Solidarity 127, 21 February 2008

The “hard Trotskyists” of 1969

This series: The Northern Ireland crisis of 1968-9 and the left (Part 10, intro) This is an introduction to the main article: The SLL on Ireland Part 1: Why Northern Ireland Broke Down Part 2: The Irish Workers' Group, I S and the "Trotskyist Tendency" Part 3: Why Northern Ireland Split on Communal, Not Class, Lines Part 4: When militant sloganeering meant promoting communal war Part 5: When socialists looked to "Catholic Power" Part 6: SWP (IS) and Northern Ireland in 1968-9: Advocating civil war — until it starts! Part 7: The end of the old order in Northern Ireland Part 8: IS/SWP conference...

Organising young workers: it can be done!

New Zealand union organiser Mike Treen and French union activist Axel Persson spoke on organising, unionising and fighting for the rights of — mostly young — workers in the fast food industry. They were speaking at a No Sweat meeting in the University of London Union on Saturday 16 February. Axel Persson Union activism in the fast food industry first started up after a 2002 strike in McDonalds that lasted for over a year. About a year ago a few of us in the CGT union decided to do some serious union work in the industry. We decided that we needed at least one person in each restaurant if we...

Yes, Kosova should be free!

On Sunday 17 February Kosova declared itself an independent state. It has been recognised by the European Union and the United States; it is opposed by Serbia, Russia, and others. As we go to press, Serbs have burned the customs posts on the new border between Kosova and Serbia. Conflict may escalate. The declaration of independence by the Albanian people of Kosova, who compose about 93% of the population, was overdue. The Kosovars should have been independent – or united in a single state with Albania and other Albanians in the region, if that is what they wanted – long ago. Decades ago!...

Was Callinicos a Closet Neo-Con?

No better, more democratic, or more effective rules exist for organising relations between peoples and fragments of peoples than those of Lenin, Trotsky and their comrades. Consistent and comprehensive democracy: self-determination for compact majorities; indifference towards existing state boundries; as much autonomy, self rule, as circumstances allow, for peoples who are not a compact majority; unity of the working class across the borders and other divides on the basis of consistent democracy. Nothing else is more conducive to working class unity across the divides and despite them. These...

Respect: Which Party?/ Charlatan backs Charlatan

One of the four SWP-Respect councillors in Tower Hamlets has defected... to the Tories. SWP-Respect issued a statement on 14 February: “We are sorry to hear that Cllr Ahmed Hussain has joined the Tories. We had discussions with him yesterday where he agreed that he was going to stay with Respect. We issued a statement saying that, in good faith, but clearly his assurances meant nothing. “He has joined a party which supports war and privatisation, which has little representation among ethnic minorities, and which has few supporters among working class people in Tower Hamlets or anywhere else....

Good turnout for union climate conference

Around 300 trade unionists and environmental activists attended the Campaign against Climate Change (CCC) trade union conference on 9 February. The turnout exceeded expectations and showed that there is a real interest in fighting climate change among union activists. The conference was organised by members of both sides of the Respect split (ISG and SWP) and the Green Party and backed by some union leaders. Frances O’Grady (TUC), as well as Matt Wrack (FBU), Chris Baugh (PCS), Christine Blower (NUT), Linda Newman (UCU) and Tony Kearns (CWU) spoke from the platform. There was wide agreement...

Shelter workers vote on national strike

On Thursday 21 February, we will find out if some 450 members of the TGWU/Unite have voted in favour of national strike action, an event which would be a first in Shelter's 41-year history. They are faced with a package of cuts which will result in all 800+ staff working two and a half extra hours per week (unpaid) and without the current incremental pay scale which they are currently entitled to (worth £2k-£3k on top of starting salaries). On top of this, scores of frontline advice and support staff are to be made redundant and “redeployed” into lower-paid jobs in a "new operating model",...

Prepare to fight!

AWL tubeworkers have been arguing for some time that the unions should get on with action against casualisation and destaffing. So we are pleased that RMT and TSSA have said they will ballot. ASLEF, sadly, still deludes itself that drivers are somehow immune from management’s attacks: as if. Union activists now need to be out talking to all workers, making sure they know the issues and the stakes. We need strong support and leadership from head offices, and we need our officials, including full-time release reps, to throw their energies into this dispute and talk it up not down. We should have...

Cleaners fight Livingstone for a living wage

Before Christmas, Ken Livingstone promised to pay the “‘London Living Wage” of £7.20 an hour to Underground cleaners when he took over Metronet. Unsurprisingly, he has not delivered. Transport for London has delayed taking over Metronet and Livingstone has gone quiet about the pay rise. Therefore cleaners in both the RMT and the T&G are pressing ahead with plans for a strike. Ballot papers will go out in March and cleaners should strike in April - hopefully alongside other Tube workers fighting casualisation and in time to embarrass Livingstone before London elections on May 1.

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