Solidarity 222, 26 October 2011

Greek workers stage biggest general strike

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 14:10

The two-day general strike on 19-20 October was the biggest of all the general strikes of the last two years of struggle in Greece.

Over 500,000 public and private sector workers, pensioners, students, self-employed, community activists marched on Athens and over a million all over Greece. The slogans shouted by the strikers and demonstrators demanded the overthrow of the government and the withdrawal of the austerity measures and the policies of the Troika (European Union, European Central Bank, and IMF).

Many different sectors of the working class participated, from the relatively

University boss will now be NHS privatiser-in-chief

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 14:07

Malcolm Grant, the Provost of University College London, has been nominated by health secretary Andrew Lansley to head the new NHS commissioning board responsible for implementing the Tories’ health “reforms”.

So Grant, who has distinguished himself attacking students and workers at UCL, will now also be responsible for dismantling the NHS.

He will remain “full time” head of UCL, on a salary well above £300,000 even after taking a 10 percent pay cut. (He is the highest paid university head in Britain.)

After a hard fought campaign by UCL cleaners and their academic and student supporters,

Tube bosses plan new jobs massacre

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 14:04

An “Operational Strategy” paper from London Underground management, leaked by tube union RMT, has revealed plans for a radical restructuring of the tube that could see 1,500 jobs axed.

The plan, based on across-the-board financial cuts of 20%, would move the tube towards greater automation, with drivers replaced by train attendants. It would also see every single ticket office on the entire network close, with 30 “travel centres” set up to replace them. Recruitment would be frozen, and the existing de-staffing programme escalated to leave dozens of stations across the network effectively

Rank-and-file must control pensions battle

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 13:56

Activists in “N30” unions — the unions that are set to participate in the mass public sector strike over pensions reform — are working hard to build for 30 November.

Most of the best work is being driven locally by reps and activists on the ground. The unions nationally are punching well below their weight; in some areas, activists are having to rely on link-ups with neighbouring branches (rather than their national union) for materials and support. There's an effective radio silence on what's going on in the behind-the-scenes negotiations. The Financial Times reported on 25 October that the

Left must be clear against Europhobes

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 13:51

The Tory right mobilised on 24 October, with the help of the right-wing tabloid press, to demand a referendum on British withdrawal from the European Union. They recorded 81 votes against the government.

The Tory right resents the limited legal rights which British workers get from European Union legislation driven by countries where labour movements are stronger and less legally shackled than in Britain.

They would like to see Britain become “offshore” from Europe economically as well as geographically, offering transnational corporations a low-cost production site close to Europe where

What is Marxist dialectical thinking?

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 13:16

Vasilis Grollios contributes to the discussion opened by Dave Osler in Solidarity 219

The core of socialist-Marxist thinking is its methodology, dialectical materialism. But the term was not systematically analysed by Marx or Engels. One has to synthesise its meaning from thousands of pages of their collected works.

Thinking in terms of dialectical materialism means trying to identify the essence of the thing under consideration, to understand what the thing is in itself. It means that we try to bring to light the real content of each social form, whatever this might be – state, representative

Against "national communism": why anti-EUism is not left-wing

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 13:07

In the 1930s, when the Stalinised Communist movement responded to the rise of National Socialism in part by competing to out-do its nationalism, Leon Trotsky explained what was wrong with that “national communism” - developing themes he had written on earlier, during World War One. We publish extracts below.

Trotsky's explanations are relevant today, with such things on the left as the Socialist Party promoting the “left” nationalist “No2EU” project...

In response to the fascist slogan of the “people’s revolution” to win “national liberation” for Germany, the German Communists said that they

Measuring unions’ online “klout”

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 12:55

It’s a corporate dream come true: imagine if a company could find out exactly which customers — and potential customers — could influence others.

If one could identify with precision those consumers who influence others in their buying decisions, one could make a fortune.

That’s the reasoning behind a number of new web-based projects that are basically watching all of us online, seeing what we do on Twitter and Facebook, and attempting to measure our influence.

These sites then find companies interested in knowing who are the “influencers” so they can tempt them with free samples and other

Greek strikes escalate. Political alternative needed

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2011 - 12:31

After the two-day general strike on 19-20 October, strikes and occupations are continuing across Greece.

Bus, tram, and tube workers strike for 24 hours on Tuesday 25 October. Transport workers strike for 24 hours on Thursday 27 October.

Public sector workers have announced occupations of ministries and public sector buildings for Wednesday 26 October. Lawyers will have a four day strike on 26-27 October and 3-4 November. Teachers have a 24-hour strike on Wednesday 26 October.

In the words of a transport worker: “Workers have the knowledge, the means, and the ability to overthrow this ugly

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