Solidarity 102, 16 November 2006

Castro and the Cuban revolution

Published on: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 17:23

By Paul Hampton

Paul Hampton assesses Fidel Castro’s legacy — the nature of the 1959 revolution and the social and political changes Cuba is now experiencing.

The overthrow of Batista in the last days of 1958 was a popular revolution that socialists and radicals everywhere supported. Batista had made Cuba a vassal of the US and held down the Cuban working class with repression and a compliant union bureaucracy.

The opposition to Batista included Castro’s July 26 Movement (M26J), which had fought a guerrilla struggle for two years, the old bourgeois autentico and ortodoxo parties, the

How to fight, and how not to fight, the BNP

Published on: Sat, 25/11/2006 - 13:17

His porcine cheeks ruddy with the burst veins of the long-haul serious whisky drinker, looking like an overfed pork butcher on a spree, Nick Griffin, Führer of the fascist British National Party, emerged from the Crown Court in Leeds spluttering with triumph and vindication. He praised the jury. He denounced the politicians. He told people how wonderful the BNP is.

Indeed he had reason to be triumphant.

It was the second time he’d been tried on the same charge. Last February, Griffin and Mark Collett, publicity director of the BNP, had been acquitted of five charges, and the jury couldn’t

As rich as Rockefeller — Parables for socialists -2

Published on: Sat, 25/11/2006 - 13:16

By Paddy Dollard

John D. Rockefeller was the richest man in the world at the beginning of the 20th century. He ran Standard Oil, which had cornered control of almost the entire American oil industry.

At one point he controlled over 90% of the industry!

Born in 1839, John D. was one of the great “robber barons” who raped and pillaged the whole North American continent during the last third of the l9th century. Oil— which then meant paraffin for lamps, and would later mean fuel for internal combustion engines— was first drilled out of the ground on the eve of the US Civil War. As the industry

Workers of the World news: Indonesia, Korea, Zanon, Houston cleaners

Published on: Mon, 20/11/2006 - 14:48


The People’s Democratic Party (PRD) in Indonesia is to form a new political party at the end of November, according to website of International Viewpoint. Then the National Liberation Party of Unity (PAPERNAS) will hold a founding congress.

The PRD says they want to overcome the fragmentation of the workers’ and social movements by forming this broad party. They estimate that there are around 12,000 independent workers’ organisations organised around local or factory issues, but they are without a authoritative centre.

The PAPERNAS programme is organised around what they call “the

Debate: Labour Party, hijab, Georgia

Published on: Mon, 20/11/2006 - 14:45

The politics of denial

The editorial Maria Exall criticises in Solidarity 3/100 may have misunderstood and (inadvertently) misrepresented specific details about the Labour Party. But it is a matter of fact, surely, that there is now very little life in the Labour Party? Maria seems to me to be in a state of denial. She uses “nit-picking” facts, alleged facts and “factoids” to destructure and obfuscate the overall picture.

I agree with Maria: 1) The transformation of the Labour Party is not complete, definitive, irreversible; 2) The unions still have much power and they should use it; 3) Trade

Education, education, alienation

Published on: Mon, 20/11/2006 - 14:44

By David Broder

The demand for free education is often linked to the assertion that “education is a right, not a privilege”. The right of access to education for all represents a great social conquest for the working-class, a gain perhaps even akin to healthcare. That right must be defended. But it would be short-sighted to think that the education system represented everything we want, or was not in its own way alienating, a weapon in the armoury of bourgeois ideology designed to serve the needs of capital.

Marxists oppose the division of intellectual and manual labour inherent in bourgeois

John McDonnell campaign latest

Published on: Mon, 20/11/2006 - 14:42

The fight in Parliament

While other so-called “Labour lefts” rally around the flag of the government at every opportunity, when the chips are down, John McDonnell has shown his refusal to tow the line at the expense of socialist principles.

In the 31 October vote on whether to hold an inquiry into the war in Iraq, John was one of just 12 Labour MPs to vote against Blair, who wanted to escape scrutiny on the matter. Michael Meacher and Diane Abbott were both absent from the vote, choosing not to take the government to task. Meacher has called for a “radical change of direction” in government,

Ortega wins Nicaraguan elections

Published on: Mon, 20/11/2006 - 14:38

By Paul Hampton

Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) leader was re-elected president last week. But for all the flag waving, it’s clear that this is hardly a victory for the Nicaraguan working class.

Ortega won 38% of the vote, the two right wing candidates Eduardo Montealegre (National Liberal Alliance, ALN) and José Rizo (Constitutional Liberal Party, PLC) got 29% and 26% respectively. Edmundo Jarquín from the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) got over 6% and another former Sandinista Eden Pastora 0.27%.

National Assembly elections were also held, with the FSLN

New direction in the Middle East?

Published on: Mon, 20/11/2006 - 13:32

By John O’Mahony

Tony Blair is again urging the Bush administration to make a new effort to settle the conflict in the Middle East. He has said publicly that resolving the Jewish-Palestinian conflict is an irreplaceable part of such a settlement.

Certainly, this is true. It would still be true even if things in Iraq had gone as Bush and Blair had expected them to. It hs remained true even as Bush and Blair have watched the once much-hyped four power-sponsored “Blueprint” for a Jewish Arab settlement die over the last four years.

Paradoxically, the bloody disaster for the US, Britain, and then

Oaxaca keeps up the fight!

Published on: Mon, 20/11/2006 - 13:21

By Jack Staunton

La lucha continua – the struggle continues! That’s the message from teachers, activists and other workers in Oaxaca, despite the wave of repression against them from Mexican police over the past two weeks.

After the invasion of the city of Oaxaca by over 4,500 Mexican state police, it looked as if the five-month workers’ revolt had been crushed. The teachers’ strike, which had set off the massive social struggle and the occupation of the city by a mass organising assembly (APPO), was declared over by the leadership of their union (the SNTE) on 27 October.

But the people of

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