Solidarity 217, 21 September 2011

Organise for 30 November

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 1:09

The declaration by the Trades Union Congress that Wednesday 30 November will be the next “day of action” in the campaign against government pension cuts is enormously positive and must now be a key focus for organising.

Like the June 30 strike, action in November will demonstrate to a generation of working-class people unused to seeing their class move as a visible social force that workers have real power to act in our own interests.

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Barnardo's collude in jailing migrant children

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 1:03

What is Pre-Departure Accommodation? It’s a detention centre. The 2.5m palisade fence with electronic gates surrounding the site and the 24-hour security leaves you in no doubt that this is a prison. A prison for migrants.

Cesar’s detention centre gives lie to the Government’s claim that children won’t be detained. It’s run by G4S and Barnardos and opened this month.


Submitted by danrawnsley on Sat, 24/09/2011 - 19:52

Absolutely none. Putting that aside, what do you think about the practice of imprisoning children? You seem to suggest that immigration controls are necessary, perhaps even desirable.

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 28/09/2011 - 08:51

Could you explain how it is that immigration depresses wages, rather than it being bosses who depress wages? Are you seriously arguing that if everyone stayed put in their "own" country, wages would be tickety-boo? Do you also believe that migration *within* a country (eg. from northern England to London) depresses wages? If so, would you ban/restrict that too? And if not, what's the difference?

Submitted by danrawnsley on Wed, 28/09/2011 - 19:03

Sorry for taking so long to reply. I have very limited access to the internet at the moment. Tubeworker has made the point about depressing wages. But further to that, should socialists just follow the prejudices of workers and attempt to appeal to them? Surely the working class can only fight capitalism effectively from a perspective of international solidarity. What about workers who vote for the BNP? Should we attempt to play to their prejudices?

Also, please reply to my earlier questions:

1. What do you think about the practice of imprisoning children?
2. Do you think immigration controls are desirable?

Submitted by Clive on Thu, 29/09/2011 - 12:48

It's not really your argument, though, is it? According to your argument, people moving from low-waged parts of the UK to high-waged parts would automatically depress wages - and should therefore be stopped, or at least restricted, from doing so.

That people don't think about imposing controls on the movement of the commodity 'labour' within the UK but do between nations isn't because of some natural difference; the difference is a human-made one - 'nations', with borders.

In fact, in the modern world, capital's ability to move internationally to wherever labour is cheapest is always a threat to the highest-paid workers. The problem is precisely that capital is international. Our only answer to that is to be international, too - which means uniting across borders, rather than seeing other workers (whether they're immigrants or low-paid workers elsewhere) as our enemy (or the source of the problem).

It's not an easy argument to win, I'll grant you. But that's fundamentally because the workers' movement is in such poor shape to make the kinds of international links it needs to in order to oppose capital internationally.

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Dale Farm: keep up the solidarity!

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 12:58

The families facing eviction at the Dale Farm travellers’ site near Basildon in Essex have been granted a legal injunction (until Friday 22 September) preventing the council from entering the site to clear away caravans and the built structures — the homes of over 50 families.

This is the latest, and most critical stage, in a ten year battle between the travellers (who own the land) and the council who refused permission to the residents to develop the land.

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Southampton strikes back on

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 12:53

Social care workers at Southampton council voted on Wednesday 14 September to take further strike action on Thursday 6 October as workers’ war against the Tory council’s pay cuts approaches its fifth month.

Other groups of workers will meet to discuss joining October’s strike.

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Doncaster, Birmingham and Shropshire council workers to strike

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 12:43

Workers at Doncaster, Birmingham and Shropshire councils will strike on 22 and 23 September as local government bosses seek to impose further cuts.

Doncaster Unison secretary Jim Board said the council wanted a “bloodbath”. “The average mid-grade worker would lose £3,000 — while being expected to work for longer”, Board said. “People would have to strike for a month for it to cost them anything like that.”

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Pace quickens in construction fight

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 12:41

Five of the eight construction contractors threatening to withdraw from the union-negotiated agreement governing workers’ pay and conditions have issued the Unite union with legal notice of their intention to introduce new contracts from 7 December.

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Intransigence and betrayal in the General Strike

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 12:38

Tim Thomas continues a series of articles on the British Film Institute’s Ken Loach retrospective with a review of Days of Hope, his TV series looking at class struggle in early 20th century Britain.

Jim Allen, author of the reprehensible play Perdition, wrote the script for this 4-part TV production. Allen’s themes, intensely focused on the class struggle, are about intransigence and betrayal in real historical circumstances — here, the history of working-class organisation from the First World War to the General Strike.

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Students: resist state clampdown

Submitted by Matthew on 21 September, 2011 - 12:23

Three supporters of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) were arrested on 19 September following a banner-drop at the Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham.

In a move plainly intended to intimidate anti-cuts protesters, the three were charged with a minor road traffic offense (causing danger to road traffic users — although the prosecution admitted that no damage or injury resulted from the three’s actions).

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