Solidarity 190, 26 January 2011

Get your little red book

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.

Take over your student union

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.

Support AV

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.

Media workers can fight

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.

Targetting high street tax dodgers

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?

Running scared... to the PR spivs

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”.

Arts against cuts

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.

Good visuals, slack plots

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.

Tunisia: left calls for constituent assembly

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.

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