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Broadway stagehands return to work after union accepts concessions

By Bill Van Auken, 30 November 2007

The 19-day strike by Broadway stagehands ended after negotiators between their union—IATSE Local 1—and the owners and producers reached an agreement late Wednesday night on a tentative settlement that includes significant attacks on work rules and jobs for the approximately 350 workers employed at the major theaters.

The Jena Six: Mychal Bell’s case to be opened to the public

By Hiram Lee, 30 November 2007

Judge Thomas Yeager of Louisiana’s 9th District Court ruled November 21 that all proceedings in the juvenile court case of Mychal Bell are to be made public. Bell is one of six black teenagers from Jena, Louisiana to have been arrested and charged in connection with the beating of a white student, Justin Barker, in December 2006, following the hanging of nooses at the local high school and months of racial tensions in the small Louisiana town.

Report shows US coal mines not properly inspected due to cutbacks, mismanagement at safety agency

By Samuel Davidson, 30 November 2007

A government investigation of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) concluded that cuts in personal, inadequate funding and other problems have led to the failure of the agency to conduct required inspections at 107—or 15 percent—of the nation’s 731 underground coal mines last year. MSHA is mandated to inspect every active coal mine, at least once every quarter of the year.

Meeting in US to commemorate 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution

By , 30 November 2007

Ninety years ago, on November 7, 1917, events in Russia shook the foundations of world capitalism. The coming to power of the working class, led by the Bolshevik Party, changed the course of world history.

Reciclando mentiras estalinistas sobre la guerra civil española

By , 30 November 2007

WSWS : Español

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 30 November 2007

Europe

UN report into worst Afghan atrocity implicates security forces

By Harvey Thompson, 30 November 2007

An internal United Nations (UN) report into the November 6 bombing in Baghlan, in northern Afghanistan, has revealed how the actions of security guards after the blast greatly increased the death toll.

Letter from the children of Jean Brust, veteran Trotskyist

By , 30 November 2007

November 24 marked 10 years since the death of Jean Brust, a founding member of the Workers League, predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party. The following letter was sent to the World Socialist Web Site by Cynthia and Steven Brust, the surviving children of Jean Brust, a veteran of the Trotskyist movement.

France: drumhead tribunals and threats of police state repression

By Alex Lantier, 30 November 2007

The French government’s response to three nights of anti-police rioting in Paris’s poorer north suburbs has been a ruthless assault on local inhabitants and on democratic rights. With 1,000 policemen already deployed against rioters, President Nicolas Sarkozy gave two bellicose speeches yesterday—one in front of 2,000 massed policemen at the corporate La Défense district, another on prime-time national television—threatening stiff jail terms for rioters and promising massive equipment purchases for police. At the same time, the courts are passing draconian sentences in drumhead tribunals against youth picked up by police on suburban streets, often on the flimsiest evidence.

Iran: Why does Bush invoke the threat of World War III?

By Alex Lantier, 30 November 2007

This is the first of a three-part series. Part two will be posted December 1. Part three will be posted on December 3.

More than 100 dead in Ukraine mine disaster

By Markus Salzmann, 30 November 2007

A devastating accident in a coal mine in eastern Ukraine on November 18 has left more than 100 dead. Approximately 1,000 metres below ground, the Zasyadko mine near the city of Donetsk filled with methane gas that then exploded. More than 450 men were working underground at the time. Rescue attempts were made more difficult by the fire that raged in the pit for several hours. Days following the accident many workers are still missing, for whom there can be little hope of survival.

Edmund Wilson’s literary essays and reviews from 1920 to 1950: Just in time

By Andras Gyorgy, 30 November 2007

There is fortunate timing to the Library of America’s bringing out in two volumes Edmund Wilson’s Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s and Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1930s & 40s.Their publication may help dispel the mausoleum feel to the comments Wilson receives with every appearance of his own writings or writings about him. He was, many reviewers insist, America’s preeminent “man of letters,” with the word “last” added to drive the final nail in the coffin housing a man of action, as he was in reality for the early, most productive and interesting decades of his life.

