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Archive for May 2008

7 May 2008

spotObituary: Ray Apps

The death of Ray Apps at the age of 77 is the loss of a great fighter...

7 May 2008

spotUnison witch-hunt: Defend the four, come to the lobby!

The four Unison members under attack from their own union leadership had their disciplinary hearings postponed to 14-16 May...

7 May 2008

spotMark Thomas condemns witch-hunt

"I know Onay Kasab - Kas. I have had the privilege of working with him on the Ilisu Dam Campaign and on the issue of trade unionist deaths in Colombia...

7 May 2008

spotSupport Shelter workers

Shelter workers were on strike again on 30 April and 1 May. Pickets joined the May Day demonstration in London. The workers were striking to defeat management...

7 May 2008

spot'Raising the roof' at Usdaw conference

Shopworkers' union Usdaw's annual conference took place against the background of the credit crunch crises and just before Labour's election debacle, writes Robbie Segal, delegate, personal capacity.

7 May 2008

spotNational Shop Stewards Network second conference

Saturday 28 June 11.30am-4.30pm: £5 per delegate. See

7 May 2008

spotHow workers and youth are building a Left alternative in France

Merseyside Campaign for a New Workers' Party meeting: For more info:, [email protected], 07910 097 607...

7 May 2008

spotCome to the 2008 Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference

May Day greetings from the Campaign for a New Workers' Party: Conference Sunday 29 June 10am-5pm

7 May 2008

spotElections round-up and results

Wales: This year's local election results in Wales have delivered a devastating blow to Labour, writes Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales.

7 May 2008

spotRacist BNP have no solutions!

ISR mounts London protest Around 70 International Socialist Resistance (ISR) members and supporters joined the first protest against the BNP's newly-won seat on the London Assembly, writes Ben Robinson, ISR national organiser.

7 May 2008

spotGrangemouth refinery: Oil strike wins concessions

ON TUESDAY 29 April, following a short meeting at Grangemouth oil refinery's gates, the early shift returned to work, ending the 48-hour stoppage that had brought the flow of oil from the North Sea to a halt, writes Ian Leech, Glasgow.

7 May 2008

spotDefend abortion rights

TORY MP Nadine Dorries has launched a campaign to reduce the upper limit on the time of abortions from the current 24-week limit to 20 weeks, writes Sarah Sachs-Eldridge.

7 May 2008

spotTUC attacks Labour on working poverty

A TIMELY report by the TUC, Hard Work, Hidden Lives, shows that New Labour politicians have much to learn about the lives of the working-class people who pushed them into power and could shove them out again...

7 May 2008

spotMay Day marches

STRIKING WORKERS from Shelter led London's May Day march, followed by members of rail union RMT, local trades councils and Turkish and Kurdish groups...

7 May 2008

spotElection victories for class fighters

The Socialist would welcome reports from readers of any other anti-cuts election successes, writes Chris Moore and Derek McMillan.

7 May 2008

spotBangor Socialist Students fight tuition fees

Bangor Socialist Students held a protest on 23 April encouraging the student union to support the Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF), which follows several weeks of gathering support for the cause, writes James Nock, Bangor Socialist Students.

7 May 2008

spotAlbum review: The Bright Lights of America

To me Anti-Flag have always been the quintessential anti-war band. In September 2001 they were half-way through recording an album when the 9/11 events...

7 May 2008

spotSri Lanka: 25 years of war and conflict

THE SRI Lankan government is engaged in a war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north of the country, writes Srinath Perera, United Socialist Party, (USP - CWI, Sri Lanka).

7 May 2008

spotFrance 1968: Capitalism brought to its knees

FORTY YEARS ago this month, France was gripped by a revolutionary fever. Within days of a one-day general strike being called in solidarity with protesting students, ten million workers were on strike.

7 May 2008

spotCoventry: Socialist election success shows the way forward

Dave Nellist, Coventry Socialist Pary councillor, photo Paul Mattsson

Dave Nellist, Coventry Socialist Pary councillor, photo Paul Mattsson

ESTABLISHMENT POLITICIANS are so unpopular that in last week's council elections every party tried to pose as the opposition whether they ran the council or not, writes Dave Griffiths, Coventry.

