Solidarity 297, 25 September 2013

Greek workers rally against fascist killers

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 13:50

At midnight on Tuesday 17 September, anti-fascist musician Paul Fyssas was knifed to death in Piraeus, near Athens, by a fascist, Giorgos Roupakas.

Thirty thugs from the fascist Golden Dawn movement were waiting outside the cafe where Paul was watching a football match. They had been mobilised by mobile phone.

Thirty against one! And even then, they relied on their chosen thug, Roupakas, to do the killing.

Then Roupakas’s party disowned him. Pretended not to know him!

The internet and the newspapers carried pictures of the killer hugging prominent Golden Dawn MPs. Golden Dawn leader Ilias

Break the pay freeze!

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 13:45

On 23 September Labour Party conference passed a motion against the public sector pay freeze, which the Labour leaders have promised to continue, and for the Living Wage to be made law.

Speaking for the motion, Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public services union Unison, called for “a clear unambiguous Labour promise to turn a statutory minimum wage into a living wage”. He continued: “The pay freeze must end. No ifs, no buts — a clear commitment to end the Tory pay freeze”.

The actual text voted on — a composite of motions put to conference on the question — had been made vaguer.

Islamist atrocity in Nairobi

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 13:43

Islamists stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 September. As we go to press, they are known to have killed 62 people and injured 170.

The killers released people only if they could prove they were Muslims. The events should hammer home three things often denied on the left.

First: Islamists are different from specially religious Muslims.

Islamists are right-wing, fascistic political people who use and abuse Muslim religion for their political ends. They are not primarily religious, any more than Spain’s dictator from 1939 to 1976, Franco, was primarily a good Christian.

They are

Hovis workers win

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 13:40

Hovis bakery workers have ended their strike with an agreement that agency labour “will only be used when there is insufficient commitment by employees to work overtime and banked hours.”

The strike had already succeeded in ending ”zero hours” contracts among directly employed workers.

Bakers’ union official Geoff Atkinson called the deal “a landmark”.

• For more info, see here

Higher Education workers ballot for strikes

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 13:35

Higher education unions are balloting for strike action after a miserly pay offer of 1% from university employers.

In the past four years pay in the sector has been cut by 13% in real terms, and thousands of workers still receive less than the Living Wage of £7.45 an hour. This is despite a backdrop of strong financial results in the higher education sector, which has benefited from the rise in tuition fees and has a £1.1 billion operating surplus. But less of this income is going to staff: as a percentage of university budgets pay has fallen from 58% in 2001-2 to 55.5% in 2011-12.


Firefighters' nationwide strike

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 13:32

Firefighters in England and Wales take strike action on Wednesday 25 September in response to government attacks on firefighters’ pensions which would see them pay more, work longer and receive reduced benefits on retirement.

The four-hour strike is expected to be solid, after a strong yes vote and turn-out. The FBU has invited trade unionists and other supporters to visit picket lines and show solidarity. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary has called it “a warning shot” to the government, implying that further action will follow if no progress is made in negotiations. No further dates have

Understanding the Arab uprising

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 12:57

Unusually for a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Gilbert Achcar has become the hate figure for parts of the left over recent months for his perceived support for big-power intervention in Libya.

The nuances and complexities of Achcar’s real positions, rather than those attributed to him, have been lost on these commentators. There are real issues with both Achcar’s political understanding and his academic analysis. They are just not those thrown at him by those who see “imperialism” (that is, US imperialism) as the main (or only) problem, and have confused the debate by

Mentally ill pushed to jails or streets

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 12:42

As austerity puts the squeeze on the most vulnerable, many more people are lurching into mental health crisis. At the same time, services are stretched to breaking point. The mentally unwell are having to fend for themselves. Todd Hamer looks at the issues.

Between 2002-3 and 2007-8 there was a 17% reduction in mental health inpatient beds from 32,753 to 26,928. A Panorama investigation found that there had been a further reduction of 17% since 2008. We have lost a third of inpatient capacity in just 10 years1.

At the same time the people needing inpatient services is increasing. From 2008/9

Why I joined Workers' Liberty

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2013 - 12:18

­­In class struggle, politics must always take precedence over any specific organisational matters. This doesn’t mean a dogmatic commitment to the details of past or current programmes, but serious consideration of how revolutionaries can begin to forge a mass organisation.

The major problem facing the revolutionary wing of the British left is that we do not have any such organisation that can legitimately claim to being either that party or the base for it. Our organisations are instead largely fractured into numerous different competing sects, most of which at different times have been

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