Sally Campbell

Women on the Front Line: Rage Against the System

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Sally Campbell explains why women lead the fight against Blair and New Labour, while Tash Shifrin spoke to some leading activists.

Further down the page are just some of the women who are on the front line against Blair, war and capitalism. Recently we have seen movements arising with an unprecedented level of involvement by women. One of the most enduring images in the last few years will be the school students in Parliament Square on the day the bombing of Iraq started - young women, in their school uniforms, being dragged along by police because they refused to move. Women have been prominent at the World and European Social Forums that have taken place throughout the world over the last few years.

What's Lurking in the Shadows

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Review of 'Who Runs This Place?', Anthony Sampson, John Murray £20

Forty years ago Anthony Sampson wrote Anatomy of Britain, a who's who of the component parts of the establishment and the roles they played in running our lives. It became a bestseller on the shelves of students, academics and workers throughout the land. He has written updates since (as well as the extremely useful exposé of the oil industry The Seven Sisters), but this is the real follow-up.

Countdown to 10 June: A Winning Formula

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For Londoners, 'Super Thursday' will be the most complicated election ever held. Sally Campbell demystifies the process.

There are three elections taking place on 10 June:

European Parliament

Which voting system is used?

Regional list system: The UK is divided into 12 regions (eg North East, North West, London, Scotland) and each elects a certain number of MEPs, so London is likely to elect nine, Scotland eight, North West ten.

Each political party puts forward a list of candidates for the region matching the number of seats (independents can also stand as individuals).

Miners' Strike: Class of 1984

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The Great Miners‘ Strike mobilised whole communities and transformed lives. Sally Campbell speaks to some of the many fighters about what they did at the time.

Bridget Bell
North Staffordshire Miners‘ Wives Action Group

The strike was a year-long struggle in which a community was attacked on all fronts - not only in the way the state was acting at the picket line level. In Staffordshire women were on the picket line because the area was subject to a lot of scabs. So women were absolutely critical to the strike. We had to be on the picket line as well as building support at all the other levels. Throughout the whole of the strike women got involved with speaking tours, organising major events, collections and so on.

Iraq: George Bush and the Corporate Thieves

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While Tony Blair clung to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as the justification for war on Iraq, the US administration tended to hold more with the argument that the war was about removing Saddam Hussein and delivering democracy to the people of Iraq.

As the occupation continues, both arguments are being resoundingly stripped of any credibility.

Top-Up Fees: Educational Betrayal

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Education minister Charles Clarke was forced to begin a climbdown over top-up fees within days of the Queen's Speech that announced their introduction.

The level of dissent from backbenchers - 136 of whom had signed an alternative motion - and from the public has led him to hint that he might raise the income level at which students would have to start repaying their fees from £15,000 to £20,000. Desperate to win over backbenchers by playing around with the edges of the bill, New Labour hopes to avert the biggest rebellion it has yet seen.

Unions: London's Not Waiting

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As we go to press, London postal workers look set to go on all-out strike in response to management attacks on CWU reps.

Management has tried to go on the offensive, suspending workers for refusing to carry out duties not in their job description and threatening to derecognise the union.

Workers are increasingly bitter about attacks on pay and conditions, and the cost of living in London. The Unison/CWU one-day strike over London weighting marked a comeback after the loss of the CWU national strike ballot. Now the rank and file is taking the lead.

Corporate Talk Costs Lives

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The resort of Cancun seemed the perfect place for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to hold its talks.

The Zona Hotelera, where the convention centre lies, is a strip of land with beautiful beaches on one side and separated from the town by a crocodile-infested lagoon on the other. The Ritz, Sheraton, Meridian and dozens of other multimillion dollar hotels line the strip, and the street signs and shop fronts are written in English: ’liquor store‘, ’drugstore‘, ’T-bone steak‘. The Zona is a playground for the rich of the US, while half the population of Cancun (a town created solely to service the resorts) are without access to basic services such as clean water.

Women and Work: Balancing Act

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Sally Campbell investigates claims that 'time is the new money' for women workers.

The wildcat strike by British Airways (BA) check-in staff at Heathrow Terminal One in July was a fantastic example of workers refusing to accept that we have no power over the multinationals. The unofficial action sparked media frenzy. There was a general agreement that this dispute was new and different from the strikes of yore because it was about time and life issues rather than money.


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