7 May 2008

spotMeltdown for Brown - but he won't change course

Editorial: The barbarians are at the gate. After the London mayoral victory of the Tory Neanderthal Boris Johnson and the New Labour meltdown in the rest of the country,...

13 May 2008

spotFrance 1968 month of revolution

Wales Socialist Party meetings a great success

14 May 2008

spotSaturday 28 June 11.30am-4.30pm

National Shop Stewards Network second conference

Saturday 28 June 11.30am-4.30pm

South Camden Community School, Charrington Street, London NW1.

Speakers include Bob Crow, RMT, Mark Serwotka, PCS and Brian Caton, POA.
£5 per delegate.

14 May 2008

spotCampaign for a new workers' party: conference 2008

Campaign for a new workers' party: conference 2008

Sunday 29 June 10am - 5pm.

South Camden Community School,

Charrington Street, London NW1.

(nearest Rail/Tube stations - Kings Cross/St Pancras, Euston, Mornington Crescent)

14 May 2008

spotUnison witch-hunt: Rory Bremner and Mark Thomas speak out

Onay Kasab, photo Paul Mattsson

Onay Kasab, photo Paul Mattsson

"On the face of it, Unison are about to make themselves look a laughing stock", Rory Bremner comments, on the accusations against Onay Kasab.

14 May 2008

spotAnti-racists protest at Unison witch hunt

Letter sent by Markhan S Bajwa, director of Greenwich Council for Racial Equality to Unison general secretary Dave Prentis to protest about the treatment of Onay Kasab, Greenwich Unison branch secretary.

14 May 2008

spotBurma cyclone disaster: Wealth and privilege put before aid

The appalling effects of the cyclone which hit the vast Irrawaddy river delta, have shocked people all over the world, writes Keith Dickinson.

14 May 2008

spotGlobal capitalist crisis: Confidence in a socialist future

'THE GLOBAL economic crisis and the socialist alternative today', was the theme of a two day speaking tour of Ireland last week by Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (England and Wales), writes Kevin McLoughlin, Dublin.

14 May 2008

spotPrice rises hit workers

MORE BAD news ahead for the Brown government - and for workers. While Brown keeps on pushing the need for a 2% pay deal for public-sector workers, prices...

14 May 2008

spotScottish National Party: One year in power - but little for workers to celebrate

On the face of it, with a series of popular measures implemented and opinion polls showing the Scottish National Party (SNP) with an extended lead over their rivals, the first anniversary of the SNP coming to power is a momen, writes Philip Stott, International Socialists, CWI Scotland.

14 May 2008

spotWhat will Boris Johnson mean for London?

After the 1 May elections: BORIS JOHNSON'S election as Mayor of London capped a string of successes for the Conservatives in the 1 May local elections, indicating that a Tory victory in the next general election is a serious possibility, writes Neil Cafferky.

14 May 2008

spotOpposing cutbacks in Lincolnshire

AFTER A hard-fought election campaign, Socialist Party members in Lincoln celebrated a first-time showing of 127 votes (6.2%) in the 1 May elections in Carholme ward, writes Nick Parker.

14 May 2008

spotWhy Labour lost Bury

FOR THE first time in 21 years the Tories won Bury council in Greater Manchester, writes Paul Gerrard.

14 May 2008

spot60 year anniversary of Israel: Can there be a resolution of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict?

Since the Israeli state was founded 60 years ago, many Jewish people around the world have moved there on the promise of prosperity and security, writes Judy Beishon.

14 May 2008

spotDefend and extend abortion rights

No reduction in the time limit, End the two-doctor rule: On 20 May Tory MP Nadine Dorries intends to move an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to cut the current upper limit for abortion from 24 to 20 weeks, writes Eleanor Donne, Basildon Socialist Party.

14 May 2008

spotLadyfest: culture, politics and women

From 9-11 May Camden in London saw visitors from all over Britain, but also from other parts of the world...

14 May 2008

spotThe BNP have no solutions...and no clue!

On the morning of 9 May our second protest against the British National Party (BNP) took place as the newly elected Greater London Assembly met for the first time since the election on 1 May.

14 May 2008

spotSussex students uphold 'no platform'

Sussex University students voted 715 to 431 in a referendum to keep the 'No Platform' policy, ensuring that the British National Party (BNP) remain banned from the students union...

