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Archive for June 2006

1 June 2006

spotTesco goes west - with non-union job ads

TESCO HAS given its chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy, a pay rise of almost 25%. He took away almost 4 million in salary, bonus and other benefits for the year to 25 February, against 3.2 million the year before. Leahy was also...

1 June 2006

spotDrivers strike over tax bills

South West Trains: TWO HUNDRED train drivers, members of ASLEF based at Waterloo station in London, were on strike on 30 May. This was the first of a series of one-day strikes over the removal of tax benefits in kind by their employer South West, writes Chris Newby.

1 June 2006

spotPCS conference: The record of a campaigning union

PCS conference: The record of a campaigning union: CIVIL SERVICE union PCS conference takes place from 5 June, with the Left Unity-led national executive (NEC) having increased its majority for the fourth year running, writes Mark Baker, PCS NEC, personal capacity.

1 June 2006

spotCrisis in the Scottish Socialist Party

THE SCOTTISH Socialist Party (SSP) has been rocked by the release of an open letter by Tommy Sheridan to SSP members which accuses "an unsavoury cabal of comrades at the core of the leadership who are more interested in pursuing personal vendettas, through vile lies and slander, than conducting the class struggle", writes Philip Stott, International Socialists, (CWI Scotland).

1 June 2006

spot'Correction' or crash?

World economy: IN THE second week of May there was a convulsion in the world financial system. Shortly after rising to near-peak levels, shares fell sharply on world stock exchanges, especially in so-called 'emerging markets' like India and Turkey. Lynn Walsh examines these events and exposes the instability of the global capitalist system.

1 June 2006


The socialist review: Neil Cafferky reviews Massaker, a documentary shown at the Palestine Film Festival involving interviews with five of the participants in the destruction of Sabra and Chatila refugee camps during the Lebanese civil war...

1 June 2006

spotBrazil: Hundreds killed by brutal military police

BRAZIL'S HATED Military Police (PM) had a brutal response to the violence unleashed by the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) in So Paulo on 12 May (see last week's the socialist), writes Tony Saunois, CWI, Brazil.

1 June 2006

spotIraq - lame duck leaders have no solution

WHILE ACTING Prime Minister John Prescott was amusing himself on the croquet pitch, the real thing was in Washington D.C. for talks with his partner in crime - the senior partner, that is -George Bush, writes Keith Pattenden.

1 June 2006

spotA strategy to take on New Labour

An open letter to Respect councillors: TOWER HAMLETS Socialist Party sent the letter below to each of the 12 Respect councillors elected to the local council...

1 June 2006

spotCan the Tories win the next election?

FOLLOWING LABOUR'S disastrous local election results this is a question that many people are now asking. After years of un-electability, is it possible that under their new leader, David Cameron, they could return to haunt working-class...

1 June 2006

spotBlair goes nuclear

Environment: RECENTLY, PRIME minister Tony Blair told CBI dinner guests that he backed building a new generation of nuclear power stations, saying nuclear power was "back on the agenda with a vengeance"...

1 June 2006

spot"We're seeing the Americanisation of the NHS"

Whipps Cross hospital workers protest. Picture Paul Mattsson
OVER 30 people, many of them health workers, came to the first Waltham Forest Save our NHS campaign meeting. Len Hockey, UNISON joint branch secretary at Whipps Cross hospital, outlined the attacks that the hospital Trust,...

1 June 2006

spot'Stop the NHS cuts, end low pay'

Whipps Cross hospital workers protest. Picture Paul Mattsson
Healthworkers say...: "LOW PAY no way." "They say cutback, we say fightback." Hundreds of porters, cleaners and other hospital staff held a lively lunchtime protest outside Whipps Cross hospital in northeast London on 26 May.

The hospital Trust is considering axing 400 jobs and closing four wards and two theatres. 15 million could be cut from primary care.

8 June 2006

spotChile: Youth take to the streets demanding action

A WEEK-long mass movement of secondary school students in Chile, demanding education reforms, culminated in a one million strong strike last Monday...

