Camera crews, reporters and members of the International Socialists (CWI) along with other Scottish Socialist Party members waited outside the Blackness Fire Station in Dundee for the 6 o’clock start to the first national fire strike in 25 years.

FORTY-THOUSAND PEOPLE from all over Europe flooded into Florence, Italy, for the European Social Forum, nearly double the number the organisers had been expecting.

The many hundreds of thousands of Italian protesters were joined by tens of thousands of foreign participants in the European Social Forum assembly and by others, like the French CGT union, who came to Italy especially for this demonstration.

From 1-3 November, the national conference of the German section of the CWI took place. It was the biggest conference of the German section ever.

The elections in September 2002 took place during a period of big changes in Sweden. The third government of Göran Persson, the Social Democratic party leader, will act in a completly different situation than in 1998-2002.

In Naples, as everywhere else in Italy on 18 October, the general strike called by the Cgil trade union federation got support from a wide range of other organisations like Cobas, Sin.Cobas, the unemployed movement, the ’No Globals’, students and others.

President Putin’s ’war against terror’ has brought the very terror to Moscow itself. Last week, a group of 50 heavily armed Chechens drove through Moscow in two minibuses and seized a theatre in the middle of a popular musical show. 7-800 people in the theatre were held as hostages.

Last week’s general strike in Florence was very successful, with many factories practically empty. Local transport was on strike in the afternoon, when nearly everything stopped.

As anticipated, the Dutch government consisting of the Christian Democrats, the CDA, the liberal VVD and the hard right LPF (List Pim Fortuyn, whose leader was shot dead last May), collapsed on the 16 October. Basically the CDA and the VVD pulled the plug on the administration.

Committee for a workers' International publications

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