Solidarity 259, 3 October 2012

Protests say “Rajoy out”

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 13:57

Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets of Madrid on 25 September and marched on Spain’s parliament building as MPs discussed its 2013 budget.

The demonstrations were called by a coordination originating in the “Indignados” movement, who set up protest camps in Spanish cities in 2011.

Many demonstrators were demanding new elections. The manifesto said: “Winning an election does not give the government the right to act as it wants, betraying the voters who elected it.

“The people, under these conditions, have the right to demand that the government quits. This is the essence of

Migrants evicted in Calais

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 13:53

Wednesday 25 September began days of evictions and arrests of the 200 migrants who are still sleeping rough and in tents and other makeshift shelters in Calais.

Although police harassment is an everyday occurrence in Calais, this is a step-up, if not a repeat of the exceptional brutality of three years ago, when a camp set up by Afghan migrants was razed to the ground.

An article on Indymedia describes the conditions prior to the latest police crackdown: “Most people present in Calais now have papers; either they have applied for asylum in France or they have refugee status in some other EU

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 13:46

Cleaners and security guards employed by Carlisle Cleaning and Support Services working for First TransPennine Express (FTPE) struck on 1 October in protest at a pay freeze imposed by the employer.

The picket in Hull leafleted members of the public outlining their reasons for the strike. Workers have been offered a below inflation pay increase and no enhanced rate for weekend, night, bank holiday or overtime working. Those employed by Carlisle have no access to a company sick pay scheme, and no leisure travel facilities on First TransPennine services as offered to workers employed directly.

Fighting the bosses' plans on London Underground

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 13:39

Tube drivers’ unions ASLEF and RMT are balloting their driver members for industrial action after it emerged that train testing workers could be asked to test driverless trains as early as this month.

Introducing driverless trains, which are already on place on the Docklands Light Railway, is a key plank of transport bosses’ and City Hall’s plan to radically reshape the Tube network – along with plans to cut maintenance, close ticket offices, further de-staff stations and restructure service control. It is a measure that will allow them both to cut costs and significantly weaken the unions.

Cleaners discuss coordinated strike

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 13:36

Cleaning workers across Britain could take part in a national, co-ordinated strike, as rail workers’ union RMT discusses how to galvanise and bring together its several live disputes involving cleaners.

Workers on London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, London Midland, East Coast, Tyne and Wear Metro, and elsewhere could be involved in the strike, which may be a 48-hour action in October or November.

Although London Underground bosses won’t feel extra industrial impact if Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners take action at the same time as their own staff, the workers themselves will gain an

AIDS: where have we got to?

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 13:34

Just over 30 years ago, the disease soon to be called AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency disorder), but then termed GRID (gay-related immune deficiency), was first reported in the US. Sufferers predominantly came from the “four H’s”, homosexual men, heroin users, haemophiliacs and, curiously, Haitians.

Many had unusual infections, including a type of pneumonia, and a rare cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma). Death rates were high, the cause being infections that the body was unable to fight, due to the loss of a vital component of the immune system, CD4+T lymphocytes or T helper cells.

Quite soon, it was

Why George Galloway is suing NUS

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 12:59

The debate in the student movement over the Assange affair and rape apology has taken a surreal turn with George Galloway suing the National Union of Students.

The controversy has focused around a motion to the 26 September meeting of NUS National Executive, at which 13 women members moved a motion condemning apologies for non-consensual sex and saying NUS should not “offer” or “share” a platform with those who make such apologies — including Tony Benn and George Galloway, because of their comments in the Assange debate.

Pretty much the entire right and centre of the committee (and the broader

Bloody dilemmas in Syria

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 12:56

Unless an independent and powerful initiative of Syrian toilers develops we are faced with a great danger of devastation in Syria which will last many years even if the Ba'th regime is overthrown.

The general picture gives the impression that the course of events has arrived at the gates of a Lebanon-like bloody civil war and chaos that will last many years.

The revolt started in March 2011 and reached a climax at the end of summer, and after that point we have seen a general decline though with fluctuations. There was another peak in the beginning of 2012 in mass demonstrations but that did

Paul Levi: Laying the foundations of the united front

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2012 - 12:52

Paul Levi (1883-1930) was one of the founders of the German Communist Party (KPD) and a powerful voice in the early Communist International.

Levi was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Hechingen, south-west Germany. In 1906 he joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and became part of its left wing along with Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

During the First World War, Levi was conscripted. Discharged in 1916, he joined the Zimmerwald Left, headed by Lenin, which attempted to uphold revolutionary internationalism amidst the wreckage of the war and the treacherous

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