Solidarity 103, 8 December 2006

Iraq descends into civil war: Solidarity with Iraqi workers!

Published on: Sun, 10/12/2006 - 16:21

By Colin Foster

The USA's Iraq Study Group, led by Republican old-stager James Baker, is due to present its ideas on 6 December.

In the run-up, another leading Washington think-tank has put out a report on Options for Iraq (29 November). The New York Times has published two leaked top-level memos: one (29 November) written on 8 November by new US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on ideas for a "major adjustment" of US Iraq policy; the other (3 December) written by Donald Rumsfeld on 6 November, shortly before he was pushed out as Defense Secretary.

No-one outside the White House, and

Support sacked JJB steward!

Published on: Sun, 10/12/2006 - 15:30

By Amina Saddiq

Workers at the warehouse in Wigan supplying JJB Sports outlets across the UK, whose strike action last month forced their employer to make major concessions on pay and bonuses, are balloting again over the sacking of their GMB rep Chris Riley, who was interviewed in the last issue of Solidarity.

Their millionaire boss Dave Whelan called them "communist" for wanting a living and equal wage; he was forced to back down in less than three weeks. The workers won a basic rate of £6.40 an hour, now applying equally to all workers - many of whom were previously on the minimum wage. In

Iraq: should we call for "troops out now"?

Published on: Sun, 10/12/2006 - 14:51

Solidarity is opening a discussion on whether or not we should call for the troops to get out of Iraq now. Short contributions to that debate are welcome.

Solidarity with Iraqi workers! Troops out now!
by David Broder

"What we refuse to do, and it is the crux of our dispute with Barry Finger, is raise a 'demand', Troops Out Now, whose likely, calculable, practical consequences we do not want. Which may well bring on a catastrophe that will abort all the possibilities that the rising labour movement is opening for the working class of Iraq."
(Solidarity 3/84, 17 November 2005)

Above, Sean

Class struggle in the USA

Published on: Sat, 09/12/2006 - 22:20

Kim Moody is a labour historian, teacher and activist in the United States. He is prominent in Labor Notes, a rank-and-file bulletin for working-class militants. He is the author of several books, including Workers in a Lean World. He spoke at the AWL's 2006 Ideas for Freedom event.

There were two events of great importance recently. The first took place in the spring of this year, beginning on 25 April and reaching its culmination on 1 May.

It amounted to a general strike of immigrant workers in the United States. At least five million workers were involved, probably the greatest event in

Industrial News

Published on: Sat, 09/12/2006 - 21:48

UCU conference slams leaders over pay deal

By Pete Radcliff, Derby University UCU secretary

ON Friday 24 November, the University and College Union's Higher Education sector conference passed verdict on the AUT and NATFHE leadership's handling of their abortive pay dispute earlier this year.

The advisory conference was the result of agitation against the shabby ending of the dispute, when the merged leadership of the new union called off the action for an offer only half a percent better than the employers' original offer.

Delegates passed ten motions, most of them highly critical. Edge Hill's

Iraq Union Solidarity Scotland

Published on: Sat, 09/12/2006 - 21:46

ON Thursday 23 November a new group in Scotland was set up to build solidarity with the Iraqi trade union movement. The group will meet in Glasgow. In line with TUC, STUC and Women's TUC conference policies, the comrades involved pledged to support all secular Iraqi trade unions and women's organisations. The group will be called Iraq Union Solidarity Scotland (IUSS) and will work with other IUS groups in England. The group is aiming to have a public meeting in early February.

To join the IUSS e-mail calling list, send your email address to

Mexican state crushes Oaxaca

Published on: Sat, 09/12/2006 - 21:43

By David Broder

THE five-month popular occupation of Oaxaca, Mexico, was crushed on the 27-29 October when thousands of federal riot police invaded the city, killing at least three protesters and an American journalist working for Indymedia. Hundreds were reported to be injured. The city had been under the control of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), a coalition of indigenous, trade union and student activists created in response to the state governor Ulises Ruiz's failed attempt to evict striking teachers in June.

Protestors used barricades made of corrugated iron, buses

Hezbollah flexes its muscles

Published on: Sat, 09/12/2006 - 21:39

By Martin Thomas

Just as veteran US foreign-policy "fixer" James Baker is expected to publish proposals to calm Iraq through cooperation between the USA and Iraq's neighbours Iran and Syria, Lebanon has lurched towards a return to civil war - this time between the Lebanese constituencies aligned with Iran and Syria, and those aligned with the USA.

As we write (6 December), the Lebanese government's offices are surrounded by crowds of demonstrators, Shia and dissident Christian, demanding its resignation. President Emile Lahoud has declared the government illegitimate. The country's army chief

Scrapping to unite the French left

Published on: Sat, 09/12/2006 - 13:15

by Joan Trevor

The left-wing newsletter Lettre de Liaisons* (no.197, 26 November 2006) have some insightful comments on Ségolčne Royal's victory to be the Socialist Party (PS) candidate in the 2007 presidential election. (Royal won 60.6% of the 170,000 votes cast in an internal party ballot.) They say that far from Royal representing "the only way to stop Sarkozy", as she is touted in the media, she might be the candidate of choice for the French ruling class. Nicolas Sarkozy's abrasive style could quickly bring him into conflict with the trade unions and wider society if he wins the

Green Party turns left?

Published on: Sat, 09/12/2006 - 13:07

By Martin Ohr

In the same week that Derek Wall was elected principal male speaker of the Green Party, Leeds and four other West Yorkshire city councils announced the privatisation of Leeds Bradford International Airport. Leeds council is run by a Tory-Lib Dem-Green coalition.

Derek Wall describes himself as not only an "ecosocialist" but a Marxist. When he spoke at November's AWL forum on socialism and the environment, he claimed that those who want to see capitalism replaced by a society of freedom, equality and sustainability should join the Green Party and its Green Left platform. (The

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