Solidarity 083, 03 November 2005

Belgians battling for their pensions

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 22:42

On Friday 28 October the Belgian trade unions staged a second 24-hour national strike opposing government plans to increase the retirement age from 58 to 60.

Unlike on 7 October, when only the ABVV/FGTB federation, with links to the Socialist Party, went on strike, all the trade union federations participated.

A hundred thousand joined a march in the capital Brussels, many of them brought there by trains which ran throughout the strike just for the purpose of transporting protestors.

The marchers wore green, red and blue, the colours of the three main union federations. Their banners read

Unite the fragments

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 11:16

By Joan Trevor

The workers of the SNCM ferry company have voted a return to work after 24 days’ strike. They had been protesting against government plans to privatise the company. They voted to stop their protest only after the government threatened to put the company into liquidation. The vote was 519 for a return to work and 73 against.

It is disappointing, if not surprising, that the dispute ended in defeat. Especially since throughout Marseille there were a number of disputes ongoing, against, effectively, the same government policies.

The union federations, however, are not uniting the

A programme for unity

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 11:15

Right now class politics are not being articulated by the labour movement.

Our movement does not organise an effective fight against the thousands of social atrocities which all workers, but especially the most oppressed sections of the working class, are subjected to. Our movement will rise again and recover its confidence and fight back. The job of socialists is fight hard against division and argue for the kinds of policies that can really address the racism and poverty that capitalism breeds. Bits of funding for this or that community project which this or that group is left to compete for

The bitter fruits of communalism

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 11:13

There was nothing progressive about the riot that broke out in the Lozells area of Handsworth, Birmingham over the weekend of 21-23 October. The disturbances were fuelled by poverty, racism, mass hysteria, criminal drug gangs, religion and communalism.

The disturbances were sparked by a rumour that had spread throughout the Afro-Caribbean community over a period of months: that a 14-year old black girl had been gang-raped by an Asian shopkeeper and his friends.

The police have been investigating this rumour for some time, but have yet to find any evidence for it. The explanation offered by

“Once we knew a bit more about the man. . .”

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 11:09

This letter from campaigning anti-capitalist journalist Greg Palast is a comment on our Open Letter to Tony Benn (Solidarity 3/83), a piece which detailed now a number of Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis had signed a petition calling for Tariq Aziz to be released from jail. The petition was launched in the UK by George Galloway.

I don’t know all the facts, but it does seem you’ve done a heck of a lot of hard and valuable work deconstructing fake “causes” like support for a war criminal such as Tariq Aziz.

As someone who went to jail during the Seventies protesting the criminality of Nixon and

Galloway and oil-for-food: the facts

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 11:07

By Sacha Ismail

George Galloway is facing a renewed scandal over his links with Iraq’s former Ba’thist regime, with both the US Senate committee which he savaged in May and a separate United Nations inquiry alleging he received money from Saddam Hussein’s oil-for-food programme.

On Tuesday 25 October, the Senate sub-committee investigating corruption in the $64 billion oil-for-food programme, which was intended to alleviate the humanitarian impact of economic sanctions on Iraq, published a new report claiming that Galloway’s estranged wife, Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received$150,000 (£85,000) from

Trotsky on Bonapartism in Mexico

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 11:05

After the Mexican revolution (1910-1920) ended with the exhaustion of the major combatants, a Bonapartist regime was established. It took the form of a ruling party (called the PRI for most of its history), which integrated trade unions, peasant organisations and business groups within its structures. Leaders of these organisations delivered votes and suppressed struggles.

President Lazaro Cárdenas (1934-40) was instrumental in perfecting this form of political rule. His government also redistributed millions of acres of land to peasants while industrial workers gained higher wages and wider

Bonapartism in Venezuela

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 11:03

“By Bonapartism we mean a regime in which the economically dominant class, having the qualities necessary for democratic methods of government, finds itself compelled to tolerate – in order to preserve its possessions – the uncontrolled command of a military and police apparatus over it, of a crowned ‘saviour’. This kind of situation is created in periods when the class contradictions have become particularly acute; the aim of Bonapartism is to prevent explosions.”

Leon Trotsky, Again on the question of Bonapartism, March 1935, in Writings 1934-35

“I said this before becoming president…

Unravelling the issues

Published on: Fri, 04/11/2005 - 10:59

We have started a discussion in Solidarity on the issue of “left-wing anti-semitism”, with an editorial in the last issue of the paper and an eaxtended review of Preachers of Hatred by Pierre-André Taguieff, a major French-language study of the issue. The articles can be found at:

We invite further contributions to the discussion.

conspiracy theories

I want to raise a few questions and make a few points in response to your welcome editorial “What is left anti-Semitism?”.

First: why are you so anxious to assert that “left wing anti-semites

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