Solidarity 113, 7 June 2007

Defend Malalai Joya!

Published on: Mon, 09/07/2007 - 21:18

By Sacha Ismail

The warlords, medievalist religious fanatics and drug traffickers who dominate Afghanistan’s “parliament” don’t like Malalai Joya, of the country’s very few women MPs, one bit. Her exposure of their war crimes, her promotion of women and children’s rights and her advocacy of universal education have made her the victim of four assassination attempts, and she has to pay for her own 24-hour protection. Now they are trying to expel her from their midst.

Joya, 28, is the country’s youngest member of parliament. As a 19-year old refugee from Pakistan, she taught literacy classes to

An open letter to Attila the Stockbroker (and Attila's reply)

Published on: Thu, 28/06/2007 - 01:14

Stop the War, punk and sexism (and Attila's reply)

On 27 May, a group of young AWL members went to a Stop the War benefit gig in Balham and caused a bit of a stir by objecting to some lyrics in one of Attila the Stockbroker’s songs. Here one of them shares her thoughts with him.

Dear Attila the Stockbroker,

A GROUP of us, young people, mostly women, came to your recent benefit gig for Wandsworth Stop the War. After enjoying your set, we were shocked by the words of your song “Supermodel” and the hateful language you used to describe women exploited by the fashion industry. We felt

US Iraq plan in chaos, but Islamists offer no answer

Published on: Mon, 25/06/2007 - 00:52

by Colin Foster

Is a new nationalist political alliance emerging in Iraq, non-sectarian or at least cross-sectarian? Some reporters in the USA claim it is. The balance of evidence, I think, indicates not.

The claim for the existence of a new alliance rests on a “legislative petition” submitted in the Iraqi parliament on 8 May calling for the USA to set a timetable for withdrawal.

The “petition” does not have the force of a parliamentary decision, but its organisers claim the support of 144 members, a majority of the 275-member parliament. On 5 June they got a binding decision through the

Why the cardinal went political

Published on: Fri, 22/06/2007 - 00:51

By Maria Exall

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of Scotland’s Catholic church, has made an unprecedented threat to Catholic politicians: support the church’s position on abortion or face excommunication. While Catholic intervention on the issue of abortion is par for the course, such a direct intervention is a new departure. What has caused this outbreak of “political Catholicism”?

The intervention of the Catholic church in England into the debate on the Sexual Orientation Regulations, the so-called gay adoption row, should be seen as part of the same phenomenon of a more politically

Anti-gay backlash in Eastern Europe

Published on: Mon, 18/06/2007 - 00:59

By Tom Unterrainer

The past few weeks have seen courageous actions by gay communities in Russia, Latvia and Poland. For the second year running their efforts to celebrate gay identity and organise a movement that will fight for gay rights have been met with violent opposition from the state, religious and far-right groups — more often a combination of all three.

On Sunday 27 May, protesters from GayRussia (a gay-rights group) and international supporters used the fourteenth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality to deliver a petition to Moscow mayor, Yury Luzhkov — who had

Will SSP see through Galloway?

Published on: Thu, 14/06/2007 - 11:19

by Stan Crooke

“Over the past three years, the SSP has been supportive of George Galloway in his battles with Blair and the New Labour hierarchy over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… Despite our disagreements, the SSP supported George’s moves to form a broad, leftwing, anti-war party in England after his expulsion from New Labour in 2003,” explained an article in Scottish Socialist Voice (paper of the SSP – Scottish Socialist Party) in December 2004.

When Galloway was elected to Parliament in 2005 the Voice hailed his victory: “George Galloway’s stunning victory in Bethnal Green and Bow… was

Israel-Palestine: two nations, two states - End the Occupation!

Published on: Tue, 12/06/2007 - 12:27

Sacha Ismail

40 years ago this week, Israel fought the Six Day War against an alliance of Arab states seeking to destroy it, and won a crushing victory. The armed forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, with troops and arms from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Algeria, were comprehensively defeated, and Israeli forces occupied Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Since then, Israel has denied the Palestinian Arab people who comprise the vast majority in those territories their right to self-determination. The West Bank is now dotted with Israel army checkpoints, riddled with Israeli settlements — there are

50,000 march at G8 summit - Police violence and the class struggle

Published on: Tue, 12/06/2007 - 12:25

By Stuart Jordan

AS the forces of the anti-capitalist movement began to mobilise for for the anti-G8 demonstrations on Saturday 2 June, Vladimir Putin set the tone for the week by threatening to visit nuclear genocide on the people of Europe. Putin’s threat is obviously a bit of hard diplomacy before the talks begin, but the fact that these men find it acceptable to use the lives of millions of innocent civilians as a bargaining chip in the power plays of global capitalism merely reveals the utter lunacy of our political overlords and the system of exploitation that they represent.


Curb the cardinals!

Published on: Tue, 12/06/2007 - 11:15

The march of organised religion into the centre of political life continues, as does the growth of religious sectarianism as a force in British politics. The latest sign is the outrageous speech of Cardinal Keith O’Brien against abortion in Edinburgh on 31 May.

O’Brien’s speech followed on Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s recent speech on lesbian and gay rights.

O’Brien called on Catholic politicians of all parties to act as religious sectarians — that is, to use their political power and influence to change the law and impose their views on people who do not agree with them.

O’Brien’s demand to

Sinn Fein setback in south

Published on: Mon, 11/06/2007 - 11:27

By Paddy Dollard

The most important thing in the recent Republic of Ireland general election is what happened to Sinn Fein. Its leaders had boasted that they would at the very least, double their six seats in the Dail (parliament). In fact, though there was a slight increase in their total vote, they lost a seat. They now have only five.

They might reasonably have expected that their recent success in Northern Ireland in forming a coalition with their equivalent on the Protestant-Unionist side, Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party, would boost them in the 26 County election. So would the

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