Solidarity 341, 25 October 2014

Backlash against Hong Kong democracy protests

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 13:58

Charlotte Zalens

Talks between protestors and the government in Hong Kong reopened on Thursday 16 October.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will not be attending as protesters have refused to talk to him!

On Tuesday 21 Leung said that while Beijing would not back down on vetting candidates (for 2017 elections for the Chief Executive), the selection committee could become more democratic. This has been described by the government as an “olive branch”. It is a long way from the core demands of the protesters for full democracy.

Violent clashes with police have become more frequent. On Wednesday 15th

Trade unionism should not be a crime

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 13:20

Gemma Short

Shahrokh Zamani and Reza Shahabi are just two of many who are in Iranian jails, locked up by the government for organising independent trade unions and workers’ organisations.

Whilst trade unions are not technically illegal under Iranian law, state sponsored unions are used to quash independent unions. Activists like Shahrokh and Reza are charged with offences such as “propaganda against the state” and “acting against national security by establishing or membership of groups opposed to the system.”

Shahrokh was initially arrested in June 2011 and charged with “acting against national security

Don't believe what you read in the Mail

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 13:16

Harry Davies

Over the last fortnight the national press has picked up a story about a violent incident at Hinde House School in Sheffield.

To take the version initially printed by the Sheffield Star and then picked up by the Mail... three Roma Slovak pupils attacked another boy following an argument “about a football”. The victim was “punched to the ground” and left with a broken nose. The school has now, the reports continue, been presented with a 1,600 name petition demanding that, in the words of one parent “something be done”.

Other reports breathlessly describe pupils being “stabbed, mugged and nearly

Ukrainian left: growing but from a small base

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 13:12

Marko Bojcun from the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign attended the conference “War in Ukraine and the Politics of the Left” in Kiev in September. He spoke to Solidarity.

The conference brought together people from European countries including Russia, Sweden, Moldova, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Britain. It reviewed the situation in Ukraine, particularly the war and discussed the response of the international and Ukrainian left.

Labour movement speakers addressed attacks on living standards and wages; others talked about working with refugees coming out of the zones; we heard from lawyers

The public face of the activist

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 13:00

Martin Thomas

A review of La Lutte Des Signes: 40 Ans d’Autocollants Politiques, by Zvonimir Novak

Zvonimir Novak argues that in France, progressively over the last 40 years, the autocollant has become the “means of expression of those who do not have access to the mainstream media”.

Not just in France, but (he says) in Calcutta, in Dakar, worldwide.

I don’t know why the autocollant is still rare in Britain. Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty are now pioneering this field, producing a first range of autocollants.

The relative rarity of autocollants in Britain reflects in the fact that there is no special

Ready to stand up for reforms

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 12:56

Janet Burstall

Gough Whitlam has died. He led Australia’s reforming Labor government of 1972-5, which was sacked by the Governor-General (as representative of the Queen) following a budget crisis.

I feel frustration at the lack of Labor leaders who are forthright in speaking and acting for broad ranging equality and reform as Gough Whitlam did.

Labor after Gough chose Hawke and Keating as leaders. They proved, with tripartism, that the Australian Labor Party (ALP) had rejected Gough’s failures as seen by the ruling class.

As [Australia’s current right-wing prime minister Tony] Abbott and his dinosaur

Arm the people to defeat Daesh!

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 12:43

Muayad Ahmed is the secretary of the central committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq. He is currently in Britain after spending time recently in Sulaimaniya (in Iraqi Kurdistan) and in Baghdad. He spoke to Martin Thomas about conditions in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.

MA: People’s daily life has changed dramatically. People are worried, always expecting the worst — carnage, slaughter by Daesh [the “Islamic State” movement or ISIS], and so on.

A very bad atmosphere exists in Kurdistan. And every day in Baghdad, people see the effects of Daesh, their killings, car bombs and so on.


Help the Kurds defeat ISIS

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 12:37


Fighting has continued across Syria and Iraq between ISIS (“Islamic State”) forces and Kurdish militia and Iraqi military. Airstrikes around the town Kobane (in Syria near the Turkish border) of by the US-led military coalition have intensified, and the march of ISIS has been slowed.

However the airstrikes have not forced back ISIS in either Iraq or Syria. The prospect of a drawn-out conflict remains. Four hundred ISIS fighters are reported to have entered the Iraqi towns of Fallujah and nearby Karma. The town of Hit, 80 miles from Baghdad, has also been claimed by ISIS. While ISIS has been

Ebola: Not everything is the fault of evil capitalists

Published on: Sat, 25/10/2014 - 12:29

Les Hearn

Paul Vallely (Ebola’s victims: “only Africans”?, 8 Oct) runs the risk of weakening a case by overstatement. 

When Ebola virus broke out this year, no one had any reason to expect it would take such a hold. The average death toll had been 67 a year since its identification in 1976. The current official total of 4,500 is already three times that of all previous recorded deaths in the last 37 years. Who could have predicted that? Who would have been brave enough after the fuss about bird ‘flu where millions of doses of vaccine were stockpiled unnecessarily? Niels Bohr’s quote about prediction is

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