Solidarity 146, 12 February 2009

Solidarity 3/146

Published on: Thu, 12/02/2009 - 09:38

Download as pdf (see "attachment").

Is the Alliance for Workers' Liberty "Shachtmanite"?

Published on: Thu, 26/03/2009 - 00:29

Sean Matgamna

Sean Matgamna starts a series on misunderstandings, misrepresentations and lies about the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, AWL.

AWL is “Shachtmanite”

Yes and no. AWL started as a “Cannonite” organisation, that is, an organisation with politics in the broad spectrum of the post-Trotsky “orthodox” Trotskyists, the opposites to the “Shachtmanite”, “heterodox” strand of Trotskyism after 1940. Specifically AWL identified with the Cannonites in the 1953 split in the Fourth International between “Pabloites” and Cannonites.

There is a distinct AWL — or, to take the name of the first of the series of

Isle of Grain: talking strikes

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 12:40

Rebecca Galbraith

Two other comrades and I went to Hoo on the Isle of Grain on Saturday 7 February to talk to local workers and residents. We have visited the area before as socialist activists at the Climate Camp.

We had some long conversations with a group of men who were all locals, but none of whom worked on the plant, although they had family members working at Kingsnorth. They knew very little about the strikes but wanted to talk about them, climate change, banks, protesters, capitalism in general.

We then went to a pub in Grain, where it was pretty exciting to see our “Workers Climate Action” leaflet on

Staythorpe, 11 February

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 12:23

Liam Conway

Liam Conway was on the construction workers’ demonstration at the Staythorpe power station site in Nottinghamshire on Wednesday 11 February.

“About 200 workers, including some from the Lindsey Oil Refinery site, joined the demonstration. A big banner there said ‘End discrimination — no exploitation — no xenophobia’, though British Jobs For British Workers posters and Union Jacks were quite visible.

“There were also official flags, and a bland official leaflet, from Unite. None of it made clear precisely what were the demands of the demonstration, as distinct from placards or other

The "cowardice" of AWL on the Gaza war? An exchange on Israel and Zionism

Published on: Fri, 20/02/2009 - 07:51

Eric Lee, Sean Matgamna, Ian Sternberg, Sacha Ismail

A debate from the website (in full here).

Sean Matgamna’s article (Solidarity 3/145) blasts the Socialist Party for concealing its real views (the two-state solution) for fear of being unpopular, or provoking anger from pro-Hamas demonstrators. The question of political courage runs like a red thread in this article and Sean correctly writes that “the socialist who is afraid to be unpopular who cannot stand against the tide, or even the stream, is a poor little specimen indeed.”

Reading these articles, as well as the extensive coverage of the AWL’s brave efforts to get its message across to

In brief: short industrial reports

Published on: Fri, 20/02/2009 - 07:43

NHS privatisation, Arriva Trains Wales, London Underground ex-Metronet jobs, Tube cleaners, Irish unions and students.

NHS PRIVATISATION: A massive transformation is taking place in primary care as the division is made between commissioning and providing services.

By April 2009 Primary Care Trusts are expected to have formalised the separation between their providing and commissioning arms and plans are to be in place for the transformation of the providing body into an independent organisation.

What this represents is the further introduction of the market into healthcare — it will mean

Workers of the world: Guadeloupe, Israel, United States

Published on: Fri, 20/02/2009 - 07:37

Ira Berkovic

GUADELOUPE: The French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe has been rocked by a general strike — a total shut-down of shops, supermarkets, schools and public services.

A demonstration on 24 January saw 25,000 workers take to the streets; an equivalent demonstration in Britain would comprise over 3,000,000 protestors.

The UGTG (General Union of Guadeloupean Workers) has led the strike, along with nearly fifty other working-class organisations which have cohered into “The Committee Against Extreme Exploitation”. Guadeloupe is officially an overseas territory of the French Republic, although it

Daniel Bensaid: "We need to create a common culture"

Published on: Fri, 13/02/2009 - 14:41

Daniel Bensaid, a leader of the LCR and now of the NPA, spoke to Vicki Morris and Ed Maltby.

Six months from now, how will you measure the success of the New Anti-capitalist Party?
Well, I don't want to make any predictions about the social movement, what it will be like in six months time. For us, we need to consolidate the fusion, on the cultural, educational and political levels. We have different cultures inside the NPA, and we need to work together to consolidate. We need a better effort of education, and to create a common culture.
We need to make sure that what results is pluralism,

The foundation of the NPA: A new workers' party in France

Published on: Fri, 13/02/2009 - 14:37

Sacha Ismail and Vicki Morris

Over the weekend of 6-8 February, working-class activists in France took a big step towards the creation of a powerful revolutionary party. Their success is cause for rejoicing — and contains lessons for the British left.

The preparations for the launching of a “New Anti-capitalist Party” (NPA, a temporary name which has now been made permanent), initiated by the Fourth International‘s French section, the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, have been under way for more than a year.

On 5 February, a congress of the LCR voted overwhelmingly to dissolve the organisation, and on 6 February close to

Time to link up student activists!

Published on: Thu, 12/02/2009 - 20:35

Dan Randall

On 20 January, a laughably unrepresentative “extraordinary conference” of the National Union of Students passed its Blairite leaders’ plans to gut the union’s democracy. Under the new constitution, NUS will be far less responsive to rank-and-file initiative and attempts at control than before.

At the same time, from the second week of January, students at universities across the UK organised occupations against Israel’s war in Gaza (as Solidarity goes to press, occupations at UEA, Edinburgh and Goldsmiths brought the total number of occupations to 29). These actions have involved many

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