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SEP in Sri Lanka commemorates 15th anniversary of Keerthi Balasuriya’s death

By our reporter, 31 December 2002

The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) held a well-attended public meeting in Colombo on December 21 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of Keerthi Balasuriya, the founding general secretary of the SEP’s forerunner, the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL). His untimely death on December 18, 1987 from a heart attack at the age of just 39 was a tragic loss to the international Trotskyist movement.

Los Angeles businesses press for expulsion of downtown homeless

By Nick Davis and Rafael Azul, 31 December 2002

The Central City Association, an organization representing 300 downtown Los Angeles businesses and wealthy investors, is pushing for legislation to banish the homeless from skid row. The legislation would establish, among other things, an anti-encampment ordinance, a permanent LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) outpost in the area with a fast-track downtown police court and a police street-crime patrol to catch drug dealers and other criminal suspects. Included is proposed legislation to enforce existing laws against public urination and audits of the Los Angeles Homeless Agency and individual service providers.

Autoridades de Inmigración en Los Ángeles arrestan a cientos de personas procedentes del Medio Oriente

By , 31 December 2002

WSWS : Español

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 31 December 2002

Police attack striking doctors in El Salvador

Israel: Corruption scandal grips ruling Likud

By David Cohen, 31 December 2002

Israeli politics has been shaken by allegations of corruption and ballot rigging in the leadership elections within the ruling party, Likud. The scandal comes as parties are preparing for the general election scheduled for January 28.

WSWS celebra en Nueva York reunión sobre el rumbo de guerra que los Estados Unidos ha escogido

By , 31 December 2002

WSWS : Español

Deflation threatens world economic growth

By Nick Beams, 31 December 2002

The close of 2002 has seen the prospects for the long-term expansion of the global capitalist economy become increasingly problematic. Accounting for more than 70 percent of world production, the three main regions—the US, European Union and Japan—determine the future direction of the global economy. But it is here that the main problems reside.

Britain: Military testimony indicates Bloody Sunday cover-up

By Steve James, 31 December 2002

The Saville Tribunal was formed to investigate the attack by the British Army on a civil rights march through Derry, Northern Ireland, on 30 January 1972, which came to be known as Bloody Sunday.

Tribunal comienza trámites contra LTTE por haber agredido al Partido Socialista por la Igualdad

By , 31 December 2002

WSWS : Español

Bush sets course for confrontation with North Korea

By Peter Symonds, 30 December 2002

The Bush administration is preparing to escalate the current standoff over North Korea’s nuclear program into a full-blown confrontation, with reckless indifference to the potentially disastrous consequences for the Korean peninsula and the entire region.

New account of US torture of Afghan and Arab prisoners

By Patrick Martin, 30 December 2002

A leading US newspaper published an extensive account December 26 of the methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency in interrogating prisoners captured in Afghanistan. The techniques employed—mainly at a top security facility inside Bagram air base outside Kabul—include many which are classified as torture by international human rights groups.

"Campus Watch" web site witch-hunts Middle Eastern studies professors in the US

By Jeremy Johnson, 30 December 2002

A web site set up in September by right-wing columnist Daniel Pipes represents the latest attempt to stifle the growing opposition on American campuses to the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism.” Known as Campus Watch, it initially posted “dossiers” on eight targeted professors of Middle Eastern studies—all of them prominent in their field—who supposedly showed “bias” in their teaching and public statements. Their crimes included daring to suggest that US foreign policies may have contributed to the growth of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, or proposing that Israeli assaults on the Palestinians constitute oppression.

Britain buys US plasma company due to continued vCJD threat

By Barry Mason, 30 December 2002

The extraordinary measures taken by the British government to obtain supplies of blood plasma underscores the continued threat of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the brain wasting disease resulting from eating meat from cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease).

David Walsh picks his favorite films of 2002

By David Walsh, 28 December 2002

2002 was an exceptionally poor year for the commercial cinema, especially American cinema. There was not a single US feature film I could include on either a list of best films that I saw during the year or best films that played in North American movie theaters in 2002. The gap between the harsh, rapidly-moving social and political events and the artistic perception of reality continues to grow. Something has to give.

