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New Zealand: 17 arrests in nationwide “anti-terrorist” raids

By John Braddock, 31 October 2007

Seventeen people are currently under arrest, with all but two refused bail, following a series of coordinated police “anti-terror” raids around New Zealand. On October 15, arrests were made in dawn operations carried out in Whakatane, Ruatoki, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington and Auckland. Two days later, a house in Taupo was searched. The raids involved 300 police and the closing of airspace in the Bay of Plenty area covering the entire eastern-central region of the North Island.

Saudi king alleges UK could have prevented July 7 bombings

By Julie Hyland, 31 October 2007

King Abdullah’s accusation that the UK failed to act on Saudi intelligence that could have prevented the July 7, 2005, London bombings has met with vigorous denials from the Brown government. Fifty-two people were killed in the attack.

German Social Democratic congress upholds austerity program and coalition with conservatives

By Dietmar Henning, 31 October 2007

Two major decisions were taken by the 480 delegates and 45-member executive committee at the congress of the Social Democratic Party held in Hamburg last weekend: that the SPD would remain loyal to the reactionary social policies introduced by the previous government of SPD leader Gerhard Schröder, and that it would continue its participation in Germany’s ruling grand coalition, consisting of the SPD, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Letters from our readers

By , 31 October 2007

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

Ford and UAW press for deeper concessions from US auto workers

By Shannon Jones, 31 October 2007

In the aftermath of the imposition by the United Auto Workers of its sell-out agreement with Chrysler against the mass opposition of Chrysler workers, the UAW has begun talks with Ford Motor Company. The number two US automaker is seeking even greater concessions from its 60,000 hourly workers than those granted by the UAW to General Motors and Chrysler.

Democrats debate in the shadow of US war threats against Iran

By Patrick Martin, 31 October 2007

The Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night in Philadelphia was conducted under the shadow of mounting threats of a US attack against Iran, an expansion of the US military intervention in the Middle East that will have incalculable consequences for Iran, America and the world.

Report: Strategic air base being readied for war on Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 31 October 2007

The key base used by the US military for air strikes in the Middle East is being made ready for a war against Iran, a Scottish newspaper reported Monday.

Socialist Equality Party challenges Greg Combet to debate industrial relations

By Terry Cook and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Charlton, 31 October 2007

Last week, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) issued an open letter challenging Labor’s candidate for the federal seat of Charlton, Greg Combet, to debate industrial relations and other vital issues facing the working class. The letter was handed to Combet personally as he entered his election launch at the Wallsend Bowling Club.

International Students for Social Equality to hold meetings on campuses in Canada

By , 31 October 2007

The Canadian chapter of the International Students for Social Equality is holding meetings to elaborate a socialist response to the US occupation of Iraq, the NATO war in Afghanistan, the growing dangers of a US-led war against Iran, and the heightening of inter-imperialist antagonisms. (Please scroll to the bottom for meeting details.)

Rendition: An open attack on the Bush administration’s system of torture

By Hiram Lee, 30 October 2007

Directed by Gavin Hood, screenplay by Kelley Sane

Leading German politician issues alarm about threat of war with Iran

By Stefan Steinberg, 30 October 2007

With one notable exception, the German media and government circles have largely refrained from making any open comment about the growing threat of a US military attack against Iran.

Racing toward disaster: War, inequality and the crisis of American democracy

By , 30 October 2007

Four-and-a-half years after the invasion of Iraq, the US government is laying the foundation for another bloody war, now against Iran. The basic pretexts for further military action in the oil-rich Middle East have already been worked out.

California wildfire victims speak to the WSWS

By Kim Saito and Emanuele Saccarelli, 30 October 2007

A week after the eruption of wildfires across seven Southern California counties led to the largest mass evacuation in California’s history, and as authorities announce progress in containing the blazes, people are returning to their homes to assess the damage and rebuild their lives. As of Sunday, over 2,000 homes had been consumed by fire and many more had sustained varying degrees of damage.

Worsening conflict between Russia and Georgia driven by Washington-Moscow rivalries

By Simon Whelan, 30 October 2007

A series of recent incidents in Georgia’s two breakaway republics, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, have brought about a further deteroriation in relations between the Putin administration in Russia and the Georgian government of Mikhail Saakashvilli. Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia receive suppport from Moscow.

