Solidarity 116, 9 August 2007

Challenge the BNP everywhere

Published on: Wed, 22/08/2007 - 00:54

By Pete Radcliff

The BNP finished its Red, White and Blue Festival in Codnor, Derbyshire on 5 August. Once again they were able to organise this mass fascist rally without facing national mobilisation from either of the two anti-fascist groupings, Searchlight or Unite against Fascism (UAF). Nor did they face any obstruction from local Labour councils or the police or fire services they are in charge of.

Is this because the BNP are a dwindling threat and there are more important priorities? Hardly! The BNP have never done as well as they have in the 2005 and 2006 local elections.

Is it because

Mick Cashman, 1959-2007

Published on: Tue, 21/08/2007 - 00:40

By John Bloxam

On 18 July Mick Cashman died, aged just 48.

For over a decade until the early 1990s, he was a member of the AWL’s predecessor organisations and supporter of Workers’ Action and Socialist Organiser.

During the same period he was a prominent activist in the Wallasey Labour Party (both the Labour Party Young Socialists and the constituency party), and played a leading role in transforming the organisations into bodies fighting for working class socialism.
The high point of this struggle took place 20 years ago, when Wallasey CLP selected Lol Duffy as its candidate for the 1987

Public sector unions: strike together!

Published on: Mon, 20/08/2007 - 00:04

One for all and all for one

Will other public sector unions pull forward their disputes over Gordon Brown’s two per cent pay limit so that they hit the Government together with the postal workers?

With current inflation, the two per cent limit means a real wage cut of three per cent this year, and perhaps a similar cut next year. Striking at that limit with a clenched fist — all the major unions acting simultaneously — will be a thousand times more effective than flicking at it with one finger after another.

Solidarity strikes are unlawful under the Tory labour-law regime continued by Blair

Student leaders attack democracy

Published on: Thu, 16/08/2007 - 14:56

By Sofie Buckland, NUS National Executive member

At the behest of right-wing student union officers and NEC, NUS is undertaking a wide-ranging “governance review“, aimed at overhauling democratic structures, staffing, funding, and just about anything else they don’t like.

Required to by an annual conference motion, the NEC “mandated“ a steering group to produce a green paper on NUS reform (in reality, the NEC were presented with a board hand-picked by the President, including members of the Association of Managers of Students’ Unions, and a series of pre-decided actions to give the green light

The drugs do work?

Published on: Tue, 14/08/2007 - 15:00

With so many Government ministers making admissions of youthful dope smoking and Gordon Brown’s announcement that he’s getting “tough on the puff”, isn’t it time that socialists should once again unfurl their “Free the Weed” banners and raise them high? At least I think so.

For a start, Brown’s proposals are completely bullshit. Even with the notorious memory problems of a long-term stoner, it is possible to recall the the first problem to face Brown’s new cabinet: overcrowded prisons, caused by locking up people whose crimes are associated with... drug use. The solution to this problem cannot

Peace in Darfur?

Published on: Tue, 14/08/2007 - 14:51

By Rosalind Robson

More than four years since the war in Darfur began and not much less time since a massive international campaign called for them, the UN has agreed to send “peacekeeping” troops to Sudan. The deployment coincides with an agreement between all but one of Darfur’s opposition groups, to jointly seek peace talks with the Sudanese government.

The UN “humanitarian” intervention, due to start at end of the year, will be the biggest such operation in the world. At 26,000-strong, the full UN force (a supplemented African Union force in reality) will still probably not be big enough,

Reject this health pay offer!

Published on: Tue, 14/08/2007 - 14:37

Mike Fenwick, Airedale UNISON Health Branch (PC)

Five months of negotiation since the initial offer of a staged 2.5% have produced no real results. Staging the deal meant that it would be worth only 1.9%. So health service staff were being offered less than the governments own suggested raise. It meant Alan Johnston and the treasury would save millions. And allowed a little wiggle room from which a few extra enticements could be found.

So the final offer now includes a little extra for the lowest paid, some contribution toward professional registration fees and an additional training allowance

International workers’ news round up: Iran, China, Palestine

Published on: Tue, 14/08/2007 - 11:03

Iran

Free Salehi and Ossanlou Now!

A demonstration to secure the freedom of imprisoned worker activists and support the independent labour movement in Iran was about to take place as we went to press.

The protest was due to take place on 9 August outside the Iranian embassy in London and at other embassies around the world. It is part of a week of solidarity with workers in Iran, called by exiled Iranian workers’ organisations and the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

Salehi was imprisoned in April this year and Ossanlou arrested in July. Many other workers were arrested on May Day

Worker run hotel under threat

Published on: Tue, 14/08/2007 - 11:00

By Jack Staunton

The Hotel BAUEN in Buenos Aires, Argentina, occupied by its workers since early 2003, is under threat of eviction by the local government in an effort to return the hotel to its original owners. They charge that since the workers’ seizure of control over the hotel was illegal, it must now be returned. Dozens of other worker-managed workplaces and co-operatives in Argentina fear similar attacks, as BAUEN is a key symbol for the labour movement.

Five years ago, some two hundred businesses were taken over by workers not prepared to go without work in the wake of an economic

The strikes have hurt

Published on: Tue, 14/08/2007 - 10:59

Solidarity spoke to Pete Keenlyside, CWU Executive (speaking in a personal capacity).

What impact has the action had so far?
On the industrial front the action of rolling strikes is having a significant effect. Management have had to admit in their own staff briefings that the action is hurting them and are pleading “these strikes can't continue”.

Is a rolling programme of partial strikes the right strategy? What would you say to the criticism that it divides the workforce and forces postal workers to cross each others picket lines?
In the main, the membership understand and are comfortable

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