Solidarity 167, 18 February 2010

As cuts begins to bite, the fightback must begin now

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 11:16 Author: Dan Katz

The UK jobless total now stands at 2.46 million unemployed, or a rate of 7.8% — including 923,000 16-24-year-olds. More job cuts are on the way. A survey of 700 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reveals that firms in all sectors plan to shed 6% of their workforce in the first quarter of 2010.<--break-->

The government wants to cut higher education funding in England by £449 million. The University and College Union (UCU) says 6,000 university jobs were already at risk across the UK and 9,000 more could go in England alone.

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Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 11:11 Author: Sean Matgamna

A new initiative, the Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists, attempts to resolve the dilemma facing socialists in the May election: what should we want the outcome to be?

What government of the available possibilities do we want to emerge from the general election?

Of course we would like a workers’ government — a government that would serve the interests and needs of the working class as the Tories and the Blair-Brown governments have served the bankers and the rest of the capitalist ruling class.

That is not an option.

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Our History — The left and local government in the 1980's: an Open Letter to Ted Knight (1980)

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 10:54 Author: Sean Matgamna

“There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

So too with labour movements: there are turning points, crises, decisive moments whose outcomes shape the future. The victory of the Thatcher Tories in 1979 was one such turning point. But it was the turning point it proved to be only because of the response of the labour movement and its leaders to the assaults that followed.

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Abolish the police?

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 10:32 Author: Clarke Benitez

Ali Dizaei, the disgraced Metropolitan Police commander recently found guilty of perverting the course of justice, was dogged throughout his career by allegations of corruption and misconduct and was finally prosecuted for perverting the course of justice for framing a business associate for assaulting him.

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Filesharers of the world unite?

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 10:28 Author: Will Lodge

A small victory was earned for filesharers last month when the creator of Oink website was acquitted at Teesside Crown Court. Filesharing, where individuals can share information online, has angered the music and film industries by ignoring copyright laws, and thus denying big corporations millions of pounds of income.

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Albert Booth 1928-2010: an "Old Labour" man

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 10:18 Author: Janine Booth

Albert Booth, former “Old Labour” Cabinet Minister, lifelong socialist and trade unionist, and my much-loved uncle, has died aged 81.

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Submitted by Matthew on Fri, 19/02/2010 - 08:32

The North West Evening Mail published this obituary of Albert Booth which prompted one of his former constituents to comment:

"back in the late seventies and early eighties I worked there in Barrow docks...Our boss..was a law 'unto himself', who hired and fired workers as he liked. We were disorganised without Union representation or anything similar. But our luck changed for the better the day Mr Albert Booth visited Barrow....we literally just walked up to him and said what the problem was. Quite informally he said,...leave it to me lads, I'll sort it out... and that's exactly what he did. Mr Booth had a word with our boss...and hey preto, we were allowed to get organised and join the Union.

It was sad then to hear of Mr Booth's passing, he did his bit for many of us and for that Albert, we are eternally grateful to you."

Somehow I can't imagine the current Blairite MP for Barrow John Hutton doing the same thing...

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J.D. Salinger 1919-2010: spellbound by the moment

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 10:13 Author: By Jordan Savage

“Short stories are by nature daring little instruments and almost always represent commensurate daring in their makers”, writes Richard Ford in his introduction to the second Granta Book of the American Short Story. Of course, any collection of American fiction, and particularly one dedicated to the short story, that overlooks J D Salinger’s contribution can only be considered, as Holden Caulfield might put it, “phoney” in the extreme.

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We need to save the NHS

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 10:05 Author: Todd Hamer

Over recent years New Labour’s permanent revolution of “restructuring” inside the NHS has laid the groundwork for the privatisation of healthcare. These changes have been put in place without any public scrutiny. Now, using the political cover of the economic crisis, NHS bosses and politicians are planning enormous cuts and this will speed up plans for privatised healthcare.

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UK Independence Party: sometimes quirky, always reactionary

Submitted by Matthew on 18 February, 2010 - 9:56 Author: Dan Katz

It is now common to meet working-class people who say they are sympathetic to, or will vote for, the UK Independence Party. Clearly what they stand for has a resonance, including a resonance with former Labour supporters, alienated by New Labour's record in government. Anti-fascist activists need to arm themselves against this unpleasant far-right party.

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