Australian Labor prime minister-elect unveils new pro-business cabinet

By Peter Symonds, 30 November 2007

Just days after the Australian election, the right-wing, pro-business orientation of the new Labor government has been further confirmed in yesterday’s announcement of the ministry. Prime Minister elect Kevin Rudd wasted no time in making clear that the watchwords of his leadership will be a “modernised” Labor Party to push through an agenda of cost-cutting, “micro-economic reform” and “business deregulation” aimed at meeting the ongoing demands of the country’s corporate elite.

New Zealand: Charges dropped after “anti-terror” police raids

By John Braddock, 30 November 2007

New Zealand Solicitor-General, David Collins QC, announced on November 8 that terrorism charges would not proceed against 12 of the 17 people detained in a massive “anti-terror” police operation three weeks earlier. Far from backing down, however, the Labour government has indicated its determination to exploit the lurid but untested claims surrounding the incident to justify even more draconian counter-terrorism laws.

Sri Lanka: Central Bank union demands retraction of threats against SEP

By our correspondent, 29 November 2007

The executive committee of the Central Bank Employees Union (CBEU) in Sri Lanka passed a resolution on November 12 demanding that the leadership of the Sri Lanka Central Bank Employees Union (SLCBEU) withdraw its threat against CBEU president K.B. Mavikumbura and treasurer M.W. Piyaratna. Mavikumbura is a long-time member of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and Piyaratna is a close SEP sympathiser.

US bombing kills 14 construction workers in Afghanistan

By Bill Van Auken, 29 November 2007

An air strike by US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan left at least 14 members of a road construction crew dead late Tuesday.

An open letter to striking train drivers from the Socialist Equality Party of Germany

By Ulrich Rippert, 29 November 2007

The following open letter was addressed to striking German train drivers on November, 28 2007.

Big Three automakers prepare attack on Canadian workers

By Carl Bronski, 29 November 2007

In a series of announcements over the past several weeks, representatives of the Canadian auto industry have served notice that they are preparing a massive assault on the jobs, wages and benefits of autoworkers in Ontario and throughout the country. With the strength of the US greenback falling to sub-par levels against the Canadian dollar and in the wake of the historic concessions contracts forced on American workers by Detroit’s Big Three carmakers—General Motors, Ford and Chrysler—and the United Auto Workers union (UAW), the competitive advantage previously enjoyed by auto magnates north of the border has all but evaporated.

An assessment of the SEP’s vote and campaign in the 2007 Australian election

By the Socialist Equality Party, 29 November 2007

With around 80 percent of votes counted so far in the November 24, 2007 Australian federal election, the Socialist Equality Party has received a total of 3,451 votes in the House of Representatives and 3,231 votes in the Senate.

Citigroup deal highlights US banking crisis

By Joe Kay, 29 November 2007

On Monday, US banking giant Citigroup announced a deal with Abu Dhabi to secure a $7.5 billion cash infusion. The arrangement is intended to shore up the bank’s financing amidst an ongoing credit crisis, but the desperate character of the deal is an indication of the deep crisis facing American capitalism.

Annapolis: US prepares Palestinian civil war and rallies Arab support against Iran

By Chris Marsden, 29 November 2007

There were times when the Annapolis summit looked like a poor production by an amateur dramatics society—fumbled handshakes, translations not working, President Bush mispronouncing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s name, and Abbas himself dragging along behind Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert like he had forgotten his stage directions. But these gaffes only underscored the fact that this entire production was mounted only in order to conceal the predatory ambitions of the United States in the Middle East.

France: Three nights of rioting in response to youths’ deaths

By Antoine Lerougetel, 29 November 2007

The town of Villiers-le-Bel on the northern outskirts of Paris resembled a civil war zone on Tuesday night. An occupation force of a thousand police, assisted by a helicopter with searchlights, attempted to quell the rebellion of youth enraged by the death, in a collision with a police car, of two teenagers, Larami, 16, and Moushin, 15.