8 June 2006

spotRight wing fail to stop Berlin WASG

THE LAST two days have seen legal decisions that have cleared the way for the clearly anti-neoliberal Berlin WASG (Election Alternative for Work and Social Justice) to stand in the city's 17 September regional election, writes Robert Bechert, CWI, Berlin.

8 June 2006

spotUnity needed to fight exploitation

Migrant workers: IN THE first part of an occasional series on asylum and immigration, KEVIN PARSLOW calls for the trade union movement to help migrant workers get organised and fight for their rights...

8 June 2006

spotDelegates debate DWP strikes

PCS conference: ON THE second day of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) section of the civil service union PCS conference, delegates wrestled with the crucial question of "where now for the DWP strikes?", writes Bill Mullins.

8 June 2006

spotSocialist Party members make an impact at Wales TUC

"A PARTNERSHIP of unions and employers is a partnership of riders and horses. The employers are always in the saddle!" Alec Thraves summed up the reality of 'partnership' agreements while speaking from the rostrum...

8 June 2006

spotLecturers dispute

Natfhe: Final conference shows members' resolve to fight: As the socialist went to press UCU leaders accepted a revised offer of 13.1% over three years, with 15.5% for non-academic staff...

8 June 2006

spotPreparing for Europride

National LGBT meeting: The Socialist Party LGBT caucus met on the 25th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS. Members from around England and Wales, almost half of them youth or students, met to discuss Marxism, religion and LGBT rights and priorities, writes Tom Penman Leicester.

8 June 2006

spot1926 General Strike book launch

OVER 30 people gathered in Ottakar's bookshop in Walthamstow to hear 'local author' and general secretary of the Socialist Party, Peter Taaffe, launch his new book - 1926 General Strike: Workers Taste Power...

8 June 2006

spot2,000 sign up to Campaign for New Workers' Party

Two thousand people have now signed up in support of the founding declaration of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP). This includes 40 members of trade union national executive committees, amongst them three more PCS NEC members, writes Fiona Pashazadeh, CNWP National treasurer.

8 June 2006

spotEducation after New Labour's Education Bill

THE GOVERNMENT has got its highly contentious Education Bill passed through Parliament, with the full support of the Tory 'opposition'...

8 June 2006

spotFestival of football, carnival of cash

World Cup: OUR TV screens, newspapers and advertising hoardings are full of the World Cup. One of the world's biggest sporting occasions is only days away. I can't wait, writes Chris Newby.

8 June 2006

spotA 'trigger-happy' police raid?

THE LOCAL community in Forest Gate, east London, was stunned but later angry, after a dawn raid on a terraced house involving 250 police in an 'anti-terrorist operation' last week, writes Simon Carter Newham.

8 June 2006

spotIraq: Bush and Blair's deadly legacy

LESS THAN three weeks ago Bush and Blair assured us that US and British troops would start to be withdrawn from Iraq, writes Jane James.

8 June 2006

spotPregnancy discrimination: Bosses show their dirty tricks

THIRTY YEARS ago, the 1975 Sex Discrimination gave legal protection to pregnant women. Under current legislation it's automatically unfair to dismiss someone or for them to suffer any other detriment because they're pregnant, A Citizen's Advice Bureau worker writes from north London.

8 June 2006

spotSave our NHS!

6,000 protest in Forest of Dean: SIX THOUSAND people, one in seven of all Forest of Dean residents joined a protest rally on 31 May against devastating cuts in Gloucestershire which could decimate health services in the Forest of Dean in particular...

8 June 2006

spotDon't let the NHS bleed to death

The NHS is bleeding to death - placard on Stoke NHS demo
Organise for national action now!:"WHY HASN'T the UNISON union called a national demonstration yet? Labour's privatisation war on the NHS is like death by a thousand cuts. The NHS is bleeding to death".

This was the response of Claire, a nurse at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) - it echoes the mood of many health workers, writes Andy Bentley, Stoke.

15 June 2006

spotHigher Education pay deal: Opportunities lost - further action can get more

LATE IN the evening on 6 June, negotiators for the newly formed University and College Union (UCU) reached a deal with the employers UCEA over pay in Higher Education, writes Thomas House.

15 June 2006

spotWill UNISON fight on pensions and NHS cuts?

