No fascist advance in west Germany

Submitted by AWL on 27 September, 2004 - 10:08

The municipal elections on 26 September in North-Rhine Westphalia - the north-west German state including Cologne, Dortmund, Essen, Bochum, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, and Bonn - showed no advance for the far-right similar to its gains in the east German states of Saxony and Brandenburg on 19 September.
The DVU scored 3.1% in Dortmund, but did not even run in other areas. It came out with 0.1% of the vote overall, and the other fascistic parties, the Republikaner and the NPD, with 0.6% and 0.2% respectively.

New student campaign launched

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 24 September, 2004 - 12:00

Education not for sale!

On September 21, a Guardian survey of English universities showed that two-thirds are preparing to charge the maximum possible top-up fee in order to maintain their image against competitors. This information, while not unpredicted, should be ringing alarm bells for the student movement — yet despite the election of a new president, Kat Fletcher, on a left-wing platform, the National Union of Students appears to be continuing on the same course that has meant defeat after defeat for the student movement throughout the last 20 years.

Labour left to challenge Brown

Submitted by AWL on 24 September, 2004 - 12:00

Left Labour MP Alan Simpson has stated that the left will stand a candidate against Gordon Brown in a Labour leadership contest to replace Tony Blair.
According to a report in the Independent, Alan Simpson himself might well be the left candidate.

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy has been urging constituency Labour Parties to submit motions for the Labour Party conference, starting in Brighton on 26 September, to force a leadership contest.

Road Rage

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 23 September, 2004 - 12:00

Bruce Robinson reviews The Motorcycle Diaries.

This film relates the story of an eight-month journey through South America taken by Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Alberto Granado in 1952.

It is difficult to disentangle the film from a foreknowledge of Guevara’s subsequent life and death, and the politics that went with them. But it would be a shame if anyone were put off the film because they expect an uncritical retelling of the Guevara myth. The film is well worth seeing in its own right.

Civil servants need strategy to win

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 23 September, 2004 - 12:00

Between 1 and 22 October PCS will ballot all its members for a one-day strike on 5 November.

The Government has already announced plans to cut over 100,000 jobs in the civil service. Now the civil service union PCS believes that by early October the Government will formally put proposals to the unions to increase the pension retirement age from 60 to 65.

Iranian and Iraqi left debate

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

The Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) — that section of it around Hamid Taghvaee and Azar Majedi — held a congress on 18–19 September in Germany to rally its forces against a recent split.

The other section, led by Koorosh Modaresi, held a meeting the same weekend in England.

About 300 attended the congress in Germany. 485 of the WPI’s members had registered for the conference, and another 203 sent messages of support.

Nationalise the railways!

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 22 September, 2004 - 12:00

According to an ICM poll for the Guardian (22 September), 66 per cent of all voters and 72% of Labour voters support renationalisation of the railways.

Now the right-wing rail union TSSA has tabled an amendment at Labour Conference to insert rail renationalisation into a party policy document.

On this one, the big unions might fight Blair. The (predictable) massive public support may push the union leaders into a proper battle at Labour Party conference. Union members need to put pressure on their leaders to stand firm.