EU intensifies collaboration to deport refugees

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 28 December 2002

European Union interior ministers have intensified their collaboration for the more rapid and efficient deportation of refugees. At their last meeting at the end of November in Brussels they agreed to charter more joint flights in order to transport asylum-seekers whose applications had been rejected by their countries of their origin.

Britain: More than half all London children living in poverty

By Tania Kent, 28 December 2002

A report published last month has exposed the deepening gulf between rich and poor in Britain’s capital. Commissioned by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, the report revealed that a staggering 600,000 children in inner London live below the government’s official poverty line.

Gujarat election opens door for more communal violence in India

By K. Nesan, 28 December 2002

In a sharp electoral turnaround, the Hindu chauvinist Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) won the December 12 election in the western Indian state of Gujarat, setting the stage for further communal violence throughout the country. BJP state leader Narendra Modi pushed for an early poll following anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat earlier in the year and deliberately inflamed communal tensions in the course of the campaign to divert attention from the failure of his administration’s social and economic policies.

HBO film on Gulf War: self-congratulation and banality instead of history

By David Walsh, 28 December 2002

Live from Baghdad , directed by Mick Jackson, written by Robert Wiener, Richard Chapman, John Patrick Shanley and Timothy J. Sexton, based on the book by Robert Wiener

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 28 December 2002

Indonesian communication workers protest

US mayors’ report chronicles rising hunger and homelessness

By Debra Watson, 27 December 2002

A record number of citizens in US cities were forced to look for emergency food and shelter this year, according to the United States Conference of Mayors. Their annual report, “The Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities,” was released December 18 in Washington DC. It shows an increasing percentage of the population of US cities are unable to afford either shelter or adequate food.

US: State governments enacting budget cuts and tax hikes

By Peter Daniels, 27 December 2002

State governments in the US are facing budget crises without precedent since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The stock market collapse has resulted in sharp declines in state tax revenues. Large tax increases and huge cuts in public and social services at the state level are inevitable over the next year.

Canada’s Supreme Court sanctions dismantling of welfare

By Keith Jones, 27 December 2002

Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that the state has no legal obligation to assist the poor—even if they have been rendered homeless and hungry.

US prepares further military exercises in the Philippines

By John Roberts, 27 December 2002

When 1,300 US troops started arriving on Basilan Island in the southern Philippines in February, both Washington and Manila were at pains to declare that their presence was part of a limited training operation designed to enhance the capability of Filipino forces to defeat Abu Sayyaf—a group of armed Islamic separatists.

Hesse state election manifesto of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit of Germany

By , 27 December 2002

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit of Germany (PSG, Socialist Equality Party) is running its own slate in the Hesse state election to be held in February 2003. The PSG candidates offer a socialist alternative to all voters who reject the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its leading candidate, Roland Koch, and who no longer trust the Social Democratic Party (SPD) or the Green Party. The PSG slate opposes the growing attacks on social conditions and democratic rights, as well as the preparations for war against Iraq.

The Republican Party and racism: from the "southern strategy" to Bush

By Patrick Martin, 24 December 2002

It was Richard Nixon who, after the landslide defeat of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964, sought to reorient the Republican Party to the white racist elements in the southern states. Nixon’s “southern strategy” involved an appeal to those former Democrats in the South who were disaffected by the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act by a Democratic Congress, and the enforcement of these laws by the Johnson administration.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 24 December 2002

Public health strike in El Salvador

Anti-globalisation demonstrations in Copenhagen

By our reporters, 24 December 2002

On Saturday, December 14, one day after the end of the latest European Union summit in Copenhagen, a number of demonstrations took place in the Danish capital.

US Senate leader Trent Lott resigns

By Patrick Martin, 24 December 2002

The political spectacle which has preoccupied official Washington for the last two weeks came to its predictable culmination Friday with the announcement by Trent Lott that he was stepping down as leader of the Senate Republicans. Lott was under increasing fire over his comments December 5 hailing the 1948 presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond, who ran as the candidate of the States’ Rights Party on a segregationist program. [See “Republican Senate leader regrets end of Jim Crow segregation”]

Blair seeks to bring Syria’s Assad behind war vs. Iraq

By Jean Shaoul, 24 December 2002

The British government’s courting of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during a four-day official visit to London last week was aimed at bringing Syria fully behind the planned US led war against Iraq. It is part of a wider offensive orchestrated by Washington designed to assemble Arab support for war.

