Solidarity 133, 5 June 2008

Fuel Poverty


Tom Unterrainer

According to the Treasury at least 2.5 million British households (around one in ten) suffer from fuel poverty (Energywatch puts the figure at 4 million, 16% of all households). Households in fuel poverty are those that spend more than 10% of combined income on gas and electricity.

S&M isn’t a crime!


Cath Fletcher

Despite opposition from anti-censorship campaigners, on 9 May a new ban on “violent pornography” came into force. This wide-ranging ban not only criminalises photos of genuine consensual S&M sex, but also “realistic” illustrations, pictures posed by models and computer-generated images. The penalty for possessing banned material is up to three years in jail and entry on the Sex Offenders Register.

First black US President?


Sacha Ismail

Barack Obama's clinching of the Democratic presidential nomination raises a variety of issues for socialists.

On one hand, we should not be afraid to admit that the nomination of a black man for president represents a certain kind of social progress. This is particularly the case in a society as sodden with racism as the United States, in which a young black man is more likely to end up in prison than college and where most black people were denied the most elementary civil and political rights only a few decades ago.

Union round up


Patrick Murphy, Mike Fenwick

TEACHERS: The Executive of the National Union of Teachers on 29 May considered alternative timetables for a ballot for discontinuous strike action to continue the pay campaign. The recommendation discussed was a ballot for the Autumn. The earliest date based on that timetable would be 12 November.

Only the poor live too long


Simon Garner

Governments of advanced capitalist economies are coming to terms with a significant growth in the number of people living longer, which, combined with low birth rates adds to ageing populations. The poorest and most vulnerable are at greatest risk.

Back to Old Labour? No


Martin Thomas

According to the Daily Mail, “the GMB trade union has already taken the extraordinary step of discussing at its last executive council meeting whether its two representatives on Labour's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) should be indemnified against financial loss in the event Labour goes bankrupt”.

Opposing Heathrow expansion


Robin Sivapalan

Over three thousand people opposed to Heathrow expansion marched on Saturday 31 May from Hatton Cross to Sipson, the village which would be destroyed were a third runway to be built. We were spared the travesty of Boris Johnson leading the march, though some near the front endured a dreary letter of solidarity from Archbishop Rowan Williams, who also couldn’t attend.

Activist attacked by far-right thugs

A supporter of Education Not for Sale in Huddersfield was attacked by the far right on Friday morning on her way to work. The comrade has been campaigning to no-platform the BNP at her campus and has obviously been targeted. They knew her name and route to work.

We need to make it clear to the far right that the comrade is not isolated. They cannot get away with targeting people who stand up to them. Publicise this in union branches, student organisations and anti-fascist groups.

Education Not for Sale relaunched


Sofie Buckland,

Despite the exam season, about 75 activists attended "Reclaim the Campus", a conference sponsored by Education Not for Sale on 17 May. There were workshops on marketisation, NUS democracy and fighting climate change, but the event was dominated by motions debate and the election of an ENS committee.

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