Solidarity 139, 25 September 2008

Solidarity 3/139

Published on: Thu, 25/09/2008 - 01:18

Solidarity 3/139 is out. Download pdf (see "attachment", below).

Israel and the "essence of Zionism"

Published on: Tue, 04/11/2008 - 00:44

Sean Matgamna

Sean Matgamna replies to Moshe Machover's second polemic on Israel and Iran.

Comrade Machover,

My understanding of a personal letter is of something private, as distinct from the open letter I wrote you (Solidarity 3/138), which is intended, or mainly intended, for other readers. So I'll continue as I started.

My "tediously lengthy" response - "if I were as tedious as a king", as a famous corrupter of words once put it, I would be happy to bestow it all on you, comrade Machover, and on your not-quite-reconstructed-Stalinist close comrades.

Initially, you

TU News in brief

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 11:28

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: The decision by members of Unison’s Local Government National Joint Council to agree to binding arbitration effectively brings this year’s pay dispute to an end. It is a failure for the union and the leftists who lead the sector and will be a bitter disappointment to the members who supported action but wanted a better deal.

Arbitration is unlikely to lead to any offer that meets the union’s demands (6%) and may actually include small victories for the bosses — further increases in productivity for perhaps one half of a percentage point increase in this year’s offer. All this

Public sector pay: how to win

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 11:26

Chris Hickey

If anything sums up New Labour as a Government for the rich, a cuckoo in the labour movement nest, it has to be their year-on-year drive to keep public sector wages below the rate of inflation.

According to a report on the Joseph Rowntree website, and based on 2007 statistics, “the public sector is a large employer of workers earning less than £7 per hour, accounting for a quarter of all such employees... the public sector employs relatively few adults of the age group where low pay is most prevalent, namely those under the age of 25. If this age group is excluded then the share of low paid

Against fees, debts and marketisation

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 11:23

Student union officers and student activists involved in the Education Not for Sale group have launched the following statement calling for a national student demonstration next year — the year that could see university fees completely deregulated, but in which the National Union of Students is planning no demonstration or serious campaign.

Education – a right not a privilege:

No to fees – A living grant for every student – Tax the rich to fund education

For a national demonstration at the start of 2009

This academic year could see the lifting of the £3,000 cap on tuition fees in higher

What kind of student movement?

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 11:19

Dan Randall

Student Respect, or in other words Socialist Workers’ Party students, are organising a conference for a “democratic, campaigning student movement” at the School of Oriental and African Studies on Saturday 1 November.

Entitled “Another education is possible”, it will have sessions on education, NUS democracy, war, racism, climate change and solidarity with workers’ struggles, as well as on building a united student left. The event has the backing of SOAS, Coventry, Goldsmith’s and Essex student union, and seems to be attracting quite widespread support from the beyond the ranks of Respect/SWP.

Trade unionists for choice

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 11:13

Rebecca Galbraith

Next month we will have the first chance in 18 years to extend abortion rights when the House of Commons debates pro-choice amendments to the Human Embryology Bill.

Every day recently I have removed anti-choice leaflets from the entrance sign to the hospital where I work at and numerous friends have told me about receiving pro-life propaganda through their door, urging them to contact their MP and ask them to vote against all of the pro-choice amendments.

The anti-choicers are getting their arguments out and once again the focus of the main pro-choice group Abortion Rights will be a public

Jobless figure is rising

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 10:53

Tom Unterrainer

As the economic crisis generalises — creeping out of the financial markets and into the productive economy — material effects on working-class lives begin to hit home. Along with rocketing costs of living and house repossessions, unemployment looks set to increase.

According to predictions from the TUC, the number of people out of work for more than one year will double by the end of 2009. Long-term unemployment (as measured by the government) could increase to 700,000 and the total unemployment levels will increase to over two million.

Official figures show that in the three months up to June

Rebuilding the movement

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 10:37

Stuart Jordan

A brief look at the current industrial news is enough to make any socialist’s eyes water. We have seen the GMB (with one eye to the sinking ship of New Labour) seek talks with the Tories, and Unison scuppering any possibility of a united public sector pay fight. Even in the unions, such as PCS and NUT, where the “left” control the leadership, there is little industrial strategy to win the pay fight, and scant effort is going into the most basic task of building a fighting, militant union movement.

With the economic crisis threatening spiralling inflation and mass unemployment, the working

Convention of the Left Debates Equality

Published on: Fri, 26/09/2008 - 10:35

Laura Schwartz

The main hall at the Left Convention was full for the meeting on how to fight for women’s equality, with speakers from Abortion Rights, Feminist Fightback, the Labour Party and the Women’s Charter. Almost all speakers and contributors agreed on the need for a feminist politics that fought on class issues and Feminist Fightback stressed the need for socialist feminists to participate in the various feminist initatives that have been emerging in the last few years.

The meeting also discussed the need for socialist and labour movement men to look to sexism in their own movement and not to see

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