Solidarity 177, 8 July 2010

How Asian communities came to be defined by Islam

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:51

Dan Katz

Tom Unterainer’s ‘Engineered Identities’ in Solidarity 3/176 was not in my view really a review of Kenan Malik’s book From Fatwa to Jihad. Tom doesn’t really present Malik’s case. Nor was it a good analysis of the state of the “Muslim communities” in Britain.

The title of Malik’s book is a little misleading. He is not simply concerned with the period since 1989 (when Khomeini’s death sentence against Salman Rushdie for writing the Satanic Verses was issued). What Malik is aiming to do is to explain how Asian communities which produced radical, left-wing youth movements in the 1970s have come

Gilad Shalit and selective compassion

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:37

Solomon Anker

Israeli public opinion has been in a huge compassion drive for years since the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was taken captive by Hamas.

The heart behind the compassion is moral and linked to the terrible suffering of other Israeli soldiers captured in the past. However, the intensely psychotic randomness of this compassion has been the most extreme form of propaganda in Israel’s history.

The twisting of so much information by the mainstream Israeli media has totally contradicted all the usual arguments they used to defend the military occupation.

The most obvious is the terrorist argument,

No to stoning!

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:34

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old Iranian woman, is due to be executed by the Iranian regime for the “crime” of adultery.

She has already been subjected to 99 lashes, which her 17-year old son Sajad was forced to watch. But now she has been sentenced to death by stoning.

Mina Ahadi, a member of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran living under police protection in Germany, has launched a campaign to save Sakineh’s life, supported by the International Committee Against Stoning.

To support the campaign to save Sakineh's life, visit

Greek union leaders scale down protest

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:32

Colin Foster

Greek workers staged another one-day general strike against cuts on 29 June. Numbers on the major demonstration in Athens were, however, down on the previous day of action, and it looks as if the top trade union leaders are trying to engineer a gradual dribbling-away of the movement.

Vasilis Grollios, a political researcher in Thessaloniki, told Solidarity:

“The core of the militant workers want more pressure and action. But, unfortunately, nothing serious is being organised.

“The major conflict recently has been about the minimum wage.

“In Greece, there is a negotiation every two or three

Immigration cap is racist and irrational

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:29

Dale Street

At the end of June the Lib Con government announced a “temporary cap” on the number of non-EU migrant workers to be admitted to the UK. This was a sop to racism.

Under the Tories’ proposals the number of “tier one” and “tier two” migrant workers allowed to enter the UK between July this year and April 2011 will be limited to 24,100. A permanent cap will be introduced next April, although the Tories have not yet named a figure.

The classification of migrant workers into “tiers” dates from the last Labour government, although the use of such a system was widespread among industrialised

Labour leadership hustings: tacking left?

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:25

Hustings for the leadership of the Labour Party are taking place everywhere. Extracts from two reports.

On 3 July the union Unite hosted a hustings in Leeds. At the entrance I had to run the gauntlet of well-dressed young researchers handing out glossy leaflets for all the candidates apart from Diane Abbott.

The former cabinet ministers tailored their pitch to the slightly lefty crowd. Ed Miliband proposed a Living Wage, increasing the rights of agency workers (a theme of all the candidates at other events) and a “high pay commission”. Even Andy Burnham said he “for one was not relaxed about

Prisons: Clarke's front door privatisation

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:22

Steve Gillan

Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association, spoke to Solidarity about the government’s plans to reduce the prison population.

If it was sincere, then it would be good. Anybody would want to see a reduction in people going to jail. There are 95,000 people in prisons. We’re bursting at the seams. I don’t think Clarke really intends to reduce those numbers — just move people around.

Clarke wants to move the work away from the public sector, and into the private. It’s an ethos that was shared by New Labour. They’re happy to let people make a profit out of incarceration.


Budget cuts hit women harder than men

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:19

A “gender audit” of the budget, commissioned by Yvette Cooper, the shadow welfare secretary, shows it will hit women harder than men. Women will contribute nearly 75% of a net total of £8bn raised by 2014-15 through changes to direct taxation and benefits.

The attack is worse when you consider that women are already, on average, poorer than men; that they make up more of the public sector workforce and will suffer more from public sector job cuts; and that the research leaves out the impact of the VAT increase, which is likely to affect women (and the poor generally) more.

NUS cuts conference: time to "punch back"

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:16

Jade Baker

At a recent higher education cuts conference, attended by sabbaticals and student activists from across the country, the National Union of Students was mandated to call a national demonstration against cuts and fees.

That conference, held in Birmingham on 26 June, was dogged by controversy at the offset, when very many students were denied or cancelled places because “only two delegates per university” were allowed. The conference was initially advertised as “open to all”.

NUS bureaucracy had clearly cottoned on that the student left were planning to attend and they wanted to nip that in the

How to save jobs and services

Published on: Thu, 15/07/2010 - 21:14

Todd Hamer

A Treasury report released this month suggests that 600,000 public sector jobs and up to 700,000 private sector jobs will be slashed by 2015 as a result of George Osbourne’s austerity budget.

We need such a movement now to defend jobs and services, but we need to be armed with the facts and arguments.

The goverments say all these workers will be able to find work in the private sector. That claim is nothing more than dodgy guesswork but it also suggests their plan includes a massive extension of the public sector privatisation programme, started by Thatcher and continued by New Labour.

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