After the pension reform in spring 2003, the conservative black-blue government (Peoples Party and Freedom Party) wasted no time in launching a new attack on the Austrian labour movement. The Austrian Railways (OeBB) were to be split up similar to the fragmentation of British Rail 10 years ago into 10 different companies. This would make downsizing the workforce much easier and would also have tremendous effects on one of the most highly organised sectors of the labour movement.

The Annual Conference of the SSP (Scottish Socialist Party) meets this weekend to discuss a draft manifesto for the European elections and debate other issues against the background of the recent events in Spain. Despite the successes over the past period there is a growing unrest in the party over the reformist and nationalist drift of the leadershp. The road of nationalism and reformism offers no way forward for the working class in Scotland or elsewhere. The struggle for socialism is international or it is nothing. We must learn the lessons of the past so that we may prepare for the future

Has British capitalism finally overcome what used to be called the British disease: slower growth, higher inflation, continual currency crises and a falling behind in living standards compared with the US, Europe and Japan? Growth figures actually disguise a far more diseased system that the media would like us to see.

The 2004 elections to the European Parliament, London Assembly, and local councils were a historic defeat for Blair and the Labour leaders. Phil Mitchinson looks at the rise of the UK Independence Party, and the lessons of Britain's Super Thursday elections.

The Butler Report, the official inquiry into how intelligence sources were used by the Blair government to justify the war in Iraq, has produced nothing surprising. It is another whitewash, just like the Hutton report. What is amazing however is that it provides enough evidence to show that the government did indeed lie to the British people, that it went to war under false pretences.

The Blair government is facing serious difficulties. It cannot convince the trade unions that its pro-big business policies, its continued privatisation of public assets are in the interests of the working class. Brown tried to make up for this by hinting that in some way he might be “old Labour”. In reality there is no fundamental difference between the two.

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