Solidarity 321, 23 April 2014

What has all the servility gone? (1972)

Published on: Thu, 24/04/2014 - 17:26

Where have all the grasses gone?

What has happened to servility? We have lost the Empire.

Those who were born as leaders of men are now having that right questioned.

Entry into the Common Market will force us to accept the existence of all those damned foreigners on the other side of the Channel.

But must we lose all our national characteristics? Are some of the arts we have practised with such expertise to vanish forever?

Will the time honoured practice of fawning and cringing be something of the past?

The Russians may be masters of the chess board, the Americans kings of the athletic field.

Free Shahrokh Zamani!

Published on: Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:48

Jailed Iranian trade unionist Shahrokh Zamani has now been on hunger strike for over a month.

His hunger strike began in solidarity with a strike by imprisoned Sufi Dervishes (mystics), but was extended after he was transferred to Ghezel Hesar prison, known for terrible conditions, torture and executions. His transfer was unexplained and he was placed in solitary confinement.

We now know his condition has deteriorated further and he has been transferred to the infirmary of Rejai Shahr prison in Karaj on 20 April. According to reports he is very weak and is suffering from some vision loss due

Tube workers set for more strikes

Published on: Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:45

London Underground workers in the RMT union plan five days of strikes to stop the company slashing frontline jobs and closing ticket offices.

Strikes are due to begin at 9pm on Monday 28 April, and conclude on the evening of Wednesday 30 April, with a second strike commencing at 9pm on Monday 5 May and running until Thursday 8 May. Tube workers struck against management’s cuts plan in February, forcing a pause in the implementation of the scheme, but extended negotiations have seen management intransigent and revealed the full extent of the cuts.

LU’s “Fit for the Future — Stations” scheme

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:37

Workers at The Ritzy Cinema, Brixton, struck for the second time on Friday 18 April and Saturday 19 April, part of an escalating campaign of action for the Living Wage.

The picket line, timed to coincide with the release of The Amazing Spiderman 2, was lively and well attended. The energetic picket activity included a kids’ club, face painting, break dancing, music and Spiderman himself.

The BECTU strikers successfully closed the cinema for the second time, for the entire duration of the strike. Brixton, Lambeth, is in the midst of an acute, and worsening, housing crisis with house prices

HE pay offer: vote No!

Published on: Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:25

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) in Higher Education are being balloted this week over the employers’ offer of a 2% pay rise for 2014/15.

The offer comes as branches were preparing to start a marking boycott over the imposed 2013/14 rise of just 1%.

The marking boycott has now been delayed for a week – to Tuesday 6 May – while the ballot takes place. Workers' Liberty members active in UCU will be campaigning for a no vote.

The total offer on the table is now just 3% over two years, plus a little extra on the bottom point of the pay scale that will bring most directly-employed

NUT: build at the base!

Published on: Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:22

The outcome of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Easter conference makes it more important than ever for delegates to build a grass-roots movement capable of challenging the leadership and building local disputes that can increase members’ confidence and capacity and speed serious national action.

As the press headlines say, the conference voted against definite plans for strike action in the autumn term. There will be yet another one day national strike in the summer term. But members cannot be blamed for asking whether this new one day protest is not more of the same tokenism.

We left

How I became a socialist: “I was angry at something, I just didn’t know what”

Published on: Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:13

I refused to engage with what I thought was “politics”, but what I now know to be “Parliament” until I was about 18 years old. My parents had brought me up to know that Labour are good and Tories are bad, but, like a lot of the young people around me, I didn’t think that politics affected me.

The all-girl grammar school I went to didn’t encourage free thought. It was run by an authoritarian woman who idolised Margaret Thatcher and referred to all the students as her little girls, and even when I was at school it was clear she was trying to suppress individuality in order for her to churn out

Mussolini and Italian fascism

Published on: Wed, 23/04/2014 - 11:55

“I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.” Primo Levi

“It is necessary, with bold spirit and in good conscience, to save civilisation. We must halt the dissolution which corrodes and corrupts to roots of human society. The bare and barren tree can be made green again. Are we not ready?” Antonio Gramsci

A rapid and intensive development of modern, industrial capitalism took place north eastern Italy, especially in the area in and between Genoa, Milan and Turin, in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first two of the twentieth.

The first electric power station in

Dave Broady, 1937-2014

Published on: Wed, 23/04/2014 - 11:31

Dave Broady died on 4 April. In 1972 he contributed regularly to Workers’ Fight, a forerunner of Solidarity.

An excerpt [below] signals the tone and type of his writing.

After joining the Navy, and being jailed and dismissed, Dave became a construction worker, a steel erector. He told me he couldn’t tolerate the more controlled environment of a factory.

Dave’s then wife Fran Broady joined our organisation in 1970-1, and was a prominent member for a long while. Their older daughter Karen also became an active revolutionary socialist, and now works with AWL in Manchester.

Dave himself, however,

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