Solidarity 053, 10 June 2004

News feature: Ethnic cleansing in Sudan

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 18:11

By Cathy Nugent

Since February 2003 a brutal ethnic cleansing has taken place against some of the peoples of Darfur in western Sudan. It has been perpetrated by the military-Islamist government and the ferocious militia which it supports.

The non-Arab Fur, Masaalit and Zaghawa communities of Darfur have been killed, raped and made homeless. Over a million people have now fled their homes, with 110,000 in Chad. According to UN estimates, 13,000 people have been killed.

Military and militia action in Darfur escalated at the beginning of this year when the government vowed to annihilate the

Unions need new direction - Break with Blairism!

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:54

By Gerry Bates

Blairism is the syphilis of the British labour movement! The way the government foments and encourages racism and chauvinism is only the filthiest example of it.
The labour movement's continual submission to Blair and Blairism means acceptance of politics that are often to the right of the Tories "in return for" sops such as the minimum wage.

Acceptance of the anti-union laws which Thatcher chained around the neck of the labour movement and Blair.

Acceptance of a war dictated by Blair playing doggy-pal to George Bush.

Acceptance of widespread poverty at "the bottom of" British

Iraq: more role for the UN. And the workers?

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:52

By Colin Foster

Although Iraq's new prime ministed, Iyad Allawi, was essentially appointed by the USA, his government now owes its authority to a UN Security Council Resolution passed on 8 June after long negotiations between the big powers. That gives it much more potential for autonomy than if its status depended exclusively on the USA's say-so.
Any movement from potential to actuality is unlikely to be simple.

The Iraqi government's control over the US troops will be limited to a requirement of "partnership" and consultation.

The USA is keeping 138,000 troops there, and the UK over 8,000.

Olympics: the dirty games

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:52

By Mick Duncan

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) is turning a blind eye to the super-exploitation of workers producing sportswear marketed around the Athens Olympic Games, and to the mistreatment of workers at the games venues.

Olympics: workers pay the price (1)

A protest took place in Athens on Sunday 6 June to highlight the health and safety violations being made as construction bosses cut corners in the rush to complete Athens' Olympic facilities. The need to have everything ready so that the corporate sport machine can make its millions has already led to the needless deaths

Discutez, fêtez chez Lutte Ouvrière

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:52

By Michelle Parker

Some of the work being initiated in Britain by the Iraqi Workers' Solidarity Group is already being done in France by a group called Solidarité Irak.
Launched by a tiny group of individual activists who came across material from the Worker-communist Party of Iraq, Solidarité Irak "aims to make known and support the current social struggles in Iraq, the rejection of the military occupation as well as of nationalist and religious reaction".

It has published bulletins; drawn in new activists, including some from the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR); and won support from

Their D-Day, our 1945

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:51

“Ernie, when we have done this job for you, are we going back on the dole?”
An unknown British soldier embarking for D-Day, shouting after the then Minister of Labour, Ernest Bevin
The official celebration of the 60th anniversary of the British/US invasion of Hitler-controlled Europe was on Sunday 6 June.

As the number of Second World War veterans declines, the scale of the “celebrations” has increased. The 60th anniversary commemorations and next year’s VE Day (the end of the Second World War in Europe) “celebrations” will probably mark the last time a major celebration of the Allied victories

A student conference... to attack democracy

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:49

By Alan Clarke, National Union of Students Executive, personal capacity

On 17 June, an emergency National Union of Students conference will meet to discuss structural reforms to plug the union's £500,000 a year financial deficit.
The National Executive Committee has succeeded in getting the 25 student unions it needs to call such a conference - a few, no doubt, motivated by a genuine desire to debate NUS's future, but the majority of them right-wing unions eager for the opportunity to cut back on democracy. Indeed, given the timing of the conference, it could hardly be otherwise.

By 17 June

CWU to back Labour Representation Committee?

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:48

By a CWU member

At the General Conference of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) (14 June) the European Working Time Directive will be discussed.
At present, different sections of the union have different policies on whether individual opt-outs should continue.

The Telecoms Executive negotiates with telecoms companies to get rid of opt-outs, and its policy is for an end to them. The Postal Executive, however, believes that because of the low pay in Royal Mail and other companies, long working hours are necessary for now.

The union's answer should be to fight for a shorter working week, and

"Big Four" demands: "confidential" but not confident

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:48

In Solidarity 3/52 we reported how the leaders of Britain's biggest trade unions, Amicus, GMB, TGWU and Unison, had drawn up demands for the manifesto Labour should stand on in the next general election. We now have a copy of that manifesto, although it remains "private and confidential".
It does not include, for example, a promise to repeal the Thatcherite anti-trade union laws that Labour keeps in place in order to cow union members and prevent them taking effective action in pursuit of their goals. The trade union leaders' demands do not include a promise to tax the rich and private

US left debates Nader

Published on: Wed, 23/06/2004 - 12:36

Inside America by Jim Bywater

I think it was right to support the presidential campaign of veteran anti-corporate campaigner Ralph Nader in 2000, but not this time.
The fact that there is no Labor party and that Nader is running against the two capitalist parties is not sufficient argument to support him. There would need to be positive reasons, based on an analysis of what his campaign is and what it represents, to support him.

My impression is that the 2000 Nader campaign is very different from the 2004 Nader campaign.

The campaign in 2000 involved a whole section of the left who wanted

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