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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2011

Fast news


Higher bills

With winter approaching, UK households face paying their highest ever bills after the 'big six' energy companies jacked up their gas and electricity prices. The average profit margin is now 125 per customer a year for these energy giants - with the average annual dual-fuel bill reaching 1,345. This profit margin represents a staggering 733% increase since June.

Unsurprisingly the government declined to renationalise these parasitic companies, instead merely criticised their insensitive timing of price rises ahead of the winter period. Likewise, Labour complains about the 'energy market' but it too refuses to demand renationalisation.

Ofgem, the toothless energy watchdog, said that its call for energy companies to issue simpler tariffs would make for clearer bills, allowing consumers to choose the best deal possible. This is like enjoying the clarity of a poke in the eye compared to a punch on the nose. But either way you're going to be worse off.


Support Kurdish rights

Kurds and members of other ethnic minority groups in Turkey are calling supporters to join them in a protest in Cardiff at the Welsh Assembly at 11am on Wednesday 26 October.

The Turkish government's long history of the oppression of minority groups is continuing, with an attempted ban on prominent Kurdish figures from standing in elections, a crackdown on the use of Kurdish through prosecutions for 'language crimes' and violent attacks on protesters, including the killing of one man in Bismil on 20 April of this year.

Organiser Metin Gunerigok from Cardiff said: "We must raise our voices and let the whole world know what is being done to the Kurdish people." Socialists support the protest and call for the right of ethnic groups to be free from persecution, to use their own language, and to determine their relationship to other communities.


Stop press

Vik Chechi, the Unison branch secretary of Queen Mary University in east London has been suspended by his employer. It is suspected that this is with a view to sack him because management wants to weaken the union and the anti-cuts campaign in the university, to allow them to drive through over 100 redundancies.

By disarming the union, this would be just the start of the attacks on staff and students alike.

This is also an attack on Unison in particular and the trade unions in general, prior to the expected massive pension strike on 30 November.

Workers cannot afford to see their union strength weakened at this critical time when jobs, terms and conditions and pensions are on the line.

Please protest immediately to Vik's employers demanding his immediate reinstatement - Queen Mary University c.pearson@qmul.ac.uk and 'Centre of the Cell' (part of QMU) f.balkwill@qmul.ac.uk. Send copies to info@shopstewards.net


Anti-capitalist diversion

The greed of the super-rich and the giant corporations awarding themselves huge salaries and bonuses and making mega-profits while the majority of the population suffer austerity, has prompted general strikes and direct action protests around the world.

But bankers aren't the problem according to Andreas Schmitz, who just happens to be the head of the German banking federation. Mr Schmitz says the recent anti-capitalist protests were "a diversion from the fundamental problem: that we can no longer finance our welfare states".


Minority view

Mr Schmitz views are in a minority among electors in New York City. A university opinion poll found two-thirds of voters in NYC agree with the Occupy Wall Street protesters' views. And asked about regulating the financial system 73% agreed laws should be tougher.

A Time magazine poll found that public support for the anti-capitalist protest is running higher than that for the right-wing Tea Party Republicans.

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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 19 October 2011:


Socialist Party news and analysis

15 October: day of intercontinental resistance

Scandal reveals corrupt influence of big business on government

The Hardest Hit protests

Rocketing rents leave tenants facing eviction

Fast news


Socialism 2011

Come to Socialism 2011


What we think

Mass movement needed to save our NHS


Socialist Party workplace news

Support Remploy workers

Construction electricians march on Blackfriars

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

We are the 99% - Fighting for our future

Anti-union, low paying, bullying bosses

Birmingham youth service ravaged by cuts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Not guilty: Jury rejects the politically motivated charge of 'conspiracy'

Dale Farm - occupiers defiant

More London trade unionists support call for anti-cuts candidates


International socialist news and analysis

Greek workers strike back


Socialist Party review

Reclaim the Game!


Socialist history

Hunger marches - When the unemployed fought back


 

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