Solidarity 110, 19 April 2007

Does John Pilger back Iran?

By Mark Osborn

John Pilger warns British citizens not to sit by while the government leads us all towards a crisis over Iran (Guardian 13 February also “Iran: a war is coming”, in New Statesman 1 February). In the process he gives us a good example of how the degenerate left gets it all so badly wrong.

His material on Iran has these features:

Robin Blackburn on the dynamics of anti-slavery

Robin Blackburn, author of ‘The overthrow of Colonial Slavery’ (VERSO, 1988) talked to Martin Thomas

Q. About the British abolition of the slave trade in 1807, you wrote: “Britain's rulers were being asked to decide the abolition question at an extraordinary time... Britain’s oligarchy had a world to win if they could pull through — and a kingdom to lose if they could not”.

Organise to stop the BNP

By Pete Radcliff

The local elections this year, in England at least, are likely to result in further major gains for the British National Party.

The BNP claim to be standing 796 council candidates in areas removed from the main centres of socialist and trade union activity — outlying suburbs, commuter belt territory and areas where local industries have declined and trade union presence diminished.

If you can’t vote socialist on 3 May — vote Labour

On 3 May, when voters in Scotland, Wales and some parts of England go to the polls to elect local councillors and regional assembly members, most will face a very limited choice. In many council seats, the only choice will be between Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems; in only a handful will there be independent working-class or socialist candidates standing.

Unions to unite for strikes against pay cuts

By Tom Unterrainer
Unions of teachers, health workers, and civil service workers are all moving towards strikes to challenge Gordon Brown’s decree for pay cuts in the public sector.

On 17 April, the conference of the Royal College of Nursing voted by 95% to take nationwide industrial action for the first time since the RCN was set up in 1916.

The GMB union reported that its members in the health service had voted 74% to support strike action over pay, and 91% to support industrial action short of strikes.

Feminists who ally with the right

By Sofie Buckland

After refusing to debate at the Feminist Fightback conference organised by socialist feminist students last year , the feminist anti-porn group Object have continued their campaign of trying to silence anti-censorship feminist voices.

In a press release last week, Object claim that Ladyfest, the feminist non-profit DIY festival, is in fact more like a “porn fest” — the extremely thin evidence being a claim that Ladyfest Leeds held a pole-dancing benefit for the event, something that the organisers flatly deny.

Why does the USA breed violence?


Sofie Buckland

ON Monday 16 April a 23-year old South Korean student opened fire at Virginia Tech university, killing 33 and injuring at least 29. The latest in a string of shooting sprees going back as far as 1966, the massacre at Virginia Tech begs the question; why does this keep happening, and why particularly in the USA?

Questions and answers on Iraq

What is the Sadr movement?

Moqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army has enforced dress codes, closed shops selling alcohol, prevented the showing of western films, terrorised prostitutes, murdered gay people. In March 2004, complaining of “moral violations”, it invaded the gypsy township of Qawliyya and levelled it with bulldozers. In the slow civil war in Baghdad since February 2006, the Mahdi Army has been the main group forcing Sunnis out of one previously-mixed district after another.

Rank-and-file score a victory on Tube

By a London Underground worker

The RMT union has called off its scheduled strike action on Metronet, the London Underground maintenance company (or Infraco). This follows what appears to be a full capitulation by management. The union had demanded that the Infraco drop its plan to transfer the employment of 49 Duty Depot Managers to Bombardier, one of the component companies of the Metronet consortium. Metronet has agreed not to go ahead with the transfer.

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