Solidarity 047, 4 March 2004

UN, Butler, Gun: Blair sinks deeper - Rally the unions! See him off!

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:10

"The Labour Representation Committee is a major initiative to take the Labour Party back to its grass roots in the Constituency Labour Parties and the trade unions, to re-establish democratic control of the Party by its rank and file."
John McDonnell MP

Bugging the UN. Whitewashing the dodgy dossiers used to justify the Iraq war by non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction. And pressing on regardless with privatisation, top-up fees, foundation hospitals, and his whole profit-first programme.
Tony Blair is defying the labour movement more and more sharply. It is time the labour movement decided

No to the Separation Wall! No to the suicide bombings!

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:08
  • Four Palestinians killed at Separation Wall
  • Life at the Separation Wall
  • Jerusalem suicide bomb
  • Stop the persecution of the Abnaa el-Ballad movement!

Four Palestinians killed at Separation Wall

On 26 February Israeli soldiers shot dead three young Palestinians who were demonstrating at the Separation Wall in the region of Biddu/Beit Surik. A fourth Palestinian died of a heart attack after soldiers threw tear gas.

Eyewitnesses from the International Solidarity Movement reported that Israeli snipers were shooting directly at the crowd.

The demonstrators were attempting to stop the bulldozers

Help us raise £30,000

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:08

Solidarity is virtually alone in putting the case for working-class political independence. We call for independent working-class representation, untainted by 'dirty money' and links to oppressive regimes. We only have our supporters to rely on.

We produce this paper on a shoestring. And like almost everyone on the planet we are saddled with debt.
That is why are launching a fund drive. We want to raise £30,000 by International Women's Day 2005.

Can you help us by:

  • Giving a donation. Every little does indeed help, but can you afford to give us a day's wages?
  • Taking out a standing order.

New attacks on immigrants

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:08

Last month the Government announced that would-be economic migrants from the Eastern European countries soon joining the EU will be welcome in Britain only if they have a job to come to. Those without jobs will not be able to claim benefits, so they shouldn't bother coming.
More generally, the Government has begun to make a clearer distinction between "productive" economic migrants and those who are not (largely speaking, people who make a claim for asylum status). The softening towards some economic migrants reflects the large number of job vacancies in Britain - around half a million at any

University lecturers strike for better pay

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:08

In Manchester 400 students and lecturers marched together in support of the two-day strike on 25-26 February by the Association of University Teachers against their proposed pay deal, and against top-up fees for students in higher education. Across the country, the AUT strike had led to university departments shutting down and enthusiastic picketing by a normally non-militant group of workers.
The strike was against the refusal of the universities to negotiate on a deal which would mean a rise of 3% this year, a review of pay structures which would mean it took longer to reach the higher

Unions should stand up and be counted

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:06

Katharine Gun makes no claim to be a leader or even a supporter of the labour movement. She makes no general public political statements. She was a junior employee of the government's GCHQ spy centre, so it is unlikely that she is any sort of left-winger.

But she took risks in order to make a stand for what she thought was right.
She passed on to the media information about the USA's dirty tricks when it was trying to get a UN Security Council majority for the Iraq war.

GCHQ sacked her. She was arrested and threatened with years in jail. She will have known that might happen.

Now she has been

Abolish MI5!

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:06

The Government's spying services employ 6,000 people at GCHQ alone. MI5 headquarters, on Millbank in London, and MI6 headquarters, across the river in Vauxhall, employ about 2,000 each. According to MI5's own website, the spying agencies' budget is £1 billion a year. It is a big operation.
What do they do?

  • In the mid 1970s the head of MI5, Michael Hanley, kept a file on the then Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson. MI5 also investigated other Labour government ministers. Some MI5 agents were involved in plots to discredit and oust Wilson.
  • In the same period an MI5 operation in Northern

Left, right and nationalism in Korea's trade unions

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:05

Militant class struggle has been a feature of South Korean politics for many years. In April there are elections to the National Assembly (parliament) and some workers' candidates are standing.

This critical assessment is written by Won Youngsu, a member of the South Korean Marxist group, the Power of the Working Class. It is abridged from International Viewpoint No 356, February 2004.
In the summer of 1987, after a nationwide mobilisation against the military regime's attempt to maintain its grip on power, workers rose up all over the country. Spontaneous waves of over 3,000 strikes were

Workers of the world Round-up

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 09:05
  • India: 30 million strike
  • Car workers strike in Brazil
  • Repression of Chinese workers

India: 30 million strike

Thirty million workers in India went on 24-hour strike last week to protest over a Supreme Court ruling that said government employees had no right to strike because it inconvenienced citizens and cost the state money.

Many trade unionists believe the ruling will ban all strikes, not only ones by government employees. Over 90% of the 1.5 million workers in the financial sector participated in the strike, including workers in insurance and the Reserve Bank of India.

Car workers strike

Women in Iran: Where working is a 'privilege'

Published on: Sat, 06/03/2004 - 08:47

Plans for International Women's Day celebrations in Iran this year include a meeting of women's NGOs in Park Laleh in Tehran. Although the government has issued a permit for this protest, events in the last few days show the 'conservatives' keen to show their authority following the sham elections. A meeting of the 'Writers' Association' was banned, and reports from Tehran indicate that Islamic vigilantes are being used to enforce a more rigid form of hejab on women and young girls.
If the meeting goes ahead, activists from many women's organisations will use the platform to attack both the

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