Solidarity 587, 7 April 2021

Kino Eye: Turkey in the 80s

Yılmaz Güney (1937-1984) was a Kurdish actor and then director who dedicated himself to making films depicting the struggle of the poor and oppressed in Turkey. Persecuted by the authorities, he was sentenced to prison allegedly for sheltering anarchists in his flat. On his release he accidentally encountered the judge who had previously sentenced him; the details are obscure and disputed but a brawl of some kind ensued and the judge died. Güney always denied responsibility but was convicted of murder. He escaped from prison in 1981 and sought refuge in France. It was there that he made his...

DVLA strikes 6-9 April

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike from 6-9 April. It’s clear from last-ditch talks that the bosses aren’t budging, so strikes will go ahead. The issue is workplace safety; far more workers than strictly necessary have been made to come into the workplace, leading to numerous Covid outbreaks. Our demand is for all workers to be sent home, and for an emergency working arrangement, overseen by union reps, to be agreed which ensures only emergency and essential work is done on-site. Longer term we want investment in equipment and software to...

Thurrock council pay cuts

Council workers in the Unite union in Thurrock, Essex, will strike from 13 April to 7 May, excluding 3 May. The workers, including refuse workers, highway maintenance, and street cleaners, face pay cuts of between £2,000 and £3,500 per year. • Donations to the strike fund can be made to: S/C 60-83-01, A/N 20216557, Name: Unite 1/1152. Messages of solidarity can be sent to willie.howard@unitetheunion.org • More on the dispute in Tribune magazine

£20,000 by 10-11 July

We raised £19,420 from our 2020 fund drive, enabling us to employ a new temporary part-time office worker and a new part-time staff organiser working "remotely", and to make our current special cheap subs offer. Still, we need more fund-raising, particularly to support a good "return to the streets" when that becomes possible and to give us options when looking for a new office. We're aiming for £20,000 by 10-11 July. h3 {text-align: center;} £1870.24 of our £20,000 target! Donate here! £0 £20,000 Make a contribution here! Or donate via PayPal: In 2020, some of our supporters, fortunate enough...

British Gas: sackings and strike on 14 April

British Gas engineers in the GMB union will strike for the 43rd time on 14 April, the latest date British Gas has set for the imposition of new contracts. Engineers who have not agreed to the new terms by that date face dismissal, as British Gas uses “fire and rehire” tactics to force through changes. The new contracts were due to be imposed on 1 April, but workers were informed by letter of the extension to 14 April. No reason was given for the change. British Gas says workers who do not accept the new contracts will be dismissed, with pay in lieu of notice, but no redundancy package. Justin...

Secondary exclusions up from 6.7% to 10.8%

Black-Caribbean, and mixed-background Black-Caribbean-white, students suffer more fixed-term exclusions from schools in England than white students.

There has been outcry about this in the media, and a justified call to investigate possible bias and cultural insensitivities.

The overall statis...

Israel: Islamists or ultra-Orthodox as "kingmakers"?

Israel’s fourth general election in two years has resulted in a deadlock. A fifth election seemingly the most likely outcome. Freakishly, though, an Islamist party could be "kingmaker". The right-wing bloc of parties supportive of incumbent prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won 52 seats, nine short of the 61 required to form a government. Parties opposing Netanyahu won 57 seats. On the left, the left-Zionist party Meretz won six seats in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, an increase of two from the last elections in March 2020. Israel’s Labor party, moderately social-democratic but with a...

The USA: politics as a "business" and populism

From Socialist Organiser 194, 30 August 1984. Image above: "Boss Tweed", the leader of the Democratic Party machine in New York City from the 1850s to the 1870s Two sorts of democracy Friedrich Engels, writing in 1891, saw the USA as an example of the limitations of even the best capitalist democracy. At that time the USA did not even have a sizeable permanent state bureaucracy or standing army. Yet Engels saw a radical difference between the USA’s democracy and the workers’ democracy created in the Paris Commune, when the working class took power in Paris for two months in 1871. Nowhere do...

Stan Newens, 1930-2021

Former Labour MP and MEP Stan Newens died on 2 March, at the age of 91. Newens got a jaundiced obituary in the Guardian, warmer ones elsewhere, and a tribute from Jeremy Corbyn which airbrushed out Newens' revolutionary Marxist activity in his 20s. In old age Newens wrote an autobiography, which I have not read, but is reviewed here by Ian Birchall. In February 1995 Newens gave an account, in Workers' Liberty magazine, vol.1 no.18, of his earlier political days and what he then made of them, which we republish below. Below that are recollections by me from when we worked with him, including my...

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