The betrayal of the French rail workers strike and the role of the LCR

By by Socialist Equality Party (Germany), 29 November 2007

The first trial of strength between president Nicolas Sarkozy and the French working class has ended with a bitter defeat. There is no way round this fact. After a ten-day walkout, the strikers returned to work under conditions in which the government refused to withdraw its reform of their pensions, the so-called régimes spéciaux. The trade unions are just negotiating over the price of their surrender.

Britain: The real issues in the Oxford Union “free speech” debate

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 28 November 2007

The latest attempt to justify dissemination of right-wing views with the claim that it represents a commitment to “freedom of speech” is amongst the most cynical.

US signs deal for long-term occupation of Iraq

By Jerry White, 28 November 2007

President Bush and the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki signed an agreement Monday paving the way for the long-term occupation of the Middle Eastern country and its transformation into a semi-colonial protectorate of the US.

Canada’s Supreme Court opens door to deportation of US “war resisters”

By Guy Charron, 28 November 2007

Published in French November 24, 2007

Election defeat causes meltdown in Australia’s Liberal and National parties

By Peter Symonds, 28 November 2007

The electoral rout of the Howard government at Saturday’s poll has produced a political meltdown in the Liberal-National Coalition as an unseemly scramble begins for vacant leadership posts. A pall of demoralisation has settled over the ousted parties as defeated ministers, including the prime minister himself, clear out their parliamentary offices. Amid a host of advisers and other staff forced to look for new jobs, the hunt has begun for scapegoats.

ISSE meetings in Britain to screen Tsar to Lenin

By Richard Tyler, 28 November 2007

This week the International Students for Socialist Equality are organising a series of meetings on campuses in Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester and Brighton to mark the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution with a special showing of Herman Axelbank’s film, Tsar to Lenin. The following is a review of this remarkable documentary.

Some of the old problems, too

By David Walsh, 28 November 2007

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

Venezuela: the class issues in Chavez’s constitutional referendum

By Bill Van Auken, 28 November 2007

The approach of the December 2 referendum on the proposed reworking of Venezuela’s constitution has produced a sharp intensification of the country’s political crisis.

Striking writers are determined, wary as contract negotiations restart

By David Walsh, 28 November 2007

Click here to download this article as a leaflet.

France: Riots break out in Paris suburbs after police crash kills youth

By Alex Lantier, 27 November 2007

Riots have shaken the north Paris suburbs for two consecutive nights after the deaths of two youths, Moushin and Larimi, in Villiers-le-Bel around 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 25. The youths were riding on a motorbike that was hit by a police car and were left for dead by police.

The filthy rich: Forbes lists America’s top 400 for 2007

By Hiram Lee, 27 November 2007

Forbes magazine has published its 2007 list of the 400 richest people in America. This marks the 25th anniversary of the list first begun in 1982. The richest person in America then was Daniel Ludwig, a shipping tycoon worth $2 billion—$4.3 billion today, when adjusted for inflation. His fortune is today dwarfed by the obscene levels of wealth maintained by the current Forbes 400. Number one in 1982, Ludwig’s fortune would just barely earn him a spot as one of the top 80 richest Americans today.

The sell-off of Britain Plc: Revenue and Customs loses personal details of 25 million

By Julie Hyland, 27 November 2007

A number of extraordinary revelations over the last week are indicative of a deep malaise surrounding the Brown government, leading some to suggest that its days are numbered less than six months since the “seamless transition” from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown.

Australian Labor prime minister elect reassures “our great friend and ally the United States”

By Peter Symonds, 27 November 2007

The last remaining member of the Bush administration’s “coalition of the willing” that invaded Iraq in March 2003—Australian Prime Minister John Howard—was ignominiously ejected from office last Saturday. The scale of his electoral defeat was underscored by the fact that Howard became only the second sitting prime minister in Australian political history to lose his own seat.

Credit crisis reveals widespread accounting manipulation by top US banks

By Joe Kay, 27 November 2007

The developing credit crisis in the United States, linked to the bursting of the housing market bubble, is beginning to reveal the accounting manipulations employed by major US banks to engage in speculative activities and hide risks. Several major banks have already announced billions of dollars in losses associated with subprime mortgages, and in the next months are expected to announce tens of billions of dollars in further write-downs.

