Solidarity 086, 12 January 2006

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

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 12:09

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.

When the rich can buy legislators and legislatures, then it is a poor look out for those who, in the theory of

Nationalists prosecute Turkish writer

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 12:02

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.

Pamuk's prosecution by Turkish nationalists under Article 301 of the
penal code opened and was halted on 16 December, while the judge
seeks the justice ministry's approval to go ahead.
Pamuk, a contender for the 2005 Nobel Prize for literature, is being
sanctioned for telling a Swiss newspaper in February 2005: "One
million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in these lands

USDAW elections - vote Broad Left!

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 12:02

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.

USDAW is perhaps the least effective union in the British labour
movement. Its leadership have signed away the right to vote on their
pay and conditions for nearly a third of its total membership in
Tesco. They have blocked a united front with the TGWU against low pay
in Sainsbury's, and throughout the industry USDAW officials are happy
to stay warm

Tube strike: the next steps

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 11:57

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.

As well as further strikes, we should pile on the pressure with an overtime ban as soon as possible. The union should also name days when members will refuse to do

A fighting union or a job club?

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 11:48

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.

There is no need for illusions about the T&G Broad Left. It is not a militant rank-and-file grouping. It is primarily an electoral machine whose majority politics can be

A comprehensive attack

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 11:46

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.

In 2004/2005 the government instructed LEAs to assess education provision and need with a

No gods no masters

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 11:45

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.

Such an attitude was illustrated by the comments of Jean

Capitalism, crime and punishment

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 11:42

By Sofie Buckland

To its bourgeois defenders the criminal justice system - courts, prisons, probation service - serves a number of purposes. First it is there to try and prevent crime. Prison incarceration, the longer the better for some, is meant to act as an example and a deterrent to other would-be criminals. Punishment is also meant to bring "justice" to the victims of crime. Or perhaps, as the tabloid headliner writers who call for the judicial murder of paedophiles would have it, punishment is also about exacting revenge. To others, more liberal in opinion perhaps, prison is a last

Challenging Australia's anti-union laws

Published on: Sun, 15/01/2006 - 11:41

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.

"Further, should any worker who took part in this stoppage receive
wages for that period, the worker,

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.