Julie Sherry

Pressure at the top

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The mass strike on 30 November struck a heavy blow against the government and its cuts agenda. But since then some union leaders have put the breaks on. Julie Sherry assesses the role of the trade union bureaucracy and looks at how workers can increase the pressure for more strikes

The fightback against the Tories' vicious attacks reached a magnificent level in November with the biggest strike in Britain since 1926.

The sheer scale of the action boosted the confidence of workers everywhere. To have close to a million workers on marches in towns and cities across the entire country, with over two million striking, was by any standard an incredible show of working class strength.

Ours to Master and to Own

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Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini

As the current economic crisis deepens, governments around the globe are attempting to force savage austerity measures on the working class. The argument about a different kind of society, one that is run and controlled by workers and in their interests, is now an urgent one.

Marx said that capitalism creates its own gravedigger - the working class. Our history is rich with lessons from past struggles when workers have challenged for power, sometimes confronting the bosses, sometimes confronting the capitalist state as a whole.

Healthy signs of resistance in the NHS

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"Day X for the NHS" on 9 March saw, for the first time in over a decade, 1,000 health workers taking to the streets of London. They came in scrubs and white coats, marching past the banks chanting, "Our NHS is not for sale, put the bankers into jail!"


At its head were medical and nursing students, joined by a wide range of other health workers. From the name of the protest, Day X, to the vibrancy of the demo, it had all the hallmarks (although on a smaller scale) of last year's student demonstrations.

The Day X mobilisation represents a significant breakthrough. It comes after years of the key health union, Unison, avoiding any fight in the NHS as it put its loyalty to the Labour government ahead of everything.

Do workers still have power?

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Julie Sherry argues that the working class still has the power to change society.

When I was nine I asked my mum why the world was so unfair. It seemed to me that "the people in charge" were making mistakes. You can imagine my anxiety when she suggested the people in charge weren't concerned with the things they ought to be, like public welfare.

Living Dolls

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Natasha Walters, Virago, £12.99

Subtitled The Return of Sexism, Living Dolls examines the links between mainstream ideas of femininity, the scientific bases for these widely accepted views and their impact on the lives of women and girls. It pays particular attention to the way the rise in raunch culture narrows the view of sex to that of a commodity.

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