Solidarity 032, 12 June 2003

Report from Geneva

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 13:04

Alan Johnson describes the protests against the G8 annual meeting on 1-3 June.

When I arrive in Geneva - for the protests against the leaders of the G8 - US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Italy and Russia - it is sun-lit but Geneva is all wrapped up and shivering. Geneva has boarded itself up. Almost no shop windows can be seen. This being Geneva, a very expensive blond wood with a nice finish has been used. Anyway, they have unwittingly created a vast urban canvass for political art and agitprop. Some of the slogans that begin to appear are great. "The rich play golf and the poor pick

Industrial news

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 13:02

A report from the CWU Conference and news from PCS, GMB, TGWU & FBU.
CWU conference: two narrow defeats for the left

By a delegate

The postal and telecom workers union, the CWU, met on 1-6 June. The General Conference:

decided to campaign for law changes enabling unions to "exclude or expel members of racist or fascist parties... not solely on the basis of their conduct."

There was a challenge to the Executive's motion conferring honorary membership on former Senior Deputy General Secretary Tony Young because of his treacherous role in the Bain Review. In the end it got through because it was

The Writing on the Wall

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 13:00
  • An obsession with cottaging
  • The dangers of Seroxat
  • Iraq to be privatised
  • Gypsy killed
  • New Labour backs down on John McDonnell


The Lords (and Ladies) have been at it again with their obsession with cottaging. A Tory amendment to the Sexual Offences Bill will make it illegal and anybody caught involving in "cottaging" should face prosecution and face jail terms of up to two years. Home Office Minister Hilary Benn, said the government would rely on the existing common law offence of "outraging public decency".

But the Conservatives argue that for public decency to be outraged, the

Euro? Yes, but not at our expense: For a Workers' United Europe!

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 06:54

By Colin Foster

Capitalism in Europe is becoming euro-capitalism, like it or not. In general and in principle, we - the socialists, the labour movement, the working-class left - should "like" it.
A broader, wider arena for capitalist development is also a broader, wider arena for working-class struggle against capital, and a better starting point for future socialist development.

To support European unity in general and in principle does not oblige us to support the particular methods, policies and institutions by which the ruling classes of Europe edge towards unity in their own interests and

Repression in Aceh

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 06:52

By Harry Glass

The assault by the Indonesian army in Aceh has led to extensive civilian casualties and human rights violations.

Reports in the Australian socialist paper Green Left Weekly (GLW) say that more than 23,000 people have fled their homes. The main hospital in the provincial capital Banda Aceh reports receiving dead bodies that show signs of beatings and torture. Amnesty International announced that grave human rights abuses, including the extra-judicial killing of children and other civilians, are widespread.

GLW says there are food shortages, health services have collapsed, inter

Blair caught in a lie

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 06:51

By Dan Katz

In some wars there are substantial reasons for the fighting. In the Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982 for instance the Argentinian military did invade the islands and the British people living there did not like foreign military rule.

In the 1999 Balkans war NATO did not invent the ethnic cleansing of the ethnic-Albanian Kosovars. Milosevic's barbarity was all too real.

Nevertheless, even in these "clear cut" cases, other reasons hide underneath the "good reasons". Not every invasion of a small country by a bigger country is met with big-power intervention. China has occupied Tibet

Teenagers need sex education

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 06:50

By Gerry Byrne

The Sexual Offences Bill, brought in on a wave of concern about paedophile activity, seems set to remove one of the sources of advice for teenagers who can't talk to their parents about sex, or are not getting sex education at school.

Teenage magazine advice columnists fear that the Bill will make it impossible to give advice to young people about the emotional aspects of sex. There is specific provision for medical advice about avoiding pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and physical harm, but, oddly for a bill which places the emphasis on consent, non-medical advice

Class struggle in Iraq

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 06:49

Electricity workers in Iraq have been paid their wages after threatening strike action, according to BBC reports. Around 6,000 electricity workers in Baghdad were the first to be paid at the end of May, while other government employees such as teachers and doctors have been told they will get their wages in June. They will be paid for out of Iraqi assets frozen in the US since the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

But other workers are not so lucky. The Boston Globe reports that workers in the state-owned Iraqi Airways are angry at the continued control of the main airport by the US military, and

What we say: Fight for labour representation!

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 06:48

New transport union leader Tony Woodley has pledged to coordinate a trade-union drive "to get Labour back representing working-class people".

After winning election as the new General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, Woodley declared on 1 June that:

"A fighting T&G will help coordinate like-minded unions to campaign to put the 'Labour back in the party' on a range of issues. I'll fulfil my promise to call a summit of affiliated unions to discuss how to get Labour back representing working-class people...

"It means representing members rather than ministers as we take the

Workers of the world

Published on: Wed, 18/06/2003 - 06:47

by Pablo Velasco

  • Peruvian unions defy state of emergency
  • Zimbabwe opposition strikes
  • Lula gets backing from right
  • Class struggle in Israel
  • Indonesian socialists to contest elections

Peruvian unions defy state of emergency

Thousands of trade unionists in Peru marched through the capital Lima last week in defiance of the government's state of emergency. In Arequipa, the second largest city, local leaders called a general strike to support the protest. There were protests in other major cities.

On 27 May President Toledo imposed the state of emergency in the midst of a rising wave of

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