Ninety years since the Russian Revolution: The prospects for socialism in the twenty-first century

By Nick Beams, 27 November 2007

The following is the Part 3 of a lecture delivered by Nick Beams, Socialist Equality Party national secretary and Senate candidate for NSW, to SEP election meetings in Sydney on November 18, Perth on November 20 and Melbourne on November 21. Part 1 was published on November 24 and Part 2 on November 26.

Germany: Neo-Nazi attack in Dortmund restaurant

By Sybille Fuchs, 27 November 2007

On November 17, a group of around 30 neo-Nazis, armed with cobblestones and batons, attacked the Casablanca restaurant in Dortmund. According to the police report, the group shouted “shit Turks” and “shit foreigners,” a reference to the Turkish guests inside. Nevertheless, the police are refusing to admit that the attack was racially motivated, and the offenders have been charged only with disturbing the peace.

España: Revelaciones de la obscena riqueza heredada por la familia del anterior dictador Franco

By , 27 November 2007

WSWS : Español

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 27 November 2007

Latin America

US Army reports rising desertion rates

By Naomi Spencer, 27 November 2007

After a decline in desertion rates following an initial exodus before the preemptive strikes on Afghanistan and Iraq, the military is recording a rise in the number of soldiers who abandon their posts. The Associated Press reported November 16 that desertions this year stand 80 percent higher than in 2003, when the US invaded Iraq.

Another slap in the face to antiwar voters: Democrats embrace former Iraq commander

By Patrick Martin, 27 November 2007

Six weeks after he denounced the American media and US politicians for undermining the war effort in Iraq and called for an all-out mobilization of American power to win victory, the former US commander in Baghdad, retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, delivered the official Democratic Party response to President George W. Bush’s weekly Saturday radio address.

Redacted: Outraged but schematic

By Sandy English, 26 November 2007

Written and directed by Brian De Palma

Annapolis talks: A cover for fomenting Palestinian civil war and preparing assault on Iran

By , 26 November 2007

The Annapolis summit in Maryland on the Israel Palestine conflict on November 27 has nothing to do with seeking a peace settlement through the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Letters from our readers

By , 26 November 2007

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

Ten years since the death of Jean Brust, veteran Trotskyist

By , 26 November 2007

November 24 marks ten years since the death of Jean Brust, a founding member of the Socialist Equality Party and its predecessor, the Workers League. Brust, a veteran of 60 years fighting for socialism in the United States and internationally, suffered a massive stroke on November 21, 1997 and died three days later, at age 76.

A life as a revolutionary

By Fred Mazelis, 26 November 2007

The tenth anniversary of the death of Comrade Jean Brust is a time for serious reflection on the meaning of Jean’s life as a revolutionary, which spanned approximately the last six decades of the twentieth century.

Australian voters speak to WSWS on polling day

By our reporters, 26 November 2007

The overwhelming sentiment among people who spoke to the World Socialist Web Site at the polling booths on Saturday was a deeply-felt hostility to the Howard government over a broad range of issues: from its support for the war in Iraq to its imposition of draconian WorkChoices industrial laws, its treatment of immigrants and Aborigines and the continuing deterioration of living standards.

An example to the new generation

By Helen Halyard, 26 November 2007

It is hard to believe that a third of a century has passed since I first met Jean Brust at a meeting of the Workers League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party, in 1972. It was shortly after I joined the party. I was convinced of the need for a socialist perspective and the correctness of Trotsky’s struggle against the Stalinist bureaucracy, but I still had a lot to learn.

Ninety years since the Russian Revolution: The prospects for socialism in the twenty-first century

By Nick Beams, 26 November 2007

The following is Part 2 of a lecture delivered by Nick Beams, Socialist Equality Party national secretary and Senate candidate for NSW, to SEP election meetings in Sydney on November 18, Perth on November 20 and Melbourne on November 21. Part 1 was published on Saturday, November 24, Part 3 will be posted on Tuesday November 27.

