Solidarity 142, 20 November 2008

Baby P: why the business model didn't work


Pauline Bradley

Until 2006 Pauline Bradley worked as a social worker for Haringey council, whose social work department has been in the news over the death of “Baby P”.

During her time at Haringey Pauline saw the tragic death of Victoria Climbie, the inquiry into her death by Lord Laming, and the subsequent reforms made by the government. Here Pauline, who now works in Dumbarton, explains why she thinks the social work system can fail children like “Baby P”.

William Morris, part 3: State and Revolution


Paul Hampton

One of the reasons for Morris’ scepticism about the possibilities of trade unionism was his understanding of the state. On the ABCs of the state, he was sharp and clear.

Who was Rosa Luxemburg?


Rosie Woods

Rosa Luxemburg was born in Poland in 1871, the fifth child born into a Jewish family. The family settled in Warsaw where the young Rosa attended school. Luxemburg was politically active by the age of 15, one of her first acts being to help organise a strike.

This early political activity began a schooling in covert socialist activity, as the strike was savagely repressed and four of its leaders shot and killed. Luxemburg along with other Polish socialists met and organised in secret, firstly in the Proletariat Party and later the Polish Socialist Party.

Stop these job cuts! Cut work hours, Expand public services!


Gerry Bates

According to the bosses’ Confederation of British Industry unemployment will reach 2.9 million by 2010 — an unemployment rate of about 9 percent — up from 1.8 million now. That is nearly as high as the figure reached under the Tories in 1982 and 1992.


In October, engineering workers employed by Tube contractor Metronet were told that they would be transferred back to London Underground Ltd by December. This seemed like a victory: effective nationalisation, bringing the workers and the work back in-house.

The devil, however, was in the details, which have now emerged. The workers will be transferred back into LUL, but the work they do will stay in the private sector, offered to private contractors. The LUL, ex-Metronet staff will be left with no work to do, and management will have a perfect reason to make them all redundant.

Rumpole of the Amicus?


Dale Street

Jerry Hicks is one of the three Amicus members — apart from the current General Secretary, Derek Simpson —seeking nominations to contest an election to be held next year for the post of General Secretary of the Amicus section of Unite. In the last issue of Solidarity we interviewed Hicks about his candidacy. We cover the other candidates, Kevin Coyne and Laurence Faircloth, in the next issue. Here Dale Street gives a critical response to Hicks’s platform.

Why the teachers didn’t strike


Pat Murphy

In a recent ballot organised by the National Union of Teachers for discontinuous strike action, 29.7% of eligible members took part and of these 51.7% supported strike action with 48.3% voting against. At an Executive meeting on 6 November we were provided with regional and association (branch) breakdowns of results. In my opinion this made our decision a lot clearer. Together with all but three Executive members I voted to accept the recommendation that we do not proceed to call action. Here are the main reasons why:

The unions must channel the anger


Joe Marino

It is very clear that the political consensus put forward by the major parties over the last 20 years has been blown out of the water and has been shown to be a sham. And I think that will be seen to be the case far and wide. People know if they can find the money for the banks they can find it for pensioners and other social concerns. People will have questions.

It is the role of the trade unions to channel the anger, and we now have a great opportunity to do that.

Congo: Warlords fight for mining riches


Cathy Nugent

On 16 November Congolese “rebel” leader Laurent Nkunda — self-declared protector of the minority Tutsi population in Congo — agreed to a ceasefire with Joseph Kabila’s government. This ends weeks of fighting in eastern Congo between Nkunda’s group, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), and the central government army backed up by UN troops. 250,000 have fled their homes, to makeshift shelters and camps away from the fighting. They are now at risk of death from diseases such as cholera.

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