Solidarity 301, 25 October 2013

Mark Duggan and the disappearing gun

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 20:05

Witnesses at the inquest into Mark Duggan’s shooting by police have contradicted the version of events provided by police.

The inquest has been set up to establish the facts around the killing of Mark Duggan by police in Tottenham in 2011. The killing sparked a protest then a riot in Tottenham, leading into nationwide rioting on a scale unseen in the UK for decades.

In 4 August 2011, unmarked police cars surrounded the minicab that Duggan was travelling in. Police say he then got out of the car. According to the officer who killed him, Duggan was holding a gun. The officer said he believed

Postal workers set to strike on 4 November

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 20:02

Postal workers will strike on 4 November in the Communication Workers Union’s first national strike since 2009.

The immediate industrial fight is over workplace issues including pensions, but the wider context is the fight against the privatisation of Royal Mail.

Postal workers should seek maximum coordination and joint support with other striking unions, including joint demonstrations, rallies, and mutual picket line support.

Probation workers in the NAPO union also recently voted by an 84.4% majority for strikes, and could join the autumn strike wave.

Autumn's mini strike wave

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 19:29

October and November 2013 saw and will see a flurry of strikes in a variety of sectors.

Higher Education workers will strike on 31 October, postal workers will strike on 4 November. School teachers struck regionally on 27 June, 1 October, and 17 October.

Members of Unite, UCU and Unison on university campuses will be striking on 31 October in a dispute over pay, following an offer of just 1% from management and a real-terms pay cut of 13% over the past four years.

The following day, members of UCU — lecturers and higher-grade admin, library and professional staff — will begin a work-to

Firefighters' strikes on hold

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 19:23

The week 14-20 October was a tumultuous one for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) with a successful demonstration in London. However the second pensions strike, due on 19 October, was postponed after last-minute movement from employers and the government.

Firefighters marched through the rain on Wednesday 16 October in a national demonstration against cuts and the pensions attack. The mood was positive and there were large delegations from across the UK, with sizeable numbers of younger firefighters. Going past Downing Street, a section of the demo rushed the gates shouting “you don’t know what

Unions rally around sacked organiser

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 18:40

A mailing was sent out last week to all Trades Union Councils in Scotland, calling on them to adopt policy condemning the dismissal of Stan Crooke as the Transport Salaried Staffs Association’s (TSSA) Scottish Regional Organiser and demanding his reinstatement.

The TSSA is a small union mainly based on the railways ,with 22,000 members (but four Assistant General Secretaries). Stan Crooke was summarily dismissed in July of this year, although he was not informed of the outcome of his appeal until September.

The mailing, sent out by his Unite union branch, was the latest step in a campaign

Thailand: free Somyot, free all political prisoners!

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 18:37

Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a long time left-wing union and democracy activist in Thailand, has been in prison since 30 April 2011 and faces a further ten years jail under the repressive “lèse majesté” law.

Somyot became active in the democracy movement as a secondary student in the 1970s, and in the 1980s became a key figure building genuine, democratic unionism. He is the founder of the Center for Labour Information Service and Training (CLIST), which led high-profile campaigns in the 1990s for workers’ rights, particularly among women workers in the textile and garment industry. Through CLIST

Doctors of the Dark Side

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 18:28

Levels of violence in human societies have fallen drastically since Stone Age times, as shown by Steven Pinker in his excellent but gruelling exposition The Better Angels of Our Nature (Penguin, 2011).

This includes the infliction of torture by the state. By mid-19th century, judicial torture had been abolished in major western countries. This also applied to inhumane treatment of enemies. In the American War of Independence from 1776, George Washington ordered that prisoners of war (soldiers from the British side) be treated humanely, while Abraham Lincoln forbade torture or cruelty to

Cultural Exchange

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 18:23

An extract from “Cultural Exchange”, by Langston Hughes, from Ask Your Mama (1961).

Dreams and nightmares!

Nightmares, dreams, oh!

Dreaming that the Negroes

Of the South have taken over—

Voted all the Dixiecrats

Right out of power—


Martin Luther King is Governor of Georgia,

Dr. Rufus Clement his Chief Adviser,

A. Philip Randolph the High Grand Worthy.

In white pillared mansions

Sitting on their wide verandas,

Wealthy Negroes have white servants,

White sharecroppers work the black plantations,

And colored children have white mammies:

Mammy Faubus

Mammy Eastland


Why I joined Workers' Liberty

Published on: Fri, 25/10/2013 - 18:21

Two years ago, on 15 October 2011, was the date when a certain plan went into action. About 45 of us, who had mostly never met before, and with varying degrees of experience, had come together to organise around an idea.

That idea was simple: “Occupy the London Stock Exchange”, and join in action that was occurring around the world. I don't think any of us could have predicted the impact it would have.

Before Occupy came along, I had mostly been an armchair activist, reading a lot of Chomsky, watching a lot of lectures, and going to the odd demonstration.

In many ways, Occupy was deeply

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