Solidarity 060, 21 October 2004

The “reactionary anti-imperialists”

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A Solidarity Editorial

“Reactionary socialism… half lamentation, half lampoon; half echo of the past, half menace of the future.”
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart’s grown brutal from the fare;
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love…

W B Yeats

Just as there were "Reactionary Socialists" for Marx and Engels to denounce in the Communist Manifesto, so, today, there are Reactionary Anti-Imperialists

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As you were saying - Tony Cliff against the Muslim Brotherhood

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Tony Cliff

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) was prominent on the platforms at the European Social Forum on 15–17 October, and as a joint sponsor of the demonstration which closed the ESF, on 17 October 2004.

The 17 October demonstration saw the first return for a while of the sort of message from MAB which it promoted on its first big public appearance, a demonstration in April 2002 on the themes Zionism = Nazism, Sharon = Hitler, Star of David = Swastika, the Israeli brutalities in the Occupied Territories are the “real” Holocaust.

When Tony Cliff described Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood as "clerical fascist".

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Haiti: “We are workers, not slaves”

Yannick Etienne is a member of Batay Ouvriye (Workers’ Fight), a militant trade union federation in Haiti. Yannick is on a speaking tour of Britain organised by No Sweat and the Haiti Support Group. Solidarity spoke to Yannick about the situation in Haiti today and about the work of Batay Ouvriye, particularly in the new Free Trade Zone that is being built at Ouanaminthe, on the border with the Dominican Republic

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We saved our school!

By Mathew Bailey

Parents, teachers and students of Northcliffe School, serving Conisbrough and Denaby near Doncaster, have recently stopped their school from being turned into an academy run by a religious organisation, the Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF). This is the first time proposals for an academy have been overturned. It is, as the Yorkshire Post put it, a “huge blow to Blair”.

New Labour’s academies are a way of bringing the market into education. Only 12 currently exist but the Government wants 200.

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The Other America: 27% of US workers fall below poverty line

More than a quarter of all working families in the United States, including 20 million children, are considered low-income or poor, an independent report has found.

Citing 2002 Census data, the report found that 9.2 million families with at least one working adult and one child under 18 — or 27.4% of such families — fall into the government’s measure of low income. This means they earn less than the federal poverty threshold, or less than $36,784 in 2002.

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The writing on the wall

Prisoners committing suicide and pensioners left to freeze.

Locked up and forgotten

In August this year 14 male prisoners — a record number — committed suicide. There were no words of horror or regret from David Blunkett. But then rising numbers of prison suicides are not news to the Home Office. It is a trend that has been going on for 10 years — the inevitable result of New Labour’s policy, following on from the Tories, to lock more people up for longer.

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Banning Monty Python?

By Dan Katz

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, is considering abolishing Britain’s absurd blasphemy laws when legislating for a new offence of incitement to religious hatred. By so doing Blunkett hopes to split those opposed to the new incitement law.

But Blunkett’ concession is relatively unimportant — any blasphemy prosecutions would probably now be overridden by EU law. Besides the new offence is in effect an extension of the old blasphemy law — it will be a new “all religions” blasphemy law.

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ESF 2004: downpours and debate

Nearly 25,000 people in London for two and a half days of debate, and tens of thousands on a Sunday afternoon closing demonstration — the European Social Forum 2004, on 15-17 October, was well worth attending, despite the rain!

It was more fractious than the previous ESFs, Florence 2002 and Paris 2003, in part because of choices by the organisers and in part because of a build-up of activist frustration at the domination of the big Forum platforms by not-very-radical speakers.

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How activists were turned against the Iraqi unions

By Martin Thomas

The Socialist Workers Party, a major force in the organisation both of the European Social Forum and of the Stop The War Coalition, has condemned the shouting-down of Subhi al Mashadani, general secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, at the ESF on 15 October.

According to Socialist Worker (16 October): “A couple of dozen people, with no connection to the anti-war movement, broke up the meeting through barracking and intimidation. They ignored appeals from, and a vote by, over 2,000 people in the audience for the meeting to take place”.

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Mick Rix leaves STWC committee

Former ASLEF general secretary Mick Rix has withdrawn from the Stop the War Coalition committee after its statement denouncing the IFTU. Excerpts from a statement he has circulated:

I cannot be associated with remarks that attack decent trade unionists and their unions… very much in the same way that George Galloway’s article did in the Morning Star…

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