Solidarity 077, 21 July 2005

Israel should get out of Gaza and West Bank!

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2006 - 18:58

By Mark Osborn

The Israeli government plans to withdraw 9,000 settlers and the troops that protect them from the Gaza Strip in mid-August.

Israel will maintain control of Gaza’s borders, coastline and airspace.

As the pull-out nears Ariel Sharon’s Israeli government is facing mobilisations from right-wing settlers who oppose the withdrawal.

A mass protest began on Monday 18 July and ended on 20 Wednesday 20. They wanted to march into the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip, via the Kissufim border crossing, but were stopped by police. The protesters are, as we write, heading home.

The Buddhist Detective

Published on: Sun, 31/07/2005 - 15:04

Dan Katz reviews Bangkok 8 and the recently published Bangkok Tattoo by John Burdett

Just at the point when I become sick to death of standardised, dull US detective stories and their badly-written British counterparts something comes along to cheer me up: Sonchai Jitleecheep, a Thai detective who is also a flawed and extremely ambivalent character

The important thing about noir crime is to put a person who already has lots of problems into a situation where they have little room for manoeuvre. Squeeze them and see what happens. Sonchai has a lot to contend with. For a start he is a

The Most Political Potter

Published on: Sun, 31/07/2005 - 14:57

Amina Saddiq reviews Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Those who haven’t read the last few Harry Potter books will probably laugh when I say that the latest instalment is not only the most interesting, but the most political of the series. I’ll try and explain.

Each book starts with a new academic year at Harry’s school, Hogwarts: when the series began Harry was ten but he is now almost seventeen, and Rowling has changed both the tone and subject matter accordingly.

There is still some of the earlier over-the-top jolliness, but the tone is now much darker. This is a book for older

When the SWP Rationalised for the London Bombers (2005)

Published on: Mon, 25/07/2005 - 16:07

The response to 7/7 from the Respect/SWP axis has been smug, thoughtless, and irresponsible.

On the morning of the slaughter in London, the SWP put out a statement signed by Socialist Worker editor Chris Bambery and SWP national secretary Martin Smith. Denounce the bombings and condemn the bombers? No way!

The statement sorrowfully chided the bombers for targeting London. "London... is a global centre of opposition to the war and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq... A majority of those killed and wounded will have opposed the war in Iraq; some will have joined the huge marches for peace".


International working-class solidarity is the way to beat the terrorists

Published on: Sat, 23/07/2005 - 00:01

The same sort of Islamist terrorists who killed more than fifty people in London on 7 July are also killing people in Iraq, and on a far bigger scale.

A report just published by Iraq Body Count summarises research on civilian deaths in Iraq from March 2003 to March 2005. At that point, killings of civilians by “anti-occupation forces, unknown agents, and crime” were running at an average of about thirty a day, while killings by US-led forces — very large over the whole period because of the numbers killed in the 2003 invasion and the two big attacks on Fallujah — were down to about one every

Industrial News

Published on: Fri, 22/07/2005 - 20:21

A round-up of the latest news from the UK labour movement


The TUC is consulting over replacing annual TUC Congresses with biennial Congresses (i.e. every two years).

Their consultative document also floats the idea of replacing the annual equality conferences (women, black workers, LGBT, and disability), the annual conference of Trades Union Councils, and the annual Young Members Conference with biennial conferences.

In its own way, and in its own language, the TUC’s document says a lot about the current state of the union movement. It says that the TUC Congress is

PCS: Ballot now!

Published on: Fri, 22/07/2005 - 20:17

On 5 November 2004 the left-led civil service union PCS held a national one-day strike over New Labour’s decision to cut 100,000 civil service jobs. The strike was also officially over the refusal of the government to move towards national pay bargaining.

(The civil service and related bodies are divided into some 200 “delegated bargaining units”). Some eight months on, there has been no further national action of any sort.

In the meantime the New Labour jobs thresher has rolled on and the Government has sucessfully resisted any moves to return to national pay bargaining and national pay

Labour left backs Iraqi unions

Published on: Fri, 22/07/2005 - 20:13

The Labour Representation Committee conference in London on Saturday 16 July voted to support the new trade unions in Iraq and to recognise that: “the dominant military forces of the ‘resistance’ are Sunni-supremacist and Islamic-fundamentalist. They will crush the new Iraqi labour and women’s movements if they triumph”.

Some speakers at the conference — Graham Bash and Mike Phipps from Labour Briefing, and Francis Prideaux from the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy — vehemently opposed the pro-union motion, arguing that key Iraqi trade unions are “collaborationist” and that it is only in US

Heath: the Thatcherite who lost

Published on: Fri, 22/07/2005 - 20:10

Former Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath, who died on 17 July, has elicited lavish praise from what the bourgeois press likes to call “all parts of the political spectrum”. Tony Blair has described him as “magnificent… an extraordinary man, a great statesman, a prime minister our country can be proud of”, and eulogies from Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy have been similarly gushing and hackneyed.

What might appear, in hack terms, to be a remarkable display of unity is in fact Britain’s ruling class uniting in memory of one of its most prominent politicians.

Because of the enormous shift to

The workers of Paris triumph (2)

Published on: Fri, 22/07/2005 - 18:10

The Commune had organised itself into nine Commissions or delegations. The Department of public or municipal services involved the general superintendence of public offices such as the Post Office, the Telegraphs, the Mint, the official printing press, the hospitals. Theisz, a workman, took the direction of the Post Office.

The wages of all employees were at once raised, and the hours shortened. In well-nigh all these services the “superior officials” had made off, thus leaving the work of directing them in the hands of the workmen administrators placed there by the Commune.
Camelinat, bronze

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