News

Now that's what we call a rip-off

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AFTER THE SCANDALS of Ray Burke, Greencore, the Telecom site, National Irish Bank, the Ben Dunne money, Michael Lowry, the Beef Tribunal, etc., it was inevitable that bosses north of the border would also be caught with their greasy fingers in the till. And there is nowhere better to catch them than at Belfast International Airport.

The airport was privatised by the British government back in 1994. The recent report, by an all-party committee of Westminster politicians, about how it was done makes for interesting reading.

International News: Workers Solidarity #55 1998

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Australian dockers' strike ends

BOTH THE DOCKERS' trade union and the bosses are claiming victory in the Australian waterfront strike we reported in our last issue. The owners of Patricks, the major dock firm, had sacked all 1,400 employees. Their aim was to smash the Maritime Union of Australia and reduce pay rates. The government backed Patricks to the hilt and Patricks spent $100 million on their union busting operation.

Sick Joke of the Year: Al Gore in Vietnam

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THE CURRENT favourite for the Workers Solidarity 1998 Sick Joke of the Year Award is that infamous newspaper of record, The New York Times - for a profile it ran of US Vice-President Al Gore. It prominently tipped Al Gore to run for US President in 2000. In doing so, the NYT notes that Al Gore has many "qualities" that recommend him for the job, including an avid interest in the environment, going back to when Gore was just a lad. (Ah it's lovely!)

What a wonderful world we live in!

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IF EVER YOU'VE felt doubts about why you are so against the capitalist system, just read the latest United Nations Human Development Report (or at least the media synopsis of it - see Irish Times 9/9/98). You may have known that there is inequality in the world, that the rich always seem to look after themselves and the poor just simply get poorer all the time. But are you aware of just how unequal the distribution of wealth actually is? Even for a battle-hardened campaigner against inequality and injustice like myself, the figures are quite horrifying.

WSM activity in the Spring of 2008

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IDEAS & ACTION was a day of anarchist discussions hosted by the Workers Solidarity Movement last March. Forty people came from Belfast, Cork, Galway, Dublin, Coleraine and Lurgan to share ideas and experiences. Speakers were anarchists involved in trade union, environmental, abortion rights and anti-racist struggles. Participants felt it to be both interesting and useful, with the Belfast-based 'Organise' group offering to host a second such event early next year.

That's Capitalism: Workers Solidarity #54 1998

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'Social partnership' gets better and better. In 1987 the lowest paid tenth of the workforce paid 3.14% of their earnings in direct taxation. By 1995 this had risen to 11%.1

*****

In Dublin, Mexican ex-president Carlos Salinas was quizzed by French officials over drugs money linked to his brother, but an Irish judge ordered a media blackout on the case - which was obeyed by all the papers.2

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International News Shorts

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Irish Mexico Group peace camp attacked in Chiapas

THE MEXICAN state of Chiapas has seen further violence, with large-scale military invasions into indigenous communities who sympathise with the Zapatista rebels. In particular, the army and police have focussed on removing foreign human rights observers from the region. 15 people were deported in April. Three of them were taken from the Irish-run peace camp of Diez de April.

Business as usual for the Robber Bankers

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National Irish Bank used to have an advertising slogan which said "We're different because we care". Following recent revelations about tax-dodging offshore accounts and their robbing of money from customers' accounts, perhaps they should change it to "We're different because we got caught". Or maybe even "We're not different at all because we care (about our profits)".

1000 march against racist deportations

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Saturday April 25th saw over 1,000 people marching through Dublin, 400 in Cork and 150 in Limerick to protest against racism and deportations. There were also activities in Galway and Roscrea, and cross-border trains were leafleted in Belfast. This was combined with demonstrations at about 10 Irish embassies and consulates throughout Europe and the USA.

Massive strike shakes Denmark

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ALTHOUGH YOU WOULD hardly know it from the media, the end of April and the start of May saw a massive strike wave in Denmark. Almost half a million workers went on strike, including almost all industrial workers and most workers in transport and building. It was so powerful that the police and other emergency services had to ask the unions whenever they needed petrol.

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