Solidarity 175, 10 June 2010

Who's the poshest of them all?

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 15:31

Robert Clarke

Laura Wade’s ‘Posh’ caused this reviewer more than a little discomfort and unease. I watched it from within the environs of the Royal Court in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea — notable for being the launch-pad for social realism and gritty, working-class “kitchen-sink” dramas such John Osborne’s 1956 'Look back in Anger'.

In 'Posh', The story of 10 Oxford undergraduates, all members of an elite dining society, The Riot Club (not too dissimilar from The Bullingdon of George Osborne, David Cameron, Boris Johnson et al.), begins in the private dining room of The Bull’s Head.

Folk music and the far right

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 15:25

Rosie Huzzard

One strength of the far right in Britain today is in their ability to capitalise on the concerns of working-class and poor people and exploit and twist those interests for their own racist aims.

In the last couple of years, the BNP leadership has recommended to its activists that they start to spread their influence and try to insinuate themselves into the folk and traditional customs of Britain, in an attempt to retain what they call the “pure” culture of the white working classes.

Fortunately, this kind of elite preservationism has not gone down well in British folk/trad circles, which have

Hurricane Katrina: jailed for helping people in New Orleans

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 15:21

Tom Unterrainer

As the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed New Orleans in late August 2005, Abdulrahman Zeitoun remained tucked in the relative safety of his daughters’ second floor bedroom. Around him were gathered the books, photographs, mementos and other less valuable but expensive-to-replace items from around the house.

Abdulrahman’s wife, Kathy, and children had already left the city with thousands of others. Despite repeated requests to leave, the “man of the house” remained. This decision was not just some macho reflex: Zeitoun sensed that he could be useful in the aftermath of the storm. He felt

Iraqi workers: "We are still fighting"

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 15:16

Falah Alwan, Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq

Following a recent strike at the Iraqi Harbour Corp. demanding higher wages, the administration have issued orders to transfer dockworker activists from their workplaces in Basra to Mosul, which is 1000km away. We’re building a campaign of protests against the transfer; we’ll back the workers if they refuse to comply with the orders.

On the issue of a labour law, the GFIW is doing some work and has met the Minister of Labour, but their demands only include the “official” unions, meaning themselves.

We’ve been campaigning on the issue since 2004. We want a labour law that recognises all unions

China: exploitation and resistance in the "world's sweatshop"

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 15:11

Ira Berkovic

When the arch-Tory newspaper the Daily Telegraph runs exposés of working conditions in your factory, you should know something is up. Terry Gou, the 59-year old Chinese billionaire who owns Foxconn, must be a little shaken-up.

Foxconn is one of the world’s biggest technology companies, producing components for blue-chip giants such as Dell, Sony and HP. Its highest-profile client is Apple, for whom it produces iPhones, iPods and iPads. It has become the centre of a recent scandal after several workers committed suicide (with others making suicide attempts), unable to cope with the pressure of

Organising in the North Sea

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 14:36

The explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which led to the deaths of eleven workers, has put a global spotlight on safety practices and workers’ rights in the offshore industry. On Deepwater Horizon there was no union. The offshore industry in the US is rife with union-busting and other abuses. Only a strong workers’ movement can create a truly safe offshore industry.

Jake Molloy is regional organiser for offshore energy for the RMT which, through its Oil Industry Liaison Committee (OILC) section, organises offshore workers in the British North Sea. He spoke to Solidarity.

What is

US government regulators work for the oil companies

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 14:23

The Mineral Management Service (MMS) is a US government agency that combines two tasks — collecting revenue from oil and gas for the US government; and regulating health and safety.

The MMS is the second-largest source of income to the US government after taxation, bringing in around $13 billion a year. A branch secretary for the RMT's offshore energy section OILC told Solidarity that in the US, “the operators and regulators have far too cosy a relationship. That was going on here ten years ago. But the employers and the regulators — the Health and Safety Executive — are now separated. That

Gulf of Mexico disaster: fight for workers' control of energy!

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 14:03

Bob Sutton

On the 20 April the Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 workers and rupturing a high-pressure extraction pipe in two places. The full extent of the disaster is not yet fully clear.

As Solidarity goes to print oil continues to be pumped into the ocean. British Petroleum (BP) and US government agencies are placing the figure at 5,000 barrels a day. But many independent estimates put the figure higher, up to 100,000 barrels a day. Despite several high profile attempts by engineering teams, no one knows how or when this flow will be

Oil workers strike and occupy in Colombia

Published on: Thu, 10/06/2010 - 13:53

Colombia Solidarity Campaign

On 21 May workers involved in construction operations in BP’s Tauramena installation entered into occupation demanding:
• a wage increase; the establishment a wage scale;
• due process in disciplinary decisions;
• labour guarantees for the workers.

On 2 June army forces entered the plant. At time of writing they are harassing the workers, who stay overnight chaining themselves to plant equipment so that they cannot be dislodged.

Since BP began oil exploration and production in Casanare, Colombia in the early 1990s, six thousand people have been assassinated and three thousand people

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