Solidarity 283, 24 April 2013

IMF indicts Osborne

Economic figures published on Thursday 25 April will show whether the UK is technically “in recession” again.

Even if the figures escape the formal definition of a “triple dip” since 2008, jobs, services, benefits, and wages are definitely in a slump, and set to continue that way for years.

The coalition government claims this is an inevitable price for the supposed (but imaginary) “overspending” by the last Labour government on public services. Conservative and mainstream voices are questioning Osborne’s “inevitability”.

Danish teachers locked out

Since April 1, almost 70,000 Danish state school teachers have been locked-out by their employers. The lockout is the latest in a series of austerity measures initiated by the so-called centre-left government, led by social-democratic Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

After its first year, which included some policy changes such as increased rights for migrants and LGBT people, enthusiasm for the new government has drastically waned and given place to resignation and repulsion as well as resistance.

PCS elections: vote Independent Left!

Members of the Independent Left network within the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) are standing in the upcoming National Executive Committee elections alongside members of the Independent Socialists.

They are standing on a platform of transforming the PCS to make it a rank-and-file-led union with radical, imaginative industrial strategies.

For more information on the platform and the candidates, see here.

Industrial news in brief

On Monday 22 April, 80 local residents and trade unionists attended a Fire Brigades Union (FBU) meeting to protest against the closure of Downham fire station in Lewisham, south east London.

The local campaign is being driven by the FBU, led by local rep Kelly Macmillan.

The meeting was addressed by local Labour MP Heidi Alexander and London Assembly members Darren Johnson (Green Party) and Len Duvall (Labour).

Ford workers ballot for strikes

Workers at the Ford stamping and tooling plant in Dagenham have begun voting in a ballot for strikes over the closure of the plant.

652 workers will take part in the ballot, which closes on 30 April. The closure of the plant, along with another factory in Southampton, was announced in October 2012. The ballot follows protests at both the Southampton and Dagenham plants, organised by Unite, on 18 April. The closures threaten 1,500 jobs directly, and more in Ford’s supply chain.

The pogroms did not end in 1945

Anti-Jewish pogroms continued in Europe after the defeat of the Nazis, as this report from the US “orthodox” Trotskyist paper, The Militant, of 11 August 1947, shows. The “orthodox” Trotskyists tended to argue that the Jews were soon doomed, whatever happened, short of socialist revolution: see the “Third Camp” heterodox Trotskyists’ debate with them on that.

Palestine last week witnessed a reign of terror against the civilian Jewish population that matched the goriest pogroms staged by the Nazis.

The ghetto fighters of Warsaw

Seventy years ago, in April 1943, the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose up against the Nazis.

On 28 September 1939 Hitler’s troops had captured Warsaw and taken control of Poland. Three million Jews lived in Poland as a whole: 350-400,000, a third of Warsaw’s population, were Jews.

The Nazis herded the Jews into medieval style ghettoes —smaller and smaller areas in 45 separate ghetto towns across Poland — where Jews worked for German war industries. The first was set up in Lodz in April 1940.

Greece: solidarity with migrant workers

Nea Manolada, 160 miles west of Athens, is an area where thousands of migrant workers are employed in agriculture.

On Wednesday 17 April, about 200 strawberry pickers, migrant workers from Bangladesh, went to the company offices to ask for more than six months’ wages they had not received.

Three foremen employed by the landowner, a big capitalist strawberry exporter, met the workers and stonewalled their demands. The workers protested.

Thatcher saved their Britain, their privileges

Andrew Gamble is professor of politics at Cambridge University, and author of the major left-wing analysis of Thatcherism, The Free Economy and the Strong State.

He spoke to Martin Thomas from Solidarity about Thatcher and her legacy.

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