Australian voters throw Howard government out of office

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 November 2007

The Australian Liberal-National coalition government was thrown out of office in Saturday’s federal election. The anti-government sentiment was so strong that it claimed the scalp of Prime Minister John Howard himself, who lost his northern Sydney seat of Bennelong after having held it for 33 years. This is the first such defeat for a sitting prime minister since 1929.

Voters explain why they supported the Socialist Equality Party

By our reporters, 26 November 2007

The following are a selection of interviews at the polling booths last Saturday with voters who explained why they voted for the Socialist Equality Party.

Bhutto and Sharif decry dictatorship, while seeking a deal with Pakistan’s US-backed military regime

By Keith Jones, 26 November 2007

Pakistan is now in its twenty-third full day of de facto martial law. Basic civil liberties have been suspended. Thousands of government opponents—members of opposition parties, lawyers, human rights activists and trade unionists—remain in detention. Police break up anti-government protests with baton charges and mass arrests on a daily basis and the US-supported, military-dominated government has made civilians who challenge the rule of General President Pervez Musharraf liable to court martial.

Britain: No central control over nuclear arsenal

By Peter Reydt, 24 November 2007

In September, the world was stunned by news of what was described as an isolated mistake. A US Air Force B-52 bomber flew over the length of the United States armed with six cruise missiles. Each missile carried nuclear warheads that individually contained a yield of up to 150 kilotons—more than 10 times greater than the US bomb that levelled Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War.

French railway strike betrayed

By Antoine Lerougetel, 24 November 2007

France’s trade unions have succeeded in isolating and betraying the transport strike in defence of the special regime pensions. After ten days, bereft of a perspective on which to defeat the government of president Nicolas Sarkozy, general assemblies all over France voted to go back to work. Large pockets of resistance, some 10 percent of railway workers, about 14,000, were still on strike.

Ninety years since the Russian Revolution: The prospects for socialism in the twenty-first century

By Nick Beams, 24 November 2007

The following is Part 1 of a lecture delivered by Nick Beams, Socialist Equality Party national secretary and Senate candidate for NSW, to SEP election meetings in Sydney on November 18, Perth on November 20 and Melbourne on November 21. Part 2 will be published on Monday November 26 and Part 3 on Tuesday November 27.

Oligarchs vie for power in Georgia

By Simon Whelan, 24 November 2007

President Mikhail Saakashvili’s attempts to outflank the Georgian United Opposition are not running according to plan. Commentators are even beginning to question his ability to salvage his political career.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 24 November 2007

Asia

SEP holds public meeting in Colombo to oppose the war in Sri Lanka

By our correspondents, 24 November 2007

About 100 workers, youths and professionals attended a public meeting held by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Colombo on November 13 to discuss a socialist program to oppose the country’s renewed war. Over the past two years, the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse has plunged the island back into communal conflict, steadily intensifying offensive operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Major parties treat carers with contempt

By Peter Byrne and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in Victoria, 24 November 2007

In the course of the election campaign, both major parties have made gestures of support towards carers—the largely ignored, but significant constituency that looks after the frail elderly and those with physical, intellectual and psychological disabilities. The various policies and promises made by Prime Minister Howard and opposition leader Rudd, however, will not resolve the many and varied needs of carers and their charges.

The banality of evil: No Country for Old Men

By Emanuele Saccarelli, 24 November 2007

Written and directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

Germany: Left Party opposes train drivers’ strike

By Ulrich Rippert, 23 November 2007

After blowing hot and cold, and adopting contradictory positions, the Left Party has finally come out unambiguously against the strike by German train drivers and taken the side of the house union Transnet, railway management and the government.

Socialist Equality Party How To Vote cards available in PDF

By , 23 November 2007

PDF versions of the Socialist Equality Party’s How To Vote cards for the Australian federal election are available online.

Sri Lankan government rams war budget through parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 23 November 2007

The Sri Lankan government pushed its war budget through the parliament on Monday with a majority of just 16 votes—118 to 102. Although the opposition parties formally voted against, the right-wing United National Party (UNP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) both made clear their support for the intensifying war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Vote 1 Socialist Equality Party on November 24

By by Socialist Equality Party, 23 November 2007

The Socialist Equality Party calls on all workers, students, and youth to vote for our candidates in the November 24 federal election. The SEP is standing candidates in the lower house electorates of Chifley, Parramatta, Kingsford Smith, Grayndler, Charlton and Newcastle in New South Wales, Melbourne and Calwell in Victoria, and Swan in Western Australia. We are also standing state-wide slates for the Senate in New South Wales and Victoria.

