Solidarity 046, 19 February 2004

Stop this closure!

By Uduak Udofa, Westminster Kingsway Student Union Executive

The Battersea site of Westminster Kingsway College in south London has just been threatened with closure. The college wants to sell the Battersea Park Road building and is also considering totally withdrawing from the area as a provider.
Money from the sale of the building, which has housed educational facilities for over 100 years and is part of the college where TV chef Jamie Oliver learned his trade, would be used to help resolve financial problems elsewhere in the organisation.

Another attack on Labour's democracy

The Labour Party leadership is pushing again toward the abolition of General Committees (GCs), the bodies of delegates from ward branches and trade unions that run local Constituency Labour Parties.
A new "consultative document" ("21st century party - the next steps", available from the Labour Party website) talks up constituencies which have abolished monthly GC meetings, and suggests instead quarterly GCs supplemented by some all-members' meetings. In practice this would mean Constituency Labour Parties being run by their Executive Committees.

Time to get factional!

"One man is king", remarked Karl Marx in an aside in Capital, "only because other men stand in the relation of subjects to him. They imagine that they are subjects because he is king".

Disaffiliation is not the answer

By Colin Foster

The Labour Party has expelled the railworkers' union RMT. The Communication Workers' Union has condemned the expulsion and called on the Labour Party to discuss with the RMT. But many socialists have rejoiced, saying that the RMT's expulsion should and will be followed by many other unions deciding of their own accord to break links with Labour.
In fact that is unlikely.

The Fire Brigades Union conference in March will have motions before it for disaffiliation. It is the exception.

FBU: leaving Labour will not stop the bureaucrats

By Nick Holden

The agenda for the annual conference of the Fire Brigades' Union (at Bridlington, May 11-14) has just been published and there are several motions advocating disaffiliation from the Labour Party or the opening up of the political fund to allow branches to support non-Labour candidates.

What will the Guardian readers with placards do now?

The Guardian turns on Galloway

By Rhodri Evans

The journalist George Monbiot, initiator with the Muslim activist Salma Yaqoob of talks that led to the recently-launched "Respect" coalition, has resigned from it.

In a letter to "Respect" organisers on 13 February, he wrote that the failure of the coalition to cut an electoral deal with the Greens "puts me in an impossible position. I cannot continue to belong to a party which stands against the Greens in the European elections..."

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