords hears case on right to demonstrate

Lois Austin -v- commissioner of police of the metropolis: An important test case concerning the limitation of the police's power to control demonstrators will be heard by the House of Lords from 24th-26th November 2008...

23 November 2008

spotFormer Liverpool councillor debates economic crisis at Merseyside meeting

Thurs Nov 27, Casa Club, Hope St. Liverpool, 7.30pm

25 November 2008

spotAlistair Darling's pre Budget Report: Pain now, pay later

Alistair Darling reads the beginners guide to the economy, cartoon by Suz

Alistair Darling - learning about capitalism? cartoon by Suz

The government's Pre Budget Report (PBR), presented by Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, marks a new stage in the developing economic crisis by proposing to inject £20 billion of public money into the economy partly through tax cuts to try and minimise the effects of the recession...

25 November 2008

spotDarling's prescription... It's spend, spend, spend on the banks... but cuts, cuts, cuts for the NHS

WHILE THE government is bailing out failed banks to the tune of £500 billion, the Treasury is cutting back spending on NHS services by over £1 billion, writes Dave Carr.

25 November 2008

spotTop-up payments for private health care another step towards two-tier National Health

THE GOVERNMENT recently decided to let patients in England 'top-up' their NHS care with payments for private treatments not available on the NHS, writes Jackie Grunsell, Save Huddersfield NHS councillor.

25 November 2008

spotSocialist 'deal' for the environment needed

Climate change demonstration, photo by Paul Mattsson

Climate change demonstration, photo by Paul Mattsson

BARACK OBAMA put the environment at the centre of his US presidential election programme by pledging to bring in a 'Green New Deal' that could tackle the threat of climate change while generating many new jobs to combat the growing economic recession.
An urgent programme to tackle climate change is clearly desperately needed, writes Pete Dickenson.

25 November 2008

spotRover's ex-workers wage cut scandal

AT A time when workers in Britain are bracing themselves for more bad news, a recent report indicates the true impact of previous large-scale redundancies in the West Midlands, writes Ted Smith, Birmingham Socialist Party.

26 November 2008

spotDefend the Four meeting pledges to fight witch-hunt

Democracy not bureaucracy - No witch-hunt in Unison". This was the title and theme of a meeting called by Hackney trades council in support of Hackney Unison chair Brian Debus, one of the "famous four"...

26 November 2008

spotChina's food contamination crisis deepens

FISH, PORK, and chicken contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine, along with milk and eggs. China's food contamination crisis deepens by the day, writes Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info.

26 November 2008

spotCampaign Against Climate Change march

Campaign Against Climate Change march

Saturday 6 December

Assemble 12 noon

Grosvenor Square, London

26 November 2008

spotSocialist 'deal' for environment needed

BARACK OBAMA put the environment at the centre of his US presidential election programme by pledging to bring in a 'Green New Deal' that could tackle the threat of climate change while generating many new jobs to combat the growing economic recession, writes Pete Dickenson.

26 November 2008

spotBNP membership list: A weak divided party exposed

Despite the huge amounts of media coverage the British National Party has received over the years, the publication of their list of members, ex-members and others makes it clear that the BNP is a relatively small party, writes Naomi Byron, Youth Against Racism in Europe.

26 November 2008

spotNew Labour hypocrisy on racism

Hazel Blears, New Labour Secretary of State for Communities, said over the weekend that "where the BNP wins votes, it is often the result of local political failure...

26 November 2008

spotYouth Against Racism gig

Over 70 people crammed into the Urban Bar in Whitechapel on Saturday night as Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) held another successful gig in London...

26 November 2008

spotCampaigning to save post offices

AFTER THE announcement in June that 22 post offices would close in Leeds, three in the Beeston area alone, as part of the government's closure programme Beeston Communities Against Post Office Closures (CAPOC) campaign launched into action, writes Manny Dominguez.

26 November 2008

spotDefend abortion rights

Protesting outside parliament in October 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Protesting outside parliament in October 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

The 1967 Abortion Act made abortion legal and safe and available on the NHS. It was an important reform won by women demanding the right to have control over their own bodies, writes Elaine Brunskill, Socialist Party national committee.

26 November 2008

spotArt and revolution

What is the relationship between art, revolution, capitalism and class struggle? This year was the first time there was a commission on 'art and revolution' at the annual summer school of the Committee...

26 November 2008

spotSomalia piracy - a consequence of western powers' intervention

THE HIJACKING of the supertanker Sirius Star, carrying 2 million barrels of oil, has dramatically highlighted the problem of piracy along the Somali coast, writes Neil Cafferky.

26 November 2008

spotFrance: Education strikes on the agenda

MORE THAN 250,000 teachers and youth demonstrated in France on 20 November. At the same time half of all teachers were on strike. It was the first national strike day in all the sectors of national education...

26 November 2008

spotActivists discuss how to reclaim Unison

On 22 November, over 100 angry Unison activists gathered in Birmingham to discuss how to re-claim their union, a Unison member writes.

26 November 2008

spotManchester: No redundancies at IMI!

At IMI Scott (IMI) in South Manchester, a factory specialising in the manufacture of electrical wiring, four of the twenty five shop floor workers have been made redundant due to a lack of orders, Wythenshawe and Sale Socialist Party members write.

26 November 2008

spotUnison leadership takeover Newham branch

Earlier this month, members of Unison's Newham local government branch were informed that the national executive (NEC) of the union had told the regional full-time staff to take over the running of their branch...

26 November 2008

spotStrike saves jobs at Fiddlers Ferry

Two days of solid 'unofficial' strike action won back 65 jobs for electricians on the Fiddlers' Ferry power station site, Merseyside, writes Hugh Caffrey.

26 November 2008

spotNational Shop Stewards Network: Organise to save jobs

With dark clouds gathering over the car industry the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) has not just stood by, writes Linda Taaffe, NSSN national secretary.

26 November 2008

spotRover's ex-workers wage cut scandal

AT A time when workers in Britain are bracing themselves for more bad news, a recent report indicates the true impact of previous large-scale redundancies in the West Midlands, writes Ted Smith, Birmingham Socialist Party.

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