14 May 2008

spotStudents 'study-in' in Manchester

On Friday 9 May, around 100 University of Manchester students staged a second protest under the banner of 'Reclaim the Uni'(RtU), writes Abigail Taylor, Manchester Socialist Students.

14 May 2008

spotLeft wins in PCS executive elections

Left Unity by itself has an overall majority on the national executive - an endorsement of the left's leadership in the face of the government's cuts and privatisation programme, writes Janice Godrich, PCS president, personal capacity.

14 May 2008

spotDon't evict Ricky Jones!

Over a hundred people marched through the streets of Stoke Newington, north London, on 10 May, writes Matthew Waterfall, branch secretary, Hackney Unison.

14 May 2008

spotNorth west shop stewards

Following a successful inaugural conference of the North West Shop Stewards Network (NWSSN) last month, the elected committee met for the first time on 10 May, writes Dave Lunn, assistant secretary NWSSN, personal capacity.

14 May 2008

spotWales TUC: Right wing attack on democracy

Delegates to the annual conference of the Wales TUC, meeting in Llandudno on 21-23 May, face the prospect of a right-wing offensive to undermine the democratic traditions of the trade union movement, writes Alec Thraves, Swansea trades council delegate..

14 May 2008

spotSocialist fighter honoured by lecturers' union

Socialist Party member Andrew Price is retiring from work next February, so he is standing down from his position as the UCU national executive member for Welsh Further Education...

14 May 2008

spotReview: 'Marx in London' by Asa Briggs and John Callow

This is a revival of the book first published in 1982 by the BBC to accompany a TV series of the same name, authored by the well-known academic and social historian, Asa Briggs, and John Callow...

14 May 2008

spotNHS under threat

Urgent action needed: JUST WEEKS before the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service, government plans to reorganise and privatise it could mean the end of a health service that is publicly owned and free at the point of use, writes Lois Austin.

16 May 2008

spotSouthampton students blockade university

Protest at student's union's exclusion from university court

19 May 2008

spotHunger Strike by Belfast airport workers

is direct responsibility of Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley.

20 May 2008

spotBelfast airport workers: Union leaders' broken promises

Three sacked Belfast Airport shop stewards, members of Unite (T&G), have resumed their protest to achieve payment of legal costs and hardship money from their union, writes Kevin Parslow.

20 May 2008

spotForce more u-turns out of this weak government

Editorial from The Socialist 21 May 2008: A YouGov opinion poll has put New Labour on 23%, their lowest share of support since polling began in the 1930s...

21 May 2008

spotNational Shop Stewards Network second conference advert

National Shop Stewards Network second conference

Saturday 28 June, 11.30am-4.30pm

South Camden Community School, Charrington Street, London NW1.

Speakers include Bob Crow, RMT, Mark Serwotka, PCS and Brian Caton, POA, plus shop stewards from disputes around the country.

£5 per delegate. Send to: NSSN, PO Box 58262, London N1 1ET. Email [email protected] Or see:

Please note that the next meeting of the North West region committee of the National Shop Stewards Network will be held on Saturday 19 July, not 19 June.

21 May 2008

spotGive us back our Post Office!

Postman Pat joins the CWU picket line in East London during a CWU strike, photo Naomi Byron

Postman Pat joins the CWU picket line in East London during a CWU strike, photo Naomi Byron

ON 14 May, the postal workers' branch of the CWU union in Coventry organised a wreath-laying ceremony at Coventry's crown post office at Hertford Street which, like 70 others, has been privatised in a deal with WH Smith...

21 May 2008

spotCampaign for a New Workers' Party conference

Campaign for a New Workers' Party (CNWP) conference 2008

Sunday 29 June, 10am-5pm

South Camdem Community School, Charrington Street, London NW1. (nearest rail/tube stations - Kings Cross/St Pancras, Euston, Mornington Crescent)

21 May 2008

spotBuild Affordable Homes Now!

Housing crisis worsens: In the same week that Tony Blair buys his sixth house for £4 million, the Local Government Association announced that another million people could join housing waiting lists in the next two years, writes Lois Austin.

21 May 2008

spotUnison members say 'no' to witch hunt

Around 70 angry protesters lobbied the Unison 'disciplinary hearing' which started on 14 May, writes Jane James.

