We print US socialist Pham Binh’s criticism of the AWL’s analysis and attitude on Syria.
Tom Unterrainer (Solidarity 274, 13 February) thinks that there is a problem with the AWL National Committee’s recent resolution on Syria.
In responding to my criticism of the resolution passed on Syria at the AWL National Committee on 5 January this year, Colin Foster seizes on one minor aspect of my argument to teach us all a lesson about the tricky business of formulating adequate political slogans.
In the closing weeks of 2012 residents of Bostan al-Qasr, a neighborhood in the Syrian city of Aleppo, were attacked by fighters from the Islamist Jubhat al-Nusra faction of the opposition.
London. Phone 020 7207 3997.
May be moved to 28 June.
Jacksons Lane Community Centre, 269a Archway Road, London N6 5AA (Highgate Tube)
Partick Burgh Halls, Glasgow (nearest underground: Partick)
SOCIALISTS AND THE UNIONS – BUILDING A RANK-AND-FILE MOVEMENT:
In July of last year the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) was launched at a conference in London. Last month the NSSN was formally launched in Scotland, at a meeting held in Glasgow.
The London conference was initiated by the RMT and officially supported by the TGWU, CWU, PCS, NUJ, NUM, CYWU, FBU, POA and BFAWU.
The aims of the NSSN are to: build a grassroots network capable of mobilising trade unionists to fight for workers' rights; support TUC-affiliated trade unions in their campaigns and industrial disputes; and support existing workplace committees and Trades Union Councils.
What are the prospects for rebuilding an effective rank-and-file movement, through the NSSN, in the unions in Scotland, especially in the context of the government’s declared intention of extending its attacks on rates of pay in the public sector?
CAMPAIGNING ISSUES FOR 2008:
Despite – for the time being at least – the relative decline in violence in Iraq, building support for Iraqi trade unionists should remain high on the political agenda, along with support for labour activists in Iran and opposition to military attacks on the country.
So too should the issue of building support for the Labour Representation (LRC), as part of the campaign to re-establish a trade-union-based political voice for the working class.
Reaching out to a new generation of political activists through the “No Sweat” campaign, and also through the “Feminist Fightback” network, is equally important.
And 2008 will doubtless also see a continuation of debates on the Left about, amongst other topics, the Middle East, Scottish independence, and left realignment.
Apart from organising in the unions, are these the likely major campaigning issues for the Left in 2008? Or should socialist activists be focussing their efforts in other directions?
SUPPORT TOMMY SHERIDAN?
Following the charging of Tommy Sheridan with perjury, the “Solidarity” coalition – set up by Sheridan, the SWP and Scottish supporters of the Socialist Party – has launched a campaign to defend and support him. Even though the campaign is backed by George Galloway, should socialists support it? Are the political issues raised by the forthcoming perjury trial the same as the political issues raised by the 2006 libel trial? Or does the perjury trial not raise any issues of any political significance at all?
Central London (phone 07950 978083 for details)
Central London: phone 020 7207 3997 for details