Solidarity 049, 8 April 2004

The Men Who Would Be Napoleon

Caligula, Nero, Commodus, the mad, bad Roman emperors, arouse in us pity for the people who could not find a better system of government - and, at a certain level, incredulity and incomprehension.

The same, when we read about, say, 19th century slavery in America, in which black people were bred on special farms and often worked to death over a short span of murderous exploitation in six or seven years.

The Tories turn to the pink vote: what now?

By Maria Exall

The Government's proposed Bill on Civil Partnerships for same sex couples will be a further improvement in rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
On 1 December 2003 equal rights at work were brought in through the adoption of a European Directive against discrimination in employment. Up until that time it was legal to sack someone for being gay!

With this, the end of Section 28, and the Tories talking about the pink vote, we are certainly in a new phase in the fight for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality.

Anti-Muslim edge in police raids

The recent arrest of eight men for allegedly planning a bombing campaign has been one of comes after a massive increase in arrests and searches in the last year.
The press made a big deal of the young men's Pakistani descent. Some of it was a discussion about why young men who seemed integrated into UK society, would be attracted to the irrational political message of the Islamists. A fair enough question to ask. But the idea is being promoted that you cannot trust Muslim people.

Solidarity and secularism

This is the seventeenth year Ideas for Freedom has taken place. The event is a forum for free and open socialist debate and discussion. Ideas for Freedom is an opportunity for socialists and activists to take stock of the political situation, debate differences, and to meet like-minded people.

This year we will highlight solidarity with the emerging new Iraqi workers' movement, and the political ferment in the British trade union movement opened up by New Labour's expulsion of the RMT and the moves for a new Labour Representation Committee.

Anti-semitism, real and false

Zvi Shtauber, the outgoing Israeli ambassador to Britain, has denounced the "anti-semitism" of the British left and its alliance with Islamists in Britain (Observer, 4 April).

The Sharon government has denounced BBC reporter Orla Guerin for her supposed "anti-semitic" bias.

Support for No Sweat grows

Support for No Sweat continues to grow around the country...

The university lecturers' union, the AUT, passed policy on sweatshops and in support of the No Sweat campaign at its recent conference.

The AUT's policy notes that "Production based on the repression of labour, such as that carried on in special export zones, provides an increasing share of the goods consumed in the West. Such goods are being purchased by higher education institutions as well as individuals.

ESF set for October

Tony Jeffries

On Saturday 27 March around 70 people met in Birmingham for the Organising Committee of the third European Social Forum (a gathering of campaigners opposed to neo-liberalism, capitalism, or war).

A number of decisions were made at the meeting on 27 March; some remitted to the next Co-ordinating Committee; and some to the next Organising Committee, which will be held at 6pm at the London School of Economics on 13 April.

Inside Israel-Palestine

Israeli army kills Hamas leader

Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, assassinated by the Israeli air force on 22 March, bore political responsibility for many suicide bomb attacks on Israeli civilians. Yet the Israeli left have condemned the assassination as a blow to all hopes of peace and justice.
"It is worse than a crime, it is stupid!"

By Uri Avneri (Gush Shalom peace bloc)

This moves the conflict from the level of a solvable national conflict to the level of religious conflict, which by its very nature is insoluble.

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