Solidarity 042, 3 December 2003

The writing on the wall

  • Nausea #1
  • Big Con
  • Nausea #2
  • Ask a stupid question
  • Checkout all-out!



Nausea #1

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian fell for the listening Tony Blair pen-and-notebook-in-hand act. Writing about the first Big Conversation in Newport on Friday 28 November he said: "It is a scene from a daydream. You're having a cup of tea, sounding off about the way the country should be run, when there, suddenly sitting right next to you, is none other than the prime minister."

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Real Celeb: Ethical Dreads

Mark Sandell honours Benjamin Zephaniah

Christmas is coming so it is appropriate that Her Majesty the Queen will be dishing out feudal baubles in the honors list. Of course most of these gongs go to the ageing segment of the British ruling class for services to... the rich and powerful.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T, what the hell does it spell to you?

First the good news: the left is getting together in large numbers early next year. There will be a "Left Unity Convention", probably on 25 January, and a "Convention of the Trade Union Left", definitely on 7 February.

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Afghanistan: "constitutionalising" the warlords' rule?

By Cathy Nugent

On 10 December a "loya jirga", a 500-strong assembly of regional and other delegates, will meet in Afghanistan to discuss a new constitution for the country.

The draft constitution is a sketchy document which seems to propose a hybrid state, incorporating a model of an Islamic Republic - "there will be no laws contrary to Islam" - alongside a bourgeois democracy, with a bourgeois rule of law. There will be a bicameral legislature with enormous powers for the President. Nowhere in the document are explicit equal rights for women written down. Once (or perhaps, if) the constitution is agreed, elections to a National Assembly and for a new President will take place. These are scheduled for mid-2004.

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A Trotskyist in Israel writes

I am a 23 year old Israeli Trotskyist. It is good to read your reports and analyses, including the ones on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I must say it is refreshing to find out that there is a revolutionary left in Britain that does not seek to "destroy" the state of Israel and establish a "secular and democratic state of Palestine". As a revolutionary socialist, this is certainly not my political aim. Thus many socialists in Israel define themselves as "Zionists"; but there is genuine gap between their definition of Zionism and the practice of the Zionist movement headed by its official political parties.

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Stop the repression in Argentina!

Argentine police attacked the workers and their supporters on 25 November in scenes reminiscent of the military dictatorship. The assault took place in Neuquén, where members of the Unemployed Workers Movement (MTD) and the local neighbourhood assembly in San Lorenzo barrio were trying to meet.

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Revolution without politics: Georgian overthrow after US switches sides

By Stan Crooke

Three weeks of popular protest in the Caucasian republic of Georgia culminated in the resignation of its president, Eduard Shevardnadze, on 23 November.

Shevardnadze was a Communist Party bureaucrat turned "democrat". He had joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1948 and rose steadily through its ranks. By 1972 he had become head of the CPSU in Georgia.

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Haiti: Workers abused at uniform-making factory

By Labour Behind the Label

"They lock the gates on us and sometimes put security guards out in front with rifles to prevent us from leaving," said Jacqueline, as she described the method her employer uses to force workers to work over 10 hours a day without compensation. "The supervisors would yell and curse at us to finish our quota. My daily quota is sewing 90 dozen zippers on pants for 80 gourds [$2 US]."

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