Jury awards damages to Central American Dole workers

By D. Lencho, 23 November 2007

A jury in Los Angeles Superior Court has awarded close to $6 million to six workers in a lawsuit against corporate giants Dole Fresh Fruit Co. and Dow Chemical Co. The suit was filed in 2004 by 12 Central American men who worked at a Dole banana plantation in Nicaragua during the 1970s. The workers claimed they were made sterile by exposure to a Dow pesticide used by Dole.

Finland: What are the social roots of school gunman’s murderous rage?

By Steve James, 23 November 2007

In 20 minutes, just before midday on November 7, 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot dead six fellow students, his head teacher and a nurse at Jokela High School in Finland. He then tried to set fire to the school, before shooting and fatally injuring himself. He had over 200 more bullets available. A further 11 students were injured by flying glass.

Thoughtful response at SEP election meetings on the Russian Revolution

By our reporters, 23 November 2007

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) marked the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution at its final election meetings held over the past week, and drew out the prospects for socialism in the twenty-first century.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 23 November 2007

Europe

American liberalism and the Iraq War: The New York Times gives its blessing to Bush “surge”

By Patrick Martin, 22 November 2007

A front-page report in Tuesday’s New York Times gave the newspaper’s stamp of approval to the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. The report, spread across four columns under the headline, “Baghdad’s Weary Start to Exhale as Security Improves,” described improving conditions of life and security in the war-torn Dora neighborhood in southern Baghdad, portraying it as the outcome of the massive US military buildup in the Iraqi capital.

Bulgaria: Right-wing makes gains in local elections

By Markus Salzman, 22 November 2007

Local elections in Bulgaria held October 28 have produced further political disarray, intensifying the political crisis in this recent and poorest member of the European Union. The overall winner of the election was the GERB (Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria), headed by right-wing populist Boiko Borisov.

“GetUp! Action for Australia”: Protest politics in support of Labor

By Laura Tiernan, 22 November 2007

GetUp! the online protest group modelled on MoveOn.org in the United States, has been accorded substantial media attention during the 2007 election campaign. In recent days press reports have focussed on GetUp!’s efforts at mobilising thousands of volunteers for polling booths on Saturday, calling for a “vote for change”.

Kosovo Assembly election result deepens crisis over independence

By Paul Mitchell, 22 November 2007

The result of Saturday’s Kosovo Assembly election has deepened the crisis over independence. The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), political successors to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), secured 34 percent (about 220,000 votes) as against 22 percent for the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), in power since the NATO intervention in 1998. The PDK does not have a majority and may be forced into a coalition with the LDK.

France: 5,000 demonstrate in Strasbourg against Sarkozy

By our reporters, 22 November 2007

A spirited demonstration of more than 5,000 marched through Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region in northeastern France, on Tuesday, November 20. The demonstration set off from the Place de la Bourse and ended at the Place de la Republique and included public servants, social workers, teachers, professors, scientific researchers, librarians, tax office employees, firefighters and employees of university clinics who had all taken strike action for the day.

Rail workers, public service employees and students demonstrate in Amiens, France

By our reporters, 22 November 2007

Up to 700,000 people took to the streets on Tuesday in 150 towns and cities all over France in opposition to the austerity policies of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration. Often led by contingents of railway workers, who were in the seventh day of their strike to defend their pension rights, massive contingents of teachers and student and high school youth made up the bulk of the marchers.

Letters from our readers

By , 22 November 2007

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

More public hospital cutbacks in Sydney’s west

By Chris Gordon and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Parramatta, 22 November 2007

A leaked memo from a senior surgeon Mac Wyllie at Mt Druitt Hospital, in Sydney’s west demonstrates yet again the dysfunctional state of the public hospital system.

