Solidarity 095, 22 June 2006

The Euston Manifesto


Sean Matgamna

That’ll teach me to make silly jokes! A few issues back, in a fit of self-indulgent whimsy, I mocked some ex-comrades of ours who had abandoned socialist politics to enlist in George W Bush’s neo-conservative crusade to bring bourgeois democracy and American-style capitalism to Iraq. In a little skit, I had one of them confuse the Communist Manifesto with “the Bourgeois-Democratic Manifesto”.

Government by the gutter press

The government is in a panic. Its criminal justice policy is in chaos. At the same time a Chief Constable publicly denounces them for pandering in their decisions to the demagogue tabloid press. And he’s right.

French fight 30 June deportations plan

By Joan Trevor

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, whose vicious immigration reforms have now passed both houses of the French parliament, has softened his stance not one iota, in spite of what it says on the BBC news website about him having relented: “Mr Sarkozy plans to spare about 1,200 children who faced expulsion and deportation with their families.”

The children to be spared deportation at the end of the school year are those who were born in France and who have no connection with their parents’ country of origin.

Teachers jailed and killed

Three hundred thousand marched into Oaxaca, Mexico on 16 June, to support striking teachers whose encampment was brutally attacked by police two days earlier. Led by Section 22 of the SNTE teachers union, the march was supported by university students, local health and university workers and numerous other union, popular and left wing organisations.

The demonstrators demanded the resignation of state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortíz of the right-wing Institutional Revolutionary Party, widely accused of corruption.

Student protests educate Chilean government

By Mickey Conn

Over the last month, Chile has entered the stage of the social struggles sweeping Latin America, with hundreds of thousands of secondary students striking and occupying their schools. All Chile's main cities have seen big demonstration clash with the police, and university and other education workers have struck in support of the students.

Think left, vote right?

One recent poll (Ipsos/ MORI, 30 May) gives only 26% satisfied with Tony Blair as prime minister, and 67% dissatisfied. His negative ratings are much worse than even at the height of the big demonstrations against him taking Britain into the US-organised invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Labour's poll ratings are now around 31% or 32%, the lowest since June 1987. In the Ipsos/ MORI poll, the Tories had a 10% lead over Labour, better than they have had since 1992.

The Labour Party's remaining members (fewer than 200,000 — half the 400,000 of 1997) don't like Blair either.

Anti-union, Stingy, Deceitful, Anti-worker

By Gerry Bates

Members of the GMB union working in Asda Wal-Mart depots have voted by three to one to take strike action to win collective bargaining rights at all 20 distribution depots, to ensure the payment of the 2005 bonus and to have safe working practices.

Earlier this year Asda Wal-Mart said 70% of its workers would get no bonus in 2005, despite making £770m profits for the company! This was because the firm did not meet its profit target of £850 million! The GMB estimate a “saving” of £12 million for the company.

March against NHS cuts!

By Mike Fenwick, Unison

Announcements of cuts in the NHS have become routine— each day the newspapers find a new story to highlight increasing debt, job losses and closures. Yet the unions seem to be standing on the sidelines, with no concerted national campaign in place to respond to the crisis.

Pay, pensions, privatisation

By a conference delegate

Unison conference, meeting in Bournemouth between 17 and 23 June, posed both problems and possibilities for serious class-struggle activists in the union.

At the Local Government sector conference, there was a defeat for the left when the conference voted not to restart industrial action over pensions. By just over 350,000 to just over 330,000, delegates voted against a motion rejecting the leadership’s strategy of relying on a judicial review of the government’s pension plans.

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