Solidarity 022, 23 January 2003

Time to challenge the testing culture

Published on: Sun, 02/02/2003 - 23:25

The NUT National Executive has agreed to canvass its members for a boycott of some SAT tests. Teachers must now renew their campaigning against the testing culture. Pat Yarker looks at the background to the years of testing and targets in state schools.

"I do remember the teacher coming in and saying 'We're going to be doing a little test today' and we were sat down and it was really really quiet". That is the abiding memory of the first Key Stage 2 test from a student who was part of that cohort upon whom all the testing and target-setting regimes from 1988 until now have been imposed: SATs

No to teaching on the cheap!

Published on: Sun, 02/02/2003 - 23:24

By Pat Murphy, Leeds NUT
On 15 January all the unions representing workers in schools, except the National Union of Teachers (NUT), signed up to an agreement which could radically change the structure of the school workforce. If implemented it will deal with the chronic teacher shortage caused by Government education policies - by employing people other than teachers to teach.

A new type of support worker, to be called a "higher level teaching assistant", will take whole classes in certain circumstances. In addition schools will employ "cover supervisors" to take lessons while qualified

Firefighters need your solidarity!

Published on: Sat, 01/02/2003 - 08:27

By Chris Reynolds

plus Solidarity round-up
"The Government and employers' offer isn't in any way acceptable. It boils down to their wish list for the last 15 years, cuts, closures, downgrading the pension and so on for 4%. That isn't something we can negotiate on. Our action will continue till we get a decent wage increase without strings. In south east London our stations are solid."

Gary Thorogood, Group Secretary, Southern Command Group 4 (responsible for eight stations in south east London)

"It is clear that the Government and the employers have made negotiations out of the question. Every

Frontline poetry: The Internationale

Published on: Tue, 28/01/2003 - 06:43

The famous socialist battle cry was heard during the Tiannamenn Square protests of 1989. Such words can help form a link from the authentic socialism of the past to a renewed socialism of the future.

Arise ye workers from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We'll change henceforth the old tradition
And spurn the dust to win the prize.
So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally
And the

An inspiration for a new generation

Published on: Tue, 28/01/2003 - 06:43

Veteran Chinese Trotskyist Wang Fan-hsi dies by Din Wong

also Alexander Buchman
On 16 January the funeral of the veteran Chinese Trotskyist Wang Fan-hsi took place. He was ninety five. As well as friends and family there were representatives and comrades from many of the revolutionary groups in Britain.

Alan Thornett spoke on behalf of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International about Wang's importance as a Trotskyist and other speakers highlighted his role as a teacher and a guide to many younger Chinese socialists and community activists. Professor Gregor Benton, who, with his family

The Writing On The Wall: Crimes And Misdemeanours

Published on: Tue, 28/01/2003 - 06:42
  • Iraq attack “self defence”?
  • ... the causes of crime
  • the other favourite scapegoat

Iraq attack “self defence”?

Blair’s latest tack on the planned war with Iraq, is to pose it as (pre-emptive) self-defence: “a terrorist attack on Britain is inevitable”. Leaving aside that he has not established any link between Iraq and terrorist attacks around the globe, isn’t self-defence supposed to be proportionate, using only reasonable force?
So how can he justify the following? - this information from a ‘strictly confidential’ UN document, dated 10 December 2002, which examines “Likely Humanitarian

Paedophiles: How to combine freedom and protection

Published on: Mon, 27/01/2003 - 11:54

The arrest of several high-profile celebrities on charges of downloading child pornography, and rumours of moves against even more highly placed individuals (MPs and civil servants), has put the spotlight on issues of adult-child sex, pornography and paedophilia. What should socialists think about it all?

Is it just a case of reactionary hysteria and sensationalism fuelled by circulation-hungry tabloids? Is it a case of "it's the rich that get the pleasure"? Are working class children being preyed upon by the rich and powerful with impunity? Gerry Byrne, in the first of two articles, examines

The British left and the Muslim Brotherhood

Published on: Mon, 27/01/2003 - 11:51

We remember. We learned. We remain...

Almost all the left now hails the Muslim Association - the main British offshoot of the biggest Arab Islamic-fundamentalist party, the Muslim Brotherhood - as the authentic representative of "the Muslim community" in Britain. Some left-wing papers simply gloat about the extra numbers which the Muslim Association's ample funds and resources can bring to demonstrations they co-sponsor with the left's Stop The War campaign; others claim that a coalition is clever tactics, enabling socialists to win over Muslim youth brought to the marches by the hapless

No to war! No to Saddam!

Published on: Mon, 27/01/2003 - 11:50

The build up for war on Iraq continues at a frightening pace, but the international opposition to war is also growing.
The build up for war on Iraq continues at a frightening pace. This month the Government sent a further 26,000 soldiers to the Gulf.

Fortunately the international opposition to war is also growing. According to one poll outright opposition to war in the UK now stands at 47%.

On 18 January up to 500,000 marched in Washington, USA, 200,000 in France, and thousands more in major cities across the world - from Pakistan to Japan to Ecuador.

But on what basis should the

The Weekly Worker Group ("CPGB"): Under the Sign of the Oxymoron

Published on: Wed, 22/01/2003 - 22:31
  • See also: Weekly Worker: A Little Light on the W W Group ("CPGB")
    Song of the Weekly Worker:

    I'm so small! But I'm poisonous too;
    What I say is at best but half-true:
    I spread gossip thin,
    So they'll think I'm well in;
    But I'm useful, torn up in the loo!
    *(And see appendix by the Marxist-Limerick Tendency)

    The contradictions of the 'CPGB'/WWG
    By Sean Matgamna

    Trotsky, describing it in himself, called it "topographical cretinism". He'd have found a less flattering name for my version of it. I get lost easily.
    Author's Doppelganger: Oh, a metaphor! You are about to confess your political sins -

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