Socialist candidate warns Victorian teachers of union betrayal

By Frank Gaglioti and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Calwell, 22 November 2007

Will Marshall, a teacher at Footscray City College and the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for the federal seat of Melbourne, addressed a mass meeting of 10,000 striking teachers in Melbourne yesterday, advancing a socialist alternative to the ongoing betrayals of the Labor and union leaderships.

Striking writers protest in Hollywood

By Rafael Azul and D. Lencho, 22 November 2007

Some two thousand striking film and television writers and their supporters marched along historic Hollywood Boulevard Tuesday afternoon and rallied across from the famous Mann’s Chinese Theatre. In addition to the writers, there were small contingents on hand from the Screen Actors Guild, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the California Nurses Association.

The wrongful detention of Tony Tran: yet another immigration cover-up

By Tania Baptist and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in Victoria, 21 November 2007

Another shocking story of Australia’s migration detention regime came to light last week, this time involving the unlawful incarceration of a Vietnamese immigrant for five-and-a-half years. The belated report of what happened to Tony Tran highlights how both the Howard government and the Labor opposition have buried the issue of mandatory detention throughout the 2007 election campaign.

University authorities use police repression against striking French students

By Kumaran Rahul and Pierre Mabut, 21 November 2007

Over 200 student delegates representing 64 French universities (out of 86 state-run institutions in the country) and three technical colleges met in the city of Tours on Sunday to decide the future of their struggle against the creeping privatisation of higher education. This was the second meeting of the National Student Co-ordinating Committee, which represents students participating in general assemblies at universities involved in the mobilisation.

France: 1.5 million strike against Sarkozy’s policies

By Antoine Lerougetel and Peter Schwarz, 21 November 2007

Some 1.5 million out of a total of 5 million public service workers participated in a one-day strike called by the French unions on Tuesday to oppose President Nicolas Sarkozy’s policies of job cuts and attacks on public services, and to demand higher wages to compensate for sharp rises in living costs.

New law condemning Franco’s crimes further polarises Spain

By Paul Stuart and Paul Mitchell, 21 November 2007

Spain’s Congress recently passed the Law of Historical Memory, which for the first time officially condemns the mass executions and other crimes carried out during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the military dictatorship of General Francisco Franco (1939-1975) that followed.

SEP-ISSE meeting in Sri Lanka: the lessons of the Russian Revolution

By , 21 November 2007

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) will hold a public meeting in Colombo on November 25 to mark the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

British obesity levels the highest in Europe

By Barry Mason, 21 November 2007

Two recent reports show the rapidly increasing levels of obesity in Britain. The Foresight project’s “Tackling Obesities: Future Choices” notes that the level of obesity in Britain has doubled over the last 25 years, with around a quarter of adults now obese.

US recession fears grow as bank losses mount

By Barry Grey, 21 November 2007

The crisis in US housing and credit markets is taking a growing toll on major banks and financial institutions in the US and around the world, and increasingly affecting other sectors of the economy. Mounting bank losses and tightening credit are deepening the housing slump and impacting retail sales, hi tech business and corporate profits as a whole.

Indian Stalinists reverse course, allow Indo-US nuclear deal go to IAEA

By Kranti Kumara, 21 November 2007

Despite a months-long display of conspicuous opposition to the civilian nuclear co-operation treaty that India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition government has struck with the Bush administration, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front has abandoned its opposition to New Delhi taking any further steps toward “operationalizing” the deal.

Mexico: Aftermath of the Tabasco floods—another manmade “natural” disaster

By Kevin Kearney, 21 November 2007

Tabasco and neighboring Chiapas state are still reeling from last month’s floods in Mexico, which caused 19 confirmed deaths, caused hundreds to go missing and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Tabasco Governor Andres Granier declared that about four-fifths of Tabasco state was under water, estimating damage at $5 billion, and warned that many evacuees will not be able to return for months.

Labor, Liberal and the revival of colonialism in the South Pacific

By Peter Byrne and Socialist Equality Party candidate for the Senate in Victoria, 21 November 2007

Last Thursday’s foreign policy debate between Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and his Labor counterpart, Robert McClelland, witnessed virtually the only mention, in the course of the six-week election campaign, of the Howard government’s predatory activities in the South Pacific.

