Solidarity 091, 6 April 2006

French students and workers revolt against neoliberalism

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:42

“The student movement did not start with a single blow. At first it was just the students of Rennes who dared to bet that their strike would snowball, and who shut down their university, on their own for a week.

“It will be the same among the workers...”

So resolved the 300 university and high-school student delegates who met in Lille on 1-2 April to plan the way forward for the struggle in France.

The movement started two months ago, with a small minority of students who ventured to take action against a government measure cutting job security — at first sight just another of dozens of

Palestine: towards an imposed carve-up?

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:39

By John O’Mahony

Throughout the second intifada, the revolt of the Palestinians against Israeli colonial rule, there could be seen a tragic entanglement, almost a tacit alliance, between Hamas on the Palestinian and Likud on the Israeli side. Together they made impossible any progress out of the conflict.

Again and again, their actions strengthened each other at the expense of more conciliatory forces on both sides.

The use of vastly disproportionate military force, against civilians and in circumstances in which civilians were predictably going to be the victims, by the Israeli state.

Who killed Denis Donaldson?

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:36

By Gerry Bates

Denis Donaldson worked as a British spy within the top echelons of Sinn Fein for 20 years. He admitted that at a press conference four months ago. Now he has been shot dead at the remote Donegal cottage where he lived.

The shooting of a police spy is never an entirely reprehensible or useless act, even when the spy in question worked against an IRA which was waging a war against Northern Irish Protestants and the British state which had long ceased to make any political sense. If it ever made sense.

Who shot Donaldson? Ask the question “who benefits?” and the answer would be

The biggest strike for decades

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:34

by colin foster

28 March saw the biggest strike in Britain for decades. According to Unison and the other unions involved, over a million local government workers struck against the Government’s plans to cut their pensions.

That one day’s action amounted to twice as many striker-days as the average for a whole year over the period 1994-2003. Many more workers struck than voted for strike action in the unions’ ballot, or even than voted at all. Union branches recruited dozens of new members in the run-up to the strike.

Given even a hesitant, eleventh-hour lead, workers responded.

This action

Reports from the strike day

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:31

Dumfries and Galloway: A mass picket of 300 people at the council offices in Dumfries. All council workplaces were affected, and 30 schools were closed. Everyone thought the day strike had been a success and was determined to continue with future strikes in order to win their demands. Elaine

Lambeth: 60 to 70 people on the picket line outside the Town Hall, Many women - mostly from local schools. A definite mood that people were up for more action on this issue. One worker told me how it should have happened before the general election — ain’t that true. Faz

Leicester: The vast majority of

Market to blame for NHS crisis

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:30

UNISON health workers hold their annual conference later this month. As Nick Holden explains, they have a lot to discuss.

New reports each day of hospitals slashing jobs, and cutting back on services seem to indicate an NHS falling apart at the seams, despite the claimed investment of millions of pounds of new money. Propaganda about the “NHS crisis” serves various agendas

On the one hand, NHS unions and activists use the financial crisis to bolster their argument for more money — although the unions are struggling to respond adequately to the suggestion that the cash crisis is at least

Defend the Amicus 3!

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:28

Some 30 Amicus members lobbied the March meeting of the Amicus National Executive Council (NEC) in protest at the sacking of three Amicus employees: Des Heemskerk, Jimmy Warne and Cathie Willis. The three were suspended from their jobs in Amicus in mid-September of last year. All three are leading members of “Amicus Unity Gazette”, the broad left grouping in Amicus.

Des Heemskerk is a former Deputy Convenor at Fords. Until recently he was the Amicus Unity Gazette editor.

Jimmy Warne is a former shop steward at Swan Hunter. He was a prominent member of the Gazette group on the Executive of the

Strike planned

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:27

NATFHE, the union which represents teaching staff in Further Education, has agreed to organise a two-day strike on 2 and 3 May. This is in response to the 1.5% pay rise offered for 2006-7. The strike takes place in advance of scheduled talks.

The two-day strike will be held the week before the second round of pay talks is due to start. The union says the strike will be the start of a programme of escalating industrial action, up to and including indefinite strike action.

Six further education unions, representing other workers, have also rejected the offer. The unions have made a claim for a


Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:24

By a TGWU member

The TGWU Broad Left met on 2 April and discussed the proposed “super-union” amalgamation between the TGWU, AMICUS and the GMB.

Unfortunately the discussion was not very satisfactory, with several people arguing almost that the rule book / structure doesn’t matter, so long as the left is in control.Others were arguing that there should be no ballot on the merger without a finalised rule-book in place. This, it was argued by others, would, in practice, make the merger of the three unions impossible as the “window of opportunity” would only last for so long.

The way forward is

The case against state funding

Published on: Wed, 12/04/2006 - 18:22

Both New Labour and the Tories depended for their last General Election campaigns on millionaires giving them big loans under the counter. As for the Liberal Democrats, their 2005 accounts show £3.5 million of their £5.2 million income (other than public funds) from corporate donations. They got only slightly less in corporate donations than the Tories did, with £4.2 million.

Arithmetical proof that the vote now serves us mostly to choose between different sorts of millionaires’ governments, and leaves no choice for a workers’ government!

Blair has fended off the loans crisis by embarrassing

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