Solidarity 354, 18 February 2015

After Copenhagen: fighting Islamism, the racist backlash and state repression

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 14:09

Bjarke Friborg

We join the comrades of the Red-Green Alliance of Denmark in unequivocally condemning the attack on a meeting to debate free speech and a Jewish synagogue in Copenhagen on Saturday-Sunday 14-15 February.

At this time it seems the attack, in which a member of the meeting audience and young Jewish security guard were killed, was the work of an individual, a young man of Palestinian heritage, and impoverished background who had recently spent time in jail. It seems this individual was “inspired” by an Islamist political creed and the murderous attacks in Paris last month.

How should socialists

Increased police powers are not the answer

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 13:57

Simon Nelson

Almost half of Syria’s population now requires humanitarian assistance of some kind. Almost three million people have fled Syria, with Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey dealing with increasing numbers of refugees.

Both the Assad government and Daesh (ISIS) in eastern Syria have suffered sporadic defeats. Daesh has come under pressure from other fighters and the US led airstrikes. On Monday 16 February the Egyptian airforce began air strikes against Daesh strongholds in Libya, after the group made a gruesome show of their strength in the country, filming the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christian migrant

Bus strikes suspended

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 13:51

Gemma Short

On February 11, Unite called off planned London bus drivers’ strikes scheduled for February 13 and 16.

In a press release Unite described this as laying down the “gauntlet” and “challenging the 18 bus companies to enter talks”. Yet there has been no news of these talks actually happening.

Solidarity spoke to drivers at Hackney Central bus depot, run by Arriva — the lowest payer — who have concerns over strikes being called off. One driver believed this was down to a lack of clear demands from Unite as to what pay they were aiming to win, leading some drivers from higher paying companies to

Health deal: vote No!

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 13:47

Ballot papers are arriving with Unison health workers this week for voting on the derisory pay offer from the government.

As discussed previously in Solidarity, the offer for 2014/15 which was the cause of our dispute has not changed at all. The 1% [+ £200 for bands 1&2] offered for 2015/16 is still a real terms pay cut for the vast majority and comes with strings attached of negotiating on all our terms and conditions. The fact that our negotiators saw fit to even present this offer shows the weak state of our organisation.

Health workers must vote to reject this offer if we are to stand any

Save Lambeth Libraries!

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 13:21

Ruth Cashman, Lambeth Unison Shop Steward

Lambeth Council has announced devastating cuts to the Library Service.

The proposals include:

• Closing half of Lambeth’s libraries

• The immediate sell-off of Minet and Waterloo Libraries

• Stopping funding to Carnegie, Durning and Upper Norwood Libraries

• Reducing the size of West Norwood and Brixton Libraries

• Replacing Libraries with bookshelves in pubs

Frankly, it’s a slap in the face to library staff, our Friends of Libraries Groups and the communities we serve. Labour was re-elected boasting that it kept all our libraries open. Where is that commitment to the services future now?


FBU: “we will not go away”

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 13:14

Darren Bedford

The FBU has called a further 24 hour strike in England on Wednesday 25 February, starting at 7 am, in its long-running pensions campaign. The union has also called a demonstration at Westminster at noon on the day of the strike.

The strike was called after the union exposed a sham “guarantee” given in parliament to enable ministers to force through their unworkable proposals.

On 15 December, the government pushed through new firefighters’ pension scheme regulations. During the debate, fire minister Penny Mordaunt gave a clear guarantee in parliament that firefighters aged 55 who failed a

Stop evictions!

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 13:11

Ruth Cashman

Shorthold tenants at the Loughborough Park Estate are being threatened with eviction so that Guinness Trust Housing Association can tear down their houses to build expensive new flats.

There is an occupation on the estate to help build the campaign against the evictions. There are daily meetings at 7pm to organise the campaign and demos at the office at 9am.

On Thursday morning at 9.30 am there will be a protest against the bailiffs that are  coming to evict someone from their home.

Meet at Elveden House, Loughborough Park, Brixton, SW9 8NN.

• More details on the Lambeth Housing Activists webs

Hope, not strike?

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 13:05

Liam Conway

On January 29, National Union of Teachers (NUT) National Executive voted 24 to 12 not to call two days of strike action in the run up to the General Election.

In October a survey of members returned 80% in favour of strikes. This despite the failure of the NUT to develop a serious strategy to wring concessions from the Government over pensions, and then pay, since 2011.

At the January Executive we were informed that we could not restate our intention to strike before Nicky Morgan had announced the results of the “workload challenge” consultation. Nicky Morgan, quite predictably, has offered

Confiscate the banks!

Published on: Wed, 18/02/2015 - 12:58


A thousand, a million, a billion, a trillion? Paradoxically, one of the ways the HSBC bank can hope to ride out the current storm is that the numbers are so far beyond experience for most of us that we glaze over.

HSBC is under fire because of documents which have filtered through to the Guardian which show that a Swiss subsidiary facilitated, helped, and even prompted tax avoidance and money-laundering.

About £80 billion was held in those Swiss bank accounts. That’s the equivalent of £3000 for each household in the UK. If the money had been taxed at a high rate, we’d be visibly better off.


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