Solidarity 035, 14 August 2003

Unions must break with Blair

Whatever the detailed results of the enquiry into the death of David Kelly, most people in Britain are sure about one thing: the government lied to us about its reasons for going to war with Iraq.

Who said what and when about the "45 minute" claim-that Saddam could launch weapons of mass destruction with three quarters of an hour's notice-is less important than the simple truth that Blair said that he could, and that he quite patently could not.

Labour, and Blair personally, are very low in the opinion polls right now, trailing behind the Tories. The reason for that is public mistrust. The affair is widely regarded as the biggest challenge faced by the Blair government since it was first elected in 1997-one that, potentially, threatens its survival, and in particular the survival of Blair himself.

Yarls Wood: the government is guilty

By Dale Street

At the time of going to press the jury in the Yarls Wood trial had still to deliver its verdict on the five defendants accused of violent disorder and arson.

Yarls Wood detention centre was opened in late 2001. It was for "end of the road" cases-asylum-seekers who had exhausted the asylum procedure and whose removal from the UK was pending. In February 2002 half of the detention centre was burnt down.

A solution for Liberia?

By Matt Cooper

The international pressure that led to the departure of President Charles Taylor and the arrival of a small West African peace-keeping force, with limited US support, has led some sections of the left to denounce an "imperialist intervention".

Yet what other immediate hope of relief from dreadful suffering do the people of Liberia have. Indeed these efforts to inject some stability into the region could be criticised on the grounds of being too late and too half-hearted.

Union of the Unemployed fights for workers in Iraq

By Pablo Velasco

The Unemployed Union of Iraq (UUI) has organised a series of dramatic protests in the last week, and is already making gains. The union has so far organised more than 100,000 unemployed men and women in the cities of Baghdad, Mosul, Nasiriyah, Kirkuk, and elsewhere, and has organised demonstrations across the country.

Mexican workers fight Levi's

By the Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador (CAT - workers' centre)

On 19 July workers at Tarrant Mexico-Ajalpan held a constituent assembly to form an independent union (SUITTAR, or Sindicato Único Independiente de Trabajadores de la Empresa Tarrant México). Seven hundred of the thousand-strong workforce have joined the union.

United Students Against Sweatshops: Students and workers unite

By Jim Byagua

The United Students Against Sweatshops 2003 conference met in New York on Thursday 7-Sunday 10 August 2003.

This was a conference about building student-worker solidarity. Naturally, the subject of sweated labour in the "third world" was a large part of the conference discussion, but no less significant were the discussions that focused on organising with unions in the US.