Solidarity 088, 23 February 2006

The shame of the invertebrate liberals

Published on: Thu, 22/03/2007 - 21:22

The liberal Establishment, including the liberal newspapers, have responded to the still-burning political explosion ignited by the Danish cartoons showing Muhammad in a downright disgraceful way. They have turned tail on the traditions of freedom of religion and freedom to have no religion, of free speech and a free press, which in less demanding times they claim as their own and are ever ready to denounce Marxists for allegedly not accepting or defending.

Very little of the political explosion triggered by the Danish cartoons seems to have been spontaneous, raw religious outrage. It has been

Real and invented differences on Political Islam 1: the Sharia Socialists

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 21:17

Sean Matgamna

“But [against the state] socialists cannot give support to the Islamists either. That would be to call for the swapping of one form of oppression for another, to react to the violence of the state by abandoning the defence of ethnic and religious minorities, women and gays, to collude in scapegoating that makes it possible for capitalist exploitation to continue unchecked providing it takes 'Islamic' forms.

"It would be to abandon the goal of independent socialist politics, based on workers in struggle organising all the oppressed and exploited behind them, for a tail-ending of a petty

A factory without bosses

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 21:15

The Zanon factory in Neuquén province in Argentina has operated under workers’ control for four years. It is a great example of the creativity of working class people. Julian Pununuri from Zanon spoke to Paul Hampton during his recent UK tour, organised by No Sweat and the Argentina Solidarity Campaign.

PH: Zanon is an inspiration to socialists and activists across the globe. What’s going on there now?

JP: The struggle continues, supported by the local community, the unemployed organisations (MTD), the left and of course the workers in the factory. The factory’s former owners decided to

How students organise in the USA

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 21:13

By Laura Schwartz, convenor students against sweatshops

Between 8 and 14 February I happily accepted an invitation from United Students Against Sweatshops to attend their winter conference in San Francisco as a representative of Students Against Sweatshops and No Sweat.

415 delegates attended the four day conference, representing groups from the 200 US colleges affiliated to USAS. Workshops and seminars focused on USAS’ four main campaign areas – sweat-free college merchandise; a living wage for campus workers; “Killer Coke”; and international solidarity. The conference also discussed how

after a week, a year of action!

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 21:07

By Sacha ismail

Between February 11 and 18, activists across the country organised meetings, protests, film-showings, petitioning and benefit gigs as part of the first student Anti-Sweatshop Week of Action. The week of action, which we hope to make an annual event, was called by No Sweat and Students Against Sweatshops, with (in the event, largely passive) support from the National Union of Students.

A variety of left-wing activists on campus, from People & Planet groups to left-wing campaigning societies and even one Labour Club, organised events.

The backbone of the week was an

Freedom for the peoples of Iraq! Against the US/UK, against the “resistance”

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 21:03

By colin foster

According to detailed research by the International Crisis Group, the Iraqi “resistance” is becoming much more organised and confident. The USA’s reported repeated attempts to get into negotiations with a “nationalist” wing of the “resistance” and split it off from a “jihadi” wing have little grip.

The ICG report is based on analysis of the websites, DVDs, and videos produced by the “resistance”, now quite numerous and professionally-done, plus a few interviews.

At the start in 2003, the ICG says, the “resistance” was very fragmented. It got a big boost in early 2004 with the

With the Iranian bus workers, against the Islamic Republic

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 21:01

by Amina Saddiq

In a solid display of working-class solidarity, an international day of trade union action was organised on 15 February in support of the Iranian bus workers.

Road transport unions in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, the Tunisian rail workers’ and maritime unions and the petrochemical union in Jordan all held actions. In Iraq, members of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (formerly the IFTU) delivered a letter of protest and demonstrated in front of the Iranian embassy in Baghdad. Actions were organised by unions in Austria, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand

Not unfair to Ridley

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 20:59

If Terry Liddle wants to maintain that FA Ridley was personally a good sort (see Solidarity 3/87), I’ll take his word for it. I never met him. I know him only for his writings, including his pamphlet on Spartacus, which, decades ago, I read and thought very good.

What Ridley might have been as a person is beside the point. He did, in black and white, in the Socialist Leader, back the Stalinists in their savage repression of Hungary in October-November 1956 — and on the bizarre grounds that the choice was between the “Red” (Stalinist!) International and the “Black” international, that is the

the state and atheism

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 20:57

Mark Sandell’s letter (Solidarity 3/87) attacking my article on secularism in France did make a sustained effort at picking holes in my argument, but did little to justify his own position.

While I raised doubts over the possibility of engaging religious workers if we wholeheartedly support the bourgeois state’s effort to impose irreligion on them, Mark simply accuses me of “joining the motley crew of cultural relativists, numbskull ‘anti-imperialists’ and assorted religious bigots in opposing the ban on the veil”. He nowhere answers my charge that a crude ban on religious symbols will make

Not the same as the Pope

Published on: Thu, 02/03/2006 - 20:55

By Alan Thomas

At the present time, Muslim populations across Europe are under-privileged and oppressed. Within the UK as well, Muslim populations suffer all the usual social indicators of racism, as well as being at the sharp end of the recent “antiterror” laws, as well as a wider post-9/11 backlash. The image of Muslim as savage, terrorist “other” is thus at the fore in a way that it has not been in many years.

It is within this context that the Jyllands-Posten cartoons exist. I simply cannot see how (on any basic understanding of racism as a social, political and economic phenomenon) that

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