Another Guantánamo military officer condemns prisoner tribunals

By Naomi Spencer, 30 October 2007

An unnamed Army officer who served at dozens of Guantánamo prisoner tribunals has characterized the legal proceeding against one detainee as “unconscionable,” and said commanders dictated rulings against prisoners that tribunals found should be released. The officer will provide key testimony when the US Supreme Court meets on December 5 in a case involving Guantánamo detainees.

US: Police cleared in Taser assault on Florida student

By Tom Carter, 30 October 2007

Last week, the University of Florida released a 17-page executive summary of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation into the brutal Taser attack on student Andrew Meyer last month. The report concludes that the decision to use the Taser stun gun against Meyer was “well within” Florida standards for police conduct.

A case of déjà vu: Howard insists “no plans” for war with Iran

By James Cogan and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Chifley, 30 October 2007

Amid mounting US threats against Iran, the issue of a disastrous new war intruded briefly into the official Australian election campaign last Wednesday, when a journalist asked Prime Minister John Howard whether he would support a “preemptive strike” on Iran.

New report exposes Labor-Liberal wrecking operation on public hospitals

By Carol Divjak and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in NSW, 30 October 2007

The 2007 Public Hospital Report Card issued by the Australian Medical Association, which represents 27,000 doctors, provides a graphic picture of the bipartisan Labor-Liberal wrecking operation carried out against public hospitals over the past two decades. The report states that public hospitals are seriously “underfunded, overstretched and in crisis”.

Canada’s Conservative government rushes to reaffirm support for army champion of Afghan war

By Guy Charron, 30 October 2007

This is an updated version of an article posted in French, October 20, 2007.

The New York Times and Bush’s threat of World War III

By Bill Van Auken, 30 October 2007

When President Bush used an October 17 White House press conference to threaten that the escalating US confrontation with Iran posed a danger of “World War III” his remark was passed over in silence by most of the media. Those that did report it seemed, for the most part, to accept the White House claim that the president was engaging in hyperbole and merely making a “rhetorical point.”

The rise and fall of Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal

By Barry Grey, 30 October 2007

The ouster of Stanley O’Neal as chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch & Co., the giant Wall Street investment bank and brokerage house, is one more indication of the deep crisis gripping major US financial institutions. It also provides an insight into the corporate culture and social types that have come to dominate the US financial establishment.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 30 October 2007

Latin America

Israel’s power cuts to Gaza: Collective punishment with tacit US approval

By Chris Marsden, 29 October 2007

Israel’s decision to begin cutting power to the Gaza Strip is a collective act of punishment that violates international law. It brings to a new stage the efforts made to starve the Palestinian population into submission since Israel imposed an economic embargo on Gaza after Hamas seized control in June from Fatah, now headed by the pro-Western President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

Letters from our readers

By , 29 October 2007

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

Demonstrators denounce Bush and Democrats over Iraq war

By a reporting team, 29 October 2007

At the October 27 demonstrations organized by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) in New York, Chicago and a number of other cities, members and supporters of the Socialist Equality Party intervened, distributing material from the World Socialist Web Site and a statement appealing for students to join and build the International Students for Social Equality.

Nick Beams launches party’s election campaign on YouTube

By , 29 October 2007

Today the World Socialist Web Site is publishing a YouTube video address by Socialist Equality Party national secretary and WSWS International Editorial Board member Nick Beams, introducing the party’s campaign for the 2007 Australian federal elections.

Germany: Interviews with striking train drivers

By our reporters, 29 October 2007

The latest strikes by German train drivers held on Thursday and Friday of last week brought a large part of the German regional and suburban railway system to a halt, particularly in the east of the country. Over the weekend, the management of Deutsche Bahn (German Railways—DB) categorically ruled out any new offer to the train drivers who are demanding their own contract and a significant wage increase after years of declining incomes. Reporters from the WSWS spoke with strikers in Frankfurt am Main, Berlin and Essen.

One-third of Americans live with “extreme stress”

By Naomi Spencer, 29 October 2007

One in three adults in the US regularly contend with extremely high levels of stress, resulting in problems with their health, relationships, and work, according to a new national survey. Economic troubles are the driving force of stress for ordinary Americans, who reported money, workload, and housing expenses among their most stressful concerns.

UAW pushes through Chrysler betrayal in face of strong rank-and-file opposition

By Jerry White, 29 October 2007

The United Auto Workers union announced Saturday that Chrysler workers had narrowly ratified the new four-year contract with the number three US auto maker. The union reported that the agreement, which covers 45,000 US Chrysler workers and 78,000 retirees and surviving spouses, was approved by 56 percent of production workers and 51 percent of skilled workers who cast ballots.