UNISON conference: UNISON's ANNUAL Delegate Conference will be held in Bournemouth from 20 to 24 June, preceded by the local government and other smaller service group conferences on 18 and 19 June...

15 June 2006

spotPCS conference a distinctive voice in the British trade union movement

FIVE TIMES-elected trade union president Janice Godrich opened last week's civil service union PCS conference, saying that the union has a distinctive voice in the British trade union movement, writes Bill Mullins.

15 June 2006

spotPalestinian authority on the brink of civil war?

PALESTINIANS RECENTLY interviewed in the press described their life in Gaza and the West Bank as like "living on the set of a horror film", writes Kevin Simpson, CWI, London.

15 June 2006

spotWorld Cup: Profits and prostitution

I CAN hardly call myself the greatest football fan alive. However, I used to be football crazy when I was little and I still remember the excitement of the 1982 World Cup in Madrid; my first "conscious" world football, writes Tanja Niemeier (recently returned from Germany).

15 June 2006

spotWhy the BNP gets support: Naomi Byron reviews Fair by Joy Wilkinson

"DODGEMS - WHO needs them when we can go round and round in circles by ourselves and get skint and whiplash in the process?"...

15 June 2006

spot1926 general strike debate

THE MORNING Star (12 June) printed a review by Graham Stevenson of Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe's book on the 1926 general strike. We print the review and a reply by Peter Taaffe printed on the 15 June.

"PETER TAAFFE has competently retold standard, secondary accounts of the 1926 general strike. Given that the author is a veteran leader of the Trotskyist Socialist Party (aka Militant), it is not surprising, however, that he focuses mainly on the question of whether the "fledgeling Communist Party had the right strategy programme and tactics to take full advantage of the strike".

15 June 2006

spotInternational students' movements and working class struggles

EARLIER THIS year students in France occupied universities and organised mass protest demonstrations to defeat the Chirac government's 'hire and fire' law (CPE) which attacked young workers' rights...

15 June 2006

spotStop Bush & Blair's terror

Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan...: THE RESULT of George Bush spreading his version of 'freedom and democracy' is evident worldwide: three Guantanamo Bay prisoners have hanged themselves, while death and destruction continues in both Iraq and Afghanistan...

15 June 2006

spotSocialist question time

LEWISHAM SOCIALIST Party held a very successful "Question Time" meeting on 8 June in Telegraph Hill ward, with one of the Socialist Party (SP) councillors, Ian Page, taking over the David Dimbleby role...

15 June 2006

spotTax credit system: Millions driven into debt

THE FIASCO of the tax credit system has hit the headlines again. Stark figures show that millions of low-paid workers are being driven into debt by a system set up to overcome poverty. A London Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) worker writes.

15 June 2006

spotAnger mounting at bungled police raid

ANGER IS still mounting at the police dawn raid in Forest Gate. Muslim organisations have picketed New Scotland Yard to protest at the police shooting of postal worker Abdul Kahir and his arrest, along with his brother, as part, writes Simon Carter.

15 June 2006

spotVictory for 'save our school' campaign

"IF THIS school had been in an affluent area of Kirklees, we wouldn't have faced closure," commented Jeanette Peel, teacher and NUT member at a rally to save RM Grylls Middle School on the outskirts of Huddersfield from the axe, writes Mike Forster, Kirklees UNISON.

15 June 2006

spotNHS: Rebellion over hospital cuts

4,000 people voiced their anger in Stroud
Feature: REBELLION IS growing in Gloucestershire against vicious New Labour NHS cuts. A week after a 6,000 protest in the Forest of Dean, one in 25 of the population of Stroud poured out onto the streets as 4,000 people voiced their anger...

15 June 2006

spotNHS protesters on the march

Birmingham Socialist Party's SEAN MCCAULEY explains what is happening in Birmingham where preparations are underway for a West Midlands regional demonstration on 15 July, writes THE NHS is under attack. Blair and New Labour are forcing hospitals across the country to make over 800 million of cuts to their budgets. But a fightback is starting - last weekend 4,000 people marched in Stroud.

