Solidarity 062, 18 November 2004

Chris Bambery’s Marxism lies a-mouldering in the grave

Published on: Sat, 04/08/2007 - 07:26

Sacha Ismail on the Socialist Workers Party pamphlet Iraq: why the troops must get out now by Chris Bambery

(From Solidarity 3/62, November 2004)

SWP-watchers will be aware that leading cadre Chris Bambery has recently taken time out from his busy schedule of leather trouser-shopping and goatee-trimming to assume the editorship of Socialist Worker. Here he maintains the high standards he has established at that publication by producing fifty pages of populist, non-socialist, anti-American (“anti-imperialist”) babble. Despite providing clear evidence of the SWP’s deepening political

The most widespread racism is against gypsies

Published on: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 19:57

According to Understanding Prejudice, a major new study commissioned by the gay rights group Stonewall prejudice is rife in Britain. Two-thirds of white people in Britain admit to some prejudice, even if only casual or unintentional, against one or another or against several minority groups.

The report demonstrates how quickly and easily the ground of prejudice shifts. Straightforward anti-black racism is no longer the main form of bigotry in Britain, as even the BNP has realised. The two groups receiving most hostility from the 1,700 respondents to the survey were, in the first place Romany

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Tue, 23/11/2004 - 07:10

Management has now been forced to recognise the GMB at Laing O’Rourke, where there is a dispute over new contracts. Previously, it had recognised only UCATT, which had agreed a new contract which slashed pay and conditions. Over 100 workers have now joined the GMB, which management initially barred from the big Channel Tunnel Rail Link site at King's Cross.

Staff at regional ITV stations will be balloted by the unions NUJ, BECTU and Amicus over strike action if there are redundancies under sweeping changes proposed by media regulator Ofcom. Regional news services are under threat.


What Galloway admitted

Published on: Tue, 23/11/2004 - 07:10

The libel case against the Daily Telegraph brought by George Galloway MP has finally come to court. It will run in court for five days, from 16 November, and then there will probably be some delay until the judge’s verdict.

The Telegraph argues that it does not need to prove that what was written in official Iraqi documents which its correspondent David Blair claimed he found in Baghdad, but that it had a journalistic right and duty to publish the documents.

The central political issue here for socialists is not whether the documents published in the Telegraph were genuine or forgeries.

In his

Nigerian general strike

Published on: Tue, 23/11/2004 - 06:58

Unions in Nigeria organised a general strike on 16 November after the government failed to cut petrol prices.

Workers were protesting at a 23% rise in petrol, diesel and kerosene prices in September. Unions said a government concession to cut kerosene prices was insufficient. A Nigerian court ruled against the strike but unions ignored the ruling.

A four-day nationwide strike in October shut down banks, businesses, shops and public services.

Unions targeted crude oil production and exports as part of the stoppage. Nigeria is the world’s seventh-largest oil producer and the strike disrupted

Korean civil servants' general strike

Published on: Tue, 23/11/2004 - 06:58

Korean civil servants’ in the Government Employees’ Union (KGEU) organised a general strike on 15 November as part of its fight against anti-union laws. The strike went ahead despite a police crackdown the week before.

The KGEU, which has 140,000 members out of 300,000 low-ranking civil service workers, is demanding the right to strike, which is prohibited for public servants in South Korea.

Police rounded up more than 200 leaders of the union and stormed union offices before the strike. The courts issued arrest warrants against 33 leaders of the KGEU and threatened strikers with arrest and

Chinese textile workers arrested

Published on: Tue, 23/11/2004 - 06:58

More than twenty worker activists at the former Tianwang Textile Factory in Xianyang city, Shaanxi Province, have been arrested by police after a seven week factory-wide strike by around 6,800 workers.

Neither the detainees’ names nor the charges on which they are being held are known. According to the China Labour Bulletin, Xianyang courts also issued a “wanted notice” for three other workers from the same factory.

The police are aiding the local authorities’ who want to stop workers from electing a factory-level trade union and registering it with the official trade union organisation, the

US hotel workers demand boycott

Published on: Tue, 23/11/2004 - 06:58

Hotel workers have demanded a boycott of nine Los Angeles luxury hotels involved in a dispute with over wages, benefits and working conditions.

Nearly 3,000 hotel workers have been attempting to win a new union contract in the hotels who have now formed the Hotel Employers Council.

The Employers Council has used intimidation, the threat of a lockout, threats to hire scabs and the termination of the workers’ union contract to attempt to force the workers to back down from their demands. Workers want reduced workloads, paid sick days, employer-paid health insurance, a living wages, protections

Tube strikes

Published on: Tue, 23/11/2004 - 06:56

Aslef, the train drivers’ union, has called 24-hour strikes by half the drivers on the Jubilee line on 4 and 24 December.

The dispute, which involves all the drivers at the North Greenwich depot, concerns a “rogue manager”. Contrary to local agreements, drivers were harassed after taking sick leave and were refused payment for special leave, he added. Drivers on two other lines are also being balloted for strike action in two separate disputes. Aslef expects a result within the next two weeks. Staff at the Acton Town depot on the District line are voting over working conditions at Earl's Court

Working for 21 pence an hour (No, it’s not the Third World, it’s the UK)

Published on: Tue, 23/11/2004 - 06:56

“The Company doesn’t care if you are getting rubbish money. As long as you get the work done, you are out of sight, out of mind.”

The National Group on Homeworking (NGH) estimates that there are around one million industrial homeworkers in the UK. The products they pack, assemble or manufacture are diverse, ranging from clothing and footwear, electrical components through to car components and medical products.

Pay is sometimes as low as 15 pence per hour. And most homeworkers have few automatic employment rights, such as the right to redundancy pay or sick pay, or the right to contest unfair

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