Solidarity 037, 25 September 2003

Organise the union rank and file. Ditch Blair!

Support Iraqi workers; end the occupation
Rebuild the health service; no two-tier NHS
Scrap anti-union laws
Free education

Things are changing for the better in the labour movement. The election of new trade union leaders is beginning to impact on the Blair Labour Party, to which most of those unions with new leaders are affiliated, though the left-led civil service union PCS is a notable exception.

New Labour's party conference, due to start on 29 September, is a very much reduced shadow of the old Labour conference.

An Open Letter to Alan Thornett of the International Socialist Group

In an article in the last issue of Resistance, which has also been put out as a separate four-page pamphlet, you write: "the AWL position on working with Muslim people [emphasis added] is dreadful and their position on George Galloway is scandalous. But such positions can only be challenged and marginalised politically. Organisational means [meaning such things as the SWP attempt at the Socialist Alliance conference to deprive the AWL of representation on the Executive of the SA] are not only wrong - they are counter-productive."

The delusion of 100 years?

Blair's "speech" to the trade union leadership during TUC conference - the written version of it circulated to the press - laid it hard on the line. That Blair's administration should act like a left-wing government is, he told them, simply ruled out. Return to a Labour Party seriously influenced by the unions was, he insisted, fantasy.
"The idea of a left wing Labour Government as the alternative to a moderate and progressive one is the abiding delusion of 100 years of our party. We aren't going to fall for it again".

"Roadmap" near collapse

By Martin Thomas

On 20 September, six thousand demonstrators from Israel's "Peace Now" movement rallied in Tel Aviv to demand Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and condemn Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian leaders.

DSEI protests end in 144 arrests

Since the 1 September, 144 people have been arrested in protests against the Defence Systems and Equipment international arms fair (DSEi) that took place 9-12 September in East London.
Policing tactics have been condemned and Liberty have won the right to seek a High Court injunction over use of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000; they have also offered to provide legal representation for anyone stopped or detained under this legislation. Bindmans solicitors are preparing challenges for people who have a serious list of complaints against police, including:

TV: Sweatshops are good for you?

Tim Cooper

Channel 4's documentary Globalisation is Good (20 September) certainly lived up to its billing as "controversial" . In fact it could easily have been called "Sweatshops are Good".
For instance, the film showed a Nike factory in Vietnam where the boss and some carefully chosen workers said that they thought Nike was a brilliant employer (loans, sports facilities, clean factory, high wages, etc.).

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