Solidarity 273, 6 February 2013

Workers plan action to defend Bob Carnegie

Australian construction workers and dock workers will take action on Monday 11 February in solidarity with Bob Carnegie, as construction bosses begin their court case to victimise him for his role in a successful construction dispute in August-October 2012.

Council tax benefit cuts hit poor

From April, the system of funding council tax benefit is being “devolved” to local authorities, but with only 90% of funds being made available.

Thus, every local authority will face a 10% shortfall which has to be made up. It is to be left up to individual councils to decide how to do this, but it will almost certainly mean that those who pay no or very little council tax will lose some of the benefit they currently receive.

Because of “redistributive factors”, and certain exemptions that will remain, this loss will be substantially higher than 10%.

Boom for profiteers

According to research by investment bank Seymour Pierce, the public sector is likely to be contracting-out £101 billion worth of work by 2014-15.

Already the value of contracts awarded each year has doubled in four years since 2008. The rise has not been steady, but rapidly increasing in the last year.

60% of the contracts awarded in 2012 were from local authorities rather than central government, but the bankers say “healthcare is also seen as a growth market, with the value of private sector deals rising from £157 million to £552 million between 2008 and 2012”.

Industrial reports

On Saturday 2 February, around 70 cleaners held an angry and inspiring protest at the Barbican Centre in London.

Ballot in anti-victimisation fight

Teachers at Bishop Challoner School in East London will hold an indicative ballot for strikes against the victimisation of an NUT rep.

School managers are taking revenge for a successful campaign to resist a draconian observation and inspection policy.

NUT rank and file pushes for strikes

Activists at National Union of Teachers (NUT) “pay briefings” have called on the Executive to reverse its decision of 24 January and name dates for strikes against Michael Gove’s pay reforms as soon as possible.

Is Gove irreversible?

On the day of the June 1987 General Election journalist Peter Wilby, then education editor of the Independent, predicted that “The return of a Conservative government… will mean the break-up of the state education system which has existed since 1944”.

It has taken twenty-five years, but it looks as if Wilby will see his prediction come true.

Keeping their dreams alive

Tim Thomas previews Ken Loach’s new documentary, The Spirit of ’45.

Ken Loach’s documentary, to be released in March, is probably not going to be seen at your local cinema. You are more likely to be offered Sylvester Stallone in Bullet to the Head (two stars and totally worthless).

Spirit of ’45 should be shown in every cinema in the land but it won’t be; you can maybe catch it on Film Four. You might guess the reason why!

The production team (Sixteen Films) are letting groups book it for public film showings. Getting this film shown depends on you.

Syriza: reverse drift to right!

Greece’s three-party coalition government, under the leadership of Antonis Samaras and the right-wing New Democracy (ND) party, is trying to stabilise itself.

It is trying to construct an alliance with the most reactionary and backward elements of the Greek population — conservative older people, and petty bourgeois layers who yearn for “law and order”. And it could succeed.

Alfred Rosmer: From revolutionary syndicalism to Trotskyism

Alfred Rosmer (1877-1964) was a leading figure in the French revolutionary syndicalist union movement at the turn of the 20th century. Along with many others in that movement he joined the French Communist Party when it was created after the Russian revolution. Later he became an ally of Leon Trotsky.

Rosmer was born in America, the son of a worker who had fled France after the Paris Commune of 1871. In 1884 the family returned to France. Rosmer became attracted to anarchism while working as a proof-reader.

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