National News

Trade unionist ‘not a terrorist’

STEVE ACHESON, an electrician and active member of the union Unite, last week won a court ruling that gives him the right to continue his peaceful protest outside Fiddlers’ Ferry power station, near Warrington, against being blacklisted after the management tried to brand him a terrorist threat.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Lords to debate anti-slavery laws

THE HOUSE of Lords is debating proposed new laws for England and Wales to deal with what campaigners are describe as modern-day slavery.

The pressure group Liberty and Anti-Slavery International say servitude and forced labour remain widespread, with some migrants being held against their will on low wages.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

‘No choice but to march’

by Caroline Colebrook

LANCE Corporal Joe Glenton of the Royal Logistic Corps last Saturday led a march of thousands of anti-war protesters through London, even though he faces a court martial for doing so.

Glenton is refusing to return to Afghanistan and is calling on Britain to withdraw all troops from the country.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Rough deal for children of prisoners

THE CHILDREN’S charity Barnardo’s last week reported that the needs of children of prisoners are ignored by nine out of 10 local authorities.

Barnardo’s has urged the government to do more to protect the 160,000 youngsters estimated to have a mother or father in jail in Britain.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Council cuts 800 jobs

THE CITY of Birmingham Council last week announced plans to cut 800 full-time jobs in an effort to resolve a £2.2 billion budget deficit.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

First Group bus drivers strike

FIRST GROUP bus services across England ground to a halt on Monday (October 26th) when thousands of drivers took industrial action against an imposed pay freeze.

Members of the giant union Unite working for First Group in Essex, Yorkshire and the north-west took simultaneous industrial action on Monday to defend their wages and reject a zero percent pay freeze imposed by the First board in all of its 19 UK bus subsidiaries.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Eurostar cleaners

FORMER LABOUR Cabinet Minister Frank Dobson has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons in support of RMT cleaners working on the Eurostar contract at St Pancras International and their fight for pay and workplace justice.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Taking names

POLICE officers are collecting personal details, names and pictures of thousands of politically active people and keeping files on them as “domestic extremists”, according to a report in last Monday’s Guardian newspaper.

The data is stored on a network of nationwide intelligence databases. Three national police units responsible for “combating domestic extremism” are run by the “terrorism and allied matters” committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers. The scheme receives £9 million funding from the Government.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

BP profits rise again

THE GIANT oil company BP last week reported an unexpected rise in third quarter profits, causing shares in BP to rise five per cent.

Its replacement cost profit between July and September was $4.98 billion (£3 billion). Experts said the figure had “obliterated” market forecasts.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Leeds bin workers reject offer

HUNDREDS of refuse workers in Leeds belonging to the public sector unions Unison and GMB who have been on strike for eight weeks now last week voted to reject a pay offer from Leeds City Council.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Union to ballot BA cabin crews

DEREK SIMPSON, joint general secretary of the union Unite, said on Monday: “Unite is going to ballot our British Airways cabin crew members on industrial action.

“BA management’s determination to impose unacceptable contractual changes on cabin crew leaves us no alternative.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Cleveland firefighters attack cuts

CLEVELAND fire crews have hit out at moves to cut fire crews at Billingham fire station in one of the highest industrial risk areas in the whole of Western Europe. The fire station is at the heart of Teesside’s petro-chemical industry.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

International News

Taliban offensive hits Kabul

by our Asian Affairs correspondent

TALIBAN militiamen have launched a new offensive against Nato forces and UN personnel with deadly attacks on US troops in southern Afghanistan and violent assaults on targets in the heart of the Afghan capital, Kabul. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon condemned the Taliban attack on a UN residency in Kabul this week as “shocking and senseless” but the Islamic fundamentalist movement has vowed to step up its efforts to disrupt next week’s second round presidential elections.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Imperialist leaders charged with war-crimes in Spain

by Caleb T Maupin

IN THE HIGH Spanish court called the Audiencia Nacional, charges for international crimes have already been lodged against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and other nefarious world leaders.

On 6th October, new charges were brought charging Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, George H W Bush, George W Bush, Gordon Brown and Barack Obama with crimes against humanity for their responsibility for harming the people of Iraq. The next day the Senate in Madrid voted to change the law allowing such charges to be made, but the 6th October charges remain in force.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

New bombings rock Baghdad

TWO CAR bombs targeting several government buildings in occupied Iraq killed at least 155 people and wounded more than 500 in Baghdad on Sunday. Police in the Iraqi capital said it was one of the bloodiest days in the occupied Arab country so far this year.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Israeli isolation continues to grow

by David Harris in Jerusalem

UNITED STATES President Barack Obama hopes leading players in the Middle East will help create a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but a series of diplomatic tiffs between Israel and other countries in the region suggest a worsening of ties and less willingness to work with Israel.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Features

Afghanistan and the US empire

This report is based on a portion of a speech by Fred Goldstein to a Workers World Party public forum in New York on 9th October

LET’S PUT the fierce debate taking place over the war in Afghanistan in the proper historical and class context — from a Marxist point of view, a Leninist, anti-imperialist point of view.

If you listen to the public debate, it seems that the present crisis had its origins in 9/11. Now, there is no doubt that the ruling class in the US was traumatised by the catastrophic events of 11th September, 2001 — as were much of the US population. And it is certainly true that the rulers would like to eliminate the forces responsible.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

Tiny Yellow Pencil

by Arnold August

WHILE WAITING for his resentencing in a Miami jail, Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five, wrote a poem describing what he sees, hears and feels during the week he spent in the “hole”.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]

US: this crisis is different!

by Osvaldo Martínez

Director of the Cuban Centre for Research into the World Economy

ONE YEAR has gone by since the current economic crisis began its cycle of destruction. But its duration could already have extended to two years, given that it was in the summer of 2007 that signs of the real estate crisis, the prelude to this global crisis, became apparent in the United States.

A controversy is underway in the rich countries hit by the crisis over the much-desired recovery, in relation to certain quarterly indicators that have displayed a slight upturn or whose rate of descent has slowed. Some economists are affirming that the crisis is over and joyfully announcing an imminent and energetic recovery.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]