Australian government prepares military for Iraq war

By Richard Phillips, 24 December 2002

The Australian government has refused to deny a newspaper report that its defence forces are being readied for the US-led war against Iraq early next year. An article in the Murdoch-owned Daily Telegraph on December 18 revealed that Australian military commanders were planning for the assault in March. The Telegraph article followed the recent visit by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage for detailed discussions on war preparations with government ministers and senior Labor Party officials.

Britain: Bain review sets out a devastating government assault on fire service

By Julie Hyland, 23 December 2002

Last week the review chaired by Professor Sir George Bain published its findings and recommendations of the future of Britain’s fire service.

The NSSP refuses to defend Sri Lankan socialists

By the Socialist Equality Party, 23 December 2002

The Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP), which postures in Sri Lanka as a socialist, and at times even Trotskyist, organisation has refused to support the campaign being waged by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) against death threats and a violent attack, against SEP members on Kayts Island by local officials of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Inquest indicts Ontario Tories in welfare death

By Lee Parsons, 23 December 2002

A coroner’s inquest has found that the Ontario Tory government’s vindictive and Victorian welfare policies contributed to the death of a 40-year-old woman, Kimberly Rogers. The Tories, however, are unmoved.

US immigration authorities detain hundreds of Middle Eastern men in Los Angeles

By Rafael Azul, 23 December 2002

As many as 700 Iranian, Syrian, Sudanese, Libyan and Iraqi men were arrested in Los Angeles during the week of December 9-16. The men had been ordered to appear at Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) offices for what the US government called a “special registration.” The registration, in which male immigrants from a number of Middle Eastern and predominantly Muslim countries are fingerprinted, photographed, and questioned by the INS, was recently announced by Attorney General John Ashcroft.

German TV airs documentary charging American war crimes in Afghanistan

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 December 2002

The US State Department has reacted angrily to the showing of a documentary on German television alleging that US soldiers were involved in war crimes in Afghanistan. The film, Massacre in Afghanistan—Did the Americans Look On?, was produced by Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran. It was shown December 18 on one of the main German public channels—ARD. The 45-minute documentary had previously been shown by the British Channel 5 and the Italian station RAI.

Britain: Jury fails to convict man for beheading Thatcher statue

By Chris Marsden, 21 December 2002

A British jury could not be persuaded to convict the man who beheaded a statue of former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on December 17, despite his freely admitting to have attacked it with a cricket bat and an iron pole. After deliberating for almost four hours, the jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court said it was unable to reach a verdict and a new trial was set for January 22.

Al Gore and the politics of oligarchy

By Barry Grey, 21 December 2002

Al Gore’s announcement that he will not seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 says a great deal about the state of the American political system and the Democratic Party.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 21 December 2002

Public transport strike in the Philippines

South Korean election reveals deep-seated hostility to Washington

By Peter Symonds, 21 December 2002

The results of the presidential election on December 19 has confirmed a growing resentment in South Korea over Washington’s aggressive stance toward North Korea and fears of military conflict on the peninsula.

Fifteen years since the death of Keerthi Balasuriya

By , 20 December 2002

The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) is holding a public meeting on December 21 in Colombo to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of comrade Keerthi Balasuriya, the founding general secretary of the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL)—the forerunner to the SEP.

US actor Sean Penn visits Baghdad

By David Walsh, 20 December 2002

American film actor Sean Penn completed a three-day visit to Baghdad December 15 during which he spoke out against the threat of US attacks on Iraq. The 42-year-old Penn earlier this year took out a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post calling on George W. Bush to halt his administration’s war drive.

