Solidarity 095, 22 June 2006

The Euston Manifesto

Published on: Tue, 21/11/2006 - 14:38

Sean Matgamna

That’ll teach me to make silly jokes! A few issues back, in a fit of self-indulgent whimsy, I mocked some ex-comrades of ours who had abandoned socialist politics to enlist in George W Bush’s neo-conservative crusade to bring bourgeois democracy and American-style capitalism to Iraq. In a little skit, I had one of them confuse the Communist Manifesto with “the Bourgeois-Democratic Manifesto”.

Now they and others have in all seriousness produced what I conjured up as an absurdist joke — a “Bourgeois-Democratic Manifesto”. Politics today, as many have already noticed, has become satire-proof!


With the Iranian workers — against war, against the Islamic Republic

Published on: Fri, 29/09/2006 - 13:40

The crisis between Iran and the US entered a new stage with the election of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to the presidency of the Islamic Republic last June. Amina Saddiq looks at the background

Who is Ahmedinejad?

As an organiser for the “Organisation of Student Unity”, Ahmedinejad played a key role in the Islamist counter-revolution of 1979-80, establishing control of the universities by purging left-wing and dissident lecturers and students, many of whom were later executed. Following a period as an engineer and military commander in the Iran-Iraq war, he worked in “internal security”, earning

Government by the gutter press

Published on: Sat, 24/06/2006 - 14:15

The government is in a panic. Its criminal justice policy is in chaos. At the same time a Chief Constable publicly denounces them for pandering in their decisions to the demagogue tabloid press. And he’s right.

Last Monday the one-time Stalinist Home Secretary John Reid demanded that a judge’s sentence be reviewed within hours of the court handing it down. The Home Secretary has sent a emissary to see if the US policy of revealing details of where convicted child abusers live — Megan’s Law — should be adopted here. Yet last year the government had ruled that out. The News of the World say the

French fight 30 June deportations plan

Published on: Sat, 24/06/2006 - 14:14

By Joan Trevor

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, whose vicious immigration reforms have now passed both houses of the French parliament, has softened his stance not one iota, in spite of what it says on the BBC news website about him having relented: “Mr Sarkozy plans to spare about 1,200 children who faced expulsion and deportation with their families.”

The children to be spared deportation at the end of the school year are those who were born in France and who have no connection with their parents’ country of origin.

The main campaign fighting the new legislation, Réseau Education

Teachers jailed and killed

Published on: Sat, 24/06/2006 - 14:11

Three hundred thousand marched into Oaxaca, Mexico on 16 June, to support striking teachers whose encampment was brutally attacked by police two days earlier. Led by Section 22 of the SNTE teachers union, the march was supported by university students, local health and university workers and numerous other union, popular and left wing organisations.

The demonstrators demanded the resignation of state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortíz of the right-wing Institutional Revolutionary Party, widely accused of corruption.

On 14 June 20 teachers were arrested, and eight “disappeared” after a police attack.

Student protests educate Chilean government

Published on: Sat, 24/06/2006 - 14:08

By Mickey Conn

Over the last month, Chile has entered the stage of the social struggles sweeping Latin America, with hundreds of thousands of secondary students striking and occupying their schools. All Chile's main cities have seen big demonstration clash with the police, and university and other education workers have struck in support of the students.

These include not only immediate reforms to improve students' quality of life, but a change in the whole way the education system functions. Under the Pinochet regime, a large part of the school system was privatised and schools put under

Think left, vote right?

Published on: Sat, 24/06/2006 - 14:06

One recent poll (Ipsos/ MORI, 30 May) gives only 26% satisfied with Tony Blair as prime minister, and 67% dissatisfied. His negative ratings are much worse than even at the height of the big demonstrations against him taking Britain into the US-organised invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Labour's poll ratings are now around 31% or 32%, the lowest since June 1987. In the Ipsos/ MORI poll, the Tories had a 10% lead over Labour, better than they have had since 1992.

The Labour Party's remaining members (fewer than 200,000 — half the 400,000 of 1997) don't like Blair either.

Thirty seven per cent of

Anti-union, Stingy, Deceitful, Anti-worker

Published on: Sat, 24/06/2006 - 14:02

By Gerry Bates

Members of the GMB union working in Asda Wal-Mart depots have voted by three to one to take strike action to win collective bargaining rights at all 20 distribution depots, to ensure the payment of the 2005 bonus and to have safe working practices.

Earlier this year Asda Wal-Mart said 70% of its workers would get no bonus in 2005, despite making £770m profits for the company! This was because the firm did not meet its profit target of £850 million! The GMB estimate a “saving” of £12 million for the company.

Bonuses mean a lot to Asda staff. One fifth get just £5.23 a hour.

March against NHS cuts!

Published on: Sat, 24/06/2006 - 13:50

By Mike Fenwick, Unison

Announcements of cuts in the NHS have become routine— each day the newspapers find a new story to highlight increasing debt, job losses and closures. Yet the unions seem to be standing on the sidelines, with no concerted national campaign in place to respond to the crisis.

The latest, and biggest story has been the failure by private sector contractors to put the national computer system Connecting for Health into place. It’s not the first time that the timetable for implementation and standards for quality of work by private firms has proved inadequate… it is now

Pay, pensions, privatisation

Published on: Sat, 24/06/2006 - 13:49

By a conference delegate

Unison conference, meeting in Bournemouth between 17 and 23 June, posed both problems and possibilities for serious class-struggle activists in the union.

At the Local Government sector conference, there was a defeat for the left when the conference voted not to restart industrial action over pensions. By just over 350,000 to just over 330,000, delegates voted against a motion rejecting the leadership’s strategy of relying on a judicial review of the government’s pension plans.

Speaking on the Tuesday of conference, general secretary Dave Prentice promised that if

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