Solidarity 259, 3 October 2012

Protests say “Rajoy out”

Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets of Madrid on 25 September and marched on Spain’s parliament building as MPs discussed its 2013 budget.

The demonstrations were called by a coordination originating in the “Indignados” movement, who set up protest camps in Spanish cities in 2011.

Many demonstrators were demanding new elections. The manifesto said: “Winning an election does not give the government the right to act as it wants, betraying the voters who elected it.

Migrants evicted in Calais

Wednesday 25 September began days of evictions and arrests of the 200 migrants who are still sleeping rough and in tents and other makeshift shelters in Calais.

Although police harassment is an everyday occurrence in Calais, this is a step-up, if not a repeat of the exceptional brutality of three years ago, when a camp set up by Afghan migrants was razed to the ground.

Industrial news in brief

Cleaners and security guards employed by Carlisle Cleaning and Support Services working for First TransPennine Express (FTPE) struck on 1 October in protest at a pay freeze imposed by the employer.

Fighting the bosses' plans on London Underground

Tube drivers’ unions ASLEF and RMT are balloting their driver members for industrial action after it emerged that train testing workers could be asked to test driverless trains as early as this month.

Cleaners discuss coordinated strike

Cleaning workers across Britain could take part in a national, co-ordinated strike, as rail workers’ union RMT discusses how to galvanise and bring together its several live disputes involving cleaners.

Workers on London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, London Midland, East Coast, Tyne and Wear Metro, and elsewhere could be involved in the strike, which may be a 48-hour action in October or November.

AIDS: where have we got to?

Just over 30 years ago, the disease soon to be called AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency disorder), but then termed GRID (gay-related immune deficiency), was first reported in the US. Sufferers predominantly came from the “four H’s”, homosexual men, heroin users, haemophiliacs and, curiously, Haitians.

Many had unusual infections, including a type of pneumonia, and a rare cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma). Death rates were high, the cause being infections that the body was unable to fight, due to the loss of a vital component of the immune system, CD4+T lymphocytes or T helper cells.

Why George Galloway is suing NUS

The debate in the student movement over the Assange affair and rape apology has taken a surreal turn with George Galloway suing the National Union of Students.

The controversy has focused around a motion to the 26 September meeting of NUS National Executive, at which 13 women members moved a motion condemning apologies for non-consensual sex and saying NUS should not “offer” or “share” a platform with those who make such apologies — including Tony Benn and George Galloway, because of their comments in the Assange debate.

Bloody dilemmas in Syria

Unless an independent and powerful initiative of Syrian toilers develops we are faced with a great danger of devastation in Syria which will last many years even if the Ba'th regime is overthrown.

The general picture gives the impression that the course of events has arrived at the gates of a Lebanon-like bloody civil war and chaos that will last many years.

Paul Levi: Laying the foundations of the united front

Paul Levi (1883-1930) was one of the founders of the German Communist Party (KPD) and a powerful voice in the early Communist International.

Levi was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Hechingen, south-west Germany. In 1906 he joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and became part of its left wing along with Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

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