Solidarity 164, 10 December 2009

English Defence League march in Harrow, 13 December: the labour movement cannot let them pass

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 16:19

Joan Trevor

They messed up earlier in the year, in September, but armed with lessons and nerved from their recent successes in Manchester and Leeds, the English Defence League (EDL)/Stop Islamisation Of Europe (SIOE) and fellow travellers are due back in Harrow, north west London, on Sunday 13 December for another go at the central mosque. That demonstration follows an EDL mobilisation and counter-demonstration in Nottingham on 5 December.

The police have granted permission for a static protest outside the newly built mosque on the main road. The pretext for this protest is not clear: last time it was the

Iran: protests in the face of repression

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 16:08

Gerry Bates

Popular pro-democracy protests have once again flared up in Iran on 7-8 December, with state authorities clamping down hard on activists — many of them students — by using arrests and violent repression.

The actions took place to coincide with the annual commemoration of the killing of three student activists during protests in 1953 against the USA (and also against Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, then the ruling “Shah”, who came to power after a CIA-backed coup). The protests seem to be mostly associated with the “green movement”, organised around oppositional Islamist politicians. Hundreds of people

Stop Nick Griffin in Barking!

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 16:00

As Nick Griffin announced his Parliamentary candidacy in Barking and Dagenham, Solidarity spoke to Dave Landau, an independent socialist and anti-fascist campaigner active in the Redbridge & Epping Forest Together campaign.

The BNP is very strong in this part of London; they really believe they’ve got a chance of winning control of the council. I’m not sure they will, but they could certainly become a stronger opposition.

They’ve said they’re going to target Margaret Hodge and John Cruddas [local Labour MPs]. Nick Griffin will be standing against Hodge, but they haven’t decided who they’ll

Nottingham: English Defence League shows its strength

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 15:51

Daniel Angell

The English Defence League staged one of their largest demonstrations to date in Nottingham city centre on 5 December, drawing up to 500 of their members.

Although smaller contingents of the organisation were scattered across the city centre throughout the day, the group assembled at around 1pm — staging a rally. Union Jacks and “No to Sharia” flags were waved aggressively as members chanted and shouted “we want our country back”.

The sheer size of the demonstration is enough to send alarm bells ringing. This was not a pathetic turnout of bigoted knuckleheads, as occured in Glasgow last month.

Democracy, capitalism and the left in India

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 15:28

A presentation by Indian Marxists Jairus Banaji and Rohini Hensman, from Ideas for Freedom winter 2009, a weekend of socialist debate and discussion hosted by Workers’ Liberty on 28-29 November.

Jairus Banaji:

From a left-wing point of view, it’s important to emphasise that there’s always been a lack of class politics in India. That’s one of its most distinctive political features.

There are hundreds of reasons as to why that is the case, but that obviously makes a statement about the left in India in a very big way. It also raises the issue of what a class politics would mean in the context

Class struggle in Poland

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 15:13

Ed Maltby

On 27 November Ed Maltby attended a small protest in front of the Polish Embassy in London in solidarity with workers and trade union activists who have been sacked from the Cegielski factory in Poznan.

The Cegielski plant is one of the best known factories in Poland. It produces various types of engines. This summer 20 per cent of workers of the factory were sacked.

On 23 October four thousand of workers demonstrated in Poznan against the layoffs in Cegielski.

The protest was organised by the Industrial Workers of the World. Bartek, a Polish comrade who is a member of the IWW and the Polish

Russia: Stalin is back

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 14:49

David Kirk

Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. Joseph Stalin

In Britain genealogists can be found in your local library. In Russia they can end up behind bars. This was one of the many illuminating and worrying facts in John Sweeney’s brave but flawed documentary (Stalin’s back? BBC2, 2 December) about the way Stalin’s reputation is being rehabilitated by the current Russian regime.

Sweeney traveled to the Stalinist theme park of Gori in Georgia, met veterans in Volgograd (better known as Stalingrad), met survivors of famines in the countryside

Vestas: story of a battle

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 14:34

Sometimes struggles come along that help us learn, or relearn, many basic and valuable lessons about what it means to be a working-class activist engaged in the fight for socialism. The struggle that took place on the Isle of Wight in summer 2009 to prevent the closure of the Vestas wind turbine blades factory was such a struggle.

It taught us, against ruling-class myths about the non-existence of class or the passivity of working people, that workers can and will fight — even when they are unorganised and have no history of militancy.

It taught us that organised socialists and other class

How to fight capitalism: the left we have and the left we need

Published on: Thu, 10/12/2009 - 14:16

Tom Unterrainer

Members, supporters and friends of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty gathered in London over 28-29 November to discuss “How to fight capitalism”. With sessions ranging from introductory discussions on Marxist ideas to in-depth debates on the capitalist economy and its future, the weekend was geared towards re-arming and equipping revolutionary socialists with ideas for the battles to come. This focus is all the more important given the continuing capitalist crisis, the rising influence and power of rightwing ideas and political movements and the prospect of significant political change at the

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