Antiwar protest organizers promote Democratic Party

By Bill Van Auken, 29 October 2007

Tens of thousands marched in cities throughout the US Saturday to demand an end to the war in Iraq and oppose the growing threat of a new eruption of American militarism against Iran.

Why both Labor and Liberal will provide billions for tax cuts, but not for social services

By Nick Beams and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in NSW, 29 October 2007

Why have both major parties in the 2007 election campaign committed themselves to multi-billion dollar tax cuts, when successive opinion polls indicate that an overwhelming majority of voters believe these resources should be devoted to hospitals, education and other social infrastructure?

Firefighting shortages played role in California wild fire damage

By Ramon Valle, 29 October 2007

As of Sunday, the Santiago Fire in Orange County, having burned more than 11,000 acres, was still raging to the north of the city of Irvine and east of the city of Orange. It is threatening to jump into Riverside County’s Cleveland National Forest.

More warnings of a US war on Iran

By Peter Symonds, 29 October 2007

The Bush administration’s unprecedented decision last week to brand the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a weapons proliferator and its Quds Force as a “supporter of terrorism” has heightened tensions with Tehran and undermined European efforts at negotiations, setting the stage for a US attack on Iran.

Britain: Post workers speak out against union management agreement at Royal Mail

By our reporters, 27 October 2007

The World Socialist Web Site has been speaking to postal workers about their reaction to the Communication Workers Union calling off industrial action against the Royal Mail and the deal agreed with management. A ballot of members has been set for just under two weeks’ time, a period in which the CWU will attempt to dissipate and stifle opposition to its sell-out amongst the rank-and-file.

Sri Lanka: JVP-affiliated union issues threat against Socialist Equality Party

By K. Ratnayake, 27 October 2007

A trade union affiliated to the Sinhala extremist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has issued a menacing threat within Sri Lanka’s Central Bank against Socialist Equality Party (SEP) members and supporters in the leadership of the Central Bank Employees Union (CBEU).

German Social Democrats, unions fear losing control over the working class

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 October 2007

The national congress of the Social Democratic Party taking place this weekend in Hamburg is dominated by the fear that the party could lose all of its remaining influence within the working class.

The real face of Howard’s Northern Territory intervention: welfare cuts and community closures

By Susan Allan, Tania Baptist and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in Victoria, 27 October 2007

In June, the Howard government announced a “national emergency” plan to take control of more than 70 Aboriginal communities throughout the Northern Territory (NT). Police and military forces were sent in, purportedly to protect Aboriginal children from sexual abuse. So great was the alleged urgency that the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act was suspended to allow for the racially-targeted intervention.

Strong opposition at final Chrysler plant voting on UAW contract

By Jerry White, 27 October 2007

Workers at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant began voting on Friday on the contract reached by the United Auto Workers union and the number three US automaker. There was widespread opposition to the sellout agreement by the 3,800 members of UAW Local 1268, which was the last major union local to vote on the contract covering more than 45,000 Chrysler workers in the US.

Devastation from California wildfires comes into focus as some blazes are contained

By Rafael Azul, 27 October 2007

Six days of massive wildfires have left a devastating human toll in Southern California. The blazes have charred close to 500,000 acres, or about three quarters the size of the state of Rhode Island. Wildfires also flared on the Mexican side of the border, as far south as the city of Ensenada.

Democrats, Republicans back Bush war provocations against Iran

By Patrick Martin, 27 October 2007

While the Bush administration’s decision Thursday on a unilateral escalation of sanctions against Iran has provoked consternation and anger overseas—Russian president Vladimir Putin, for instance, compared the US policy to “running around like a madman with a razor blade in his hand”—the response from the US political establishment has been generally supportive.

European Union leaders agree to treaty in Lisbon

By Stefan Steinberg, 27 October 2007

The leaders of 27 European Union states met in Lisbon on October 18 to ratify a pro-business “Reform Treaty.” The treaty is due to take effect in 2009.

The “new seriousness” in cinema...

