Solidarity 168, 5 March 2010

Civil Service strike: all out to defend terms and conditions!

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 20:57

A Civil Servant

Members of the civil service union PCS have voted decisively to take industrial action over redundancy and early retirement terms. National strikes will take place on Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 March.

The union has focused mainly on the adverse changes proposed to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS). But we mustn’t forget that tens of thousands of staff, members of the inferior Nuvos pension scheme, are only entitled to statutory minimum redundancy payments. This dispute is also about eliminating the two tiers of redundancy terms, and levelling up.

To undermine the strike, senior managers

Local Government: resist these cuts

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 20:50

Sacha Ismail

A BBC survey of councils has made the extent of cuts threatening local services clear. The first batch of councils which answered the survey reported job cuts of at least 25,000 in the next three to five years. The BBC calculates that, translated across the board, this could mean 180,000 job being slashed.

Such cuts would, obviously, be a disaster for both council workers and “service users”, i.e., workers and working-class communities more generally. One third of councils said their children’s services faced cuts; the figure for adult services was half.

Cuts of 10–15% were the most common

The theory of Permanent Revolution and Ireland: is there a socialist quintessence in Irish nationalism?

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 20:38

Sean Matgamna

[This is a copy-edited and slightly expanded version of the text in Solidarity replying to Lysaght.]

A dozen years on from the “Good Friday Agreement” (GFA) things in Northern Ireland are far from settled. The Good Friday system is far from stable.

The political system set up by the GFA is an intricate network of bureaucratised Catholic-Protestant sectarianism. Communal antagonism is still so strong that it takes 60 or so permanent walls to keep active communalism from erupting into violence across Belfast.

Militarist republican activity is still a major factor in Northern Ireland. It is a

Tory Party: Cameron's weather vane politics

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 20:16

Jack Yates

Swindon councillor Lynden Stowe isn’t the only Tory politician who risks being confused with right-wing extremists. Stowe, a near perfect doppelganger of British National Party leader Nick Griffin, was accosted by police officers at the Conservative’s pre—election conference in Birmingham recently when fellow delegates mistook him for the fascist leader. No such vigorous action was taken to bring David Cameron to account for his spurious commitment to cut immigration by 75%.

Indeed Cameron’s patently racist, opportunistic and thankfully impossible promise to close the borders was welcomed by

East London anti-fascists unite

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 20:03

Dave Malbon, Secretary, Barking, Dagenham & Havering Together

Trade unionists have come together under the umbrella of Havering and Barking and Dagenham Trades Councils to form Barking, Dagenham and Havering Together, a new campaign to combat the rise of the BNP in boroughs.

There’ll be more of a focus on Havering, because there’s already a lot of established anti-fascist campaigning in Barking. We don’t have that campaigning infrastructure in Havering; the BNP feel confident enough to hold press conferences and general meetings in the borough. They’ve got a good chance in the three wards in which they’re standing in Havering.

The BNP has grown in east

Tackling the BNP in print

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 19:57

Will Lodge

A new campaign has been launched to highlight and improve the impact that the media can have in fighting the British National Party (BNP).

EXPOSE has been set-up by a range of media workers across the left, and the launch event was backed jointly by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU), which represents media workers.

Speakers at the launch event (23 February) included Peter Hain MP, Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism (UAF), and Michelle Stanistreet, deputy general secretary of the NUJ.

Most spoke

Scottish Defence League: Lockerbie 'vigil' planned

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 19:48

Dale Street

The Scottish Defence League (SDL) decision to stage what it calls a “respectful vigil” in Lockerbie on Saturday, 27 March, represents a sign of weakness — if not outright desperation.

In November of last year, the SDL tried to stage a demonstration in Glasgow. It failed. Two weeks ago (20 February) it tried to stage a demonstration in Edinburgh. Again, it failed.

Lacking the confidence to attempt another demonstration in a major urban centre, the SDL is retreating to rural Lockerbie.

According to their statement announcing the “respectful vigil”, the SDL has selected Lockerbie for two reasons

Michael Foot: the Labour leader who accepted defeat to avoid defeat

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 18:13

Sean Matgamna

It was a tragedy for the British working class and its labour movement that Michael Foot, who has died at the age of 96, was its political leader when it faced its life-and-death confrontation with Thatcherism at the beginning of the 1980s.
By that stage in his long journalistic career — 70 years ago he was already editor of the London Evening Standard — and long political life, Foot was a burnt-out, time-serving ex-radical, deeply mired in political horse trading with the Liberals and Ulster Unionists to keep the Callaghan Government (1974-79) in power.
Compared to the spineless, colourles,

The AWL and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Published on: Fri, 05/03/2010 - 18:08

Cathy Nugent

Over the last few months we have commented in Solidarity on the talks between various leftists and left groups on working together in the General Election. And comment is all we have been able to do, because those talks were held behind closed doors. We, and others have been excluded from the “process”. The information we had about the talks was limited to the bits and pieces that “leaked” out. Now, what has emerged, is the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). A loose assembly of socialist groups and individuals who expect — so they say — to stand candidates in around 50

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