Solidarity 038, 9 October 2003

Blair speaks for the rich: We need a workers' voice (2003)

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 18:09

John McDonnell MP

There were two Labour Party conferences. One was the official conference, organised as a publicity event for the leadership of the Labour Party. It had quite an unprecedented degree of ruthless organisation to engender the maximum televised exhibition of support for the leader of the Party. And there was a more important second and separate conference: where trade unions formed a coalition with the Labour left. For the first time in fifteen years we had an effective vehicle for left action inside the Labour Party. Every left fringe meeting was packed with delegates. Our coalition worked

Iraq: hope from below

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 18:05

By Clive Bradley

Serious cracks are appearing in the Bush administration's handling of post-war Iraq. A new body, the Iraq Stabilization Group, has been set up under the leadership of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, which will take some of the power over the running of Iraq away from the Pentagon and the so-called Coalition Provisional Authority.
This is a reflection of the fact that things are not going well on the ground, and public opinion in the US is shifting against the occupation, and against Bush. Time magazine (28 September) asked "So what went wrong?", pointing out that

Will the real Tories please stand up?

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 18:04

By Frank Higgins

If you wanted to see the "Blairite Revolution" in British politics over the last ten years graphically illustrated, the place to go this week was the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, where the Tories held their annual conference.

The Guardian neatly summed up the present status of this party-one might almost say, rump-by comparing the numbers of stalls at the Labour, Liberal and Tory conferences (220, 94, 57 respectively).
Like some poor sod down on his luck, homeless and reduced to talking to himself, the Tories in conference were desperate enough to try anything.

One delegate

Public and scientists agree: No GM!

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 18:04

By Tony Jeffreys

The government decides soon whether or not to allow commercial growing of Genetically Modified crops in Britain. If it heeded public or scientific opinion it would say no to GM.

Not surprisingly, after the BSE catastrophe, salmonella scares and the like, the public doesn't want their food messed with any more. The government consulted widely throughout the summer. 20,000 people went to 675 meetings; the 'GM nation?' website received 2.9 million hits; 36,557 people filled in and returned the feedback forms. The result?

  • 93% believe GM technology is driven by profit not public

EU plans new constitution. We say: For a democratic united states of Europe!

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 18:02

"Let us for a moment grant that German militarism succeeds in carrying out the half-union of Europe... what then would be the central slogan of the European proletariat? Would it be the dissolution of the forced European coalition and the return of all people under the roof of isolated national states?...

The programme of the European revolutionary movement would then be: the destruction of the compulsory, anti-democratic form of the coalition with the preservation and furtherance of its foundations, in the form of complete annihilation of tariff barriers, the unification of legislation, above

Bournemouth demonstration: "Let's get radical again!"

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 18:01

By Alan Clarke, NUS National Executive, personal capacity

One thousand students demonstrated at Bournemouth International Centre on 1 October, during Labour Party Conference. Organised by South West Area of the National Union of Students, the theme was "Death of Free Education" and students dressed in black and processed silently through the town as if in a funeral march.
Cindy Burton, President of Bournemouth and Poole Further Education College, was a keynote speaker at the demo. Currently studying Environmental Science and Biology she hopes to go to Bath or Plymouth University, but the

Ditch Blair, but don't back Brown

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 18:00

By Rhodri Evans

It was Gordon Brown who made the New Labour government's first act independence of the Bank of England from any democratic control.

The Labour manifesto had not mentioned it; the Labour Party had never discussed it; but Brown moved straight away to do what the bankers wanted.
It was Gordon Brown who kept the limits on public spending he had inherited from the Tories in force for years, even when the Tories themselves were saying openly that they would have loosened them.

Brown has supported one hundred per cent the Blairite "project" of reinventing Labour as a pink-Tory party

For rank and file Labour Representation Committees!

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 18:00

Solidarity and Workers' Liberty believe that what's needed now is rank and file Labour Representation Committees of trade unionists and socialists in every city across the country. We have been campaigning for seven years now for the unions to form a Labour Representation Committee.
Back in February 1996, Workers' Liberty warned: "The Labour Party is now led by open enemies of socialism. That is nothing new. But the present Labour leaders are open enemies of trade-union involvement in running the party, too, that is, of the very character of the Labour Party as it has been for nearly a century

The trade unions start to move

Published on: Wed, 22/10/2003 - 17:57

A union delegate reports from the conference

There was more open criticism of the Government at this year's conference, on the floor and in the fringes. Blair, his stance on the war, and his domestic policies are all unpopular. That needs to be followed up by union and constituency activists in the coming year.
Several constituencies and the rail union RMT had submitted motions critical of the Government on the Iraq war. However, conference rules allowed for only four "contemporary" motions to be debated. The big unions all decided to support each others' favourite motions, so they were the

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