Solidarity 291, 3 July 2013

A new turn in Egypt

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 09:32

Protests in Egypt on Sunday 30 June marked a new stage of the revolution.

Called to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Mohammed Morsi’s Presidency, and with estimates of 13 million attending nationwide, the protests demanded fresh elections and the President’s resignation and have once again highlighted the need for socialists to organise and argue for a workers’ government.

The “Tamarod” (Rebel) protests have continued, already winning minor victories with at least four ministers quitting the Cabinet.

Since January 2011 there have been many twists and turns in the Egyptian revolution.

Brazil protests continue

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 09:29

Mass protests in Brazil against government corruption and poor public services continue, though President Dilma Rousseff’s promises on political reform and public investment may demobilise.

Meanwhile, many local authorities have backed down on public transport fare increases, the original spark for the protests.

Thousands marched in over 300 cities on Sunday 30 June, to coincide with the Confederations Cup. The tournament is a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup which Brazil is hosting at great expense — a focus for discontent.

Rousseff and her Workers’ Party have promised a constituent

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 09:24

Workers on council run golf courses in Brighton were due to strike on Wednesday 3 July against pay cuts of up to £4,000.

The workers are employed by Mytime Active, who manage the Hollingbury Park and Waterhall golf courses for Brighton and Hove City Council. Members of both GMB and Unison will take part in the strike, which would be the second in the dispute so far.

Meanwhile, CityClean refuse workers suspended their action on 21 June following further negotiations with the council.

They had previously struck for five days against cuts.

FE workers face job cuts

Workers at LeSoCo (Lewisham

Why link with North Korean “unions”?

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 09:20

The Council of Executives of the RMT, at its June 2013 meeting, decided to affiliate to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).

The WFTU traces its history back to the end of the Second World War, when an attempt was made to revive the old trade union international. Soon, opposition to the Marshall Plan by unions in the Stalinist bloc, and the anti-Communism of many Western unions, made the organisation untenable. Most big union centres outside the Stalinist world left, and set up what is now the ITUC.

The WFTU continued as an organisation of state labour fronts and unions historically

Posties reject pay deal and privatisation

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 09:15

Royal Mail workers have voted by 99% to demand an above inflation pay rise.

In the same consultation, Communication Workers Union (CWU) members working for Royal Mail returned a 96% majority in opposition to proposed privatisation, and a 92% majority in favour of boycotting mail from private competitors, and a 92% majority in favour of a policy of non-cooperation with company procedures in workplaces where budget cuts have made workload levels impossible to deal with.

With the company’s recent profits are in excess of £400 million, CWU has denounced its latest proposals on pay and conditions

3 Cosas campaigners invade Senate House

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 09:13

Outsourced workers at the University of London are keeping up the pressure on management as part of their “3 Cosas” campaign to win pensions, holiday, and sick pay equality with their directly employed colleagues.

An unannounced demonstration disrupted a conference in the university’s flagship Senate House building on 28 June, and while some attendees were angry at the disruption, many expressed support for the workers. Demonstrators briefly blocked the doors to Vice Chancellor Adrian Smith’s office.

The “Justice for Cleaners” campaign at SOAS, one of the University of London’s member colleges

The deceivers

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 09:06

How would you feel if you found out the person you had been in a long-term relationship with had been acting out a fictional persona, using the name of a dead child, under the direction of the state and subsidised by the tax payer?

That is what male undercover cops have done to unknown numbers of women according to this important Guardian investigation. Since the late 60s, “sleeping with the target” has been a central tactic of the police in their surveillance of political groups.

Nick Herbert, Tory minister for police and criminal justice, thinks the tactic is justified. A specific ban on

Venezuela's workers' movement

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 08:51

For Marxists, the most significant criteria for judging any regime — aside from its relation to capital and the nature of the state — is its relationship with the working class.

This is so often missing from pro-Chávez apologists, who tend to treat workers as the passive recipients of Chávez’s benevolence. It is also missing from neoliberal accounts, for whom the working class is merely raw material for exploitation.

The picture is somewhat complicated by the state of organised labour before Chávez. The historic official trade union movement, the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV),

Greece: rulers more isolated than ever

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2013 - 08:46

On 25 June the remaining parties of the Greek government coalition — New Democracy (ND) and the social-democratic Pasok — announced a new cabinet.

The Democratic Left had left the government after a decision by ND Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to close the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT, Greek equivalent of BBC) on 11 June by ministerial decree, sacking its 2,600 employees.

Democratic Left was never opposed to the restructuring of ERT, but wanted layoffs done while it remained on air. Even now, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis says that the “Democratic Left…will continue to

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