Solidarity 067, 17 February 2005

Trotsky's courtroom speech "In Defence of Insurrection"


Leon Trotsky

The 1906 speech of Leon Trotsky, on trial for his life, to the Tsarist court; introduction by Sean Matgamna.

The “war on terrorism” being waged by George W Bush’s US hyperpower and its political satellites, such as Tony Blair’s Britain, poses strongly the question of the attitude of Marxists toward political violence.

Naturally, we are against, unequivocally against, both the objectives and the methods — indiscriminate slaughter of civilians — of the terrorists of political Islam, who now hold the centre of the political stage.

Socialist Alliance ended: we still need left unity!

By Martin thomas

After 12 years as a coalition of the left the Socialist Alliance was shut down at a conference on Saturday 5 February.

It was a close vote: 73 to 63, with two abstentions. The 63 votes against closure were the same number as for the main “left” position at the last SA conference, in March 2004, Lesley Mahmood’s amendment against the SA supporting Respect and for standing SA candidates in the 2004 council elections.

An open letter to a supporter of the Iraqi “resistance” (2005)

Dear comrade,

You have been persuaded by the leaders of the so-called anti-war movement and Respect that those who fight the US and British forces in Iraq are bona fide anti-imperialists who fight for national self-determination.

That was never true. The results of the recent election in Iraq show how untrue it is.

Liaoyang worker activist imprisoned in freezing conditions

The imprisoned Liaoyang worker activist, Xiao Yunliang, has been transferred to a prison with inadequate heating facilities in a mountainous rural area near Shenyang, where temperatures are currently around minus 20 degrees C. This is his eleventh transfer since he was first imprisoned in 2002.

Xiao suffers from a wide range of serious medical conditions. However, prison authorities have so far provided him with no medication or medical treatment, other than an operation in August 2004 to correct a cataract in his right eye.

Unions express disappointment with president

A group representing 52 trade unions has expressed “disappointment” with the poor performance of new Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his first 100 days in office.

The trade unions, grouped in the Indonesian Labor Unions Communications Forum, said that Yudhoyono had failed to deliver on campaign promises.

Forum chairman Eggy Sudjana said the government had done nothing to create jobs, to provide legal protection for Indonesians working overseas and failed to stop rampant abuse of Indonesian workers in Malaysia.

French workers defend 35-hour week

By Colin Foster

France’s right wing government plans to weaken and undermine, perhaps eventually repeal, France’s law setting a 35 hour working week, which was passed by the Socialist Party government in 1997.

Recent articles by the French Marxist economist Michel Husson* examine the background.

Nuclear power? Well, maybe


Martin Thomas

Solidarity’s recent discussion of the dangers posed by global warming raises the question of how we find alternative energy sources to burning fossil fuels.

That prompts me to ask: should socialists oppose nuclear power out of hand?

I think we should not.

In the 1950s, left-wingers generally argued in favour of the peaceful use of nuclear power while opposing nuclear weapons.

Wear a wristband, support exploitation?

Make Poverty History is the theme of the protests that will surround the G8 summit at Gleneagles this summer. No Sweat will be heading along in full tweeds, as our Golfers Against Sweatshops make for the Gleneagles greens.

To show your support for Make Poverty History, the organisers are asking you to wear plastic wristbands. Apparently beating poverty is a completely separate issue from beating sweatshop exploitation though, as these bands are made in China.

Security and plunder

Why are the G8 bothered about Africa? A report by the Council on Foreign Relations (a right-wing US think-tank) published last year sheds light on the real issues involved.

The report, Freedom, Prosperity and Security, aptly sums up the interests of G8 governments and their business supporters.

It says: “Africa’s poverty, marginalisation and security all impinge on the well being and security of the G8 countries”.

Thai Labour Solidarity Committee

Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC), made up of 26 labor organisations including trade unions, labour federations and congresses and NGOs, is receiving donations from its members and the public to help affected workers from the tsunami in Thailand.

The TLSC is working with the Phuket Federation of Hotel and Service Labour (PHSL) in surveying the number of workers who need help.

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