Solidarity 104 10 January 2007

Hal Draper: An Eye-Witness Account of the Russian Revolution

Published on: Tue, 03/04/2007 - 14:53

Hal Draper

The Russian revolution was the most important event of the 20th century.

It was the most important event in the entire history of the working class. The working class took and held power in territory that covered one sixth of the globe.

That working class power was overthrown in the early-mid 1920s by the Stalinist counter-revolution, which though continuing to call itself "communist" and "working class" put in a brutal and savage state bureaucracy as a new ruling class over the working people.

That Stalinist "dictatorship of the bureaucracy" — brutal, exploiting class power pretending to be

After the Ipswich murders

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 14:16

The murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich at the end of last year prompted some discussion about how to improve the lives and safety of sex workers. A 400 strong Reclaim the Night march was held in the city at which Teresa McKay, chair of the trades council, spoke. Here are some of the points of view that were written on this issue at the time.

“Until all women are safe, none of us are”

By Education Not for Sale Women

These events [in Ipswich] cannot be understood as occurring in a vacuum; rather, violence against women is widespread in the UK, and sex workers are especially vulnerable to

An open letter to Gilad Atzmon

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 14:15

Gilad Atzmon, the jazz musician who is prone to anti-semitic conspiracy theory rants played — not for the first time — for the Socialist Workers’ Party in December. The group’s invitation to Atzmon prompted a few words of protest by SWP apologist and children’s author Michael Rosen, writing as Isokotsky in the letters of page of Socialist Worker (7 January). Jazz fan Jim Denham has written this open letter to Atzmon.

Gilad, why is that you make me so angry? Maybe it’s because I love jazz. I love jazz in all its forms, including post-bop, which I don’t really understand. But even when I don’t

Left: Ken Livingstone, Respect, SSP

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 14:13

By Amina Saddiq

Ken Livingstone’s wonderful world

Ken Livingstone, god bless ’im, is holding a conference on 20 January under the title “A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations”.

“Some argue that the world is going into an era of conflict and war driven by a ‘clash of civilisations’”, says the blurb for the event. “The Mayor of London’s policies are based on the exact opposite idea – that the multicultural city is part of creating a new concept of world civilisation that corresponds to a globalised world.”

The “clash of civilisations”, proposed by Harvard academic Samuel Huntingdon

Industrial news: post, TGWU-Amicus merger, ESOL cuts, London buses, JJB

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 14:12

Defend Mark O’Reilly

STOP press: North/ Northwest London CWU branch has perpetrated a bureaucratic stitch-up against Mark O’Reilly, a postal worker at Finsbury Park depot. Mark decided to challenge the incumbent union rep who has colluded with management over job cuts for over two years. Mark distributed a leaflet to workmates that referred to high work levels over the last Xmas period and demanded to know what the rep had done to alleviate the burden on staff.

The branch then told Mark that he was banned from standing as he had contravened rules against canvassing, and the current rep would

Defend Antony Czubkowski

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 14:07

Shop steward and long-standing union activist Antony Czubkowski has been sacked by energy firm E.ON, in reaction to his complaint about being subjected to a verbal attack by his boss.

Antony has for the last 18 years been a leading Amicus activist, and in July 2006 convened a meeting for the five unions operating in E.ON. The manager, with a long record of anti-union and bullying behaviour, tried to sneak into the back of the meeting — Antony politely asked him to leave.

Three months later, whilst representing an Amicus member at a meeting, the manager made a totally unprovoked attack, a

Pro-union candidate attacks the unions

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 14:06

By Ann Mack

Jon Cruddas MP, the man who likes to style himself the union and grass roots friendly candidate for the post of Labour Party Deputy Leader, has called for the union vote at conference to be drastically cut.

In a Compass pamphlet entitled Fit for Purpose? A Programme for Labour Party Renewal, Cruddas (and former Kinnockite youth, journalist John Harris) propose a cut in the union vote at Labour Party conference from just under 50% to 33%.

“The settlement of the party's federal structure along lines that have been taking shape for the last two decades. Labour’s decision-making

Unanswered questions from the M25 crash

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 14:05

By Jack Haslam

Two people were killed and up to 60 injured when a National Express coach crashed on a slip road linking the M4 and M25 last Wednesday night (January 3).

Our sympathies go out to the families and friends of the dead and injured.

There are however important health and safety issues that are raised by the crash that need answering. Most of the press speculation has centred on the issue of the stability of double-decker coaches and the question of seat belts, but there are other issues that those who control the passenger transport industry don’t want aired.

The focus on these

A child for life?

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 13:57

By Chris Leary

The case of the severely disabled girl, known only as Ashley, who has undergone surgery to remove her womb and breasts, and will receive other treatments to keep her anatomically at a stage before puberty raised profound questions, not just for socialists, but for all people who care about human society. Those question — about consent, personal autonomy and medical interventions with profoundly disabled people — cannot be done justice within a single article. But some immediately stand out.

Medical technology has made massive advances in the past fifty years, improving the

City cleaners win!

Published on: Fri, 12/01/2007 - 13:55

As we reported on the front page of the last Solidarity, the T&G’s Justice for Cleaners campaign, seeking to organise and mobilise cleaners working in the City of London, has won substantial gains. After several weeks of demonstrations and direct action, including a sit in at the offices of Goldman Sachs and the threat of a hunger strike by five workers to put pressure on the Royal Bank of Scotland, three major companies — ISS, Lancaster and Mite — have conceded the union's main demands. These include collective bargaining to determine a uniform system for the whole of the City of London and

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