Solidarity 137, 21 August 2008

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


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.

Pakistan: A dictator gone, but not his policies


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.

Public pay strikes in Scotland

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.

A real plan for crisis

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.

The missing six million


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.

Short industrial reports


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.

UCU and Israel boycott: stand and fight


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.

Drug companies should be publicly owned


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.

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