Solidarity 170, 2 April 2010

British Airways workers can win

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 18:34

Stuart Jordan

BA cabin crew have now taken their seventh day of strike action in their embittered battle with union-busting management. According to the most conservative estimates, the strike has so far cost BA around £42 million, but the real figure is probably much larger.

BA boss Willie Walsh is desperately trying to win the confidence of investors and is spinning the figures. If the cost of his elaborate strike-breaking measures is taken into account, the dispute is probably costing nearer £100 million.

With pilots being paid £116 an hour as scab crew, fully-staffed replacement planes costing £3.5

British Gas workers vote to strike

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 18:30

Darren Bedford

GMB members working for British Gas have voted overwhelmingly to strike against management bullying. Over 82% of workers voted for a strike, and 90% voted for action short of a strike.

The ballot result is a resounding mandate for GMB officials and stewards in British Gas to go on the offensive against bosses who have been squeezing their workforce harder and harder, including threatening to axe 25% of the non-customer facing staff. A union survey found that British Gas workers feel massively over-pressured by a management that expects them to deliver top-quality customer service at the same

The Irish National Question and the Irish Workers Group: The Irish Left Before the 1968-69 Crisis

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 18:22

Sean Matgamna

Most people know the none-too-funny joke: “Every time the English find an answer to the ‘Irish question’, the Irish change the question”.

Irish Militant, January 1967, implicitly endorsed physical-force-on-principle Republicanism by way of denouncing the Stalinist Republican leaders for talk of disarming.

In fact there is important truth in it, except that it has usually been the English, by their activities - and sometimes by their inactivities - who have changed the question. The “Irish question” has in history been a succession of different “questions”, each growing out of the previous one

Obama's health care reform: for the people? For the insurance companies!

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 18:01

Barry Finger

The United States spends almost twice per capita for health insurance coverage than most other advanced capitalist nations and still leaves almost 50 million Americans uninsured.

About 45,000 people die each year due to lack of insurance or the inability to access the insurance they have due to inadequate coverage. At the rate in which health care costs have been climbing, 20% of consumer spending would be captured by health care costs by 2017.

But thirty cents of every dollar spent on private health insurance is eaten by paperwork and bureaucratic overhead costs. Three thousand lobbyists

Italy: striking to demand citizenship

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 17:56

Gabriella Alberti

On Monday 1 March many thousands of migrants together with other Italian workers, activists and trade unionists demonstrated in various Italian cities.

They were denouncing institutional racism under the Berlusconi government, claiming to be “the new citizens” and demanding rights to work contributions and other labour and social rights not currently available under Italian migration law.

According to the website of the committee organising the strike, a number of “firm-based trade unions” (the “Rappresentanze sindacali unitarie”) called for the strike of migrant workers.

Workers at more than

Moscow bombings: against terrorism

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 17:48

Dan Katz

According to press reports, on Wednesday 29 March two women suicide bombers exploded their bombs on the Moscow underground. The blasts, timed to coincide with the morning rush hour, killed at least 38 people and injured many more, several seriously.

According to local analysts the likely culprits are Islamist rebels from the North Caucasus. The most probable of these are those based in Chechnya using so-called Black Widows as bombers (women who have had husbands or brothers killed by Russian or Russian-backed forces in the region).

Without qualification these acts should be condemned. Both the

Venezuela: Chávez's state-capitalism falters

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 17:25

Pablo Velasco

A decade since Hugo Chávez proclaimed the “Bolivarian revolution” in Venezuela, his project is mired in stagnation. For all the rhetoric about “21st century socialism”, the Bonapartist regime continues to preside over Venezuelan capitalism and to stifle the emergence of a genuine independent labour movement.

The hostility of the US government may have made Chávez an “anti-imperialist” icon, but it is fantasy to believe his forces are part of the revival of working class politics.

Recently Chávez added three days to Venezuela’s Easter holiday to bolster government efforts to reduce electricity

The Tories and the Euro-right: still the party of Section 28

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 17:13

Hannah Thompson

The Tories’ recent attempts at wooing the LGBTQ community shouldn’t fool anyone into thinking that the party can address LGBTQ liberation in any meaningful way. Gay rights campaigners who have taken to schmoozing the right, in expectation of a Conservative victory in the coming election, have clearly lost sight of the rights of the people they claim to represent.

The last Tory government made no secret about its social conservatism; Major and Thatcher’s backlash against the “permissiveness” of the sexual liberation movements of the 1970s, 80s and 90s should not be forgotten. A government that

English Defence League: police now the issue

Published on: Thu, 01/04/2010 - 17:06

Daniel A

The English Defence League and anti-fascists descended on Bolton on Saturday 20 March, with up to 2,000 on both sides. We were met by a heavy and violent police presence — mainly violent against the anti-fascists. Police violence seriously damaged the ability of anti-fascists to confront the EDL.

Anti-fascists, including local community activists, trade unionists and Asian youth, were separated from each other, kettled, and subjected to considerable force during the long and restless counter-demonstration.

The main demonstration was at Victoria Square in Bolton town centre. The square was

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