22 June 2006

spotPutting the politics into Pride

Europride 2006 - 1 July: The Lesbian and Gay rights movement started in 1969 with the Stonewall riots in New York when drag queens physically fought the police who were raiding gay bars...

22 June 2006

spotFootball: A high price for the beautiful game

SOCIALIST PARTY member Kevin Miles is the International Co-ordinator for the Football Supporters Federation - the fans official spokesperson. He is in Germany at the moment, with the "Fan's Embassy."...

22 June 2006

spot1926 General Strike: workers taste power

TONY MULHEARN, one of the leaders of the Liverpool 47 councillors who fought the Tories in the 1980s reviews Peter Taaffe's new book...

22 June 2006

spotAnger at inept handling of pensions dispute

UNISON local government conference: UNISON'S LOCAL government conference, held prior to the main UNISON conference, exploded into anger at the blatant manoeuvrings of the platform...

22 June 2006

spotBrown attacks public sector workers

GORDON BROWN has declared war on public-sector workers' pay. In a recent speech to the bosses' organisation the CBI, he called for a three-year pay freeze. Brown is clearly setting out the programme he wants to implement whenever...

22 June 2006

spotSecuestro Express

One of the most controversial films in Venezuela in many years, Secuestro Express was made by a director who is rumoured to support reactionary opposition parties in the country...

22 June 2006

spotSoweto uprising 1976: The powder keg ignites

THIRTY YEARS ago, South Africa's vicious apartheid regime was shaken by an heroic uprising started by thousands of school students in the black 'township' of Soweto near Johannesburg...

22 June 2006

spotUS 'empire' in crisis

Feature: THE US is the world's only superpower yet, despite its overwhelming military might, in relation to Iraq, Afghanistan and now Somalia it has become embroiled in situations that it cannot control. Peter Taaffe writes.

22 June 2006

spotSocialists oppose the war in Sri Lanka

ON 15 June, two claymore mines exploded in Sri Lanka destroying a bus packed with farmers, workers and children. Over 60 were killed and another 40 injured...

22 June 2006

spotBattle of the Thatcherites!

North Tyneside: IN A draconian measure to 'improve services' (read 'cut costs') North Tyneside's New Labour council wants to hire private companies to, potentially, run all of its services...

22 June 2006

spotLabour defeated over schools and pool...

Lewisham council: LEWISHAM SOCIALIST Party councillors Ian Page and Chris Flood are leading the way in two long-running campaigns; the fight for a new school in the north of the borough and the battle to save Ladywell swimming pool...

22 June 2006

spotArise...Sir tax-avoider!

BEING KNIGHTED in the honours list isn't quite such a big thing as becoming a Lord but it's obviously got some attractions for billionaire businessmen...

22 June 2006

spotSocialist Students receive standing ovation

Leicester UCU dispute: At Leicester University, Socialist Students members were involved in the setting up of the Campaign for Students' Information, because the Students' Union (SU) executive were campaigning against the lecturers' marking boycott (despite their declared support for the lecturers)...

22 June 2006

spotFight Low Pay

ISR campaigning against low pay in Cardiff
SUMMER HOLIDAYS at last... but you're broke... So the first task when you recover from exams is spending days traipsing around, facing rejection, looking for a boring job where you get paid peanuts.

22 June 2006

spotCommunity protests at trigger-happy policing

Marching in Forest Gate
Forest Gate raid: TWO THOUSAND protesters marched through east London last Sunday to demand an apology from the Metropolitan police over the Forest Gate 'anti-terrorism' raid - in which Abdul Kahar was shot and arrested along with his brother, Abul Koyair...

22 June 2006

spotFight the cuts in community services

HUNDREDS OF health visitors, district nurses and school nurses lobbied the health scrutiny committee of Waltham Forest Council in east London on 12 July...

22 June 2006

spotNHS cuts... closures... privatisation... We're fighting back!

NHS protesters from London's Whipps Cross hospitalALL OVER greater Manchester, NHS managers are using dishonest slogans like "Making health better," "healthy futures" and "best for health" to ram through a savage cuts programme.

