Ezker Marxista and El Militante organised a speaking tour last week throughout the Basque Country, with Gerry Rudy and Danny of the IRSP (Irish Republican Socialist Party) speaking in many Basque working class neighbourhoods, drawing the lessons of the experiences in Ireland and linking these to the struggle for national liberation of the Basque Country. The common thread was the need for the organised working class to take a lead in the struggle and link it to a socialist perspective.

The events in Oldham have hit the national headlines. Similar explosions of racial conflict have taken place in other towns in Britain. This has brought the BNP and the danger from far-right groups back into the spotlight. Bryan Beckingham, Secretary of Oldham National Union of Teachers, and Alan Creear in Oldham describe the background to these developments.

The Editorial of next month's Socialist Appeal deals with the economic effects of the current crisis and the build up to a war against Afghanistan. It also explains how the right wing leaders of the labour movement are using the pretext of the "war against terrorism" to prevent any criticism of their policies regarding privatisation with the curtailing of the TUC and Labour Party Conferences. This is also the pretext for the introduction of ID cards and other measures against civil liberties.

The decision to place Railtrack plc, the privatised rail company responsible for the upkeep of the system's infrastructure, into administration last weekend would normally have been the main item on the national news. However The beginning of the US/UK bombing raids of Afghanistan conveniently put paid to that. The decision amounts to a recognition that privatisation has failed (something all but the New Labour government had already realised a long time ago) but still falls shot of renationalisation a taboo word for Tony Blair and his government.

The demonstration against the war called by the CND on Saturday 13 October in London was much bigger than expected. According to the police there were about 20,000 demonstrators on the march, but this is a gross underestimation. The organisers claimed around 50,000 participated. When the head of the demonstration had reached Trafalgar Square (about three miles away) the tail of the march had not yet left Hyde Park.

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