By David Walsh, 27 October 2007

This is the first in a series of articles on the recent Vancouver International Film Festival (September 27-October 12)

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 27 October 2007

Asia

German Socialist Equality Party (PSG) organizes meetings to support the train drivers’ strike

By , 27 October 2007

The German Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit —PSG) is the only party that unreservedly supports the current strike by train drivers and has consistently supported them against the vehement attacks of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB). We call upon all readers of the WSWS to participate in meetings to learn more about the aims of the strike and the broader significance of this dispute.

US imposes unilateral sanctions on Iran: One step closer to war

By Bill Van Auken, 26 October 2007

In an act unprecedented in the history of international relations, Washington on Thursday unilaterally imposed harsh and potentially crippling economic sanctions against Iran’s main uniformed security force, as well as against more than 20 Iranian companies and the country’s three major banks.

US: Maine nurses union agrees to demands of hospital administrators

By Eric Des Marais, 26 October 2007

Earlier this month, the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA) Unit 1 capitulated to the demands of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s (EMMC’s) administration. The union officials gave up on the demand for an independent professional practice committee. This committee would allow nurses to decide what staffing levels were necessary to guarantee patient safety.

Nick Beams addresses SEP election meetings

By Nick Beams and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in New South Wales, 26 October 2007

The following report was delivered by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site to an SEP election meeting in Melbourne on October 21. Beams is heading the SEP’s Senate ticket in NSW and is the party’s national spokesman in the 2007 federal election.

How the UAW pushed through its sellout at Chrysler

By Jerry White, 26 October 2007

With the votes at four Detroit area auto plants Wednesday it appears the contract negotiated between the United Auto Workers and Chrysler LLC will be narrowly approved. Although the union has not released actual totals, press accounts report 55 percent of those voting have approved the deal.

Letters from our readers

By , 26 October 2007

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

European Court of Justice overturns “Volkswagen Law”

By Peter Schwarz, 26 October 2007

On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg declared illegal the so-called Volkswagen Law, which dates back to 1960. The law, which granted a privileged status to the state of Lower Saxony and representatives of the workforce in the running of VW, had protected Germany’s largest auto manufacturer from a hostile takeover for the past four and a half decades.

China’s Communist Party congress: a celebration of private wealth and market success

By John Chan, 26 October 2007

The week-long 17th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) concluded in Beijing on October 21 with no significant changes to its pro-market economic agenda or the police-state measures on which the regime depends. The delegates dutifully rubber-stamped the official policies and installed a new handpicked leadership without a murmur of opposition or protest.

Merrill Lynch reports billions in losses amidst growing signs of US recession

By Barry Grey, 26 October 2007

Merrill Lynch & Co., the world’s largest brokerage firm, reported a net third-quarter loss of $2.4 billion Wednesday and acknowledged writing off $8.4 billion in assets from failed investments in subprime mortgage-linked securities.

SEP candidate explains why she joined the party

By Tania Baptist and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in Victoria, 26 October 2007

Below is the report delivered by SEP Senate candidate Tania Baptist to the Socialist Equality Party’s public election launch in Melbourne last Sunday. Also addressing the meeting were SEP candidates Will Marshall (Melbourne) and Frank Gaglioti (Calwell). Nick Beams, SEP national secretary and candidate for the Senate in NSW, was the main speaker. His speech can be found at here.

Socialist Equality Party meetings launch Australian election campaign

By our reporters, 26 October 2007

The Socialist Equality Party held public meetings during the past week in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle, launching its campaign for the 2007 federal election.

US Senate confirms right-wing judge to federal appeals court

By Naomi Spencer, 26 October 2007

The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed Leslie Southwick to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, overseeing Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Senate Democrats, clasping hands with the far right, enabled the lifetime appointment of the judge known for his bigoted decisions in exchange for Republican support on spending bills.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 26 October 2007

Europe

Spain: Arrests of Batasuna leadership by Socialist Party ahead of elections

By Paul Bond, 25 October 2007

With the arrest earlier this month of most of the leadership of the Basque separatist party Batasuna, the Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has made a clear pitch for a right-wing vote ahead of next year’s election.

World War Z: Monsters of this society’s own making

By Christie Schaefer, 25 October 2007

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks, Three Rivers Press (CA), $14.95

UAW moves to prevent defeat of Chrysler contract

By Jerry White, 25 October 2007

United Auto Workers union locals at four major factories in the Detroit area on Wednesday ratified the tentative agreement signed between the UAW and US number three automaker Chrysler LLC.