29 June 2006

spotNew regime in Somalia a setback for US imperialism

WARLORDS WHO ruled the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, for 15 years have recently been driven out by a coalition of Muslim groups backing the 'Islamic Courts Union', writes Kevin Parslow.

29 June 2006

spotGreek students' protests ignite solidarity action

SEVEN WEEKS after the uprising of the Greek university students began in the first week of May, 415 out of 456 colleges over the whole of Greece are under occupation, writes Andros Payiatsos, Athens.

29 June 2006

spotGeneral Motors meets workers' resistance

GENERAL MOTORS is in trouble - and not just economically. Daniel Behruzi, SAV (CWI Germany) examines a plan to close down the factory in Azambuja, Portugal and move the production of the Opel Combo to Zaragossa in Spain.

29 June 2006

spotNot just: " Lie back and Think of England"

IN APRIL, Peugeot announced the closure of its Ryton plant in Coventry with the direct loss of 2,300 jobs, which also threatens another 6,000 jobs in the West Midlands car industry, writes Alistair Tice.

29 June 2006

spotAnger at leadership's tactics

UNISON'S ANNUAL conference displayed a growing anger and questioning from delegates towards the union's leadership, writes Ken Smith reports from Unison conference.

29 June 2006

spotSupport striking Asda workers

As we go to press, the unions have confirmed that the planned strike action at Asda has been called off, as a result of negotiations. This report was carried in the socialist before the action was called off...

29 June 2006

spotHands off civil servants' pension rights

Public services not private profit campaign lobby of parliament - photo Paul Mattsson
HEADLINES SUCH as "No. 10 orders shock U-turn on pensions," (Sunday Times, 25 June) infuriated trade unionists in the civil service...

29 June 2006

spotFight back against homophobic bullying

THE SHIFT towards the left in social attitudes over the last ten years has meant that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have won important rights in Britain, writes Tom Penman, Socialist Party LGBT group.

29 June 2006

spotPolice and fascists attack Moscow Pride

EuroPride: THE LESBIAN, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community will be marching in London on 1 July at EuroPride. Many important legal reforms have been made, such as civil partnerships, which have improved the lives of LGBT people...

29 June 2006

spotSWP / Respect conference: Flawed perspectives

TRADE UNIONS are presently being circulated with an invitation to attend a conference of 'rank and file trade unionists' later this year on the theme of 'anti-union laws, privatisation, deregulation, job losses and the crisis of political representation' initiated by Respect and the Socialist Workers' Party (SWP), writes Peter Taaffe Socialist Party general secretary.

29 June 2006

spotG8 leaders fail to make poverty history

LAST JULY, members of the Socialist Party and our counterpart organisations in Europe took part in the week-long protests at the 'Make Poverty History' summit of the G8 (rich) countries...

29 June 2006

spotYoung people - fight for your rights!

Cardiff ISR campaigns against low pay
Feature: Fed up with bullying bosses, long hours and unsafe working conditions? As young people, we very often end up in low-paid shop, bar, catering or factory work. Often these jobs are casual or part-time in unsafe conditions.

29 June 2006

spotWhat 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...

29 June 2006

spotTake over the drugs giants

A NEW report shows how global pharmaceutical giants use unscrupulous marketing techniques to influence doctors and persuade consumers that they are ill...

29 June 2006

spotSave our baby unit!

THE FIGHT against proposed cuts at Wythenshawe hospital's premature baby unit was given a boost with the launch of the "Save Our Baby Unit" (SOBU) campaign...

29 June 2006

spotManchester marches to defend the NHS

TWO "TOP doctors" resign, two private hospitals open to compete with the NHS, two hundred on the march... This is Manchester's NHS in 2006, writes Hugh Caffrey Manchester.

29 June 2006


Demonstration at Whipps Cross
LIKE MANY other hospitals, Whipps Cross in east London is threatened with huge job cuts and closures of wards and theatres.

The government's drive to force hospitals and other healthcare trusts to "balance the books" is putting the very future of the NHS into jeopardy. It's part of their plan to invite big business vultures to pick over its most profitable parts.

UNISON joint branch secretary Len Hockey, spoke to the socialist about the cuts being proposed at the hospital.

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