Solidarity 357, 18 March 2015

Bangladesh left slams Islamist murderAWLWed, 18/03/2015 - 12:19

Badrul Alam from the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist) spoke to Solidarity about the murder on the streets of Dhaka of the US writer of Bangladeshi background, Avijit Roy.

It is clear that Roy was killed by fundamentalists because there were similar cases in 2004, when a professor from Dhaka University, Humayun Azad, was murdered.

Extremist groups admitted killing Azad, because they held him to be an atheist.

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Reverse, not slow, the cuts!

Submitted by AWL on 18 March, 2015 - 12:14 Author: Gerry Bates

Solidarity went to press before George Osborne's pre-election Budget on 18 March. All the signs were that Osborne would follow up his 3 December autumn statement with a few tax cuts, mainly for the well-off.

The autumn statement projected further social cuts estimated by the conservative Institute for Fiscal Studies to total £55 billion over the next five years, more than the £35 billion slashed since 2010.

Osborne has already said he wants £12 billion further welfare cuts.

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Political change in Israel?

Submitted by AWL on 18 March, 2015 - 12:10 Author: Rosalind Robson

As we go to press Israel's current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his party Likud, are neck-and-neck with the opposition in exit polls from Israel’s 17 March election.

The election was turned into a dramatic national referendum on the future of Israel when Netanyahu ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying: “I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state and evacuate territory gives territory away to radical Islamist attacks against Israel.” He also promised to build more settlements in occupied east Jerusalem.

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Industrial news in brief

Submitted by AWL on 18 March, 2015 - 12:02 Author: Charlotte Zalens and Gemma Short

Pat Hutton, GMB rep at Queen Elizabeth Hospital where workers have been on strike to win the same terms and conditions as in-house workers, spoke to Solidarity.

"Since our last strikes at Christmas, GMB has been going round hospitals where they recruited scabs — in Liverpool, Coventry, Westminster, Chelsea, Kingston — organising to stop it.

A lot of the scabs were casuals and didn’t know what was going on. With the help of GMB in those places we put a stop to it.

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Universities, capitalism and free speech

Submitted by AWL on 18 March, 2015 - 11:19

For centuries, university campuses have been, relatively speaking, a haven within capitalist society for free debate and criticism.

A high point, for much of the 20th century, was the right which universities in Latin America won to keep the police off their campuses and have university officials elected by staff and students. That began with the University Reform Movement in Córdoba, in northern Argentina, which opposed a focus on learning by rote, inadequate libraries, poor instruction, and restrictive admission criteria, and spread across the subcontinent.


Submitted by AWL on Sun, 22/03/2015 - 21:39

Freedom of speech and organisation on campus

UCLU notes

• That there has been a rise in instances of meetings, debates and publications being suppressed on university campuses, whether by campus authorities, the Home Office/police or sometimes by student unions themselves.
• That in one particularly alarming case recently a university management (at Birkbeck) closed down a conference because a far-right racist group threatened to picket it.
• That the government’s proposed Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill risks challenging freedom of speech on campus by allowing the government to insist that universities ban speakers that it disapproves of from speaking.
• That this year is the 50th anniversary of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, when students at the University of California, Berkeley demanded that their university management lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students' right to free speech and academic freedom.

UCLU believes

• That the right to free expression is a fundamental human right, one that is most crucial for the student movement and the most oppressed in society. Freedom of speech and organisation are essential for any struggle against oppression to be successful.
• That for freedom of expression to be genuinely established on campus, it must extend to those whose views may be regarded as objectionable.
• That if a precedent is set that free speech can be curtailed on campus, whether by the state, college authorities or students, that precedent can be turned against the student movement, campus protests and liberation struggles.
• That student unions should generally champion free speech and organisation, and advocate their curtailment only in extreme circumstances, such as when speakers incite violence.
• That fascist organising and presence on campus must be opposed and stopped, not because it leads to offensive speech, but because it contributes to violent, organised attacks on students, especially oppressed groups.

UCLU resolves

• To campaign for freedom of speech and organisation on campus and in broader society.
• To continue to advocate “No platform for fascists” as an exception to this general approach.

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No truth without freedom!AWLWed, 18/03/2015 - 11:03

Karl Marx wrote in favour of free speech, free criticism, and free expression in these passages of an article of February 1843, “Comments on the latest Prussian Censorship Instruction”

“According to this law,” namely, Article II, “the censorship should not prevent serious and modest investigation of truth, nor impose undue constraint on writers, or hinder the book trade from operating freely.”

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Rights for migrants! Workers' unity!

Submitted by AWL on 18 March, 2015 - 10:51 Author: Editorial

As we go to press on 17 March, up to 300 detainees at the Harmondsworth immigrant removal centre near London are reported on hunger strike.

And detainees at up to seven other centres, out of Britain’s eleven holding about 3,000 people at any one time, have joined the protest for shorter or longer spans of time.

Because of the conditions in the centres, it is hard to know exactly what the detainees’ demands are, but reports include calls for:

•cancellation of a deportation flight to Pakistan

•a 28-day limit on detention

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Fascists are reorganising and regrouping

Submitted by AWL on 18 March, 2015 - 10:37

Solidarity spoke to a member of Sheffield anti-fascist network.

What state are the EDL in and what are they up to?

Attendance at EDL demos has been slowly declining for a few years, apart from a spike in interest after Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich. They seem to have flatlined at about 300-500 turnout at each demo.

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What election?

Submitted by AWL on 18 March, 2015 - 10:30 Author: Harry Davies

It turns out that there’s going to be an election soon.

But if you’ve been reading the Daily Mail exclusively over the last couple of weeks you might not know that. They seem to be very disinclined to mentioning it.

This, let us not forget, is quite a big one; we’re definitely going to get a new government of some form. Search the Mail’s online presence as much as you like; there’s barely a hint. Why is this? Maybe they’re holding back for a big push for Cameron nearer the time? Maybe they're torn between UKIP and the Tories?

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