Solidarity 072, 28 April 2005

A Dispute with "Revolutionary History" - Reply to John McIlroy


Sean Matgamna

[Ed. note, Sept 2010: This is a reply to the short version of JM's article. Both appeared in Solidarity. By a curious oversight, when the longer version of McIlroy's article was put up here, the reply to it was omitted. The Menshevik saboteur responsible for this oversight has now been identified and shot, and the reply is published for the first time on the website.

Boycott, or build links?

On 22 April, the Association of University Teachers (AUT), at its conference, voted to impose an academic boycott on two Israeli universities. The decision has led to legal objections, on grounds of which the AUT has told its members to hold off from any action until they receive guidelines from the union; and to demands by some AUT members for a special conference to reconsider.

Leading supporters of the 22 April decision have long argued for a complete academic boycott of all Israeli universities.

Why Longbridge closed without a fight

By Jim Denham

In the end the MG Rover plant at Longbridge closed not with a bang, but a whimper. The factory that in the 1960s and 70s had been a byword for militancy, just lay down and died. Even in 2000, when the previous owners BMW pulled out, there had been angry mass meetings and a huge demonstration through the centre of Birmingham. The few token protests that occurred in April 2005 were pathetic affairs, more like wakes than any sort of serious resistance.

Strike ballot kicks off

Industrial action ballot papers have just been sent out to BBC workers.

The ballot, being run in protest at plans for thousands of job cuts and further privatisation of the BBC, covers members of BECTU, NUJ, and Amicus.

Voting ends on May 11, and representatives from all three unions are due to meet on the following day to lay plans for a strike, if members accept the recommendation of negotiators and vote in favour of industrial action.

AWL: what we are, what we do and why we do it


Sean Matgamna

Over a period of two centuries and more, humankind has made tremendous strides in developing its power to control nature and, in terms of medicine and surgery in all their aspects, over itself. But we have proved as yet unable to break through into the higher stage of civilisation whose objective preconditions have long existed - the stage characterised by rational, human control over our society, and over nature, by a harmonious relationship with the eco-system on which everything depends.

A statement from GUPS

In Solidarity 3/71 we wrote about an anti-semitic leaflet issued by an Islamist member of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS). GUPS have dissociated themselves from this leaflet. Their statement:

Hackney College strike

Lecturers at Hackney Community College have taken strike action over planned redundancies.

The college has a £1.6 million deficit, and has been threatening job cuts for some time - they had said, through voluntary severance. Now compulsory redundancies have been announced.

The job cuts affect many college departments, including teacher training, special needs, adult literacy, ceramics and pottery, and sign language courses. Some courses - such as art, dance and drama -will be made full-fee, making them unaffordable to many in the local community.

PFI keeps junk food in schools

By Martin Thomas

After the uproar created by Jamie Oliver's television series "School Dinners", the Government promised an extra £280 million to improve school meals in England.

Many schools, however, are stuck with their existing junk food for years to come, because of Private Finance Initiative contracts.

If the schools withdraw from the contracts, they will be legally liable to penalties equal to the profits that the junk-food contractor would have made on the remaining years of the contract.

Students Against Sweatshops launched

Twenty-five student activists met in London on 23 April to discuss and plan the development of a major new student campaign, Students Against Sweatshops.

Participants included reps from People and Planet and Speak.

Plans were made to stage a seminar at the G8 counter summit in Edinburgh in July, and set up initial organisational structures.

The conception of the campaign is to bring together individuals and existing groups to work against sweatshops.

Fighting for a workers' government

One thing is certain about the General Election. The new government after 5 May will be one that most working-class people regard as arrogant, unresponsive, accountable, and one that is attuned more to the drives of global capital than to the wants and needs of most voters.

A third Blair-Labour regime, a Labour/ Lib-Dem coalition, or a Tory/ Lib-Dem coalition - those are about the only possibilities, and none look good.

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