Solidarity 330, 4 July 2014

Iran-Iraq-Syria: the triple alliance

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 15:48

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.”

The Iraqi Government was one of only three states in the 22 strong Arab League not to back Syria’s suspension in 2011, when the revolt in Syria began, then as a broad mass movement for democracy against Assad’s police state. Maliki had spent his time in exile from Saddam Hussein not in the US or Britain, as many other exiles did, but in Iran and Syria.

US courts strangle Argentina

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 15:43

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.

In the Argentine case, though, some “vulture funds” which had bought Argentine bonds cheap in the run-up to the deal refused to play. They went to court to

Brian Munro, 1968-2014

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 15:34

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.

Brian was born in Glasgow in 1968, and joined Socialist Organiser (later AWL) in 1992. He was a member until the late 1990s. In the 1990s he began working on the railway — first in the ticket office

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 15:27

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.

London Underground station staff are also discussing the possibility of taking further action in their ongoing jobs dispute, as talks have found LU bosses desperate to weasel out of a commitment they made not to cut pay for workers affected by their planned reorganisation of the staffing model. The RMT union

Powell-Davies gains 27% of vote

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 15:20

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.

The lack of union publicity about the election was reflected in the very poor 13% turnout. It cannot have been helped by the union repeatedly marching members

Keep up support for Lambeth College

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 15:13

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.

The new contracts include: an increase in working hours, and a lower hourly rate of pay, reduced holiday, reduced sick pay.


Yes, Yarl's Wood needs to close

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 14:59

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.

The programme records the funeral of Christine Case, a Jamaican woman, who died in Yarl’s Wood on 31st March 2014. Her family tells the programme that Christine’s

Kuchuz Day

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 14:43

“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.

Outcasts of society since the passing of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014, many LGBT people are forced to live in the worse inner-city slum districts and

Bad for USA, automatically good for us?

Published on: Fri, 04/07/2014 - 14:38

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.

Yet in an interview in Socialist Worker (28 June), Alex Callinicos claims a sort of good side to the ISIS victories. Because “the US has been weakened”, “movements from below can strike real blows — not just against US power or the power of

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