Solidarity 048, 18 March 2004

Beat back the racists!

Racists. Rich racists. Media billionaires cynically using racism to create scapegoats. Britain has too many of them.

One sick tabloid headline after another tries to make the gullible believe that Britain's big problem is too many migrants, too many refugees winning asylum, or migrants getting a few thousand pounds in social security.

Not a word about the billions siphoned off in profits by big companies and banks, British and international. Not a word about the social cost of cuts and privatisation.

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campaign: Solidarity with Iraqi workers!

No Sweat are organising solidarity with the re-emerging labour movement in Iraq. Who will fight for democratic rights and decent living conditions in Iraq? The best hope is the re-emerging labour movement. For 35 years the Ba'thist dictatorship crushed all independent politics and trade-union organisation. Now independent trade unions have been formed, distinct from Saddam's old state-controlled General Federation of Trade Unions.

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Debate and discussion: Erring on the side of liberty

The battles about hijab-wearing in French state schools have almost exclusively concerned girls of 13 or older. I would not argue that 13 is old enough to abandon entirely the supervision and discipline which we take as obviously necessary for smaller children, but which would be unjust imposition on, say, 18 year olds. I am in favour of public laws (against child labour, for a sexual age of consent), sometimes as a counter to parents' supervision.

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Generous George Galloway

It gets curiouser and curiouser, the Galloway affair. The champion of Saddam Hussein's fascistic Iraq, the loyal personal friend of the Iraqi Hitler's loyal deputy Tariq Aziz, the man who leads the list of the SWP's Respect coalition for the Euro-elections in June, has defended himself against AWL and Solidarity - in a letter to the Weekly Worker.

Generous George Galloway and his income

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The writing on the wall

  • Shell shocks
  • BP rising
  • In the red
  • Evening Standard stupidity watch



Shell shocks

Shell may or may not be the greener than green oil company, but it is certainly not whiter than white. At the beginning of this year Shell announced that it had overstated its "proven" oil and gas reserves by about 20 per cent, or 4 billion barrels. A catastrophe, which led to the resignation of chairman Sir Philip Watts.

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Haiti Free Trade Zone - Paramilitaries are helping the bosses

An attempt to violently break the union-organising drive at the Ouanaminthe Free Trade Zone in north-east Haiti on 1-2 March has been met by a wave of international solidarity in support of the Haitian trade unionists.

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Play Fair at the Olympics

In the lead-up to the Athens Olympic Games in August, the Clean Clothes Campaign, Oxfam and trade unions across the world will be campaigning for sportswear workers' rights.

The campaign was launched on 4 March with events in more than 25 countries.

In Canada, Bruce Kidd, a Canadian athlete, raised a clothes-line of brand name sportswear with statistics highlighting the abuse of workers' rights.

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Maquila news - Mexican workers organise

In December LG Electronics, an $18 billion Korean company, transferred 350 components workers at their Reynosa TV plant to an abandoned warehouse. The workers first had to suffer rats and snakes while production was set up. They are exposed to the fumes from soldering and numerous chemicals with little or no protective equipment. They earn $43-$58 US per week.

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