Solidarity 077, 21 July 2005

Israel should get out of Gaza and West Bank!

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.

The Buddhist Detective

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 Most Political Potter

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.

When the SWP Rationalised for the London Bombers (2005)

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!

Industrial News

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

HOW NOT TO STOP THE ROT

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.

PCS: Ballot now!

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.

Labour left backs Iraqi unions

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”.

Heath: the Thatcherite who lost

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.

The workers of Paris triumph (2)

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.

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