Solidarity 021, 9 January 2003

What should socialists say about crime?

Published on: Tue, 28/01/2003 - 06:50

Develop a culture of solidarity

Crime waves and gun battles sell newspapers. If you believe the media, we live in a war zone, terrorised by feral children and gangsters. Such press coverage is, in reality, a libel on working-class areas. Politicians just love the momentum this gives them to parade their "toughness" again.

However, there is a real problem of crime and anti-social behaviour in working-class areas. It is not just a fiction composed by right-wing politicians and journalists. People rate this issue amongst their top concerns not because they have fallen for the hype but because

Fees by another name

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 18:01

By Jim Byagua

Trying to keep up with the almost daily reports about Charles Clarke and the Government's student funding review body's vacillations over tuition fees isn't easy. The discussion and headlines about the introduction of top-up fees - which would allow institutions to charge massive fees and exclude working class students from going to the more prestigious universities - have now shifted slightly.

The 20,000 strong NUS demonstration at the start of December clearly demonstrated students' strength of feeling against top-up fees, and the 160 or so Labour MPs who have put their names

Solidarity with Iranian students

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 18:00

By Sacha Ismail

As the left campaigns against a US war on Iraq, we should not ignore recent events in Iraq's eastern neighbour. Since the start of November, thousands of students at universities across Iran have taken part in pro-democracy meetings, rallies and demonstrations, by all accounts causing widespread panic among the rulers of Iran's Islamic Republic.

These are the largest such demonstrations since July 1999, when an enormous wave of student protest combined with working-class militancy to shake the regime to its foundations. Now, increasingly dissatisfied with the record of Iran's

A charter of workers' rights

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 17:59

By CWU member Pete Keenlyside

"A modern, efficient employment relationship founded on international standards will involve a change in the balance of power between employer and worker. It will displace the Victorian notions of "master and servant" which continues to influence government and employer thinking. Laws which have done so much to embed management prerogative, dis-empower workers and restrict unions' ability to represent their members effectively must be repealed. In their place must be laws which guarantee the fundamental rights of trade unions and trade unionists, laws which give

Go out and argue socialist policies!

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 17:58

The Socialist Alliance's National Council met on 14 December. Gerry Byrne reflects on the debate.

It may have been the fact that the firefighters' action had been called off the week before, pending discussions with ACAS, or a hang-over from the "Liz Davies affair" (the National Council voted overwhelmingly to accept the EC's report on the matter) but I felt this National Council was rather desultory. It left me with a sense of missed opportunity and a nagging question: does the Socialist Alliance see any independent role for itself?
The firefighters' dispute encapsulates both the

Post workers beat privatisation plan

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 17:58

By a postal worker

OUR superb victory in defeating the privatisation of Cashco (workers responsible for handling cash) shows what can be done when the union fights properly. In the face of a 95% vote in favour of strike action amongst Cashco members and CWU leaders threatening to spread the action, the Government ordered Royal Mail Group management to halt the sell off. We must now ensure that the campaign is stepped up against the Post Comm proposals - stamp price increases and post office closures - and the fight against job cuts in Royal Mail.
Royal Mail want to achieve massive savings and

Tube: not over until the fat lady sings!

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 17:58

By Janine Booth, Political Officer, London Transport Region RMT (personal capacity)

A MAILING from the rail union RMT to its members on the Tube has explained, over two pages, that the PPP is about to happen on London Underground and that the union will continue to fight for workers' interests once it is in place.

The other way of putting this is: RMT has given up the fight against privatisation.
This is despite the fact that the last meeting of the London Transport Regional Council unanimously agreed a resolution that we should launch a final effort to stop the PPP, which everyone understood

Wonderful Copenhagen!

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 17:57

Alan Turvey reports

To coincide with the European Union summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in mid-December, at which ten eastern and central European states were admitted to membership, thousands of mainly young people demonstrated in the bitter Scandinavian cold - in the main not against "the EU" or "Europe" as such, but against "the capitalist EU".

At the main demonstration, on Saturday 15 December I was pleasantly surprised by the internationalist tone of the speeches and many placards at the opening rally with speakers from various trade unions and social movements (such as the anti-war

China: Santa's little executioners

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 17:56

Santa's Sweatshops
By Dan Katz

China is becoming the world's major producer of Christmas toys and decorations, making 70 percent of the world's toys. Its exports have doubled in just eight years.

also Chinese trade unionists face execution
China exported about US$1.4 billion in Christmas-related goods in the first 10 months of 2002, more than half of them to the United States.

Santa's toys are churned out in more than 6,000 factories in the south-eastern coastal regions where 1.5 million young Chinese peasant women work 12 or 14 hours a day, inhaling toxic fumes, living in cramped company

Build a new International!

Published on: Sat, 11/01/2003 - 17:56

The World Social Forum will meet once more in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at the end of January. Michael Albert, co-founder of the radical political website ZNet, makes a proposal.
From Korea to India, from South Africa to the US, and from Brazil/Venezuela/Argentina/Colombia to Italy and Russia, diverse struggles with varied approaches are growing rapidly:

  • Incredibly vast antiwar activism exists months before war.
  • Anti-corporate globalization activism grows worldwide.
  • Racial discrimination, water rights, immigration, modified foods, starvation, dams, homelessness, pollution, land rights, low

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