UN and East Timor government push for tougher police measures

By John Ward and Peter Symonds, 20 December 2002

In the wake of violent protests in the capital of Dili on December 4, the East Timorese government, backed by UN officials, has attempted to deflect attention from the country’s mounting social tensions by blaming politically-motivated “provocateurs”. Backed by the UN, Portugal and Australia, it has called for measures to bolster the police in preparation for further unrest.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 20 December 2002

German public sector workers hold strike over pay

Brazil: Lula’s appointments point to deeper austerity

By Bill Vann, 20 December 2002

While millions of Brazilian workers and poor people provided Lula and his Workers Party (PT) with an overwhelming margin of victory in last October’s election, his government’s economic team has been selected to defend the interests of the international banks, foreign investors and the Brazilian financial elite.

Letters to the WSWS

By , 20 December 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the WSWS.

South Korean election dominated by debate over US alliance

By Peter Symonds, 19 December 2002

South Koreans cast their vote today in a presidential poll that has been dominated by growing public antagonism toward Washington. While debate has focused on the presence of 37,000 US troops in South Korea, there are clearly broader concerns about Bush administration’s aggressive foreign policies, in particular, its belligerent stance on North Korea and the dangers of war.

30,000 British troops on standby for war vs. Iraq

By Chris Marsden, 19 December 2002

The Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair has put 30,000 troops on standby in preparation for a land war against Iraq as early as late January or early February.

Britain: Socialist Equality Party holds meetings to oppose war against Iraq

By our correspondent, 19 December 2002

“Iraq has clearly complied with United Nations demands that it make an accounting of its various weapons programmes with the publication of its extensive 12,000 page report,” Chris Marsden, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of Britain, told audiences at two public meetings in London and Manchester. But despite an elaborate charade of the US “carefully scrutinising” the document it is a foregone conclusion that the Bush administration “will reject Iraq’s report at some time in the next week or so and then it will attempt to initiate procedures leading up to a bombing campaign and military invasion that could leave tens of thousands dead.”

Washington maneuvers toward Venezuelan coup

By Bill Vann, 19 December 2002

With an employer-organized lockout in its third week, the Bush administration is maneuvering with the Venezuelan right wing in an attempt to topple the country’s elected president, Hugo Chavez.

Anti-government strikes in Macedonia

By Paul Stuart, 19 December 2002

The Social Democratic Alliance (SDSM)-led government “Together for Macedonia,” formed in October, has been shaken by a series of strikes. An anticipated period of grace for the newly elected coalition evaporated as workers at 17 enterprises went on strike to demand the payment of back wages and the return of legislation protecting labour rights. Workers in private industry joined the strike wave, accusing managers of spending back pay to lead luxurious lifestyles.

Sydney fire crisis highlights increased reliance on volunteers

By Erika Zimmer and Mile Klindo, 18 December 2002

During the first week of December, Sydney—Australia’s largest urban area with over 4 million residents—faced its second major bushfire disaster in two months. For three days, soaring temperatures and 70 km/h winds fanned scores of fires on the city’s outlying fringes, killing an elderly man who lived in a caravan, injuring five firefighters and destroying at least 48 homes.

Canada bans Hezbollah and Kurdish Workers Party

By Keith Jones, 18 December 2002

The Canadian government announced last week that it has added the Lebanese-based Hezbollah and the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) to its list of banned terrorist organizations.

Detroit museum holds meeting on US war against Iraq

By our correspondent, 18 December 2002

The Museum of New Art (MONA) in Detroit held a public forum December 8 on “Artists and the War Against Iraq.” Artists, critics, art students and others attended the meeting held in the two-year-old art space in downtown Detroit.

David Walsh at Detroit forum: "Great questions confront artists and intellectuals"

By , 18 December 2002

Below we publish WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh’s remarks to the December 8 forum at the Museum of New Art in Detroit: “Artists and the War Against Iraq.”

Mass eviction of Detroit’s poor

By Tim Tower, 18 December 2002

On the morning of December 11, more than 100 residents of a city-owned apartment building in downtown Detroit were subjected to a mass eviction into freezing temperatures and icing drizzle. At 9:30 a.m., Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies began piling the residents’ possessions into the gutter in front of their building.

