Solidarity 086, 12 January 2006

As Tories and Labour converge, Why we need a Workers' Government

The election of a Blair-clone Tory leader and the US Congressional bribery scandal pose basic questions about the supposed democracy under which we live.

Gary Younge, the Guardian columnist, put it nicely when he said recently that the bribery and corruption scandal centered on the US professional political lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, one of many thousands of such people working in Washington amounted to a tainting and poisoning that runs through the whole US political system.

Nationalists prosecute Turkish writer

By Joan Trevor

The Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk faces charges of insulting
Turkishness, that might earn him up to three years in prison. An
earlier charge against him of insulting Turkey's armed forces has
been dropped.

USDAW elections - vote Broad Left!

By Gerry Bates

From 23 January members of the shop and distribution workers' union
USDAW will be receiving ballot papers for the election of our union
executive and president.

This is one of the most important trade union elections in years.

Tube strike: the next steps

By Sacha Ismail (wrongly attributed to a different author in the printed Solidarity

We need a reps meeting as soon as possible to plan our next steps.

LUL has not backed down - there is every indication that Ken Livingstone and sections of management are digging in to give the union a kicking - so we need to step things up.

It will be much harder to keep the system running during sustained action than during one-day walkouts.

A fighting union or a job club?

This article was wrongly attributed to Tom Cashman. To read an apology click here.

As we go to press, elections are taking place for the General Executive Council of the TGWU.

The contest is a battle between genuine trade unionists trying to build a serious working-class organisation and faking bureaucrats concerned only to secure their own future and keep the union rolling as a gravy train and job club for their mates.

A comprehensive attack

By Tom Unterrainer

The Department for Education and Skills has pulled off an astonishing act. They've managed to convince Nottingham City Local Education Authority (LEA) to effectively write itself out of responsibility for secondary education in the city - and all by promising "record" investment. The story of how this has happened and the impact it will have on teachers and students reads like farce turned into tragedy, but in fact it's little more than the bitter fruits of a very deliberate policy.

No gods no masters

David Broder contributes to our ongoing debate on religion and secularism.

December marked the 100th anniversary of the separation of the French state from the Church, an event marked by a Parti Socialiste (PS)-run "debate" at the Assemblée Nationale. Various PS MPs and academics fêted secularism as a tenet of rationality in government, and as "the keystone of the republican system" - their analysis centred around a sort of bourgeois irreligion, proud of replacing Catholic values in government with those of liberal enlightenment.

Challenging Australia's anti-union laws

By Colin Foster

"Employees engaged on the Portside Wharf Development construction
site at Hamilton [Brisbane] attended a stop work meeting. The meeting
commenced at about 6.30am and concluded at about 7.00am...

"This meeting took place during working hours and may amount to
Unlawful Industrial Action contrary to the provisions of the Building
And Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005... Individual
workers... fines up to $22,000. Corporations [employers and
unions]... fines up to $110,000.

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