Solidarity 051, 13 May 2004

As we were saying, 2004: Respect woos the 'Muslim vote'

Published on: Wed, 07/11/2007 - 09:19

Gerry Bates

Originally posted 22 May 2004.
The campaign for the 10 June 2004 Euro and local elections by the Respect coalition, set up by the Socialist Workers' Party (SWP) in January, is descending into a shameful scramble to grab the 'Muslim vote'.

It is not an effort to win Muslim workers and youth over to socialist ideas while avoiding unnecessary offence to their religious beliefs. Rather the opposite: Respect is functioning as a means to convert the socialists who provide its active forces into advocates of Islamic communalism or Islamism.

In London, Respect is circulating a leaflet boosting its

Journalists resist racist proprietors

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:16

By a member of NUJ London freelance branch

At the start of the year, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) chapel at Express and Star newspapers (Daily and Sunday Express, and The Star) resisted the pressure of proprietor Richard Desmond to publish racist articles against asylum-seekers, particularly against the East European Roma people that the papers said would flood into Britain after the 1 May enlargement of the EU.

The chapel has called for the help of the Press Complaints Commission in standing up to Desmond, and passed the following policy:

"This chapel expresses its

Blair says "welcome to the UK - if you can make us rich"

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:16

By Joan Trevor

Migrants are welcome in Britain - so long as they can plug gaps in the labour force, says Tony Blair.

His 27 April speech on 'The positive case for controlled migration' was delivered, aptly, at a conference of the bosses' organisation, the Confederation of British Industry. They are, after all, the ones who want select groups of workers to come and make them rich.

If the title of the speech looked like an antidote to Home Secretary David Blunkett's racist attacks on asylum seekers, the text said otherwise:

"We will neither be Fortress Britain, nor will we be an open house.

Stop the torture! Support Iraq's labour movement!

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:16

Very soon after they took over Iraq a year ago, the British and US "liberators" of the country turned into torturers.
The British put their experience in Northern Ireland to use, and tied, beat, and hooded prisoners.

The Americans beat prisoners, set Alsatian dogs on them, put electrodes on them, made them do degrading sexual acts in public. Some male prisoners were, it seems, raped.

There is evidence that such things were done systematically - certainly by the Americans. The Red Cross estimates that 70-90% of the Iraqis to whom such things were done had not even been involved in acts of

Chechnya: death of Moscow's gangster

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:16

By Dale Street

The only surprise about the assassination on 9 May of Ahmad Kadyrov, the Russian-imposed President of the Chechen Republic, was that it had not happened sooner. Kadyrov was one of the most reviled men in Chechnya, and deservedly so.
Kadyrov began the first Chechen war as a field commander for the Chechen forces. In 1995 he was appointed mufti of Chechnya, with the title of "field mufti". He was appointed to this position not by the spiritual leaders of Chechnya but by other field commanders. They wanted a mufti who would declare the conflict against Russia to be a holy war.

Defend the right to protest

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:15

Brian Haw, who has decorated Parliament Square for years with his protest first against economic sanctions on Iraq, then against the recent war, and now against the occupation, was arrested in the night on Sunday 9 May.
There was an anti-terrorist cordon put down, during which Brian was arrested for allegedly assaulting the police. Actually, he was unceremoniously lifted and hauled off, and his placards etcetera removed and loaded into a van. Thus the British state hoped to put an end to what they doubtless regard as an embarrassing messy eyesore spoiling tourists' happy snaps of the Palace of

Haitian trade union says: Against Aristide and the Opposition: support the worke

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:14

A statement from the militant union organisation, Batay Ouvriye, on the current political situation in Haiti

Already, before Aristide's departure, the political crisis had shifted up a gear. As of January 2004, the mandates of a number of Parliamentarians expired, creating a big vacuum. With the opposition's anti-Aristide, anti-Lavalas [Aristide's Party] offensive, the situation became more extreme: numerous officials abandoned their posts. The power vacuum increased. With the departure of the president, it was like an explosion: The state is in real crisis. This crisis is clear for all to see

U-turns by Bremer

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:14

By Clive Bradley

The scandal of torture in Iraq is provoking a major political crisis for the Bush administration. But its general policy in Iraq is in crisis, too. Military analysts are calling the Iraq enterprise "Dead Man Walking"; as a veteran US military strategist put it: "we will win every fight, and lose the war, because we don't understand the war we're in."
Whether the US is winning every fight is debatable. There are two fronts in the armed conflict in Iraq. One, around the Sunni town of Fallujah, has quietened down after a ceasefire negotiated with local leaders (civilian leaders,

New Iraq solidarity network

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:14

An "Iraqi Workers' Solidarity Group" has been set up to provide a framework for communication and coordination between activists interested in assembling a broad campaign in Britain in solidarity with the new workers', unemployed, and women's movements in Iraq.
It came out of a meeting on 10 May called to discuss follow-up from the broadly-sponsored protest outside the Iraq Procurement 2004 business conference in London on 27 April. Activists from No Sweat, Unison, GMB, the Social Forums, the Green Party, Jubilee Iraq, and the Union of the Unemployed of Iraq were present.

The group's first job

When French miners took on the Nazis

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2004 - 10:14

Vicki Morris

Readers might know Emile Zola's novel Germinal, based on an early strike by French coal miners in northern France in 1884. Lots of socialists know at least the last lines!
"The sap was rising in abundance with whispering voices, the germs of life were opening with a kiss. Men were springing up, a black avenging host was slowly germinating in the furrows, thrusting upward for the harvests of future ages. And very soon their germination would crack the earth asunder."

While the sentiment remains true, the toilers getting even with the bosses can no longer be coalminers, not in France anyway. On

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