New York transit union leaders accept take-away contract

By Alan Whyte and Bill Vann, 18 December 2002

Bowing to threats of massive fines and jailings if they called a strike, the leadership of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 accepted a tentative contract Monday night that saddles 34,000 New York City bus and subway workers with a pay package that will not even keep pace with inflation.

Letters from our readers

By , 17 December 2002

Dear Editor:

France deploys 1,700 troops in Ivory Coast

By Chris Talbot, 17 December 2002

France is sending a further 500 crack troops into Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire), in addition to the 1,200 already present. Made up of Foreign Legionnaires, paratroopers and marines, the occupying force is the largest sent by France into Africa since the 1980s.

A haunting portrait of US-backed terror in 1950s Vietnam

By Richard Phillips, 17 December 2002

The Quiet American, directed by Phillip Noyce and currently screening in the US and Britain, is a thoughtful and haunting depiction of the bloody role played by US intelligence agents and their local operatives in the dying years of French colonial rule in Vietnam. Adapted from Graham Greene’s celebrated 1955 novel, it is a timely reminder of how US-sponsored terrorism prepared the ground for America’s military intervention in Vietnam.

¿De qué consiste la ideología de bin Laden?

By , 17 December 2002

WSWS : Español

World Socialist Web Site holiday schedule

By , 17 December 2002

WSWS :

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 17 December 2002

Chilean public health doctors to strike against privatization

WSWS holds New York meeting on the US drive to war

By Bill Vann, 17 December 2002

World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board Chairman David North accused the Bush administration of using the issue of “weapons of mass destruction” to launch a war against Iraq that has far-reaching implications globally as well as for social relations within the United States itself.

New Zealand lines up with Australia over preemptive military strikes

By John Braddock, 17 December 2002

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has received guarded support from a hitherto unlikely source—New Zealand’s Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark—for his recent comments endorsing pre-emptive military strikes against a terrorist threat in neighbouring countries. After a Bush administration spokesman backed Howard’s stance as legitimate for “self-defence”, Clark pointedly refused to criticise the Australian leader even through his remarks triggered loud protests in South East Asia.

Kissinger resigns as head of September 11 probe

By Patrick Martin, 16 December 2002

The resignation of Henry Kissinger, only two weeks after he was appointed by President Bush to head the bipartisan commission investigating the September 11 terrorist attacks, underscores the extraordinary degree of resistance in official Washington to any effort to organize an inquiry into the role of the US military and intelligence apparatus in those events.

French teachers, parents march against government cuts

By Antoine Lerougetel, 16 December 2002

On December 8, the latest in a series of mobilisations of workers in opposition to the policies of the Raffarin government took place in Paris in protest against the government’s attacks on education. Between 25,000 and 40,000 teachers and non-teaching school staff, parents, high school and university students came from all over France, with the provinces particularly well represented.

Canada hides behind US to attack refugees

By Guy Charron, 16 December 2002

Canada’s Liberal government has introduced legislation aimed at drastically reducing the number of refugee claimants. Once Parliament accepts the changes, persons claiming refugee status on entering Canada from the US will, with few exceptions, immediately be returned south of the border. The pretext for this change is that the US is a “safe third country” and those wanting asylum should seek refugee status there.

Sri Lankan government and LTTE agree on scheme to end war

By Nanda Wickremasinghe, 16 December 2002

At the third round of negotiations held in early December in Norway, the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) indicated the nature of the political solution being worked out to end the country’s 19-year civil war.

A terrible story badly told

By Joanne Laurier, 16 December 2002

Ararat, the overwrought new film from Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan, attempts to revisit the 1915 mass murder of the Armenians in Turkey by way of the life of painter Arshile Gorky (1904-48) and the present-day traumas of Torontonians of Armenian descent.

