Solidarity 085, 8 December 2005

The AWL and LFIQ

Published on: Fri, 25/05/2007 - 11:43

This article is scheduled for Solidarity 3/85.

Barry Finger says in Solidarity 3/80: "Look at the trajectory of Alan Johnson". Johnson the late-vintage Blairite, he suggests, may hold up to AWL the mirror of its own future.

It was to be expected that AWL might be held politically responsible in some degree for Alan Johnson and Labour Friends of Iraq (LFIQ), and that there would be people eager to insist on it (I don't mean Barry Finger). For that reason among others, we published the polemic signed by Alan Johnson and Jane Ashworth in Solidarity 3/62, and I wrote an assessment of their

What the unions should fight for

Published on: Sat, 10/12/2005 - 13:30

The unions should fight for an alternative of democratic social provision.

They should fight for a workers’ government — a government based on and accountable to the labour movement. A workers’ government should take all the pension funds into public ownership — without compensation to the financiers — and put them under the democratic control of the workers who pay into them and the pensioners who depend on them. It should tax the rich and big business as much as is necessary to level up pension provision with a proper guaranteed minimum.

Strategically, the best way to do that would be

The history of pensions

Published on: Sat, 10/12/2005 - 13:28

Old age pensions have been won by labour-movement campaigning, or granted by conservative politicians trying to pre-empt rising labour movements.

The idea of a universal old-age pension, payable to all elderly people as of right, was first raised in the French Revolution of 1789–99, although the policy was never carried through.

The first comprehensive old-age pension was legislated in Germany, in 1889, by a conservative leader, Otto von Bismarck, who wanted to stall the rise of the then-illegal German socialist movement.

Britain’s trade unions started campaigning for old-age pensions in the

Left plans united protest

Published on: Sat, 10/12/2005 - 13:25

The Socialist Green Unity Coalition - an alliance including the Alliance for Green Socialism, the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, the Socialist Alliance, and the Socialist Party — has decided on a joint campaign about pensions, with leafletting, street stalls, petitioning, and public meetings.

This is the text of the basic leaflet for the campaign.

The Turner report says that pensions are too costly, and in the future you’ll have to work longer and pay more to get less.

The real “pensions gap” is between rich and poor. The rich monopolise more and more of the wealthy of society. They get

NHS Trusts in cash crisis

Published on: Sat, 10/12/2005 - 13:23

By Stan Crooke

Along with many other health trusts around the country Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are currently running a deficit. In the Cambs Trust area it is some £40 million. The Trust has already identified £17 million worth of planned cuts in services: £9 million in hospital services, £3 million in prescriptions, £4 million in mental health, and £1 million in primary care. These cuts will be replicated right across the country.

Across the East of England as a whole, the NHS is heading for a deficit of £211 millions. More than 450 hospital beds have

Iraq: US set to bomb its way through civil war

Published on: Sat, 10/12/2005 - 13:17

by Martin Thomas

The Bush government is slowly and clumsily moving towards accepting that Iraq will slide into sectarian civil war, and relying on US airpower to bomb it into a result acceptable to the USA without too many US casualties.

Patrick Clawson, a Washington think-tankie close to the government, told Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker magazine: “We’re not planning to diminish the war. We just want to change the mix of the forces doing the fighting — Iraqi infantry with American support and greater use of airpower... [It] may end up being a nasty and murderous civil war in Iraq, but we

Yes to “troops out now”, no to “cut and run”

Published on: Sat, 10/12/2005 - 13:13

Barry Finger replies to Sean Matgamna (Solidarity 3/84)

Barry's initial article in (Solidarity 3/82)can be seen from this link


True to his third camp core, Sean rightly places the Iraqi labor movement at the centre of his concerns.

If I understand the analogy he draws with the Bolshevik invasion of Poland during its civil war — strained though it strikes me — the AWL differs, and differs both notably and honorably, from the “resistance's” amen corner within the anti-war movement by its dogged insistence that the health of the Iraqi working class is

Britain’s biggest left party, 1893-1945, and what became of it - The history of the ILP

Published on: Sat, 10/12/2005 - 13:03

The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was founded by Keir Hardie and others in 1893 and “ended” some time in the 1970s, when what was left of it joined the Labour Party. For the first 25 years of its existence, it played a central role in British working class politics. Thereafter it was slowly pushed to the margins of labour politics, as its various functions were taken over by other organisations — the Labour party, the Communist Party, Trotskyist groups and, in the 1960s, by the International Socialists (forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party).

In the 1930s there was perhaps a chance that

Most feminist government ever?

Published on: Sat, 10/12/2005 - 13:01

According to Metro, Minister for Women Tessa Jowell has claimed it will never be possible to fully close the gender pay gap, despite the progress that she says “the most feminist government in our history” has made. Her “most feminist” claim is only plausible because no government has ever made much effort to empower women — New Labour’s agenda leaves a lot to be desired.

The BBC tells us that women workers earn an average of 27% less than men do — for part time workers, the figure is 40%. These working-class women are less of a concern for the government than those who can’t get top

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