Solidarity 023, 6 February 2003

Labour activists oppose the war

Published on: Tue, 25/02/2003 - 00:02

Recall Labour Party Conference!

By Maria Exall, CWU Executive, personal capacity
Hundreds of delegates left the Labour Party Spring Conference and joined the anti-war protest in Glasgow on 15 February. Delegates from CWU, GPMU, GMB, UNISON and other unions, as well as Constituency representatives took part in the 150,000 strong rally outside the Conference centre.

At the Campaign for Socialism/ Socialist Campaign Group rally in the evening, activists demanded a recall of the national Labour Party Conference, the sovereign body of the Party, to discuss the impending war with Iraq. They did not

Bush's war is for oil not freedom

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2003 - 23:58

No to Saddam Hussein!
No to war!

Julie Burchill, paid to be controversial by The Guardian, attacks those “who thought that a population living in terror under the Taliban was preferable to a bit of liberating foreign fire… On this principle, if we’d known about Hitler gassing the Jews all through the 1930s, we still shouldn’t have invaded Germany; the Jews were, after all, German citizens and not our business.”

Her history is not very impressive (the plight of the Jews-though not, yet, their gassing-was no secret in the 1930s, and war was declared when Germany invaded Poland, not because of

Admitting you're wrong is possible

Published on: Mon, 10/02/2003 - 10:06

Rouge, the paper of the French Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, has just published a special supplement to celebrate their 2000th issue. It is unashamedly a celebration, not a rigorous accounting. Even there, though, the LCR, influenced by a Trotskyist tradition, feels a need to acknowledge major errors. The biggest? “That on Afghanistan in 1980, when we rejected a campaign for the withdrawal of Soviet troops for fear of playing into the hands of imperialism... This errancy... revealed more profound failings, and the difficulty of taking account of the changes in the world situation”. They

War! What is it good for?

Published on: Mon, 10/02/2003 - 06:55

Pop music can be escapist — nothing wrong with that — but occasionally it transcends that to give voice to popular concerns and question jingoistic assumptions. Here is my “top ten” of anti-war songs, some well known and some hidden gems.

Matt Cooper

Edwin Star, War
There a good reason why an anti-war song can’t just say “war is wrong”. It has already been done perfectly. When Edwin Star sings “War- urgh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing” there might not be any deep understanding of why the Vietnam War was happening, but as a a guttural rant against the injustice and waste of it all, it

Renew the fight for democracy!

Published on: Sun, 09/02/2003 - 21:06

behind the news

Paddy Dollard

The attempt to reform the House of Lords has collapsed in chaos. A House of Commons vote-out resulted in the rejection of all five of the options on offer. The status quo will remain for the foreseeable future.

Tony Blair is said to find this not displeasing. For choice, Blair would have had a second chamber made up entirely of appointed members. An elected chamber? This prime minister does not trust the electorate!

That such an unashamedly anti-democratic proposal as an appointed second chamber should come from a Labour government at the start of the 21st century

Guns, germs and gastropods

Published on: Sun, 09/02/2003 - 18:04
  • Al-Q & Saddam: permissive coupling
  • Joined up government - asylum seekers
  • Doctors refute asylum infection claims
  • Send-A-Slug Success?

Al-Q & Saddam: permissive coupling

Quite the most astonishing claim in the Orwellian built-up to War (sorry, Peace) with Iraq must be the foreign secretary Jack Straw's insistence that Iraq was linked to al-Qaida, saying that Saddam Hussein allowed a "permissive environment" in which Osama bin Laden's organisation was able to operate. It's not every day that the names of Saddam Hussein or Al-Qaida are linked with the word "permissive", so perhaps we should

Policing live music

Published on: Sun, 09/02/2003 - 10:32

Robb Johnson takes a look at what the new Licensing Bill will mean for live music "at the margins"
The Licensing Bill will make live music illegal. Okay, that's probably just the sort of alarmist assertion the government are accusing the Musicians' Union of propagating in their opposition to the current proposed Licensing Bill.
But just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you!

The Government claim the new law will not only do away with closing time, but also the "two in a bar" rule that prevented pubs without an entertainment licence having more than two people

Socialist Alliance amendments by 21 February

Published on: Sun, 09/02/2003 - 00:47

The motions booklet for the Socialist Alliance conference on 15 March has just been mailed out. It looks like the main issues for the conference will be the “new party” question; modes of election for the Alliance Executive; and Iraq.

On the “new party”, there are submissions for the Alliance to initiate a broad campaign for a new workers’ party, or alternatively to make itself “a new socialist party”, as well as more cautious proposals.

On Executive elections, the conference will chose between the existing slate system (with or without added minority guarantees), STV, First Past The Post,

Israel-Palestine will be at centre of Scots socialist debate

Published on: Sat, 08/02/2003 - 22:38

The Scottish Socialist Party conference will take place on 22-23 February in Glasgow. Angela Paton reports

A mix of issues will be debated at the SSP's conference, from the contentious motions on Israel/Palestine to mundane and unnecessary reaffirmation of existing policy, from the downright bizarre to the sensible motions, reflecting the life of a proper political party. Here are the low/highlights:

  • There are motions about the conduct of the party's MSPs - including one entitled "anti-sleaze" (surely stating the obvious!)
  • A truly terrible one motion from Tayside branch which says the SSP

Debate: My car is a necessity!

Published on: Sat, 08/02/2003 - 22:37

Mick Duncan's anti-car article, (Solidarity 3/22) says that car journeys under five miles are made by lazy people - people driving to the corner shop or going off to the gym.

I drive my toddler two miles to nursery. If I didn't, the journey would take me an hour. A very aggravating hour, as well - on a chock-full single-decker bus with no space for pushchairs and nobody willing to stand up so you don't fall over due to the antics of a bored-witless small person.

After dropping off my daughter I then drive three miles to work. If I didn't, that journey would also take me an hour (making a two

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