The passion of the visual artist for the performing artist

By J. Cooper, 14 December 2002

At the Detroit Institute of Arts, October 20, 2002-January 12, 2003; Philadelphia Museum of Art, February 12-May 11, 2003

Letters to the WSWS

By , 14 December 2002

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

Bush reshuffles economic officials: more CEOs and bankers

By Patrick Martin, 14 December 2002

After a year of dismal economic performance, in which American capitalism has been rocked by the biggest series of corporate scandals since the Great Depression, the Bush administration has replaced three leading officials responsible for economic policy. But the identity of the “new faces” only underscores the extraordinarily narrow social base of this government—yet another corporate CEO and two investment bankers, for a regime already top-heavy with former officials from Wall Street and the Fortune 500.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 14 December 2002

Korean subway workers vote to strike

The strange affair of the Yemeni Scud missiles

By Peter Symonds, 14 December 2002

In the midst of Washington’s efforts to ratchet up its “weapons of mass destruction” rhetoric and establish a pretext for war against Iraq, a peculiar episode took place this week in the Arabian Sea.

Kenya: Crackdown on refugees following hotel bombing

By Dave Rowan, 14 December 2002

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused police in Kenya of using the terrorist attacks in the country on November 28 to justify a crackdown on refugees living in the capital Nairobi.

The New York City transit dispute—the class issues

By Bill Vann, 14 December 2002

This article is available as a PDF leaflet to download and distribute

La economía política del militarismo estadounidense durante el Siglo XXI

By , 14 December 2002

WSWS : Español

Britain: Blair government under right-wing attack in "Cheriegate" scandal

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 13 December 2002

Efforts by British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, to put an end to a ferocious press campaign against her have failed. The scandal over her alleged relations with a convicted conman led to her making an unprecedented public statement on December 10.

Eastward expansion intensifies social antagonisms in European Union

By Peter Schwarz, 13 December 2002

The EU summit being held December 12-13 in Copenhagen is scheduled to invite ten more countries to join the European Union. Negotiations on their membership are to be completed by the end of this year, which means that new members can enter the EU by May 2004.

Global survey reveals growing economic hardship, opposition to US

By David Walsh, 13 December 2002

What the World Thinks in 2002—How Global Publics View: Their Lives, Their Countries, The World, America, the survey released December 4 by the Pew Research Center, is an eye-opening document in a number of respects. Prepared by a thoroughly establishment body, whose chief advisor is the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, the poll reveals growing worldwide economic hardship and political discontent. Eleven years after the dissolution of the USSR and the supposed final triumph of the profit system, the researchers report that “almost all national publics view the fortunes of the world as drifting downward.”

Australian High Court libel ruling threatens Internet free speech

By Mike Head, 13 December 2002

In a decision that has the potential to seriously curtail freedom of expression on the Internet, the Australian High Court this week effectively extended the scope of the country’s restrictive defamation laws by allowing international web sites to be sued in Australia.

US: Top AFL-CIO officials resign in insurance scandal

By Joseph Kay, 13 December 2002

Three top US labor officials, including AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, have resigned their positions as directors of the union-owned insurance firm, Ullico. The resignations come amidst bitter conflicts within the union bureaucracy over probes into corrupt insider trading by board members.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 13 December 2002

24-hour general strike in Portugal

US seizes Iraqi UN documents to further war drive

By Bill Vann, 12 December 2002

The Bush administration’s seizure of the 12,000-page weapons declaration turned over by Iraq to the United Nations last Saturday is a measure of its desperation to manufacture a pretext for war.

Norway: Budget pledges attacks on social provisions, tax cuts and privatisation

By Steve James and Niall Green, 12 December 2002

The national budget proposed by Norway’s minority coalition government was finally approved by parliament (Storting) on December 3. The deal was secured with the support of the far-right Progress Party and followed two months of haggling that brought the Conservative dominated coalition, led by Christian Democrat Kjell Bondevik, to the brink of collapse. In the end, Progress and the government came to terms, with tacit encouragement from the Labour Party.

Italy: Strikes, protests against layoffs at Fiat

By Peter Schwarz, 12 December 2002

Over the last week, thousands of workers have undertaken strike action, blockades of workplaces and motorways and held demonstrations to protest against mass redundancies planned by the Italian auto concern Fiat.

