Middle East

Kuwaiti oil workers take on the ruling elite

Author: 

Ralph Peters

By the time this paper goes to press over 13,000 oil workers in Kuwait will have been on strike for four days.

Strikes are exceedingly rare in the oil producing oligarchies of the Gulf States. The workforce, made up of mainly migrant workers, usually have appalling living conditions and no civil or trade union rights. This is the first major strike in Kuwait in many years, although the last months have seen growing activity from a number of Kuwaiti unions in tourism and from municipal workers.

13,000 oil workers have gone on strike in Kuwait.

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Eurocentrism as a fig leaf, and the art of conjuring in politics

Author: 

Marieme Helie-Lucas

Facts:

On New Year’s Eve 2015, simultaneous coordinated sexual attacks took place against women in public space in about 10 cities, mostly in Germany, but also in Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland… Several hundred women, to this day, filed a case for sexual attack, robbery, and rape. These attacks were perpetrated by young men of migrant descent (be they immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, or other) from North Africa and the Middle East.

Marieme Helie-Lucas, the Algerian sociologist and socialist-feminist, contributes to discussions on patriarchy, women's rights, and racism following the Cologne attacks.

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Flags and solidarity

Author: 

Michael Chessum

In the wake of events like the massacre in Paris, almost all responses seem inadequate or wrong — especially the official and establishment ones.

Solidarity with the French nation is an easy sentiment, but far from a simple one. And among a wide variety of commentators and activists — predominantly on the left — it has become usual to denounce the selective mourning of Parisians, as opposed to those killed in Beirut or Baghdad.

Solidarity with the French nation is an easy sentiment, but far from a simple one. And among a wide variety of commentators and activists — predominantly on the left — it has become usual to denounce the selective mourning of Parisians, as opposed to those killed in Beirut or Baghdad.

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Corbyn and the Middle East: the hypocrisy of the right, a challenge for the left

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

The controversy sparked, or ramped up, by Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance on Channel 4 News on 13 July raises important issues for the left.

(You can watch it on the Channel 4 website here.)

What should the left say about Jeremy Corbyn's softness on Islamists like Hamas and Hesbollah?

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Civil war in Yemen

Author: 

Mark Osborn

On 26 March a broad Saudi-led Sunni-Arab coalition began bombing opposition bases in Yemen.

The Saudi operation, named Decisive Storm, also involved moving 150,000 troops, plus tanks and heavy weapons, up to their border with Yemen. Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have threatened to invade to prop up their favoured regime, led by Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and against Hadi’s Shia opponents, the Houthi militia.

Yemen is the poorest of the Arab countries; there is no coherent, integrated society and little chance of creating a modern state. Aside from the brief emergence of a popular, democratic movement during 2011, very little positive can be said about politics there. Saudi bombing and Iranian meddling will make matters worse, not better.

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Understanding the Muslim far-right in Algeria, and beyond

Author: 

Marieme Helie-Lucas

Marieme Helie Lucas is an Algerian sociologist. She participated in the national liberation from French colonialism and was close to the then-underground PCA (Parti Communist Algerien, Algerian Communist Party). She worked as a senior civil servant during the first three years after independence, before leaving to teach at Algiers University for 12 years.

Algerian sociologist and socialist-feminist activist and writer Marieme Helie Lucas argues that the Muslim fundamentalism must be understood as a populist, far-right political movement.

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Student solidarity with Qatari workers

Author: 

Omar Raii

Working conditions in Qatar, in particular for migrant workers, are at an appalling level.

Conditions have been recently compared by the International Trade Union Confederation to “modern day slavery”.

University College London is one of the many educational institutions to have a campus in Doha’s “Education City”. The University and Colleges Union has been heavily critical of UCL’s refusal to do anything to ensure that the rights of the workers there, many of whom are migrants from South Asian countries such as Nepal, are protected.

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Should the left say: "Let the Kurds die!"?

Author: 

Dan Katz

Over a thousand Kurdish people gathered in Trafalgar Square, London, on Saturday 1 November, taking part in a day of international solidarity for the Kurds fighting ISIS (Daesh, "Islamic State") in Kobane.

Among the small number of people at the protest who were not Kurdish were a handful of representatives of the Socialist Party and SWP. Both these groups have a problem.

If "stop the bombing" immediately means "let the Kurds of Kobane die", socialists should not raise that slogan.

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Support the Kurds! Resolution for trade union branches

The Central Line East branch of the RMT union has passed this motion in support of the Kurds. Could your union branch pass it too, or a version of it?


Support the Kurds!

1. We strongly oppose "Islamic State" and its attack on the mainly-Kurdish city of Kobani, Syria.

2. We support the Kurds of Kobani - including the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women's Brigades - in their valiant fight; we support their right to resist attack and to ask for help in doing so.

The Central Line East branch of the RMT union has passed this motion in support of the Kurds. Could your union branch pass it too, or a version of it?

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Construction death traps in the Gulf

M worked as an architect on construction sites in Dubai. He told Solidarity what daily working life is like on those sites.


The major difference between a construction site in Dubai and one in Europe is the number of hours that they work. The workers are present on site from 7am to 7pm — twelve hours a day for six days a week, sometimes seven.

An architect on construction sites in Dubai told us what daily working life is like.

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