Solidarity 184, 4 November 2010

AWL news

Published on: Wed, 10/11/2010 - 20:37

As Solidarity prepares to go weekly, AWL members around the country have been stepping up the number of paper sales they organise. For a long time, selling a publication on the street was seen by a lot of people as a faintly cranky. But, as Dylan put it, the times they are a-getting quite different. People are eager to talk about politics in a way they haven’t been in the past and that’s reflected in the number of papers we’re selling.

AWL North East London now organises four weekly sales, the highlight being a Tuesday night sale at Highbury & Islington station that regularly shifts over 25

Against soaring fees and cuts, take direct action!

Published on: Thu, 04/11/2010 - 16:01

Ed Maltby

Against £9,000 a year tuition fees and massive cuts to teaching budgets, students need to organise direct action on as many campuses as possible, while linking up with the workers' movement. We need to deliver a political blow to the government and galvanise trade union as well as further student anti-cuts struggles.

The demonstration called by the NUS and UCU on 10 November is good, but it is only a start. Students need to use the demo as a springboard to escalate the action. We need to see direct action, from local demonstrations, to walkouts, to occupations.

The National Campaign Against

Jobs for the girls

Published on: Thu, 04/11/2010 - 15:52

Joan Trevor

Many commentators remark on the prominent role of women in the Tea Party, women such as Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell and Michele Bachmann. Some of these women lay claim to being feminists — “conservative feminists”.

It is not any kind of feminism that the left would recognise: conservative feminists are usually anti-abortion, anti-sex education, illiberal, homphobic. They reject the kinds of social measures that help working class women to play a full and fulfilling role in society: decent pay, well-funded welfare, adequate benefits. They fundamentally believe in the right of the

Market freedom

Published on: Thu, 04/11/2010 - 15:48

Jordan Savage

The BBC struck a surprising blow against the right-wing of American Republicanism this week, with Andrew Neil’s documentary “Tea Party America” (BBC 2, Monday 7pm).

The hour-long film investigates the origin and growth of America’s “Tea Party” movement.

Tea Party activist Liz Matz sums up the movement’s anti-Obama, anti-Big Government agenda in the phrase: “Progressivism is stateism, and they both add up to Socialism.”

Under the de-facto leadership of figureheads such as former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Fox News’ Glenn Beck, the Tea Party seeks to amass the support of

US elections: extend the deficit? No: tax the rich!

Published on: Thu, 04/11/2010 - 15:42

Barry Finger

In the US mid-term elections Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, gaining 60 seats from the Democrats.

The Democrats retained control of the Senate, despite losing six seats, some to candidates backed by the ultra-right Tea Party movement. In this article, written on 24 October before the election, Barry Finger looks at the debate over economic policies which have dominated this election and what arguments socialists might use to undermine working-class support for the “Tea Party right”.

This article originally appeared on the website of New Politics, an American

Why do we exist?

Published on: Thu, 04/11/2010 - 15:35

Les Hearn

Stephen Hawking’s latest popular work (The Grand Design, written with physicist and author Leonard Mlodinow) seeks to answer questions that many have asked:

• Why is there something, rather than nothing?

• Why do we exist?

Hawking and Mlodinow (H&M) also pose a question which potentially answers the first two:

• Why this particular set of laws and not some other?

The answer, say H&M, is to be found in M-theory.

The trivial answer to the last question is that, if the laws were different, we would not exist and would not be asking any questions. But the observed laws seem to be very finely

The cause of Carlos

Published on: Thu, 04/11/2010 - 15:32

Stan Crooke

If you’ve ever thought of a career as an internationalist terrorist — forget it. Okay, there might be a plus side to it. You become an international jet-setter. A media celebrity. An icon of radical chic.

You eat in the best restaurants, enjoy the best food, drink the best wines. You dress like Che Guevara after a visit to Saville Row.

(And why not? After all, have you ever heard anyone raise the slogan: “An international terrorist on a worker’s wage”?)

But there’s a downside to being an international terrorist as well.

Governments use you for their own devious ends. You smoke incessantly.

The left fails Muslim women

Published on: Thu, 04/11/2010 - 15:27

Dale Street

Muslim women fighting for women’s rights have been largely abandoned by the left, by human rights organisations, and by anti-racist campaigners.

That sums up the basic argument put forward by Gita Sahgal at a meeting held in Glasgow on 28 October as part of Black History Month 2010.

Sahgal left her post of Head of Gender Unit at Amnesty International earlier this year after Amnesty had ignored her complaints about the organisation’s collaboration with Islamists (specifically, Moazamm Begg and his “Cageprisoners” organisation).

Sahgal began her talk with excerpts from a documentary which she

Thatcher's not our role model!

Published on: Thu, 04/11/2010 - 15:21

Jean Lane

Margaret Thatcher won 31% of votes, putting her in first place in a women’s role model survey carried out by YouGov and AOL UK. This could be a comment on the state of women’s politics today. But it may be more to do with how surveys are carried out.

I wonder, for instance, how many miners’ wives and girlfriends were asked. Oops, sorry, there aren’t very many of them around nowadays, are there? I wonder whose fault that is.

“Role models: someone to look up to.

“Young women desperately need role models — and what the media gives them is heiresses, sex objects, surgery addicts and emotional

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