Solidarity 356, 11 March 2015

NUT needs a new turn

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2015 - 12:40

Patrick Murphy

At its February meeting the National Union of Teachers (NUT) National Executive definitively ruled out further national strikes between now and the election.

NEC members who support rank and file campaign LANAC proposed that the Union call a strike for March 24, but were defeated by 24 votes to 13 with 2 abstentions.

This decision effectively brings to an end the action phase of the campaign since 2010 and the mandate of the current ballot as far as national strike action goes. Local strikes and action short of strikes will continue, but after the election there will almost certainly need to

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2015 - 12:37

Darren Bedford and Ollie Moore

Fire control operators in Essex have escalated strike plans to eight days this week in an increasingly bitter row over cuts and shift changes.

FBU control members walked out at 07:00 on Tuesday 10 March and vowed not return until 07:00 on Wednesday 18 March.

A new imposed shift system has seen some emergency control operators having to leave their jobs or drastically reduce their hours and pay, with many more considering their future with the service.

The majority of strikers are women, who say these shift changes are unfair and completely unnecessary as there are alternatives on the table

Stop blaming children for abuse!

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2015 - 12:07

Charlotte Zalens

A report by the Oxford Safeguarding Children Board has said over 300 children and young people in the city may have been sexually exploited between 1999 and 2014.

The report, a serious case review, condemns police and social services for not doing enough to stop abuse and even deliberate and systemic lack of belief of girls who reported abuse.

Similar to police and social services in Rotherham, Thames Valley police repeatedly treated girls as if they had chosen to adopt a “lifestyle”.

The report says in 2006 alone the police received four complaints from some of the victims about some of the

Iranian teachers fight poverty pay

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2015 - 11:57

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network

Earlier this month, as part of a two-month-long campaign against low pay and pay disparity, hundreds of teachers protested outside the Iranian regime’s “parliament”.

In addition 600 teachers in Tehran, thousands more demonstrated in provinces throughout Iran.

One of the teachers’ slogans was: “We complain due to disparity, not poverty” (Ma az fargh minalim na az faghr) – a play on the words fargh (difference or disparity) and faghr (poverty). The teachers want an end to the pay discrimination they have endured for many years, and are demanding the same pay as other state employees who have

Cops shoot two more

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2015 - 10:52

Gemma Short

19 year old Tony Robinson was shot dead by a police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, on Monday 9 March.

Tony, a biracial man, was unarmed. Police had been called to an incident involving an “African-American man” jumping in and out of traffic and a reported assault. The lone responding officer broke into an apartment and shot Tony after what the police say was a scuffle.

Protests against the killing continued overnight on Monday. Slogans on demonstrations highlighted stark inequality in Madison. The city prides itself on being a good place to live. However, a report released in 2013 showed that

Election upset in Chicago

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2015 - 10:48

On 7 April, Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor, and Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, will face a run-off election against challenger Jesús “Chuy” García.

Chicago’s city elections are officially non-partisan, and mostly the contests in the first round were between leftish Democrats like Garcia and stridently pro-business ones like Emanuel. Nevertheless, the run-off — forced because Rahm Emanuel failed to get 50% in the first round of voting, on 24 February — signals a real revolt.

The US Socialist Worker (unconnected with the British paper of the same name) reports: “The mayor’s allies on the

Same old circus

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2015 - 10:36

1 March was a National Day of Action called by Disabled People Against Cuts to protest against the Work Capability Assessment, which has led to thousands of disabled people being wrongly found capable of work and subject to job-seeking sanctions and loss of benefits.

Protests at 31 locations across the country under the slogan “Same old circus, new clowns” were aimed at US firm Maximus, which has taken over the WCA after ATOS gave up the contract as a result of public pressure, a backlog of appeals and a failure to make a profit out of disabled people.

The central London demo in Westminster

Class interest, not patriotic interest!

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2015 - 10:29

Ann Field

On Saturday 6 March a special conference of the Scottish Labour Party voted by 69% to 31% for a constitutional amendment declaring it to be a party which “works for the patriotic interest of the people of Scotland.”

The bulk of the opposing votes came from Unite and Unison, plus a scattering of local parties. According to unconfirmed reports, the GMB voted for the amendment, and the CWU and ASLEF abstained.

Winning a third of the conference to a vote against the amendment was no small achievement.

Local parties and affiliated organisations had been subject to the emotional blackmail of the

Advice or class struggle?

Published on: Tue, 10/03/2015 - 17:53

Martin Thomas

The Guardian has published (18 February) a talk from 2013 by Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in which he declared himself an “erratic Marxist”.

Varoufakis praises Marx’s account of how capital both develops labour’s creativity and energy, and simultaneously cramps it within rigid, quantifying limits. But, he says, he himself seeks “a modest agenda” to “save European capitalism from itself”.

He learned to avoid more radical aims, he says, when a student in England in the early years of the Thatcher government. At first he thought the “short, sharp shock” of Thatcher’s attacks would

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