Solidarity 017, 22 November 2002

Art and the market

This year's obligatory row over the Turner prize for art has been kicked off by culture minister Kim Howells, who thinks the whole lot, exhibited at the Tate, "cold, mechanical, conceptual bullshit." My own knowledge and understanding of visual art is too limited for me to make a judgement on the Turner nominees. But bigger questions are raised.

Labour movement news in brief

  • Felixstowe wage deal
  • Rails strikes
  • Airport strike
  • the global picture:
    • Bermuda teachers' strike

  • Bush use 'anti-terrorism' to break strikes

Felixstowe wage deal

Stop sell off in Royal Mail!

By a postal worker

Royal Mail still want to sell off its Cash Handling & Distribution section. In a ballot of postal workers affected by their union, The Communication Workers Union, there was a 95% yes vote for strike action.
This sell-off would be the most significant privatisation in the Post Office so far and has huge implications for all postal workers. Under the sell-off plan workers would not have the option to revert to Operational Postal Grades, take early retirement or even leave under the a new redundancy package.

The power of solidarity 1913-14: how Dublin's workers built their union

During the 1980s and 90s Margaret Thatcher's government introduced legislation to shackle the trade unions. New Labour has kept most of these anti-union laws. One of the central aims of these attacks was to end "secondary", or sympathetic strikes. The sympathetic strike has always been a tremendously powerful weapon in the arsenal of the working class. The Tories were trying to reverse working class gains of the 1960s and 70s, when solidarity strikes were used time and again.

China: New faces, same path

By Paul Hampton

China's Stalinist rulers have appointed a new leadership to continue the turn to capitalism begun in 1978.

President Jiang Zemin handed the leadership of the Communist Party to his deputy, Hu Jintao, but retains a tight grip behind the throne. Hu was designated Jiang's successor as far back as 1992 by Deng Xiaoping - the butcher of Tiananmen Square who led China from a USSR-style Stalinist economic system towards capitalism after 1978.

Tube workers make a stand for safety and solidarity

The Tube workers' union RMT has called a strike ballot after London Underground management said that Tube workers who refused to work in conditions which they judged unsafe without a proper fire service would have their pay docked. The Underground bosses refused to give the union a guarantee that it would not take disciplinary action against those workers who took a stand for safety.

Top up fees furore

Tax the rich to fund education
By Faz Velmi

After a long period of quiet, the battle over higher education funding is once again raging in the open. As an unholy alliance of Downing Street, big business and the elite universities pushes openly for higher, or even deregulated, tuition fees, splits at the highest levels of the Labour Party suggest that all is not lost if the student and labour movements respond with clear politics and the maximum possible counter-pressure.

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