British Columbia strikes show workers need new perspective

By Carl Bronski, 25 October 2007

Over the past several months a series of strikes in British Columbia, Canada’s most western province, has highlighted an increased level of militancy amongst unionized workers and, on the flip side, the complicity of the unions and the social-democratic New Democratic Party in the offensive against the working class.

No convictions in US terror trial against Muslim charity

By Kate Randall, 25 October 2007

A federal jury in Dallas, Texas, has failed to convict any leaders of a Muslim charity who were accused by the US government of funding terrorists. Chief Judge A. Joe Fish announced a mistrial on Monday in the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and five of its backers, all of Palestinian descent.

Pakistan: Musharraf regime reiterates martial law threat

By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 25 October 2007

Pakistan’s US-backed military regime has reiterated its threat to impose martial law should the country’s highest court not give its blessing to General Pervez Musharraf remaining president till 2012.

The California wildfires and the American social crisis

By Patrick Martin, 25 October 2007

Once again, the world watches as a natural disaster in the United States threatens to become a social catastrophe. Once again, a million Americans are forced from their homes by a long-forecast calamity, with little planning or preparation by the local, state and federal governments. Once again, tens of thousands of refugees seek shelter at a football stadium in a major American city—this time, San Diego.

Australia: Victorian Labor government uses Howard’s WorkChoices against nurses

By Peter Byrne and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in Victoria, 25 October 2007

This article is also available in pdf format to download and distribute.

Rep. Pete Stark apologizes to Bush: Another abject climbdown by the Democrats

By Barry Grey, 25 October 2007

In the latest example of what has become a ritual of Democratic self-abasement and political cowardice, Pete Stark, an 18-term congressman from northern California, on Tuesday delivered a tearful apology from the floor of the House of Representatives for pointed remarks he made the previous week against President Bush and his war policy in Iraq.

Bush threatens escalation of aggression against Cuba

By Bill Van Auken, 25 October 2007

When it comes to profaning the name of freedom, there have been few speeches given anywhere that could seriously compete with the diatribe on Cuba that President George W. Bush delivered at the State Department Wednesday.

LTTE attack on Sri Lankan air force base

By Sarath Kumara, 25 October 2007

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) carried out a major assault on a key Sri Lankan air base at Anuradhapura, 210 kilometres north of Colombo, on Monday. The attack left at least 13 military personnel dead, as well as 21 LTTE fighters, thought to be members of a suicide commando squad, and destroyed or damaged a number of aircraft and helicopters.

US government unable to account for $1.2 billion paid to Iraq contractor

By Bill Van Auken, 24 October 2007

In another manifestation of the gross corruption, incompetence and profiteering that characterize the colonial-style war against Iraq, the US State Department has issued a report acknowledging that it is unable to account for some $1.2 billion paid to its largest contractor in the occupied country.

Canberra weighs up “regime change” in Papua New Guinea

By Patrick O’Connor and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Grayndler, 24 October 2007

The Howard government is continuing its dirty tricks against Papua New Guinean Prime Minister, Michael Somare, contemptuously defying the outcome of PNG’s August elections. Canberra had hoped the elections would result in a more pliant administration, and is now considering an unrestrained “regime change” operation, like the one it recently carried out in East Timor, and is currently orchestrating in the Solomon Islands.

Northern Rock: the crisis mounts for British government

By Jean Shaoul, 24 October 2007

The ever increasing financial support for Northern Rock, Britain’s eighth largest bank, by the Bank of England is testimony to a growing financial crisis that the government is powerless to contain.

Ninety percent of voting Writers’ Guild of America members authorize strike

By Ramón Valle, 24 October 2007

The voting membership of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) has authorized the union to go on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) November 1, the day after the present contract expires.

French unions vote to end transport strikes

By Alex Lantier, 24 October 2007

Union officials meeting October 22 in the Paris suburb of Montreuil, at the headquarters of the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) union, voted to put off at least until October 31 any further strike calls against the planned elimination of the régime spéciaux (special regime) pensions. Such strikes would not take place until at least mid-November. The decision caps a tenacious campaign by the main French union confederations to prevent any extension of the strike movement.

UAW defends 50 percent wage cut for Chrysler workers

By Jerry White, 24 October 2007

In its effort to push through a contract with Chrysler LLC, the United Auto Workers union has sent an email to its members defending its agreement to cut the wages of future workers in half.

