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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 January 2009

Fast News

Final salary

IN AN economic recession, making workers pay for the crisis is the capitalists' guiding principle. The latest example of this 'philosophy' is the expected decision by 25 of 100 major UK private sector companies to close workers' final salary pension schemes to existing members.

In recent years the majority of schemes have been closed to new recruits but now the trend is to end them for existing members, saving the employers a shed load of cash.

The schemes are linked to the performance of bonds and stocks and shares. During the boom years on world stock markets many of the bosses took a pensions holiday instead of continuing to invest in the schemes. Consequently, when bull markets turned to bear markets the schemes had accumulated an enormous deficit - 195 billion in December 2008.

Naturally, CEOs and top managers will continue to receive fat pension pots on retirement as will MPs.

Repossessions gloom

THE NUMBER of people losing their homes after failing to meet mortgage payments has doubled in the last year.

Repossession orders granted by the courts in the third quarter of 2008 were 13,161 - up 92% compared to a year earlier. Those three months or more in mortgage arrears swelled to 340,000, 24% higher than the previous year - a figure expected to reach 500,000 this year.

All the government's talk of giving help to those struggling home owners appears to be so much headline hype.


ICELAND'S BELEAGUERED right-wing coalition government collapsed last week - a consequence of the turmoil sparked by the country's financial collapse.

Continual street protests since last October finally dislodged PM Geir Haarde, who announced he was standing down on health grounds and called for an early general election, possibly to be held on 9 May.

With living standards in freefall, over 8,000 people demonstrated against the government last week - the biggest public demonstration in the island's history.

Bolivian vote

AN OVERWHELMING majority of Bolivians voted in favour of a new constitution that ostensibly gives more rights to the country's indigenous and poor communities.

Around 60% of electors approved left-leaning president Evo Morales's reform, despite violent opposition in the run up to the vote orchestrated by the capitalists/landowners in the economically richest provinces. This elite has been threatening to break away to preserve their privileges.

The Bolivian section of the CWI - Revolutionary Socialist Alternative (ASR) - gave critical support to the new constitution.

ASR in its leaflet declared: "The real struggle begins after we approve the new constitution. Workers, peasants, and indigenous people need to fight to carry out the guarantees in the new constitution and ensure that it is only the first step towards a socialist revolution."

More in a future issue

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 28 January 2009:


Defend jobs and services

Era of illusions in capitalism ending

The crisis in manufacturing: Fighting for jobs and living standards

No pay discrimination against young people

Ferengi dealers

Slaughter in Gaza

Coventry protest over Gaza onslaught

Israel: Thousands march in Jaffa against Gaza massacre

Students' angry sit-ins


Stop the racist BNP

Stop the deportation of Yahya Al-Faifi

Socialist Party campaigns

Socialist councillor opposes Tory plans for education privatisation

Labour's abandoning of the working class

Croydon: Striking against academies

Scotland: Step up opposition to cuts

Fast News

Socialist Party workplace news

Fighting council cuts

Say 'no' to the Metro privateers

Amicus Unity Gazette left with egg on its face

Unison right wing exposed

Victory for left in Glasgow Unison

Solid support for Glasgow strike

Building a fighting Unison leadership


Build a mass movement for free education

Save our school!

Marxist analysis: history

Germany 1919 The Spartacist uprising

International socialist news and analysis

Russia: Bosses sack auto-factory union leader

Courageous socialist activist, campaigning journalist and human rights activist

Socialist Party news

Obituary - Barry Malone

Socialist Party reviews

A People's History of Sports in the United States

The Reader


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Related links:


triangleArcadia and Debenhams closures: Nationalise to save jobs and pensions

triangleFighting for over 250 jobs that are under threat at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Photo M Kamish

triangleTory think tank proposes attack on pensions

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triangleBolivia: Right-wing coup ousts Morales

triangleVenezuela: resist the pro-imperialist coup!


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