Solidarity 058, 23 September 2004

Fighting the name of capitalism

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

Jim Byagua reviews The Good Fight: Declare Your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap by Ralph Nader (Regan Books)

Ralph Nader’s controversial stand in the 2004 US Presidential elections is vehemently opposed by Democrats and many on the liberal left. They view his candidacy in 2000 as the major reason George W Bush is in the White House. He has been attacked for not falling in behind the “anyone but Bush” pro-Kerry movement.

Cunning Fox

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

Dan Nichols watches Fox News

Depending on which polls you trust, the US presidential race is currently either tied or being won by Bush. This is amazing when one considers Bush’s appalling record. Part of the reason behind Bush’s lead is the way that America’s politics are covered by its media.

Apart from some newspapers, the US media is in general fairly unquestioning. Even so, Bush has a partisan ace up his sleeve in the shape of Fox News.

Labour Parties in the USA

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

Paul Hampton reviews True Mission: Socialists and the Labor Party in the US by Eric Chester (Pluto 2004, £14.99)

The debate about working class representation in the United States takes place in very different conditions from those we encounter in Britain. However, discussions on the US left over the last hundred years are very instructive — both for our concerns in Britain and for American comrades today.

True Mission discusses the history of third party efforts in the United States over the past 120 years.

Manifesto for education

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

With the General Election approaching, ENS will be developing a Manifesto for Education as a focus for campaigning against the Government.

The manifesto, which will be developed over the next months, will include demands like:

l Tax the rich and business to fund expansion of education at every level.

l No to privatisation and marketisation, from top-up fees to private contractors running halls of residence. An education system organised for people not profit.

The Miners' Strike 1984-5: Kinnock's Role

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

The Labour Party conference opened at Blackpool on 1 October. It overturned and overruled the platform line on the miners’ strike.

Arthur Scargill got a tremendous reception. The conference rejected Labour leader Neil Kinnock’s “statesmanlike”, even-handed condemnation of violence, by which primarily he meant pickets’ violence.

Conference condemned police violence, called for police to be removed from the coalfields, and thus implicitly sided with the pickets. (Members of the Socialist Organiser Alliance, forerunner of the AWL, originated the crucial clauses.)

European Social Forum: You have to be there!

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

By Joan Trevor

Last-minute preparations are being made for the 3rd European Social Forum, less than a month away. While it’s far from being the ESF we — or many others — would have wanted, it will still be an immensely significant and enjoyable event.

Taking place mainly around Alexandra Palace in north London, and in the Bloomsbury area of central London, the ESF and fringe events are likely to draw 20,000 people — anti-capitalists, ecologists, socialists, NGOs, trade unionists, pacifists, of all shades of opinion. Readers of Solidarity should be there!

Alan No. 2

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

Another bright-spark Blairite who has been recently elevated to high places — as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions — is Alan Johnson.

Johnson was also a “Trot” when he was a teenager. But he also soon left that behind.

What experience will Alan bring to his new job? As General Secretary of the UCW, then CWU, he was the architect of the terrible policy of “commercial freedom” for a publicly owned Post Office within a liberalised market. That meant tens of thousands of job cuts and a reduction in service to the customers.

Alan No. 1

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

Stories about the past of Alan Milburn are now doing the rounds of the intra-left email lists. For anyone who missed it, he has returned to government to take up the Cabinet post of Election Planner (co-ordinating rosette colours and MPs ties?)

One of the email postings recalls:

“[In 1982] Alan Milburn was the manager of the “Days of Hope” Trotskyist-leaning bookshop in Newcastle upon Tyne… the nickname “haze of dope” for the bookshop was dreamt up by a CP mature student at Newcastle Poly and the name stuck.”

Vote idiot

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

Kitty Kelly’s new book about the Bush family — The Family — is the book that the capitalist political class deserves. It’s full of gossip, innuendo, heated-up Internet facts, speculation about familial dysfunction and disorder, rumour and salacious scandal.

It is a slick and sick exercise in muckraking. If any of the mud sticks then, good!

But we don’t go in for this kind stuff at Solidarity…