Solidarity 111, 3 May 2007

Daily Express cloaks bigotry in secularism

Published on: Tue, 15/05/2007 - 23:05

By Sacha Ismail

When it’s not busy attacking public sector workers’ miserable pensions as overly generous and telling us how easy life is for asylum-seekers, the favourite pastime of the foul Daily Express is bashing Britain’s Muslim population.

In November 2006, the Workers’ Liberty website covered a ludicrous front page story about one school in Rotherham deciding to serve halal chicken for Christmas dinner — which apparently amounted to "banning Christmas". Now the Express has trumped itself with a personal-best for anti-Muslim incitement.

"Now Muslims get their own laws in Britain”,

United action to beat public-sector pay cut - Who will move first?

Published on: Fri, 11/05/2007 - 18:55

By Pat Murphy

All the main public-sector unions have now taken some sort of position in favour of united industrial action to force pay rises at least matching inflation and to break the two per cent limit decreed by Gordon Brown for both 2007-8 and 2008-9.

The question now is, who will take the initiative to turn this talk into action?

In June 2006 Gordon Brown promised that he would peg increases in the public sector pay bill to 2% over the next two years. This is a year-on-year promise to cut real pay for millions of workers. With inflation currently running at nearly 5%, two per cent

After Blair? Support John McDonnell. Restore the labour movement’s voice in politics!

Published on: Thu, 10/05/2007 - 23:10

By Stan Crooke

"I was brought up as a Labour voter and it was euphoric when they got into power. I didn't realise it wasn't New Labour at all — it was the Tories dressed in red." — Noel Gallagher, of Oasis.

Tony Blair has announced he will resign as Labour Party leader on 10 May. All hopes that the end of Blair will mean an end to Blairism — i.e. to Thatcherism dressed up in Labour clothing — or, at least, that there will be a chance openly to register labour-movement opposition to Blair-Brownism in the coming leadership contest, depend on John McDonnell.

Blair's likely successor is Gordon

"Ramparts of Resistance" author, Sheila Cohen, replies to Tom Unterrainer and Martin Thomas

Published on: Wed, 09/05/2007 - 21:34

Sheila Cohen responds to two reviews, by Tom Unterrainer and Martin Thomas, of her book on trade unionism, Ramparts of Resistance: Why Workers Lost Their Power, and How to Get It Back (Pluto Press, 2006)

For Tom Unterrainer, click here
For Martin Thomas, click here

Unfortunately, I have to begin this review-of-reviews with an irrelevance: the question of my personal political involvement since 1970. This surely uninteresting issue is raised by some distressing and inaccurate comments in the second of the two reviews, "How we lost", Soli/WL 19 April 2007, p10.

Amusingly, its author implies that,

Strangers into citizens?

Published on: Tue, 08/05/2007 - 00:54

By Becky Crocker

There are an estimated 500,000 migrants living in the UK “without papers” Evidence of the intimidation and exploitation they face as a result of being denied the right to work is constantly coming to light. Despite the numbers involved Blair government remains committed to its policies of detaining and deporting so-called “illegals”. Meanwhile it is kicking “failed” asylum seekers out to so-called “safe” countries like Darfur and Iraq and constructing a new prison for detaining immigrants at Gatwick.

Migrants desperate for the right to work and to live without fear will get

Fragmented Trotskyist tradition? Remember CLR James and Raya Dunayevskaya too.

Published on: Mon, 07/05/2007 - 00:46

By Chris Ford

In Workers Liberty 3/11 (April 2007) it is explained that in opposition to those Trotskyists who defended the USSR as a “workers’ state” there developed another Trotskyist current and for “a whole epoch of world history, they produced a powerful literature that has for that period no equal, nor any near relative or rival.” This current is narrowed to what is alleged to be its “most able representatives, Max Shachtman and his close friends.”

Over and again it has been predominantly articles by Shachtman and Draper, from a specific period of their life, that are re-published. Not

Polish workers lead Dublin wildcat strike

Published on: Sun, 06/05/2007 - 17:37

On 27 April a wildcat strike broke out in Musgrave warehouses in Dublin. The whole crew, around 80 people, both immigrant and natives, stopped their work after successive acts of discrimination by the management. Around 50% of the workforce in the warehouse are immigrants, officially employed by work agencies, and face continous discrimination – worse working conditions, lower pay and fewer rights.

On the day of the strike, a new work schedule showed workers’ breaks were cut short, expecting them to work for four hours in a row, in temperatures of around 4 degrees Celsius! At the same time,

Peter Tatchell and voting Labour

Published on: Sat, 05/05/2007 - 21:27

The news that long-standing gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will be the Green Party’s candidate in Oxford East at the next general election has generated some debate on the left.

Tatchell was the hard left Labour candidate in 1983’s infamous Bermondsey by-election, losing as a result of homophobic, red-baiting sabotage by the local Labour right and the party’s national leadership. He is a member of the Greens’ “ecosocialist” Green Left caucus and at least as radical on most issues as most Labour left-wingers. He is a committed, politically courageous and physically brave campaigner for

Consensus politics won’t stop BNP

Published on: Sat, 05/05/2007 - 20:47

By Pete Radcliff

We do not know the 3 May local election results at the time of going to press. But the BNP will probably have had a substantial number of council election successes.
A fuller post-election analysis of the BNP results can be found here

The BNP are primarily exploiting the political vacuum to draw in the middle class and self-employed living in rural areas and on the outskirts of cities. They hope to gain respectability that way, gain access to the media and the political platforms that councils will give them. These Daily Mail and Telegraph readers with their traditional

Two million vote Trotskyist in France

Published on: Fri, 04/05/2007 - 23:08

In the first round of the French presidential election, on 22 April, postal worker Olivier Besancenot, standing for the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, won 1.5 million votes (4.11%). That was 300,000 more votes for Besancenot than in the 2002 poll, which at the time was considered a surprisingly good score for a revolutionary candidate.

Besancenot had a slight decrease in percentage points, since turnout shot up to 85%. However, Arlette Laguiller, standing for Lutte Ouvrière for the sixth time, slipped back from 5.7% to just 1.3%, just under half a million votes.

Among trade unionists

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