21 May 2008

spotLondon Olympics 2012: A great sporting occasion and a great profit-making opportunity

We are now just four years away from London hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world for the third time...

21 May 2008

spotFrance 1968: Be realistic - demand the impossible!

Book review: In times when the idea of a socialist revolution is treated as laughable, socialists are commonly asked: is a revolution possible in a rich country like Britain?

21 May 2008

spotInternational discussion on the way forward for socialists

London, Wales, Sheffield, Merseyside reports: IN AN inspiring rally, 120 people from across London were treated to a first hand account of the political movement in France in 1968 from Marie-Josť Douet.

21 May 2008

spotChina: Earthquake disaster exposes regime's failings

AN ESTIMATED 50,000 people or more were killed when a powerful earthquake struck central China last week. Some five million survivors are homeless. Chen Lizhi and Vincent Kolo expose the shortcomings of the regime in the light of this disaster.

21 May 2008

spotLebanon: Hezbollah routs pro-US Siniora government forces

LEBANON HAS been wracked by a week of armed clashes between supporters of the Western backed Fouad Siniora government and the Hezbollah-led opposition...

21 May 2008

spotIreland: Vote no to Lisbon Treaty and EU militarisation!

THE TREATY of Lisbon was signed on 13 December 2007 at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal and is due to come into force in 2009, if successfully ratified by all EU member states...

21 May 2008

spotFrance: Workers and youth resist Sarkozy's attacks

SCHOOL STUDENTS have been leading the fight against education cuts in France, writes Manny Thain.

21 May 2008

spotNuclear industry's 'green' camouflage

NEW SHOCK figures on climate change show that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at its highest level in 650,000 years...

21 May 2008

spotFightback saves Cardiff school

Cardiff school demo in 2006, photo Socialist Party Wales

Cardiff school protest, photo Socialist Party Wales

CAMPAIGNERS FROM Lansdowne Primary School in Canton, Cardiff are celebrating, writes Ross Saunders, Cardiff West Socialist Party, Unison steward, Fitzalan High School.

21 May 2008

spotSouthampton students: 'Don't gag us'

ON 15 May, over 100 Southampton University students occupied the entrance to the lecture theatre due to host the University Court meeting, a jamboree for elite dignitaries and corporate university sponsors such as HSBC bank a, writes Clare Blackwell, Will Schafer-Peek and Gavin Marsh, Southampton Socialist Students.

21 May 2008


BIG BOOKIES Ladbroke's, who are used to divorcing punters from their cash, recently opened a book on which 'celebrity couple' will be first to get a divorce...

21 May 2008

spotGlasgow: BNP not welcome here

THE FAR right British National Party (BNP) tried to stake a claim to Glasgow's streets on 17 May...

21 May 2008

spot100% rise for health bosses

An organised plan of action against the cuts by the NHS unions is urgently needed!, writes Ian Howie.

21 May 2008

spotGlobal food crisis

THE WORLD is experiencing a global food crisis. 73 million people on the planet have to survive on handouts from the United Nations World Food Programme...

21 May 2008

spotThem and Us: The great divide

IN SPAIN it was 76%, in Italy, France and Germany it was over 80%. That was the percentage of people who told a Financial Times/Harris poll that the gap between rich and poor is too wide.

21 May 2008

spotReasons to be cheerful about the trade unions

Trade Unions have been reading their own obituaries since workers first combined, writes Chris Baugh, Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) assistant general secretary, personal capacity.

21 May 2008

spotPublic-sector workers say pay up!

Workers' anger at Gordon Brown's attempts to force down public-sector pay is growing...

21 May 2008

spotStep Up Fight Against Low Pay!

After Brown's tax u-turn... The abolition of the 10p tax rate (the hiking of income tax for those earning less than £18,500 a year) has become a powerful symbol of the contempt this government has for working people...

28 May 2008

spotCrewe and Nantwich 'no-win' by-election: Why New Labour lost

New Labour sunk to a new low in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election last week, writes Jim Cessford, former Crewe socialist activist.

28 May 2008

spotI told my union: "We need a new workers' party"

THE TRADE union, Unite, recently wrote to its members "to determine your thoughts on how you think the country is being run". Campaign for a New Workers' Party supporter Colin Trousdale returned this response...

