Solidarity 076, 7 July 2005

After the G8

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:44

We asked socialists and activists to comment on the way to campaign against world poverty after the G8 summit.

Workers will fight back

Mick Duncan, No Sweat

The poor are poor because they are exploited. But they fight back. The many illegal strikes by workers in China, or union organising drives in Haiti, show workers fighting back in the hardest and poorest of conditions. We should give solidarity. The better we wage the struggle against exploitation here, the better we’ll be able to organise that solidarity. Workers’ rights and workers’ solidarity worldwide, a struggle for the working

South African workers show how to fight poverty

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:31

Two million South African workers showed how to fight poverty at the end of June with the biggest strike since the days of apartheid.

On 27 June tens of thousands of workers marched in the major cities, with the biggest demonstrations in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Most mines, car makers, engineering and clothing factories were completely or partially closed as a result of the strike. Car firms including Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, and Toyota were shut. Clothing companies, the Telkom phone company, Highveld Steel and almost all the platinum and gold mines were closed.

The Congress of South

Gaza withdrawal: step up our solidarity with Palestinians

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:24

At the end of August the Israel government plans to withdraw from Gaza, dismantling 21 Israeli-Jewish settlements.

They also plan to dismantle four of the 120 Jewish West Bank settlements. Protests from Gaza settlers have been bitter and nasty; during one clash a Palestinian boy was stoned.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continues to take a firm line in executing the withdrawal operation, but behind his rhetoric Sharon has other intentions — expanding Israeli control into parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem — as Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery describes below.

Socialist campaigners must

Writing on the wall

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:17

Go London!

As we go to press we find that London has won the bid to stage the 2012 Olympics.

We imagine the headlines in tomorrow’s Sun — “Not so crap now, Chirac” etc. etc., and can only groan. But there are other things to bemoan in this result. What will Olympic “regeneration” really mean for London’s east end?

Students at the Clays Lane housing co-op in Stratford found that out when they received their eviction notices in May. They live right where the Olympic village is to be sited. And local traveller sites are also under threat.

And there are other problems.

As with the Dome, a lot

The world's poor need solidarity

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:12

After their own fashion, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown do have a “third way”. Their friend Peter Mandelson, now European Union trade commissioner, explained it in the Independent on 4 July.

“Aid-for-trade... is the key to the trading strength needed to sustain development in Africa.... To argue that free trade has failed these countries is simplistic and ignores the huge structural obstacles in the path of even the most determined modern African entrepreneurialism”.

Blair, Brown, and Mandelson want to make the capitalist market work better. They oppose socialism, or even “old Labour” schemes

The long hours scandal

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:06

By Stan Crooke

Workers in the UK work the longest hours in Europe. Nearly four million workers in the UK regularly work over 48 hours a week — 700,000 more than a decade ago.

Sixteen per cent of UK workers now work over 60 hours a week, compared to 12% in 2000.

Thirteen percent of women workers in the UK now work more than 60 hours a week, compared with 6.5% in 2000. And this figure takes no account of unpaid work in the home.

The proportion of the UK workforce working over 48 hours a week is four times higher than the EU average, and sixteen times higher than the proportion of the Dutch

TUC LGBT conference: uniting to fight oppression

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:04

When Meg Munn, the deputy minister for women and equality, addressed the TUC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender conference on 30 June/ 1 July, she was asked repeatedly why the government did not act to ensure that equalities legislation comprehensively protected all minority groups.

Her reply was that the government knew that these inequalities in protection existed and was planning a review. It begged the question of why the government had introduced some of them in the first place.

The proposed Equality Bill includes discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. LGBT conference

Rail: keeping fascists out

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:03

The Annual General Meeting of the rail union RMT, at the end of June, voted to endorse the union’s decision to expel ultra-fascist Patrick Harrington.

Trade union membership should be open to all workers prepared to stand together with their workmates for our common interests. That is why fascists must be kept out of the unions. They are fundamentally hostile to trade unions and to a large section of trade union members (black, Asian, Jewish, gay...)

The TUC in 2002 voted to back any union expelling fascists. In October 2004 the train drivers’ union ASLEF was fined £5000 in the third tribunal

Civil service jobs fight stalled

Published on: Thu, 21/07/2005 - 20:02

A national ballot in the civil service by the union PCS, over job cuts in the Department of Work and Pensions, is still on hold as the union has yet to have proper talks with the Government.

The union has said it will organise a ballot over job cuts — 100,000 are planned across the civil service, with 30,000 in the DWP alone — if guarantees of no compulsory redundancies are not forthcoming.

A ballot for regional action in London was due to start on 20 June. It was put off pending talks. But it looks like the government is dragging out talks.

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