Solidarity 115 19 July 2007

Smoking ban: New Labour doesn’t care about workers' health!

By Sofie Buckland

Sunday 1 July saw the introduction of the controversial “smoking ban”, outlawing smoking in “enclosed public spaces” (train station platforms as well as buildings, for example) and workplaces. As a smoker it’s a little irritating to no longer be able to enjoy a smoke with a pint, but there’s little justification socialists can give for not supporting a ban — passive smoking is really quite obviously harmful, whatever the tobacco company sponsored research might say, and workers shouldn’t be subject to it on the job.

Organising Starbucks

Over the summer anti-sweatshop group No Sweat will be running a campaign highlighting the highly exploitative conditions for workers at Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, particularly their anti-union record. On Saturday 18 August there will be a national day of action — get in touch with admin@nosweat.org.uk for details of how to get involved. Here, Harriet Parker gives some background.

Aristocrat Of The Purse: Conrad Black

Parables For Socialists 8

Isn’t it the Hans Christian Andersen story of the ugly duckling, the despised little duck among other ducks who turned out to be a swan — but here in reverse, and with an unhappy ending? This duck swanked around like a swan but he was a swan only in his own mind.

Poor Conrad Black, the runty little multi-millionaire, thought he was a billionaire.

Engage: a mixed gathering

Sacha Ismail and Chris Marks report on the anti-boycott meeting called by ‘Engage’, 11 July 2007

Something like 250 or 300 people attended the meeting on opposing boycotts of Israel called by the Engage campaign on 11 July. The main room in which the plenary sessions were held was packed — despite the £5 entrance fee.

As we were saying: lessons of the 1971 postal strike

In 1977 postal workers struck over pay, conditions and mechanisation. Solidarity’s forerunner, Socialist Organiser, printed these articles about the lessons of the previous dispute in 1971.

How the job was changed

By Pete Keenlyside

IN 1971 members of the UCW (then called the UPW) [the postal side of today’s CWU] went on strike for seven weeks. They returned defeated, sold out by their own Executive.

After that, most postal workers said they’d strike again. Every time you got up to oppose some lousy pay deal or other, the cry went up “Remember 1971”.

Black oppression is more than the N-word

Darren Bedford comments on the recent NAACP demonstration in Detroit, USA

A recent NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) demonstration has breathed new life into a perpetual debate surrounding offensive language in hip-hop music. It’s a debate that, for socialists, touches on issues of state censorship, racism, homophobia, misogyny, the link between politics and art and of course the power of language itself.

"Marxism 2007": SWP suppresses debate

By David Broder

"Shutting down free discussion in order to allow carefully stage-managed “debates” where all of the contributors from the floor simply parrot the line of the top-table “expert” speaker..."

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