Solidarity 075, 23 June 2005


Review of Alfredo Saad-Filho and Deborah Johnston, eds Neoliberalism: A Critical Reader, Pluto, 271 pages, paperback, £15.99

By Paul Hampton

Neoliberalism is the dominant ideology of the epoch and this book is the most comprehensive analysis of the subject by Marxist and radical political economists published to date.

The editors argue that: “the most basic feature of neoliberalism is the systematic use of state power to impose (financial) market imperatives, in a domestic process that is replicated internationally by ‘globalisation’.” [p.3]

Do the kids rule okay?

By Pat Yarker

Before the General Election Channel 5 screened Classroom Chaos, a video-diary-cum-documentary produced by Roger Graef.

Graef pioneered so-called fly-on-the-wall documentaries for television. He has a track-record as a maker of programmes which go behind the scenes, take important issues seriously, stimulate and inform public debate and sometimes help bring about significant reforms. Over twenty years ago, his series about the police in action led to big improvements in the way they treat rape-survivors.

Zimbabwe and the workers’ fight

Sacha Ismail spoke to Briggs Bomba, an activist in the Zimbabwean democracy movement and international coordinator of the Zimbabwe International Socialist Organisation (ISO).

What’s the current situation in Zimbabwe?

United action saves jobs

By Patrick Murphy (secretary, Leeds NUT)

Four school staff trade unions struck in Leeds on Tuesday 21 June against compulsory redundancies. There were large and noisy pickets on all three sites of the Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre, with passing motorists constantly honking horns to show their support. Parents turned up to the pickets, some with their children. The roads outside all three sites were festooned with home-made placards supporting our demands for proper funding and no job cuts.

10 years since the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa

By Cathy Nugent

In November 1995 Ken Saro-Wiwa, the best known leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, was executed by the Nigerian government. The Ogoni are an ethnic minority of 500,000 who live in about 350 square miles in the impoverished Niger river delta region of Nigeria.

If the Government wants to help Africans, why won’t it let refugees in?

By Dale Street

The government’s professed concern for human rights and poverty in Africa stands in marked contrast to its treatment of refugees from Africa.

Last year the major “refugee-producing” countries in Africa were Somalia, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), and Sudan — all of them scenes of major human rights abuses and, in some cases, ongoing armed conflicts.

Fit for capitalism?

By Liam Conway

In 1976 James Callaghan made a famous speech attacking schools for their failure to deliver a workforce suited to the needs of the economy. Callaghan was talking nonsense of course — schools had nothing to do with the failure of British capitalism to meet the crisis generated by the massive oil price hike of the early 70s. Still teachers and schools proved a useful scapegoat, along with lazy workers and militant trade unions.

It’ll cost ya!

By Gerry Bates

“Psst! Can’t get a ticket, mate? I can help you out there, but it’ll cost ya!” Ticket-touts, in front of theatres, concerts, Wimbledon, football stadiums… Can’t get in via the box-office? No. But you can get in. If you can pay for it.

“Pst! Need a brain scan, Ms? After an accident you get dizzy spells? You’ve been told at the hospital office that you’ll have to wait 18 months before you’ll even get a diagnosis? You are fretful and worried? I can help you out there. Not in 78 weeks time but in two! But it’ll cost ya!”

FBU copies China

Maybe for the first time ever, a trade union has tried to block its members’ access to a website, in a move similar to the Chinese government’s restrictions on Internet access.

The Executive Committee of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has decided to try to shut down the “uk-fire” website, which, in its former guise of “30k” was a key part of holding together the rank and file of the FBU during the pay dispute. Since then, the uk-fire website has been an open discussion forum for firefighters, both FBU members and others.

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