Solidarity 137, 21 August 2008

We challenged the BNP. Next time we must stop them!

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:45

Charlie Salmon

700 protesters gathered in the village of Codnor, in Derbyshire, on 16 August 2008, and put down an important marker for anti-fascism.

For the second year running the fascist British National Party held their ‘Red, White and Blue Festival’ on a farm owned by BNP supporter Alan Warner. Last year the festival was opposed by a single protester – a local resident who felt compelled to show his disgust for the gathering fascists and their racist politics. Things were very different this year.

This demonstration – called by Notts Stop the BNP, trade unions and local activists – was a significant

Pakistan: A dictator gone, but not his policies

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:44

Farooq Tariq, General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan

As General Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation — in an unscheduled nationally televised speech of one hour — private television channels showed an instant response of jubilation, welcoming the decision, in all four provinces.

Musharraf resigned as president of Pakistan as he was facing an impeachment move by the Pakistan Peoples Party-led ruling alliance of four parties. For the first time, not a single political party defended General Musharraf. Even Mutihida Qaumi Party (MQM) was not ready to defend him publicly, this, a party that he was associated with for long time.

There have been

Public pay strikes in Scotland

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:41

As we go to press (20 August 2008) a 24-hour strike action by local government workers, members of UNISON, UNITE, and the GMB is taking place.

The same day PCS members employed by the Scottish Government and Registers of Scotland, are staging a follow-up 24-hour strike.

Both strikes are about below-inflation pay offers for workers in the public sector.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has offered local authority workers a three-year pay-deal, with pay going up by just 2.5% each year.

Scottish Ministers have offered for Scottish government employees just 2%.

These pay offers

A real plan for crisis

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:38

The TUC has responded to the economic crisis by demanding, “action to stop unemployment growing further still… Unions are looking for action to boost demand; we urge the Bank to cut interest rates and the Government to take the cap off public sector wage increases.”

As a programme to deal with the problems workers face this is pitifully inadequate. Workers do not just need “action to stop unemployment growing further”, but full employment. This is an immediate pressing concern for millions of workers.

We need a leadership in the labour movement which puts forward a coherent case for jobs —

Georgia, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia: the issue is self-determination

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:36

To date Russian troops remain in Georgia very close to the capital Tbilisi. As western diplomatic pressure on Russia gets stronger, Russia appears to want a semi-permanent presence in the de facto mini-states within Georgia’s borders — South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The Russian war aims went far beyond any “defence” of, or “justice” for, the South Ossetian people. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili claimed Russia wanted to overthrow his government and annex South Ossetia; despite the hypocrisy of someone who vowed to re-establish Georgian control in the de facto states, this statement has the

The missing six million

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:33

Editorial, Solidarity, 21 August, 2008

The Socialist Workers Party’s behaviour at last Saturday’s [16 August 2008] protest against the British National Party’s Red White and Blue festival was spectacularly crass. But nothing they did was odder than the text of the petition they were circulating to gather contact names.

Using Love Music Hate Racism as a party front, their petition’s second bullet point reads: “[The BNP] deny the holocaust where thousands of LGBT people, trade unionists and disabled people were slaughtered.”

No mention of the main victims of the Holocaust, the Jews.

How could such an omission be accounted for?

Short industrial reports

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:29


PCS members are currently being balloted on a job security agreement struck with the Civil Service. This agreement, called the protocols, is the result of long running union agitation over job security. Members should vote in favour, but be clear as to limitations and weaknesses.

The original union campaign was for a no compulsory redundancy guarantee; the protocols fall short of that. The guarantee would not have saved jobs; it just would have guaranteed that the jobs run down (which still continues) was achieved without overt compulsion. This agreement means that

UCU and Israel boycott: stand and fight

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:27

Camila Bassi

Recently Jon Pike, chair of Engage (a group set up to defeat a boycott of Israeli academia), posted a critique of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) to its activist list. Jon is also a member of the UCU NEC. In this critique he assesses the union’s democratic credentials, its ability to stand up for academic freedom, and its willingness to fight all discrimination.

Conclusion one: the union does not fair well. Conclusion two: a number of its Jewish members are resigning. What, of course, is missing is a third conclusion: members who oppose the boycott should instead stay and fight. In

Drug companies should be publicly owned

Published on: Mon, 25/08/2008 - 19:25

Martin Thomas.

The chair of the Government's official medical drugs-regulating body, has said that “the drugs are so expensive” because of the pharmaceutical companies’ drive for profits.

Michael Rawlins said that such practices as linking the pay of pharmaceutical company bosses to their firm's share price have made the problem even worse.

Kidney cancer drugs, for example, said Rawlins, could be produced for about a tenth of their current cost. Why is the price so high? Part of it is “cushioning” for the companies that several big-earning drugs will come out of their patent period in the next five years,

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