Solidarity 033, 26 June 2003

Iran: back the workers and students

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:51

Revolt against the Islamic Republic

Every week sees a new strike in Iran. The lives of many workers have been devastated by the neo-liberal policies of the reactionary clerical government. Since 10 June Iranian students have been protesting against religious dictatorship as well as plans to privatise higher education in Iran. They have been attacked by the security services and many have been arrested. Yassamine Mather from Workers' Left Unity Iran analyses the political background.
Twenty-three years after coming to power, the Iranian clergy presides over a country where abject poverty, drug

Italy: 87% majority loses out

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:50

By Lucy Clement

Italy’s “moderate” trade unions have scuppered an attempt to extend employment rights to workers in small businesses.

A massive campaign by Rifondazione Comunista and the left-wing trade union CGIL succeeded in forcing a referendum on the extension of Article 18 of Italy’s labour law — which protects workers from unfair dismissal.
But despite an 87% vote in favour of the proposition, the reform will not go ahead because less than 50% of the electorate voted. The turnout was 25.7% — largely a result of a campaign by the major political parties, backed by the unions CISL and UIL

Save Our Party: Conference for all Labour Party and trade union members

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:49

Convened by Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs

Saturday 5 July 2003, 9.30am - 4.30pm

TUC Congress House, Great Russell St, London
Speakers include:
John McDonnell MP, Diane Abbott MP, Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone, Barry Camfield TGWU, Kevin Curran GMB, Jeremy Dear NUJ, Billy Hayes CWU, Joe Marino BAFW, Tony Woodley TGWU

Sessions include:
Re-founding not re-branding Public not private services State not private pensions Union rights not flexible exploitation International peace not permanent war Sustainable economies not corporate globalisation Fighting fascism Saving the Party


Reverses for Indonesia's war in Aceh

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:47

By Harry Glass

The Indonesian military is making heavy work of its assault on Aceh, according to reports in the Australian socialist paper, Green Left Weekly.
After claiming significant progress in its operation to crush the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), the Indonesian military lost seven soldiers in an ambush in northern Aceh. It was the highest number of casualties the military has suffered since martial law was declared on 19 May.

The army claims that 169 GAM fighters have been killed so far, with around 300 captured. It has announced plans to build a prison to hold more than 1,000 suspected

Unionist split threatens the GFA

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:46

By Jack Cleary

With an imminent split in the David Trimble-led Unionist Party, prospects of an early resurrecting of the suspended Northern Ireland power-sharing Executive faded further this week.

The hard-line wing of Trimble’s party, led by Jeffrey Donaldson, have never been more than grudging “supporters” of the Good Friday Agreement. After five years of what Unionists see as endless concessions to the Provisional IRA for very little in return, not even IRA disarmament, the Donaldsonites want to call it a day on the experiment of power-sharing.

Here they certainly reflect majority Unionist

Hain touches a raw nerve

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:45

By Martin Thomas

Peter Hain touched a nerve. However hard the New Labour government is trying to shake off its "control-freak" image, it could not stop itself shrieking when minister Hain made the mild suggestion that the very best-off might pay 50p income tax on each additional pound stuffed into their bulging wallets, rather than 40p.

Hain was immediately ordered to recant, and did. For, whatever else New Labour may do, its unshakeable principle is to reassure the wealthy about their comforts and privileges.

It was not always so with Labour. Between 1938 and 1949 about seven per cent of

George Orwell: The Man Who Told The Left Unpalatable Truths

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:44

Sean Matgamna

"Revolutionary ardour in the struggle for socialism is inseparable from intellectual ardour in the struggle for truth".
Leon Trotsky, "Trotskyism and the PSOP"

"There is not the slightest doubt, for instance, about the behaviour of the Japanese in China. Nor is there much doubt about the long tale of Fascist outrages during the last ten years in Europe. They happened even though Lord Halifax said they happened. The raping and butchering in Chinese cities, the tortures in the cellars of the Gestapo, the elderly Jewish professors flung into cesspools, the machine-gunning of refugees along the


Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:36

By Mick Duncan

In a recent interview, Nike boss Phil Knight revealed the obscene degree to which this massive company is built around enormous payments for celebrity-sportstar endorsements.
In 1998 Nike paid £11 million in an annual deal with the Brazilian football team. Two years later Nike signed a £300 million deal with Manchester United giving it rights to all of United’s merchandise. Knight cannot be too happy that David Beckham has defected to a rival—Real Madrid wears Adidas. If Beckham had to move, a better bet would have been Barcelona, which is also linked to Nike.

Nike expanded from

Remember the martyrs: come to Tolpuddle

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:34

By Nick Holden

This year's Tolpuddle Festival is on Friday 18-Sunday 20 July, at Tolpuddle, Dorset. It is a heady mixture of music, drama and politics, uniting people across the country in a celebration of the trade union movement, and the memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

Last year's event was a record success, with more than 7,000 people from all over the UK joining in the festivities, and expectations are high for 2003.

The six Tolpuddle Martyrs were farm labourers, paid nine shillings a week and living in dreadful poverty. Their leader, George Loveless, set up a union to give the labourers

Environmentalist taken at dawn: Release José Bové!

Published on: Wed, 02/07/2003 - 21:33

By Vicki Morris

On Sunday 21 June, in the early morning, Jose Bové was dragged from his bed by armed police and taken away to prison by helicopter.

The spokesperson of the French radical farmers’ union, the Farmers’ Confederation, is starting a 10-month jail sentence for destroying GM crops in 1998 and 1999. He had been hoping for a pardon for these offences—half a million people wrote to the French president requesting it—but Jacques Chirac—nicknamed “super-menteur” [“super-liar”], with all manner of corrupt deals in his past, but immune from prosecution while he is president—has not seen fit

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