Solidarity 054, 24 June 2004

European constitution: Fight for a workers' Europe

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 13:28

By Cathy Nugent
On Friday 18 June Tony Blair signed up to the new EU constitution on behalf of the UK government. Short of great political upheavals this constitution will settle the relationships between the capitalist powers in an expanded European Union for a long time to come - it codifies and pushes forward a very great degree of integration. The constitution includes a permanent EU president and foreign minister, greater powers for the European Assembly over a greater range of issues (but not tax or social security), strengthening the common defence force, a two tier European Commission

The importance of local elections

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 13:27

By Garth Frankland, Alliance for Green Socialism

Over 100 socialists stood in the local elections under different left political banners. In the main they consisted of people who had subscribed in different ways to the early days of the Socialist Alliance. The numbers standing were not very different from that organisation at its height.
The biggest concentrations were on Merseyside with 51 candidates, Coventry with 14, Leeds with 14 (12 Alliance for Green Socialism and 2 Socialist Party) and Walsall with 10. There were other candidates across the country. Respect stood very few local

Ireland's Racist Shame.

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 13:27

By John O'Mahony

Four fifths of those who voted in a referendum in the south of Ireland, held on the same day as the Euro-election, voted to deprive some babies born in Ireland - those of recent immigrants - of automatic Irish citizenship. The Fianna Fail government promoted the "no to citizenship" cause, which, "on the ground", was argued as grim and undisguised racism - "you don't want blacks here, do you?" The left and Sinn Fein campaigned against the government, but were defeated by the chauvinist groundswell.
In Ireland as in Britain there has been much agitation against asylum seekers.

After the elections - Anti-European left must learn from far right success.

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 13:26

The advances made by the right, both the BNP and the UK Independence Party, in the European elections should send alarm bells ringing on the serious left. Not least because these advances demonstrate once more the inadequacy of the left.
The little Englanders of the UK Independence Party increased their share of the vote in the election to 16.1% (their share was 6.5% in 1999). They beat the Liberal Democrats to come third in the poll. They got themselves 12 MEPs. In some parts of the UK - the East Midlands, Eastern England, the South West and the South East they gained just under or over 20%

The “IS tradition” and the birth of Respect - An open letter to an SWP leader

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 13:26

In the terminology of the Marxist movement, unprincipled cliques or groups have been characterised as political bandits. A classic example of such a group is the group known as “Lovestoneites”. This group, which took its name from the characterless adventurer who has been its leader, poisoned and corrupted the American Communist movement for many years by its unprincipled and unscrupulous factional struggles. The Lovestoneites were able and talented people, but they had no definite principles. They were wild-eyed radicals and ultraleftists when Zinoviev was at the head of the Comintern. With

Protest vote in Sheffield

Published on: Thu, 12/08/2004 - 13:26

Following the SWP's wrecking of the Socialist Alliance, a number of comrades stood as 'Democratic Socialist Alliance' candidates in the 10 June local government elections. One of the most successful of these campaigns was run by AWL member Alison Brown, whose campaigned in the Burngreave ward of Sheffield.
Alison had stood in the same ward twice before as a Socialist Alliance candidate; in a clear indication that patient, systematic work pays off in a way that SWP-style leaflet-bombing never can, she more than tripled her vote this time, with 13% of those who voted casting a vote for her

Workers of the world Round up

Published on: Sat, 17/07/2004 - 23:44

By Pablo Velasco


  • Strike wave in South Korea
  • Soldiers terrorise workers Haitian workers
  • Victory for Colombian banana workers' strike
  • General strike in Nigeria stops petrol price rises

Strike wave in South Korea

Korean taxi drivers and metal workers went on strike this month for wage increases and better working conditions, joining hospital workers on their week-long walkout.
About 4,600 drivers of the Korean Federation of Taxi Workers' Unions, an affiliate of the independent Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), are demanding the introduction of a minimum wage, a

Ban the Brands campaign

Published on: Sat, 17/07/2004 - 23:35

"We don't want your sweatshop goods"

Jotters sponsored by Pepsi, Coke machines stocking exclusively Coca Cola, Adidas-sponsored 'training days'. These are just some of the branded products that are finding their way into our schools in order to bombard school students with advertising from multinationals. But these companies, who are often involved in sweatshop labour and human rights abuses, are hardly 'role models' for young people.

The Ban the Brand campaign is a Scottish-wide initiative started by No Sweat activists, Lothian school students and Scottish Socialist and Green MSPs. The

The people who cleaned up after the TUC

Published on: Sat, 17/07/2004 - 23:33

By Jean Lane

It felt just like old times. Marching through the streets of London with contingent after contingent of union branches with their banners, whistles and music, chanting working class demands...
"The workers united…" sang the megaphones.
"T&G Fighting Back" declared the posters.
"Universal Benefits are a Universal Right"
"Retirement With Dignity For All"

Bringing up the rear of the demonstration, looking for all the world like another delegation, in matching blue sweatshirts and caps, were about twenty workers with plastic bags and litter pickers, cleaning up. They were casual non

Nike's Olympics start badly

Published on: Sat, 17/07/2004 - 23:23

Nike's multi-million dollar Olympics advertising campaign is in jeopardy.
Marion Jones, the record-breaking American athlete accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, is in danger of being barred from the competition. She is under scrutiny by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Jones is paid $3m (£1.64m) a year to endorse Nike (from a total endorsement budget which now stands at an obscene $1.36bn a year).

But Nike has a record of standing by athletes involved in doping scandals.

In 1992 when Germany's Katrin Krabbe, the world 100 and 200 metres champion, tested positive for steroids Nike

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