Solidarity 394, 17 February 2016

Syria: the non-ceasefire


Simon Nelson

On 12 February, talks in Munich produced an agreement to implement a so-called cessation of hostilities in Syria within a week, and allow the delivery of aid to besieged areas.

On 15 February, however, Unicef said that Russia had bombed three hospitals in rebel held areas, and it is explicit that it will not cease its air strikes against rebel forces. Turkey shelled the positions of Syrian-Kurdish forces on every one of the three days following the Munich agreement.

Industrial news in brief


Gemma Short, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

On Wednesday 24 February, workers in Further Education (FE) colleges in England will strike over pay.

University and College Union (UCU) members struck in November but this time they will be joined by workers who are organised by Unison. The dispute is in response to the imposition of a pay freeze by the employer organisation, the Association of Colleges. Imposing a pay award without union agreement is an unprecedented action by the employers, but to be expected given the confidence of the employers. Why are they confident?

Labour youth and student conferences


Michael Elms

On the weekend of 26-28 February, the Annual General Meetings of Labour Students and Young Labour will be held in Scarborough.

Previously a bastion of the Blairite right, with a reputation for venal careerism, sinister banality (networking events!), and barely-legal bureaucratic skulduggery, Labour Students has been buffeted by the winds of change following Jeremy Corbyn's election. Across the UK, Labour Clubs have seen a surge of interest from leftwing young people from September.

Verses from the First World War: poets against profiteering


Janine Booth

As the First World War progressed, working-class people became more aware, and resentful, of those profiteering from their suffering. While men were wounded and died in the trenches, and men, women and children at home suffered appalling poverty, capitalists saw the war as an opportunity to make money. Poets addressed this with anger, mockery and wit. The three poems here were all published by anti-war labour movement newspaper The Herald a century ago in 1916.

Abolish Trident! Welfare and jobs, not warfare and mass murder



Nuclear weapons — and especially those nuclear weapons whose use would incinerate tens of millions of civilians — are an obscenity. A future Labour government must abolish Trident.

In the first instance, this is a moral question: Ban the Bomb! Imagine, if you can, the worst case: a nuclear attack on the UK in which London and other big cities were destroyed and millions were murdered by a foreign power. Perhaps the attack came from a rogue state run by a strange and insecure freak, perhaps it came from a resurgent Russia run by a ex-secret policeman gangster. What then?

Prevent: not convinced

Omar Raii (Solidarity 390) and Patrick Murphy (Solidarity 391) both draw attention to the shortcomings and potential dangers of the Prevent programme, aimed at countering “extremism”/”radicalisation” in schools and colleges.

Help Luqman Onikosi

In 2007, Luqman Onikosi came to the UK from Nigeria to study at the University of Sussex. Whilst in the UK he developed chronic liver disease. After finishing his degree, he began to work in the Nigerian High Commission, before becoming to ill to continue work. In 2012, the Home Office attempted to deport Luqman. If he had been deported in all likelihood he would have died. Fortunately a successful campaign kept him in the country. Now the the Home Office is trying to deport him again. Support Luqman’s appeal for further legal advice, and a campaign to save his life.

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