Solidarity 330, 4 July 2014

Iran-Iraq-Syria: the triple alliance

In a 2011 interview with Associated Press, Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki stated, “The killing or removal of President Bashar in any way will explode into an internal struggle between two groups and this will have an impact on the region.”

US courts strangle Argentina

On 29 June, Argentina went into technical default on its foreign debt. 30 days “grace” expires on 29 July. Either the Argentine government fixes a deal before then, or the default goes into full force.

This drama is the outcome of 13 years’ legal wranglings since Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2001. Then, as usually happens in such cases, the Argentine government negotiated a deal with the bondholders to pay them off at a reduced rate.

Brian Munro, 1968-2014

Brian Munro, a London Underground worker, RMT Executive member, and former member of Workers’ Liberty and its predecessor group Socialist Organiser, died on Saturday 28 June after a long battle with ocular melanoma, an extremely rare form of eye cancer.

Brian fought the disease, and significantly outlived his initial prognosis. He died peacefully surrounded by his family in an East London hospice.

Industrial news in brief

Power control workers on London Underground began an eight-day strike on Tuesday 1 July.

Workers are resisting attacks on terms and conditions, and want conditions for formerly-outsourced workers to be levelled-up. Members of the RMT, TSSA, and Unite unions are participating in the strike.

Powell-Davies gains 27% of vote

Despite leftie-bashing by the Times newspaper, with the help of former General Secretary Fred Jarvis, a sizeable minority of National Union of Teachers members voted for LANAC NUT General Secretary candidate Martin Powell-Davies.

Martin, who stood on a platform calling for escalated and co-ordinated industrial action against Gove’s measures, gained 27% of the vote against incumbent Christine Blower. The result was declared on 25 June.

Keep up support for Lambeth College

Teaching staff at Lambeth College have now been on strike for five weeks.

The workers are fighting new contracts that attack pay and conditions, which would affect all new workers and create a two-tier workforce at the college. It is a critical dispute, the outcome of which could help or hinder conditions for many other workers in further education.

Representatives of the University and College Union and Lambeth College bosses have now restarted negotiations.

Yes, Yarl's Wood needs to close

Radio Four’s “File on Four” examines reports of mistreatment of detainees in Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre, which holds up to 400 women and is run by private company, SERCO. The programme asks, “Is it time to close down Yarl’s Wood?”

To help us answer, it details medical neglect, a dismissive attitude towards mental health issues and numerous instances of sexually inappropriate conduct by staff towards female detainees.

Kuchuz Day

“I’ve been attacked by homophobes” was the shocking Facebook message from H, a young gay Ugandan man as he lay hospitalised on a bed.

H’s friends urgently contacted the local LGBT security team for help, as they were concerned for H’s safety when he returned home, and worried about his medical bills. The security team promised assistance, but for reasons unknown the assistance never came. H and his friends felt incredibly let down.

Bad for USA, automatically good for us?

Since about 1987, and until recently, the standard SWP line has been to support any force clashing with the USA as “anti-imperialist”.

The battles in Syria since 2011 have put that line into question; and the current clash between ISIS on one side, and the US, Iranian, Syrian, and Iraqi governments on the other, even more so. The SWP does not back ISIS.

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