Solidarity 040, 6 November 2003

After the demo: direct action can beat top-up fees

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:48

At least 15,000 students demonstrated in London on 26 October as part of the National Union of Students' campaign against top-up fees.
Given that the NUS leadership had called the demonstration for a Sunday, the turn-out was surprisingly high - a reflection of growing anger at the Government's plans among wide layers of students - but the protest was not nearly as effective as it could have been.

In the first place, the official publicity and materials for the demo completely ignored the new policy agreed at this year's NUS conference, with most of the placards featuring bland slogans like

Will SWP wreck student left unity too?

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:48

The right wing of Labour Students and its allies have run NUS for more than 20 years, resulting in defeat after defeat for the student movement. Since 1998, however, they have faced increasing opposition, with a united left slate challenging the Labour/"independent" leadership in the elections at every NUS conference.
In 1998 and 1999 this united slate was made up of the Campaign for Free Education and the SWP's student wing SWSS; since then it has also included various independents and student supporters of Socialist Action.

This strong display of left unity has drawn in wider forces and

LCR-LO to fight on working-class demands

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:48

By Rhodri Evans

In an opinion poll taken during the first two days of the congress of the LCR, fully 31% of French voters said they might vote for a revolutionary socialist candidate in next year's regional elections.
The LCR - Revolutionary Communist League - decided at the congress to endorse joint lists for the regional and Euro-elections with Lutte Ouvrière (LO), the other main Marxist group in France.

In 2002's presidential election, the LCR and LO stood separately, the LCR's Olivier Besancenot getting 4.2% and LO's Arlette Laguiller 5.7%. In the 1999 Euro-elections they stood a joint

Asylum: the persecution continues

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:47

By Dale Street

David Blunkett is a worried man. He is worried that "community relations" might be "adversely affected by what may be seen in many quarters as continuing evasion and exploitation of immigration and asylum controls at significant cost to the taxpayer".
David Blunkett could protect "community relations" by exposing the myths and lies on which misperceptions about immigration controls and asylum-seekers are based.

Alternatively, he could pander to the "many quarters" who believe what they read in the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.

Needless to say, he has chosen the

Galloway bloc is socialist suicide

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:46

By Dave Osler

The things George says:
'A mass unifying movement of grassroots radicals to hobble the state, bring it under popular control and complete an unfinished radical democratic revolution. This level will unite Muslims, Christians, Jews, socialists, liberals and conservatives, men, women and the disadvantaged of all types in one movement of democratic liberation'.
From The Guardian

Revolutionary socialism in England signed its own suicide note last week, and it came in the unlikely shape of a billet-doux to George Galloway. The overwhelming majority of the far left south of the border

Press Gang: Do it for the money, Burrell

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:44

By Lucy Clement

In Paul Burrell's position, let's face it, most people would do the same thing. Cash in. And why not? There's not much respect left for the British Royal Family to destroy, now the Queen Mum's dead and with her all that Blitz-heroine mythology.
It's a shame that Burrell's sticking to the tired old line of 'doing it for Diana', but after all those years as a flunkey it's probably too much to expect him suddenly to come out and declare yes, the Royals are a bunch of parasites and here's the inside story.

Much-trailed in the press has been the 'nuclear' secret that could 'rock

Liberté, égalité, fraternité - Liberty and the veil

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:41

By Joan Trevor

French teachers, who waged an inspiring battle during the spring and summer against government attacks, have hit the headlines in the "rentrée scolaire" (back to school) not for their continued industrial militancy - things have gone fairly quiet on that front - but, in one school anyway, for excluding two young Muslim women from high-school for wearing a Muslim headscarf.
Alma and Lila Lévy-Omari were suspended from the lycée Henri-Wallon d'Aubervilliers in September on the grounds that they could not take part in physical education lessons while wearing their scarves, and

"We have given them a bloody nose!"

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:40

By a London postal worker

Postal workers have succeeded in giving Royal Mail bosses Leighton, Crozier and the rest of their mob a bloody nose in the fight over imposed conditions.
On every issue that provoked the unofficial strikes over more than two weeks up to 4 November, management has backed down: no victimisations, restoration of the Industrial Relations framework and national agreements. Clear-up of backlog on the basis of "fair and manageable workload", normal allocation of overtime and a commitment to achieving a national agreement on single delivery ("Major Change") by 10 December

Mexican maquilas - Daily grind of globalisation

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:38

Alice Nutter, from the rock band Chumbawamba was part of a No Sweat delegation that visited Puebla, Mexico, in September. No Sweat met independent trade union activists who are attempting to unionise the sweatshop factories in the region. This is part of Alice's report.
"Carlton Heston? Charlton Heston?" said Gaby "No entiendo Charlton Heston."

"Course you know Charlton Heston!" I screamed back "Film star! Bastard! Guns everywhere!"

"Non, no entiendo Charlton Heston!"

Introducing the Rizla game to Mexican friends - where you have to guess whose name is on the cigarette paper stuck to your

A workers' manifesto - Global solidarity against capital!

Published on: Tue, 25/11/2003 - 17:24

A world of rich and poor

"Capital," wrote Marx, comes into the world "dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt." Global capital is bloody still-but on a grander scale than ever before.
In the all-new globalised society the rich are massively richer. Yet 30 million people die each year from lack of food. In Africa, only 15% of people live in "an environment considered minimally adequate for sustainable growth and development", according to the World Bank. At least 45% of Africans live in what the World Bank calls "poverty". And millions of people in Africa have been

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