Solidarity 029, 1 May 2003

Attack on unions and public services: Blair brings the war home

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:38

Fight back against

  • Foundation hospitals
  • PFI
  • Education cuts

Fresh from his military victory, Tony Blair is out to target what Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher, in so many ways his role model, called 'the enemy within' - militant trade unionism.

"We will not give in, in any shape or form, to resurgent industrial militancy", said Blair at a press conference on 28 April.

He plans to push through his market-oriented plan for public services. 'Foundation hospitals' will create, effectively, a two-tier National Health Service, and more 'private finance initiative' schemes will subordinate

Defend Amina Lawal against stoning to death!

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:37

By Faz Velmi

Amina Lawal, a Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for 'adultery', must wait until June to hear her fate. Her appeal hearing against her sentence was due in late March but was adjourned when only three of the five required tribunal members were available. There are suggestions that the trial was deliberately delayed until after Nigeria's elections -recently concluded-took place.
Amina is being persecuted under the Sharia (Islamic law) penal code recently introduced in a number of northern Nigerian states. The "evidence" of Amina's "crime" was that she bore a child outside

Gays persecuted in Egypt

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:35

On 15 March, 21 defendants in the latest round of the Queen Boat trials in Egypt were sentenced to three years' imprisonment for "debauchery". The affair began when 55 men were arrested on the Queen Boat, a gay disco, in May 2001.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt but gay men are prosecuted on a variety of pretexts. Recently, Wassim Tawfiq Abayd was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment after he used the website to fix a meeting with a man, possibly a police informant.

Worldwide protests are planned to mark the second anniversary of the Queen Boat case, including one organised

Can the Northern Ireland peace process be revived?

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:34

By Patrick Murphy

Attempts to revive the peace process in Northern Ireland (NI) have stalled. After George Bush's visit to Belfast during the Iraq war, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern expected to be able to announce the reopening of the NI Executive. Elections are due in May and the two governments don't want to postpone them.

Without a working NI government, however, the elections are likely to be pointless, and, moreover, to produce significant victories for Sinn Fein and the anti-Agreement Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Given that likely scenario, the elections probably will be delayed.


Strikes in Israel, poverty and despair on the West Bank

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:33

By Dan Katz

Israeli finance minister Meir Sheetrit has announced that a long-awaited government austerity plan will be voted on in the Knesset (parliament) on Wednesday 30 April. The plan will mean an 8% public sector pay cut and thousands of jobs losses.
The Histadrut union federation will hold a general strike on Wednesday 30 April if the plan goes ahead. The strike will involve civil servants, local authority workers, workers in state-run firms and some private-sector factories.

Israeli Labour Party Chairman Amram Mitzna has said that if government-union negotiations fail he will support

Prisons, race hate and representation

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:31
  • More stopping, searching, jailing
  • Representation
  • Prison
  • Race hate
  • Stop and search

More stopping, searching, jailing

Home Office minister Lord Falconer: "The tragedy of the Lawrence story is not only the horror of Stephen Lawrence's brutal and senseless murder but also the failure of the criminal justice system-the police, the CPS, the courts-to deliver justice to Stephen and his family."

So how much has changed in the 10 years since Stephen's murder? Especially under New Labour's modernisers?


Commander Cressida Dick, in charge of the Met's diversity directorate: "It's very

The Galloway affair

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:29

There is a strong case for dismissing the charges made by the Tory Daily Telegraph and others against George Galloway, of having been a bought and paid-for agent of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq - namely, the character and bias of those baying for the blood of an MP who has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the recent US-British war with Iraq.

The Telegraph has published documents which appear to show that Galloway had been taking at least £375,000 a year from Saddam Hussein's quasi-fascist Ba'ath regime in Iraq.

He is being investigated by the Charities Commission for his use of

Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:26

29 May-1 June in the Assembly Rooms,
George Street, Edinburgh

Talks: George Monbiot on "A Manifesto for a New World Order"; Paul Kingsnorth and Mark Curtis on Global Capitalism; Milan Rai and Geoff Simons on Iraq after the war; and Joe Baxter of No Sweat and Gregor Gall on Workers' Struggles and Trade Unions.

Chinese safety campaign

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:25

The China Labour Bulletin is campaigning for improved health and safety laws to protect thousands of Chinese workers injured and killed every year.

Last year there were an estimated 110,000 deaths from industrial accidents in China and nearly 14,000 accidents in the manufacturing and mining industries alone. Over half the people in the world with pneumoconiosis (a lung disease associated with dust and silica dust) live in China. In an official survey, over 15% of all workers interviewed were believed to be suffering from some form of occupational disease.

The number of cases of people

China: Workers' leaders still held in jail

Published on: Fri, 02/05/2003 - 01:24

Xiao Yunliang and Yao Fuxin, workers' leaders from Liaoyang in north east China were tried on 15 January 2003 on charges including subversion and the organising of illegal demonstrations. No verdict has yet been announced and the workers' leaders have remained in post-trial detention for over three months. This contravenes even Chinese law - a system not known for its liberality - on the time limit for announcement of verdict in a criminal trial.
Xiao Yunliang has an eye condition which stems from an injury he got when he was pushed into a police van at the time of his initial detention in

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