An Evening with Brian Wilson

By Robert Stevens, 24 October 2007

I have wanted to see Brian Wilson for a long time and got the chance to do so September 23 when he played Manchester, England on his latest tour.

Wildfires engulf Southern California

By Kevin Mitchell and Andrea Peters, 24 October 2007

Massive wildfires have engulfed large swaths of southern California in the US, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and seek refuge in stadiums and other safe locations. As of the writing of this report, state officials and news agencies estimate that between 700,000 and 1,000,000 people have been forced to evacuate as a result of fires that began on Sunday.

German train drivers’ strike: GDL union leader appeals to the chancellor

By Ulrich Rippert, 24 October 2007

Last weekend, the chairman of the German train drivers’ union Deutsche Lokomotivführer (GDL), Manfred Schell, made an announcement from his convalescence holiday in Bodensee. He called upon the German government “to immediately mediate” in the train drivers’ contract dispute.

As Turkey-Iraq crisis escalates, US plans military strikes on PKK bases

By Peter Symonds, 24 October 2007

With the Turkish military poised to strike the guerrilla bases of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, Washington and London are engaged in frantic diplomatic activity to prevent a Turkish intervention that would further destabilise the US occupation of Iraq. However, as the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday, the Bush administration is also drawing up plans for military attacks on the PKK, either by US forces or jointly with the Turkish army.

Republican presidential candidates appeal to an ever-narrower right-wing base

By Patrick Martin, 24 October 2007

In three televised debates over the past month, together with speeches delivered to a conference of Christian fundamentalist groups last weekend in Washington, the Republican presidential candidates have sought to outdo each other in fidelity to ultra-right nostrums.

Nepalese Maoists quit government in bid to stem waning support

By W.A. Sunil, 24 October 2007

Nepal’s interim parliament was shut down last week until after October 29, following the failure to resolve a political deadlock between the government and the Maoist opposition. The Maoists, which had been part of the ruling coalition, abruptly quit last month and demanded a parliamentary debate on their conditions for the holding of elections for a constituent assembly.

Polish elections: a clear rebuff to the Kaczynskis

By Marius Heuer, 24 October 2007

Voters delivered a clear rebuff to the right-wing government of Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the Polish parliamentary elections held Sunday, October 21. His party, Law and Justice (PiS), won 32.2 percent of the vote, an increase of 5.2 percent compared to the last parliamentary elections two years ago. But both of his former coalition partners, the right-wing populist farmer’s party Samoobrona, with 1.5 percent, and the extreme right-wing League of Polish Families (LPR), with 1.3 percent, failed to gain enough votes to re-enter the Sejm (parliament). In all, the governing camp lost a total of 11.4 percent of the vote compared to 2005.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 23 October 2007

Latin America

Western Australian resources boom leads to deepening social inequality

By Joe Lopez and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Swan, 23 October 2007

The Western Australian economy has experienced unprecedented rates of growth in recent years due to increases in the export of iron ore, natural gas and other minerals to China. Mining corporations have amassed huge profits and governments, state and federal, have enjoyed rapidly rising revenues.

US militarism threatens to unleash regional conflagration

By Bill Van Auken, 23 October 2007

Following on the heels of President George W. Bush’s warning last week that those countries “interested in avoiding World War III” should align themselves with Washington’s escalating threats against Iran, a series of unfolding developments point to the danger of armed violence engulfing a broad swath of the Middle East and Central Asia and, indeed, posing the threat of a new world war.

G7 meetings highlight deepening problems for US and world economy

By Nick Beams, 23 October 2007

Last Friday’s plunge on Wall Street, which saw the Dow Jones fall by more than 360 points, or 2.6 percent, was a stark warning that, far from having passed, the problems created by the subprime crisis and credit crunch may be only just beginning. On Monday, the market went up, but only by 45 points in what the Wall Street Journal described as a “moody day”.

Britain: Oppose efforts by Communication Workers Union to end postal strike

By by Socialist Equality Party (Britain), 23 October 2007

This statement is also available in pdf format to download and distribute.

Swiss elections witness turn to the right and growing polarisation

By Peter Schwarz, 23 October 2007

The Swiss People’s Party (SVP), led by right-wing populist Christoph Blocher, emerged as the winner of parliamentary elections held on Sunday. With 29 percent of the vote, the SVP obtained the best result by a Swiss party since 1919. It increased its share of the vote by 2.3 percent and is now represented in the 200-seat National Council with 62 deputies where it formerly had 55.

