Solidarity 050, 20 April 2004

Fascist Le Pen to visit Birmingham: support the demo, not a ban!

By Joan Trevor

Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the French fascist party the Front National, is due to be guest of honour at a dinner hosted by Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist British National Party (BNP) in Birmingham on Sunday 25 April.
If the visit goes ahead, there will be a demonstration against the visit in Victoria Square at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

Respect in Birmingham have called on the Chief Constable of the West Midlands to ban Le Pen's visit. Salma Yaqoob said:

A new turn in N. Ireland

By Jack Cleary

The Northern Ireland power-sharing executive has now been suspended for 18 months. The polar opposites in Northern Irish politics, Sinn Fein and Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party, are now the biggest parties on the Catholic and Protestant sides.

Under the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), a new Belfast government requires a Paisleyite-Sinn Fein partnership. That will be a long time coming, if it ever comes.

Press gang: Rich pickings

By Lucy Clement

This week in the newspapers we have two new minor celebrities: the Sleazy Senorita and the Cheating PA.
The Senorita, Rebecca Loos, has, she says, been having a fling with the England football captain David Beckham. The tabloids have been hinting at some affair or other for months and Ms Loos has clearly decided to kiss, tell, and take the cash.

Labour-union link: False alarm for the CWU

Radio and TV news on 20 April claimed that the Labour Party had begun an "investigation" into the Communication Workers' Union (CWU), because its Scotland no.2 branch has decided to support the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP).

CWU head office sources, however, say they have received no communication from the Labour Party about it, and the Labour Party press office told Solidarity on 21 April that it is "an internal matter for the CWU".

Derek Durkin, secretary of the branch at the heart of the story, told Solidarity that he too had heard nothing from the Labour Party.

After the NUS elections, after the Higher Education Bill

The way forward for the student movement
Activists' forum called by the Campaign for Free Education

12-6pm Saturday 15th May
Westminster University Regent Street campus
Sessions include: Developing a manifesto for education * The way forward for the fight against fees * Students and internationalism * Building links with education trade unions

Speakers invited include Kat Fletcher (CFE co-chair & NUS President elect), John McDonnell MP, People & Planet, NATFHE.

International caravan to save the lives of Colombian workers

From the Colombian trade union federation, CUT

In 2003, 78 trade unionists were killed in Colombia by paramilitary groups. Since the foundation of the Colombian Trade Union Federation (CUT), 3,800 trade unionists have died that way.

The State has not had the political will to find those responsible, to judge them and thus mitigate the pain of the victims. The vast majority of the legal cases has been archived or remain in preliminary stages, without possibility of showing to the world the truth about these crimes against humanity.

"Third Camp" in Iraq

Over the last year, a rash of clashes between small groups of armed Iraqis and the US and its allies have taken a steady toll of occupying soldiers. In mid-April they gave way to to serious fighting in a number of Iraqi cities between US forces and large groups of the political-Islamist militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric. The USA has simultaneously been fighting armed Sunni forces, some of which were linked to the Saddam regime.

Large numbers of civilians have been killed.

Meetings and events

Steering group, public meetings and march coming up....
No Sweat's steering group meets on Saturday 15 May, 12-4, central London. 07904 431 959 for more details.

South East London: Play Fair in the Olympics! Sportswear and sweatshops
Video, speakers, discussion, campaigning ideas
Thursday 13 May, 6 pm to 8.30,
Committee Room, Goldsmiths Students' Union, Dixon Rd SE14

South West London meeting: Fair Trade and Trade Justice. Thursday 29 April, starting at 7.30pm at the Battersea and Wandsworth TUC Centre, 898 Garratt Lane, SW17.

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