Solidarity 284, 1 May 2013

Ukip: party for retired dentists?

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 09:40

Godfrey Bloom, MEP for the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip), which threatens to scoop many Tory votes in the May elections, has told Ukip leaders: “We do not have the resources to write serious papers on major subjects, why reinvent the wheel? Why not buy policy ‘off the shelf’?”

He suggests that the party literally pay right-wing think-tanks to write policies for it, since otherwise the party will be dogged by “retired dentists, who understand the most intricate political solutions for the nation” and will argue at length about their own crank idea for suppressing migrants, trade

Labour councillor says: “You don’t stand as Labour to cut services”

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 09:36

Geoff Lumley is Labour Councillor for Newport East on the Isle of Wight. He is the only Labour councillor on the island. Geoff spoke to Solidarity about the council elections on 2 May, which take place mostly in county councils like Isle of Wight rather than city councils.

In 2009 I stood for re-election in Newport East, a traditional working-class constituency, on a clear non-New Labour platform.

We achieved an 11% swing in our favour, on an evening when Labour councillors across the country were losing their seats because of their association with Gordon Brown’s New Labour government.

The 2

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 09:31

Journalists working for regional newspapers across the country are campaigning for better pay.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has launched a petition calling for an end to a pay freeze at Newsquest.

Editorial staff have endured a pay freeze — in real terms a pay cut – four years in the last five while workloads steadily rise as employees are not replaced and titles expanded.

Newsquest, which owns 17 daily and more than 200 weekly titles around the UK, is owned by American media giant Gannett, which is to pay out $1.3bn to shareholders over the next two years.

A senior journalist with

Leadership in charge at Unison Health conference

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 09:23

Unison Health conference (22-24 April) discussed attacks on the NHS, defending “Agenda for Change” (our national pay, terms and conditions), and union organising.

On every issue, the leadership showed their hold over the health sector of the union. The passing of the Section 75 Regulations during the week, which signalled the government’s smashing up of the NHS, went almost unnoticed. There was no real sense amongst most delegates of the NHS crisis or of the battering workers are taking.

The debate on the leadership’s recent sell-out over Agenda for Change (where they accepted attacks to it

Sussex University workers build for strikes

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 09:13

Sussex University branches of the University and College Union (UCU) and Unite have both returned large majorities for strikes against outsourcing in indicative ballots.

UCU members vote returned a 75% majority on a 60% turnout, and the Unite ballot returned a 93% majority on a 70% turnout. Unison, which conducted a “membership survey” on industrial action, has yet to release its results. They are due on Thursday 9 May, but many workers say they have yet to receive their papers so are fighting for an extension in order to allow them to vote.

Workers could strike against the outsourcing of 235

The anti-imperialist united front

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 09:01

The final part of Paul Hampton’s review article looking at the themes of John Riddell’s book of documents from the early communist movement.

The Fourth Congress adopted a call for an anti-imperialist united front in the colonial and semi-colonial countries, aimed at “the mobilisation of all revolutionary forces” in “an extended, lengthy struggle against world imperialism”.

The expression was new, but the concept of an anti-imperialist united front had been effectively endorsed at the Second Comintern Congress and by the Congress of the Peoples of the East in Baku in 1920.

At the Fourth

The Warsaw ghetto and the meaning of resistance

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 08:53

Warsaw wrote two brilliant chapters in its history during the war, and also entered a dark blot on its pages.

The first was the uprising, against the Nazi occupation, of the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto, starting on 19 April 1943 and lasting about six weeks. This struggle of the Jews, and especially of the Jewish workers, against overwhelming odds is one of the most glorious episodes in the book of struggles of oppressed peoples and labour for freedom.

The second event took place a year and a half later in October 1944. This, often referred to as the Warsaw Insurrection, was the work of the

Dhaka factory tragedy: capitalism is guilty

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 08:44

On the afternoon of 24 April, Rana Plaza, an eight-storey building housing textile factories in Savar, a suburb of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, collapsed. When rescuers gave up searching for survivors on 29 April, the official death toll was 380.

Local police ordered an evacuation of the building on Tuesday 23 April after workers reported cracks in the building’s structure. The factory owners ignored these concerns and forced more than 2,000 workers to remain in the building. Workers reported the use of intimidation tactics, including threats of docking pay, to silence those who spoke out.

Help us raise £15,000

Published on: Wed, 01/05/2013 - 08:25

Workers’ Liberty HQ has rarely known as much excitement as it did on Tuesday 30 April, when our new duplicating machine was delivered.

Veteran members said it felt nearly as eventful as the day in 1973 when the office of our predecessor organisation, Workers’ Fight, was raided by Special Branch on suspicion of connections to Irish republican groups.

Our purchase of the new, top-of-the-range machine was only made possible because of a series of extremely generous donations from Solidarity readers. We can now print and duplicate the materials integral to our day-to-day work — workplace

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