UAW conspires with Chrysler to impose agreement

By Jerry White, 23 October 2007

The United Auto Workers union is engaged in a war against its membership, colluding with management at Chrysler LLC to impose a new labor agreement, which a majority of Chrysler workers oppose.

US: Bush administration fast-tracks relaxation of media ownership constraints

By Naomi Spencer, 23 October 2007

Last week, the head of the US Federal Communications Commission unveiled a plan to scrap regulations on media ownership in order to facilitate increased corporate consolidation. The proposal, which would take effect in two months, is crafted for the exclusive benefit of multi-billion dollar media conglomerates and their private investors.

Letters on US auto workers’ struggle

By , 23 October 2007

Below is a letter from the wife of a Chrysler worker at the St. Louis (South) assembly plant in Fenton, Missouri. Over the weekend workers at the plant rejected the United Auto Workers-Chrysler contract by a 79 percent margin, two days after co-workers at a sister plant, St. Louis (North), voted the deal down by 81 percent.

Britain’s Socialist Workers Party collaborates in union’s betrayal of postal strikes

By Paul Stuart, 23 October 2007

On October 17, the web site of Britain’s Socialist Workers Party published the first detailed depiction of what was then only a proposed management offer to settle the ongoing post dispute. It was published as the response “from Socialist Worker supporters in the Royal Mail” and was only available online, as it came out after the party’s newspaper had gone to press.

Video: WSWS speaks to Detroit Chrysler workers

By , 23 October 2007

Workers at UAW local 7 spoke to the WSWS at the contract vote on Sunday where they voted by a wide margin to reject the proposed agreement.

Australian election debate: Howard and Rudd compete as economic conservatives

By Patrick O’Connor and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Grayndler, 22 October 2007

Last night’s sole debate between Prime Minister John Howard and Labor leader Kevin Rudd was, in many ways, a microcosm of the entire official election campaign. The two major parties—Labor and Liberal—vied with each other over which would more effectively implement the next wave of pro-big business economic reform. No other parties or candidates were allowed to participate.

More Chrysler locals reject UAW contract betrayal

By Jerry White, 22 October 2007

Auto workers at six large union locals have voted to reject the tentative agreement reached between the United Auto Workers union and Chrysler LLC. If opposition continues in the same proportion, the contract will be defeated. This would be the first national UAW contract defeated by the rank and file since 1982, when Chrysler workers fought to recoup losses from the 1979-80 Chrysler bailout.

IMF growth forecast not as good as it looks

By Nick Beams, 22 October 2007

The International Monetary Fund has forecast a growth rate of 4.8 percent for the world economy in 2008 in its latest World Economic Outlook, a slowdown from the growth rate of 5.2 percent for this year.

The Kingdom: Spinning reality any way one wants

By Hiram Lee, 22 October 2007

Directed by Peter Berg, screenplay by Matthew Carnahan

US raid on Baghdad’s Sadr City leaves many dead and wounded

By Bill Van Auken, 22 October 2007

A violent US assault on Baghdad’s Sadr City Sunday left many people dead—49 according to the military’s own count—and scores more wounded. The foray into the crowded and impoverished Shia neighborhood, home to an estimated 3 million people, was launched before dawn and quickly escalated as American forces called in air strikes that left houses, stores and cars destroyed and in flames.

Germany: Social Democratic chairman attacks train drivers

By Ulrich Rippert, 22 October 2007

Following the nationwide strike by train drivers on Thursday last week, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) chairman Kurt Beck directed a fierce attack against the strikers and their union.

Detroit autoworkers speak out against UAW-Chrysler contract

By our reporting team, 22 October 2007

Supporters of the Socialist Equality Party and reporters for the World Socialist Web Site spoke to workers at the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, and distributed a statement opposing the UAW-Chrysler contract. (See “Vote ‘no’ on UAW sellout at Chrysler! Elect rank-and-file committees for contract fight!”)

US secretary of state seeks to impose Israeli diktats on Palestinians

By Chris Marsden, 22 October 2007

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was busy “lowering expectations” after her five-day tour of the Middle East. In truth, Israel had its expectations fully realised. And, amongst the Palestinians, only the Abbas regime would have even entertained the possibility of any other outcome.

Letters from our readers

By , 22 October 2007

On “An anti-democratic tirade: Former US commander blames ‘partisan’ politics and ‘agenda-driven’ media for Iraq debacle”