Solidarity 242, 18 April 2012

Syria: killing continues as ceasefire falters

Following significant diplomatic pressure, and faced with the possibility of losing Russian and Chinese backing, the Syrian government signed up to a UN ceasefire plan.

For now, in some regions, there is an uneasy peace. In other areas the truce has collapsed already.

Between the “ceasefire” formally coming into force on Thursday 13 April and the arrival of the first UN observers four days later, at least 41 people, mostly civilians, were reported killed.

“Greek youth will arm themselves”

On Wednesday 4 April a 77 year old pensioner, Dimitris Xristoulas, committed public suicide in Syntagma Square, Athens. He left a militant political note denouncing his “murderers”.

His murderers are those who have robbed the pensions and salaries of Greek workers, who have dismantled and destroyed public services who have indebted Greece until at least 2020 through an austerity program.

Mobilise to reject the NHS pensions deal!

NHS members of public sector union Unison are currently voting on whether to accept the government’s deal for reforming their pension scheme.

Despite the 30 November strike action, the deal remains a “work longer, pay more, get less” outcome for workers and should be rejected.

Red Pill, an industrial bulletin for healthworkers produced by members and friends of Workers’ Liberty working in the NHS, is campaigning for rejection.

To download the latest bulletin to distribute in your workplace, visit here.

Industrial news in brief

Workers at BMW’s Oxford plant have voted by 97% to oppose management’s latest pay offer.

The consultative ballot, which was conducted by the Unite union, polled 2,000 employees.

The pay deal included a basic increase of 2.21%, of which nearly 2% was contingent on working extra hours. Since the ballot, BMW bosses have offered further talks. While “welcoming” the talks, Unite has said it will press on with plans to move to a full ballot for industrial action to win a better deal.

Tube Lines: strike for pensions justice

Workers employed by Tube Lines, the company which provides essential maintenance and repair work across London Underground, will strike for three days from Tuesday 24 April.

Nottingham teachers fight five-term year plan

Nottingham teachers struck for a second day on 17 March in their campaign of industrial action against the Local Authority.

Inspired by Michael Gove's plans to change school holiday patterns, the Labour-controlled council has attempted to force through a change to a five term year in Nottingham city schools.

Implementation of the five term year will mean a shortening of the six week summer holiday to four weeks and a regular pattern of eight week terms.

A mass paper of the labour movement

“’Let the landlord go hang for his rent, I am sending it to you.’ Would this be done for a Liberal newspaper? Would it be done for a Tory newspaper? Not likely.”

Daily Herald, 26 October 1912

“The marvel is that the paper was ever produced at all.”

George Lansbury, The Miracle of Fleet Street

Learning about our tradition

Mike Wood reviews the new online archive of the first series of the New Politics journal.

The American website UNZ has recently made available the entire run of the first volume of New Politics journal, from 1960 to 1978. This is a valuable resource for those interested in the history of the socialist movement and should ensure a wider readership for a tradition of thought that has largely been forgotten by the left today.

Abolish money without class struggle?

Janet Burstall reviews Life without money: building fair and sustainable communities, edited by Anitra Nelson and Frans Timmerman.

This book argues that abolition of “the market” is the key to replacing capitalism. The medium of the market is money, so abolition of money is the way to “non-market socialism, a moneyless, wageless, classless, stateless world”.

After the poisonous decades of Stalinism and the failure of social democracy to challenge capitalism, it is welcome to find socialists looking for a different vision of socialism.

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