Bush escoge a Kissinger como director de la investigación oficial

By , 12 December 2002

WSWS : Español

Israel targets civilians and UN personnel with impunity

By Jean Shaoul, 12 December 2002

Israel has unleashed a wave of attacks in densely populated areas in the West Bank and Gaza, killing and wounding Palestinian civilians and United Nations personnel.

Indonesian court delivers token guilty verdict in East Timor cases

By John Roberts, 12 December 2002

Verdicts delivered late last month in Jakarta by the Indonesian government’s ad hoc court trying cases of human rights abuses in East Timor in 1999 underline the cynical nature of the judicial proceedings.

New York: Governor and mayor threaten transit workers over strike

By Alan Whyte, 12 December 2002

With the contract covering 34,000 New York City transit workers expiring on December 15, both the state’s governor and the city’s mayor have threatened to impose an array of repressive and punitive measures if their union dares to strike.

Islamic extremists come to power in two Pakistani provinces

By Vilani Peiris, 12 December 2002

In the wake of the October national elections in Pakistan, an alliance of Islamic fundamentalist parties, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), has assumed power in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) for the first time in three decades. In the neighbouring province of Baluchistan, the MMA has struck a deal with the Pakistani Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA)—the party of Pakistan’s military strongman Pervez Musharraf—to form a coalition government.

Detainee dies during US interrogation in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 11 December 2002

US authorities last week reported that one of the detainees being held by the military for interrogation at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan had died. Almost nothing is known about who he was, why he was detained or the circumstances surrounding his death.

Victim of police raids hounded from Australia

By Richard Phillips, 11 December 2002

After being persecuted by the Howard government for alleged terrorist links and facing the prospect of forcible deportation under Australia’s harsh immigration laws, Indonesian-born Jaya Basri, his wife Zahri and their two young children finally left the country on November 30.

Britain: firefighters demonstration used as PR event for union bureaucracy

By Chris Marsden, 11 December 2002

The demonstration through London on Saturday December 7 was nominally in support of Britain’s firefighters and their campaign for a 40 percent wage increase to £30,000 per annum. In the event, however, it was transformed into a public relations exercise aimed at boosting the credentials of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

United Airlines bankruptcy signals new attacks on US workers

By Kate Randall, 11 December 2002

United Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, becoming the largest airline and the sixth largest US company to seek bankruptcy protection. The decision followed the refusal of the Bush-appointed Air Transportation Stabilization Board (ATSB) last Wednesday to grant $1.8 billion in loan guarantees to the airline.

French right reorganises in new party

By Francis Dubois, 11 December 2002

On November 17 at a congress in Le Bourget near Paris, the traditional parties of the French bourgeoisie agreed to unite in a new organisation—the Union for a Popular Movement (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire [UMP]).

How the Democrats assess their election debacle

By Barry Grey, 11 December 2002

The post-mortems that have emerged from the Democratic camp following its November election debacle underscore the political bankruptcy of the Democratic Party. For all the recriminations about lack of “message” and “vision,” the most striking feature of the various commentaries published in the wake of the election is the absence of any serious analysis. None of the factions—right, center or left—have been able to articulate a coherent “message” or “vision” in opposition to the reactionary program of the Republicans. Nor have they sought to probe, beyond the small change of immediate electoral tactics, the roots of the Democrats’ political collapse.

Venezuela: Is the CIA preparing another coup?

By Bill Vann, 11 December 2002

With a “strike” organized by Venezuela’s employers now entering its second week, there is every indication that the South American country is being subjected to a classic destabilization campaign organized in collaboration with US intelligence.

Bush administration moves to suppress documents on vaccines

By Joanne Laurier, 10 December 2002

The Bush administration asked a federal claims court on November 26 to seal documents relating to hundreds of cases of autism allegedly caused by a mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, used in childhood vaccines.

US: Republican Senate leader regrets end of Jim Crow segregation

By Patrick Martin, 10 December 2002

Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, expressed regret last week that Strom Thurmond did not win the presidency in 1948 when he was the candidate of the segregationist States Rights Party. Thurmond, then the governor of South Carolina, challenged incumbent Democrat Harry S. Truman on a program of Jim Crow racism and opposition to any concessions to the oppressed black population of the South.