Solidarity 107, 22 February 2007

Poverty, crime and institutional racismcathy nSun, 08/04/2007 - 12:15

Robin Sivapalan examines the educational and social background to gangster and gun culture and starts a discussion on how institutional racism still poisons British society.

Four young black men were shot dead this month in South London, sparking a new debate on gun crime. A just published UNICEF report ranked the UK last of the world’s 21 richest nations in terms of the material, subjective and educational well being of its children. The two events are connected.

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When political hope endedcathy nMon, 26/02/2007 - 11:54

Paul Cooper reviews Bobby

Bobby Kennedy met his end on 5 June,1968. He was shot in the head, point-blank, as he made his way through a crowded hotel kitchen.
Most of the people in the kitchen were black or Hispanic hotel workers. They had been servicing the Democratic Party convention that was celebrating Kennedy’s victory in the California Primary. Bobby Kennedy was the great hope of those workers, as he was of the civil rights movement.

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Build a national campaign to save the NHS!cathy nFri, 23/02/2007 - 11:34

By Mike Fenwick, Leeds Unison health

Saturday March 3rd sees the first nationally coordinated day of trade union action in defense of the NHS. Events ranging from lobbies of MPs to rallies and marches and, for the more adventurous, an ascent of Skiddaw in the Lake District aim to highlight the crisis in the health service.

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Campaigns: anti-BNP, migrant workerscathy nFri, 23/02/2007 - 11:29

Searchlight trade union conference

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John McDonnell: campaign growscathy nFri, 23/02/2007 - 11:24

The last few weeks have seen several boosts for John McDonnell MP's campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party. With growing support among the unions and MPs, and a packed schedule of large meetings around the country, McDonnell has welcomed the “heartening and motivating” progress of his campaign.

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Dita Sari: why we are standing

Submitted by cathy n on 23 February, 2007 - 10:58

Dita Sari, the former trade union leader and political prisoner under the Suharto regime, is chair of the ‘ new, broader National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas). She will be its candidate for the 2009 presidential elections. Sari was interviewed by Green Left Weekly in January. Below are some extracts.

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Uprising in Cochabamba

Submitted by cathy n on 23 February, 2007 - 10:55

By David Broder

The movement against the far-right in Bolivia stepped up last month with a mass uprising in the nationÕs third city, Cochabamba, which dislodged the right-wing governor Manfred Reyes Villa and put forward the demand for genuinely democratic representatives. This was twinned with a solidarity strike organised by residents’ association FEJUVE in the city of El Alto, also seeking to get rid of a governor who wants to see the country split up.

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Venezuela: workers march for nationalisation under workers' control

Submitted by cathy n on 23 February, 2007 - 10:48

By Pablo Velasco

Around 6,000 workers marched through the streets of Caracas on Thursday 8 February demanding nationalisation of all strategic industries under workers’ control.

Workers welcomed the Chávez government’s nationalisations of EDC, Venezuela’s largest electric company and the Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela (CANTV) telecom company. But they called for others such as steel firm Sidor and bathroom firm Sanitarios Maracay to be nationalised - and for workersÕ control in all these industries.


Submitted by PaulHampton on Wed, 28/02/2007 - 11:14

What attitude should Marxist take to this development?
1) The character of the ruling party is bourgeois. The initiative for it has come from Chávez i.e. from above, and not just from anyone – but a ruling Bonaparte with substantial backing from national capital. The PSUV or whatever name it takes will be a ruling party – i.e. a party of the bourgeois state managing the capitalist mode of production in Venezuela.

The mere fact of unions joining a party does not transform it into a workers’ or even a bourgeois workers’ party. The best example is the PRI in Mexico, but similar developments occurred under Peron in Argentina and still occur in some Asian and African labour movements. The test is, where does it leave working class representation? In no sense is the PSUV being formed like – for example – the Labour Party in Britain was a hundred years ago – or like the PT was in Brazil in the 1980s.

In fact, if the UNT and C-CURA do end up joining the PSUV, it may be a defeat on the same scale as Mexico and Argentina – i.e. the defeat of independent working class politics for a whole era.

2) The current situation. The new party has not been formed. No one knows exactly what form it will take, how much democratic space there will be for publications, criticism etc – nor do we know how labour will be represented. Personally I think it will be very poor – a “popular front in the form of a party” – but we’ll see.

At present the C-CURA leaders say they want to discuss the new party. Not all the militants agree (e.g. the JIR, quite rightly in my view). But while the discussion is going on, it would be foolish for Marxists in Britain to advocate entry i.e. help the Chavistas take the best militants into the proposed party. Far better to advocate a workers’ party, independent of Chávez, as the best means to fight for reforms and for a workers’ government. Far better to back those who are not collapsing into chavismo.


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Strike wave in Zimbabwecathy nFri, 23/02/2007 - 10:44

By Jack Staunton

On 5 February teachers across Zimbabwe began an indefinite general strike for pay and conditions, joining doctors and nurses already taking action against poverty pay.

With inflation now reported to be running at 1,593% (the worst in the world), dictator Robert Mugabe is keeping public sector workers’ wages down in order to have enough money to keep his regime afloat. Almost 200,000 public sector workers angry about pay now pose a threat to the regime’s stability.

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Picketing, leafleting and dancingcathy nFri, 23/02/2007 - 10:39

By Heather Shaw

The highlight of No Sweat and Students Against Sweatshop’s Week of Action (18-23 Feburary) was welcoming Andreas Aullet, a lawyer working with political prisoners and their families in Oaxaca, Mexico, and taking him on a tour of the UK.

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