Solidarity 190, 26 January 2011

Get your little red book

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 16:20

As the police attempt to round up and arrest activists involved in the student revolt (codenamed “Operation Malone”) continues, so must the campaign of the movement to resist police brutality and state clampdowns on dissent.

The Right To Resist campaign, which AWL helped initiate, has produced a handy wallet-sized handbook containing useful tips on police tactics and what to do if you're detained.

With legal advice from the Green and Black Cross project, the handbook could become an essential tool for protesters.

Right To Resist is seeking support from union branches and other labour movement

Take over your student union

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 16:15

The protests against the abolition of EMA on 19 January, when thousands turned out across the country at very short notice, showed that the student movement which began before Christmas is still alive.

On 26 January, there will be more protests, and 29 January will see big student demonstrations against fees and cuts in London and Manchester.

It is important we prepare for more demos to come. But the movement will not be sustained purely on the basis of one mobilisation after another.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts has produced a “Battle Plan” to guide student activists in the

Support AV

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 16:08

In Solidarity 3-189 Martin Thomas argued that on balance socialists should not support Alternative Vote (AV) in the May referendum. I believe he is wrong. Socialists as consistent democrats should critically support a vote for AV.

The yes campaign supporting AV is likely to be a fairly lacklustre affair which will probably be defeated. Most supporters of electoral reform support some kind of proportional system and may not mobilise to support AV. The vast majority of Tories will oppose AV and a large number of Labour supporters are likely to oppose it, even if officially the Labour Party

Media workers can fight

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 16:04

While I share and agree with many of the points made by Martin Thomas (“Floods of sloppy reporting”, Solidarity 3-189), I was disappointed that he provided no possible solutions or way to lead the fight against cost-cutting by owners. That’s something I’m all too concerned with, as a local journalist myself.

Yes, much of a newspaper is made up of re-written press releases — sometimes I have even seen untouched press releases in our rival newspaper, having received the same original document myself.

Journalists often are harassed, and occasionally uninterested, as the author notes. It is true

Targetting high street tax dodgers

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 15:47

The UK Uncut campaign, which targets high-street tax-dodgers, has captured the imagination of many with its innovative direct-action stunts. Activists from the campaign spoke to Solidarity. An unabridged version of this interview is at

What are the origins of UK Uncut as a campaign?

Twelve friends met in a pub in October, two nights after the Comprehensive Spending Review was announced and, over pints, started off complaining about the cuts. Someone had brought along a copy of Private Eye with the article about Vodafone’s £6bn tax dodge.

We couldn’t think

Running scared... to the PR spivs

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 15:33

We know that web-based organisations like Wikileaks and UK Uncut are doing a great job, but it is still gratifying to read that corporate Britain is running scared as a result. The question is, will it make the tax dodgers clean up their act. PR Week gives us some clues, but it’s not good news! The report reveals:

“One senior agency source told PR Week that boardrooms across the UK were fearful of web-based organisations such as Wikileaks and UKUncut. ‘A lot of corporate Britain is running scared’, said the source”.

Leading corporate PR company chief executive, Nick Murray-Leslie of Chatsworth

Arts against cuts

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 14:09

The Arts Against Cuts collective is a group of students, lecturers, artists, cultural workers and those interested in creative resistance, organising in a non-hierarchical structure against both the cuts and the ever increasing use of the arts and culture as a tool of ideological and political control.

Since being set up around three months ago a number of actions have been facilitated by the group, and we will continue to do that indefinitely.

So far we have had a large number of very diverse participants and always welcome anyone to our open weekly meetings. There is no single person or

Good visuals, slack plots

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 14:04

Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin, has received widespread plaudits and is expected to pick up a few Baftas and, later, Oscars.

Natalie Portman won the Golden Globe for best actress. She stars as Nina, a troubled ballerina rehearsing for the role of her life, as both swans in Swan Lake. Nobody doubts her ability to dance, but many — including her choreographer, played by Vincent Cassel — question whether she has the inner darkness to convincingly dance the evil black swan.

Driven by her failed-dancer mother, in a great

Tunisia: left calls for constituent assembly

Published on: Wed, 26/01/2011 - 12:50

Two Tunisian socialists based in the UK, Nadim Mahjoub and Shawky Arif, spoke to Solidarity.

Nadim: On 23 January, about 300 people set off in a “Caravan of Liberty” from rural areas, to join demonstrators in Tunis. They quickly grew to 1,000. People from other towns tried to do the same, though some were blocked by the police.

When the protesters arrived in the capital, some of them sat down in front of the Prime Minister’s office. They changed slogans, calling for the overthrow of the government, and the dissolution of the RCD ruling party. Tents have been put up. The organisation that

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