Solidarity 091, 6 April 2006

French students and workers revolt against neoliberalism

“The student movement did not start with a single blow. At first it was just the students of Rennes who dared to bet that their strike would snowball, and who shut down their university, on their own for a week.

“It will be the same among the workers...”

So resolved the 300 university and high-school student delegates who met in Lille on 1-2 April to plan the way forward for the struggle in France.

Palestine: towards an imposed carve-up?

By John O’Mahony

Throughout the second intifada, the revolt of the Palestinians against Israeli colonial rule, there could be seen a tragic entanglement, almost a tacit alliance, between Hamas on the Palestinian and Likud on the Israeli side. Together they made impossible any progress out of the conflict.

Again and again, their actions strengthened each other at the expense of more conciliatory forces on both sides.

Who killed Denis Donaldson?

By Gerry Bates

Denis Donaldson worked as a British spy within the top echelons of Sinn Fein for 20 years. He admitted that at a press conference four months ago. Now he has been shot dead at the remote Donegal cottage where he lived.

The shooting of a police spy is never an entirely reprehensible or useless act, even when the spy in question worked against an IRA which was waging a war against Northern Irish Protestants and the British state which had long ceased to make any political sense. If it ever made sense.

The biggest strike for decades

by colin foster

28 March saw the biggest strike in Britain for decades. According to Unison and the other unions involved, over a million local government workers struck against the Government’s plans to cut their pensions.

That one day’s action amounted to twice as many striker-days as the average for a whole year over the period 1994-2003. Many more workers struck than voted for strike action in the unions’ ballot, or even than voted at all. Union branches recruited dozens of new members in the run-up to the strike.

Reports from the strike day

Dumfries and Galloway: A mass picket of 300 people at the council offices in Dumfries. All council workplaces were affected, and 30 schools were closed. Everyone thought the day strike had been a success and was determined to continue with future strikes in order to win their demands. Elaine

Lambeth: 60 to 70 people on the picket line outside the Town Hall, Many women - mostly from local schools. A definite mood that people were up for more action on this issue. One worker told me how it should have happened before the general election — ain’t that true. Faz

Market to blame for NHS crisis

UNISON health workers hold their annual conference later this month. As Nick Holden explains, they have a lot to discuss.

New reports each day of hospitals slashing jobs, and cutting back on services seem to indicate an NHS falling apart at the seams, despite the claimed investment of millions of pounds of new money. Propaganda about the “NHS crisis” serves various agendas

Defend the Amicus 3!

Some 30 Amicus members lobbied the March meeting of the Amicus National Executive Council (NEC) in protest at the sacking of three Amicus employees: Des Heemskerk, Jimmy Warne and Cathie Willis. The three were suspended from their jobs in Amicus in mid-September of last year. All three are leading members of “Amicus Unity Gazette”, the broad left grouping in Amicus.

Des Heemskerk is a former Deputy Convenor at Fords. Until recently he was the Amicus Unity Gazette editor.

Strike planned

NATFHE, the union which represents teaching staff in Further Education, has agreed to organise a two-day strike on 2 and 3 May. This is in response to the 1.5% pay rise offered for 2006-7. The strike takes place in advance of scheduled talks.

The two-day strike will be held the week before the second round of pay talks is due to start. The union says the strike will be the start of a programme of escalating industrial action, up to and including indefinite strike action.


By a TGWU member

The TGWU Broad Left met on 2 April and discussed the proposed “super-union” amalgamation between the TGWU, AMICUS and the GMB.

The case against state funding

Both New Labour and the Tories depended for their last General Election campaigns on millionaires giving them big loans under the counter. As for the Liberal Democrats, their 2005 accounts show £3.5 million of their £5.2 million income (other than public funds) from corporate donations. They got only slightly less in corporate donations than the Tories did, with £4.2 million.

Arithmetical proof that the vote now serves us mostly to choose between different sorts of millionaires’ governments, and leaves no choice for a workers’ government!

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