Solidarity 076, 7 July 2005

Solidarity 3/76AWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 19:31

Solidarity 3/76 is online (not all the articles yet, sorry). Read the articles here.

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After the G8AWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 20:44

We asked socialists and activists to comment on the way to campaign against world poverty after the G8 summit.

Workers will fight back

Mick Duncan, No Sweat

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South African workers show how to fight povertyAWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 20:31

Two million South African workers showed how to fight poverty at the end of June with the biggest strike since the days of apartheid.

On 27 June tens of thousands of workers marched in the major cities, with the biggest demonstrations in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Most mines, car makers, engineering and clothing factories were completely or partially closed as a result of the strike. Car firms including Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, and Toyota were shut. Clothing companies, the Telkom phone company, Highveld Steel and almost all the platinum and gold mines were closed.

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Gaza withdrawal: step up our solidarity with PalestiniansAWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 20:24

At the end of August the Israel government plans to withdraw from Gaza, dismantling 21 Israeli-Jewish settlements.

They also plan to dismantle four of the 120 Jewish West Bank settlements. Protests from Gaza settlers have been bitter and nasty; during one clash a Palestinian boy was stoned.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continues to take a firm line in executing the withdrawal operation, but behind his rhetoric Sharon has other intentions — expanding Israeli control into parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem — as Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery describes below.

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Writing on the wallAWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 20:17

Go London!

As we go to press we find that London has won the bid to stage the 2012 Olympics.

We imagine the headlines in tomorrow’s Sun — “Not so crap now, Chirac” etc. etc., and can only groan. But there are other things to bemoan in this result. What will Olympic “regeneration” really mean for London’s east end?

Students at the Clays Lane housing co-op in Stratford found that out when they received their eviction notices in May. They live right where the Olympic village is to be sited. And local traveller sites are also under threat.

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The world's poor need solidarityAWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 20:12

After their own fashion, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown do have a “third way”. Their friend Peter Mandelson, now European Union trade commissioner, explained it in the Independent on 4 July.

“Aid-for-trade... is the key to the trading strength needed to sustain development in Africa.... To argue that free trade has failed these countries is simplistic and ignores the huge structural obstacles in the path of even the most determined modern African entrepreneurialism”.

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The long hours scandalAWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 20:06

By Stan Crooke

Workers in the UK work the longest hours in Europe. Nearly four million workers in the UK regularly work over 48 hours a week — 700,000 more than a decade ago.

Sixteen per cent of UK workers now work over 60 hours a week, compared to 12% in 2000.

Thirteen percent of women workers in the UK now work more than 60 hours a week, compared with 6.5% in 2000. And this figure takes no account of unpaid work in the home.

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TUC LGBT conference: uniting to fight oppressionAWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 20:04

When Meg Munn, the deputy minister for women and equality, addressed the TUC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender conference on 30 June/ 1 July, she was asked repeatedly why the government did not act to ensure that equalities legislation comprehensively protected all minority groups.

Her reply was that the government knew that these inequalities in protection existed and was planning a review. It begged the question of why the government had introduced some of them in the first place.

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Rail: keeping fascists out

Submitted by AWL on 21 July, 2005 - 8:03

The Annual General Meeting of the rail union RMT, at the end of June, voted to endorse the union’s decision to expel ultra-fascist Patrick Harrington.

Trade union membership should be open to all workers prepared to stand together with their workmates for our common interests. That is why fascists must be kept out of the unions. They are fundamentally hostile to trade unions and to a large section of trade union members (black, Asian, Jewish, gay...)


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/01/2006 - 17:59

Your rightly state that Pat Harrington was expelled from the RMT but the leadership deny it was on political grounds. They advanced a pretextual charge so his politics were never seriously considered or challenged. One result of his expulsion is that he has helped to form a new Union called 'Solidarity' with the likes of Jay Lee and others expelled from mainstream unions.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 30/01/2006 - 21:44

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm a little worried by the formation of Solidarity. Previously the Fascists had no real power in any workplace. Their influence within established Trade Unions was contained and minimal. Now they have reacted to being kicked out of ASLEF, FBU, UNISON etc. by forming their own structure. They could leave unidentified sleepers in the Unions and play an outside game as well. It will be a challenge for us all if this Union gets off the ground.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 31/01/2006 - 15:48

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kicking out members because of their political beliefs smacks of Stalinism. By doing so you incense and anger those who believe in free speech and free political thought. I am no fascist but would support any new union which fights against such political discrimination.

As a teacher I am disgusted at the way our unions have allowed the breakdown of demarcation, now all and sundry unqualified plebs can teach in schools. What good are unions to teachers? They only seem to provide legal representation if accusations are made, and judging from the TES forum, even then the unions are right up the arses of the education authorities and head teachers.

Kind regards from a soon to be member of Solidarity.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/02/2006 - 16:10

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

There was a law against political discrimination but the Unions persuaded New Labour to get rid of it so they could kick out BNP members. I don't really have a problem with this as you could argue that freedom of association means that associations should be able to choose who they have as members (although this is sometimes limited like by the Race Relations Act). It is a bit rich to complain that the fash have formed their own union if we are busy kicking them out of the other ones though!

I think we should wait and see what the new Union does before we wade in feet first. If we say that they are scabs and then they support strikes or take a militant line we will look foolish and lose credibility with the workers. Harrington is weird politically (he even quotes Marx for his own purpose) so nothing is impossible!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/02/2006 - 20:34

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The Voice has published an interesting article on the Solidarity Union.

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Civil service jobs fight stalledAWLThu, 21/07/2005 - 20:02

A national ballot in the civil service by the union PCS, over job cuts in the Department of Work and Pensions, is still on hold as the union has yet to have proper talks with the Government.

The union has said it will organise a ballot over job cuts — 100,000 are planned across the civil service, with 30,000 in the DWP alone — if guarantees of no compulsory redundancies are not forthcoming.

A ballot for regional action in London was due to start on 20 June. It was put off pending talks. But it looks like the government is dragging out talks.

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