Broadway remains dark another week after strike talks break down

By Bill Van Auken, 21 November 2007

The strike that has shut the bulk of New York’s theaters will continue at least through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend—Broadway’s second busiest season of the year—after talks between the stagehands union and the theater owners and producers broke down on Sunday night.

Los Angeles school district threatens teachers with financial punishment over payroll glitch

By Ramón Valle, 21 November 2007

The computer glitch in the payroll system that has ensnared teachers, counselors, janitors and other service workers of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in a financial nightmare since last January continues unabated.

Food banks running out of supplies in Detroit

By Debra Watson and Mary Coleman, 20 November 2007

Calling the situation a “Katrina-like state of emergency,” the primary provider of food staples to soup kitchens, shelters, churches and pantries across metropolitan Detroit is reporting a dangerous shortfall in food donations this month. Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan needs two million pounds of food to ensure the agencies have enough on hand to feed 250,000 people on the Thanksgiving holiday.

Britain: Brown reaffirms his pro-US credentials on Iran and Europe

By Chris Marsden, 20 November 2007

Key foreign policy announcements, advanced as proof of how Prime Minister Gordon Brown would articulate a new vision following the disaster suffered by Labour under Tony Blair due to Iraq, have only exposed the deep malaise affecting his government.

The China resources boom and the gathering clouds of global recession

By James Cogan and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Chifley, 20 November 2007

“Sound economic management” and “fiscal responsibility” are buzz words that have featured heavily in the Australian election campaign. Prime Minister John Howard has boasted of his government’s record of presiding over a protracted economic boom and warned of the dangers of “inexperienced” leadership if Labor wins office. Labor opposition leader Kevin Rudd has responded by insisting that he too is “an economic conservative” and accusing the government of “lost opportunities” and the lack of future vision.

France: Vast mobilisation expected November 20 against Sarkozy’s policies

By Antoine Lerougetel, 20 November 2007

General assemblies of railway workers all over France voted by 96 percent on Monday to continue their strike against the dismantling of the “régimes spéciaux” pension schemes and participate in Tuesday’s mobilisation of public service workers against the policies of Gaullist President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 20 November 2007

Latin America

US veteran population: a mounting social catastrophe

By Naomi Spencer, 20 November 2007

As thousands of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan return to the US, the dimensions of the social burden of war are beginning to take shape. A number of recent reports highlight the toll colonial occupation has taken on the physical and mental health of military personnel, as well as the lack of US government medical and financial assistance awaiting them on their return.

Thousands die in devastating cyclone in Bangladesh

By Sarath Kumara, 20 November 2007

Thousands have died and millions rendered homeless by a major cyclone which devastated southern and central Bangladesh on November 15. By yesterday evening, the official death toll had risen to 3,300. The Bangladesh Red Crescent has warned that the figure may reach 10,000 as emergency workers pick through the rubble and reach remote areas, including outlying islands.

New pro-business government takes office in Poland

By Cezar Komorovsky and Stefan Steinberg, 20 November 2007

On Friday, November 16, a new cabinet headed by Prime Minister Donald Tusk, leader of Civic Platform (PO), was sworn in by President Lech Kaczynski. The coalition partner of the PO is the Polish Peasant Party led by Waldemar Pawlak, (PSL). In the new cabinet, the PO takes over 15 ministries, while the PSL coalition partner takes three. Pawlak and Grzegorz Schetyna, the PO secretary general, have both been appointed deputy prime ministers with Pawla also taking over as economics minister and Schetyna the post of Interior Minister. Radek Sikorski, who was driven out of his post as defense minister in the former government, takes the post of foreign minister.

US steps up plans for military intervention in Pakistan

By Bill Van Auken, 20 November 2007

In the midst of public statements of support for “democracy” in Pakistan and the recent visit to Islamabad by the American envoy John Negroponte, Washington is quietly preparing for a stepped-up military intervention in the crisis-ridden country.