Solidarity 300, 16 October 2013

Support the teachers' strike!

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 13:41

On 17 October teachers in London, the South East, and South West will strike as part of a campaign of opposition to a whole series of attacks on our pay and conditions.

This is the third and final part of a calendar of regional strikes, each one covering a bigger area than the last. A national strike is planned in November. If the previous strikes in the North West on 27 and Yorkshire, the Midlands, and the East on 1 October are anything to go by, then 17 October will be well-supported, will feature large marches and rallies, and will help build union organisation in schools.

But if the joint

Brazilian teachers face state repression

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 13:32

The ongoing struggle of teachers in Brazil faces increasing state repression.

Teachers have been involved in continuing struggle over the past few years. In 2010 teachers in Sao Paulo were involved in strikes over pay, demonstrations every Friday were repressed by police.

Starting in 2012, the union called strikes to make the government implement a minimum wage for teachers that had been voted through the parliament five years ago.

This was to involve rolling action across regions of Brazil but the union pulled the action. Teachers in Sao Paulo were unhappy with the strike being pulled

FBU back in action

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 13:26

Firefighters in England and Wales will take further strike action for five hours on Saturday 19 October in the ongoing dispute over pensions.

The action takes place after firefighters in Scotland voted not to strike for the time being, after the Scottish government offered some concessions. The ballot result is a blow to united action in the face of a common attack and a significant fault line for future negotiations on other matters.

The Scotland result will be used by the SNP to promote its line of partnership working with unions in an independent Scotland — a deliberate attempt to cut

University workers strike

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 13:00

University staff are preparing for strike action over pay this autumn after the three biggest campus unions backed campaigns to force up the employers’ offer of just 1%.

Lecturers’ union UCU voted for strikes by 61.5 to 38.5% and action short (generally seen as a more effective tactic in the sector) by 77 to 33%. 64% of Unite members backed strikes, and Unison members also did so by a slim margin.

Pay has slumped by 13% in real terms since 2009. The higher education sector has an operating surplus of over ÂŁ1 billion and can well afford to pay up. As a percentage of university budgets pay has

Relaunch teachers' workload fight

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 12:57

The teachers’ dispute on workload, currently being run jointly with a campaign on pay and pensions, needs relaunching on a wholly new basis.

If NUT and NASUWT are serious about using school-based action to frustrate Gove's reforms, win real gains for teachers across the board and build strength and confidence for the national strike action then some basics would need to be put in place:

• Encourage the building of joint action committees in every school

• Publicise every dispute and pour resources into winning

• Highlight every victory in national publications, school bulletins and circulars

Ralph Miliband and Israel-Palestine

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 12:52

Ed Miliband’s father Ralph Miliband, a Marxist writer denounced by the Daily Mail as “the man who hated Britain”, left behind him two well-known books, Parliamentary Socialism and The State In Capitalist Society.

Less-known, but also valuable today, is a thin volume of letters in 1967 about Israel-Palestine between Ralph Miliband and his friend Marcel Liebman, who was then a contributor to the semi-Trotskyist Belgian weekly La Gauche.

The letters were translated from French by Peter Drucker and published in 2006 with an introduction by the Lebanese-French Marxist writer Gilbert Achcar.


40 years ago: the “Shrewsbury 24”

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 12:47

1972 saw a major wave of industrial action in Britain. There were more work days lost to strike action in that year than in any since the General Strike of 1926.

Big strikes by dockers, car workers, steel workers and miners won major concessions from the bosses and rocked the Tory government. Key to the success of working-class struggle was the high level of union organisation in big industries, and a militant, democratic culture of solidarity that had developed in the rank-and-file. An important tool had been “secondary” picketing and solidarity action, where one group of workers would come

Greek university workers' five week strike

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 12:41

After closing the state broadcaster ERT, laying off thousands of workers, putting the padlock in hospitals and other public services, the Greek government now plans to sack about 1,700 university administrators.

The government faces a budget gap in higher education. They want to find a 33% cut and have decided workers must pay. The workers will all be sacked if they cannot first be redeployed (which, given the extent of the cuts, looks unlikely).

Administrative workers at eight Greek universities in all the main cities have been on strike for five consecutive weeks. The government plans are

Lampedusa's racist horror

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2013 - 12:38

The indescribable horror of what happened off the island of Lampedusa on 6 October, and the subsequent grotesquely cynic parade of public grief by a political class wholly culpable for the conditions that led to it, speak eloquently of the morally putrid fabric of bourgeois Italy.

As the bodies of the 50 or so other migrants drowned within a week of those at Lampedusa are still being searched for, no one should fool themselves that the declarations of “never again” from President Napoletano and the coalition government of Letta/Alfano, or the background chorus of other European states, signal

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