28 May 2008

spotWestminster parties are remote from life

THE START of the week and the same pressure begins. From behind a bank of screens a worker mutters: "So they want us to become bloody monarchists now?" Steve Wootton writes.

28 May 2008

spotMPs' expensive expenses

DETAILS OF MPs' expenses are finally public after three years of stonewalling by the House of Commons. The Speaker, Michel Martin, spent £200,000 of public money attempting to block such details.

28 May 2008

spotExeter bomb explosion: Workers' unity needed against terrorism, war and deprivation

Last week's failed terrorist attack in Exeter caused a wave of shock and surprise in Devon and Britain as a whole, writes Jim Thomson, Devon Socialist Party.

28 May 2008

spotWomen welcome abortion rights victory: Now fight to extend rights

THE VARIOUS attempts to restrict rights to abortion, via amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill, ended in defeat on 20 May as MPs voted to keep the status quo, writes Eleanor Donne.

28 May 2008

spotTax the rich not the poor!

Over four million low-paid workers felt some relief when Gordon Brown was forced into his tax u-turn, writes Judy Beishon.

28 May 2008

spotJohnson's Prince of Darkness

LONDON'S NEW Tory mayor Boris Johnson has appointed a ruthless private equity businessman as his "first deputy mayor" in charge of transport, writes Roger Shrives.

28 May 2008

spotThem & Us

CREDIT CRUNCH hitting wages and prices? Not true for City of London fat cats who have been awarded bonuses totalling £13.2 billion so far this year.

28 May 2008

spotGreenwich - save our centres

CAMPAIGNERS IN Greenwich are fighting to save community centres and halls. Greenwich council wants to hand over management of halls and centres to a community management board.

28 May 2008

spotSouth Africa: Attacks on refugees and migrants reveal capitalism's barbaric underbelly

THE WAVE of xenophobic pogroms which have swept through the squatter camps adjoining black townships around Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, has so far claimed more than 50 lives and has left over 80,000 homeless. Weizmann Hamilton, of the Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI, South Africa) reports on the current crisis and the issues underlying it.

28 May 2008

spotHome secretary: "Tough on crime"...but not the causes

Home secretary Jacqui Smith has urged police forces to harass 'badly behaved' young people, writes Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national organiser.

28 May 2008

spot'Youth justice': repressive measures do not work

Comment: Despite spending billions on 'youth justice' the government has failed to stem youth crime, a new report shows, writes Pete Mason.

28 May 2008

spotThe Wire - Reviewed by Michael Wrack

When The Wire first started it could easily have been mistaken for just another 'cop show', and a particularly slow, dialogue-driven one at that...

28 May 2008

spot'Counter-terrorism' legislation threatens our democratic rights

Postal workers trampled on the anti-trade union laws

Postal workers trampled on the anti-trade union laws

Feature: The government's proposal to extend the period the police can hold suspects without charge to 42 days, will be presented to parliament in the next few weeks. ANNA LUCAS explains that, far from being a step in the right direction, these new laws, and other 'anti-crime' measures over recent years, amount to a major and unjustified attack on our democratic rights.

28 May 2008

spotPCS conference: More battles ahead on pay and jobs

PCS workers on strike, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS workers on strike, photo Paul Mattsson

This year's conference of the civil service union PCS was a resounding success, writes Bill Mullins, Socialist Party industrial organiser.

28 May 2008

spotUsdaw general secretary election: Members want democratic debate

Shopworkers' union Usdaw has announced that the election for general secretary will be held over the summer, when many of the branches are not meeting. A London Usdaw member writes.

28 May 2008

spotIndustrial news in brief

Tube cleaners ballot for action, Insult to postal workers: Cleaners working for private contractors on London Underground are balloting for strike action over pay and conditions...

28 May 2008

spotBuild A New Workers' Party

Teachers strike on 24 April 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

The fight for a new workers party is urgent - teachers strike on 24 April 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Labour, Tories, LibDems ...they're all the same! "Et tu, Crewe?" Gordon Brown might have muttered to himself as the knife of another electoral drubbing sank into his back, writes Greg Maughan, Campaign for a New Workers' Party.

29 May 2008

spotSacked airport shop steward, Gordon McNeill, calls off hunger strike

Doctors threaten court action to have him force fed

29 May 2008

spotUnite the union call for police to take action against their own members

Gordon McNeill's health deteriorates - ambulance called...

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