Solidarity 117, 13 September 2007

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Page 1: Public sector pay: unite the rank and file!
Page 2: The world as village gossip; National Service?; Swedish model will fail UK sex workers; Feminist Fightback conference
Page 3: Labour Party conference: Brown's plan is a death blow
Page 4: Industrial reports. TUC, Metronet, Fremantle, Karen Reissman, Remploy, Wembley occupation
Page 5: Public sector pay: postal workers, local government, health, prison officers, PCS

Workers in the Chinese revolution of 1926-7


Liz Millward

The story of the Chinese revolution of 1927, is a story of how a working class developed in China, how its struggles interlaced with those of the nationalist bourgeoisie, how the young Chinese Communist Party misled those struggles and why, ultimately, they were defeated.

"Balanced communalism" in Lebanon

David Broder reviews Fawwaz Traboulsi’s A History of Modern Lebanon (Pluto Press)

Baptised by its publisher as “the first comprehensive history of Lebanon in the modern period”, Traboulsi’s is a thorough account of almost 500 years of ethnic and religious conflict in the Middle Eastern state. However the author, a 1970s leader of the Organisation of Communist Action (OCA), obscures his own analysis and views in favour of a work which rarely amounts to anything more than dry chronology of events, dates and facts.

Iraq unions unite to fight oil privatisation

By Martin Thomas

Two of Iraq’s major union federations have formed a united front to fight against oil privatisation and the government’s attempt to outlaw the oil unions.

On 8 September the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions and the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions held a launch conference in Basra (centre of the southern Iraqi oil industry) for their united front. They plan to organise a joint demonstration on 24 September. IFOU president Hassan Jumaa said that his union will shut down the oil pipelines if the parliament passes the privatisation law.

We can't change the world without the workers

By Robin Sivapalan

Around two thousand activists mobilised for the 2007 Camp for Climate Action. It was held in a field near Heathrow airport in west London for a week in August. It was to highlight the pollution caused by air traffic.
The camp defied a high court injunction won by the airport’s owners BAA. With its dozen related actions, the heavy handed policing and 71 arrests, it made global headline news.

It has been widely seen as the birth of a new movement to stop climate change. In its own terms, by getting itself noticed, it was an almost perfect success.

Good haters, bad democrats

DALE STREET reviews The Blair Years — Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries

“Some twat with a Trot poster came up to me on the way in (to the conference) and yelled ‘Butcher! Traitor!’ at me,” writes Campbell in his diary entry for 29 April 1995. “I stopped and mustered as much visual contempt as I could, then assured him that if we win the general election, then don’t worry — thanks to wankers like him, there will always be another Tory government along afterwards. These people make me vomit.”

There are many people in Campbell’s diaries who make him want to vomit.

An opaque economic crisis


Rhodri Evans

Over the last several months, a crisis originating at the lower end of the US mortgage market has become, at least incipiently, a world credit crisis.

The immediate background to the credit crisis is a bubble, since about 2003, in low-security, high-interest mortgage lending in the USA. Corporations have made a buck by lending to house-buyers with poor credit records, at high rates of interest.

They allow for some defaults in payment. But when interest rates go up, and the house-price spiral slows or reverses, the defaults swell.

Swedish model will fail UK sex workers

The government is considering proposals to prosecute men for buying sex; in this they are following the model of “vice control” used in Sweden.

Government statistics suggest that 85% of women in brothels are from outside the UK and whilst the people that bring these women into Britain are often prosecuted for trafficking, the men who pay for their services escape without charge. Eight years ago in Sweden legislation was passed so that the men who paid for sex would face criminal charges instead of the women selling it.

Public Sector Pay: Unite the Rank and File!

On Tuesday 11 September the TUC Congress, the annual gathering of delegates from all Britain's unions, voted for united action by all the public sector unions to beat Gordon Brown's decree that public sector pay rises should be limited to two per cent at a time when the retail price index shows 3.8%.

Now the job is to make the union leaders deliver on that promise.

The world as village gossip

Will Kate McCann become another Lindy Chamberlain? The only reasonable answer is that we have no way of even making an intelligent guess.

But posing the question, and knowing that we can’t even guess the answer, tell us some important things about the mass media which saturate our world.

Lindy Chamberlain was sentenced to life imprisonment in Australia in 1982 for the murder of her baby daughter Azaria, who had mysteriously vanished one night in August 1980. The chief evidence was blood traces in the family car.

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