Solidarity 160, 8 October 2009

Support the postal workers!


Daniel Randall

As postal workers await the results of their national ballot for strike action, due back on 8 October, regional strikes around the country have remained, in the words of one London postal worker, “very solid.”

“A resounding yes vote in the national ballot is very likely; the big question is whether that’ll force Royal Mail into serious negotiations in and of itself. There’s always the worry that national officers will settle for a deal far short of what people want at a local level.”

Brown courts the Daily Mail


Elaine Jones

Gordon Brown used the opportunity of Labour Party conference to pick on a group of people who are poor, powerless and not much older than children.

Did it make him feel big when he announced “from now on all 16 and 17 year old parents who get support from the taxpayer will be placed in a network of supervised homes”?

Did he feel like a proper pillar of the establishment when he assured the tax paying public that “these shared homes will offer not just a roof over their heads, but a new start in life where they learn responsibility and how to raise their children properly”?

The GMB's amendment on "boycott Israel"


Martin Thomas

GMB official Richard Ashcough spoke to Solidarity about the GMB’s amendment to the FBU motion, which aimed to target the focus of the boycott onto goods produced in the Occupied Territories. This tactic has some precedent; left-wing Israeli peace campaign Gush Shalom runs a campaign to boycott goods produced in illegal settlements (in Israel, it’s possible to distinguish which goods these are by barcode numbers). GMB officer Richard Ascough said the amendment intended to add some “balance.”

The Fire Brigade Union's case for "boycott Israel"


Martin Thomas

John McGhee, FBU National Officer, spoke to Martin Thomas about the FBU’s “boycott Israel” motion to TUC Congress.

We’re glad there was debate at the TUC about Palestinian rights. But we think that the boycott of Israeli goods which the FBU motion proposed as its main practical measure would be counterproductive.

Ructions behind the scenes in election talks


Jack Yates

On 2 October, an internet report claimed that the Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star) had split. CPB general secretary Rob Griffiths and Morning Star editor John Haylett were reported to have quit and started forming a new organisation.

This move was said to have been prompted by a decision by the CPB executive to withdraw from the talks for a “son of No2EU” slate for the general election which have been under way since June, betweeen the CPB, leaders of the rail union RMT, the Socialist Party, and the Alliance for Green Socialism.

How the New Anti-Capitalist Party is progressing


Sacha Ismail

On 4 October, I attended the 70-strong Lille and district conference of the New Anticapitalist Party, the revolutionary socialist party founded in February by activists of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire and many other independent socialists.

Jack Jones a Russian Spy? Rotten Politics, Not a Spy Story!


John O'Mahony

According to the official history of MI5, Britain’s spy-hunters considered Jack Jones, the leader of the Transport and General Workers’ Union in the 1970s who died recently, to be a paid agent of the USSR.

What secrets did he pass on to Moscow? Brace yourself for the shock: he passed on secret... Labour Party documents!

Workers unite, east and west!


John O'Mahony

In mid-1984, during the year-long miners’ strike, the Sunday Mirror printed an account of an interview with Solidarnosc leader Lech Walesa in which Walesa appeared to side with Margaret Thatcher against the miners. Socialist Organiser (forerunner of Solidarity) commented. A translation of this article appeared in the underground Trotskyist press in Poland in 1984.

Whose city is it anyway?


Bruce Robinson reviews 'Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the 21st Century City' by Anna Minton

A few years ago, some of us were leafletting for No Sweat outside the Doc Martens’ shop in the Triangle shopping centre in Manchester, which is pictured on the front of Anna Minton’s book.

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