Solidarity 112, 18 May 2007

Iraq — troops out now? The debate in AWL

Published on: Thu, 21/06/2007 - 18:04

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty has been discussing the question of the troops in Iraq since the end of the last year. The debate will continue at our conference on 19-20 May. Here, two contributions to the debate (note: the second is not a reply to the first).

“Troops out”

In the face of the carnage brought on by the invasion, occupation and ensuing sectarian conflict, the Iraqi workers' movement must seek to build itself as an active element of social change. Its slogans must be oriented towards cohering the working class as a united, independent force for democracy and liberation.


Debate: what went wrong in the '70s

Published on: Wed, 13/06/2007 - 00:42

Martin Thomas replies to Sheila Cohen

For Tom Unterrainer, click here
For Martin Thomas, click here
For Sheila Cohen, click here

In Solidarity 3/111, Sheila Cohen defines the key fault of the left in the high days of industrial struggle as “failure to build a network out of the militancy and activism of the upsurge period that could have consciously worked out strategies based on two simple but crucial principles — class independence and rank and file membership involvement”.

Incongruously, she then repeats the praise given in her book Ramparts Of Resistance to the Liaison Committee for the

1917: an anti-Jewish pogrom in London

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2007 - 20:51

By Sylvia Pankhurst

The following account by Sylvia Pankhurst is of a police-sponsored pogrom against Jewish immigrants in London’s East End is taken from an issue of Women’s Dreadnought from 26 May 1917.

The great Whitechapel and Commercial Roads run through the heart of the London Jewish and immigrant quarter. Russians, Romanians, Armenians, peoples of all oppressed nationalities live here, Jews forming the majority, for Jews, the people who have no country, are always most cruelly oppressed by tyrannical Governments.

Under the grey skies of this northern [European] city the people of the

Protest at the G8 summit!

Published on: Tue, 29/05/2007 - 11:24

“The credibility of the G8 is at stake,” warned Blairite charitymonger Bono on 15 May, in response to claims that the world's richest governments will use next month's G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, to renege on promises they made on aid at the 2005 summit in Edinburgh.

The opportunism and cynicism of the G8 leaders is certainly something. Russia and Italy, for instance, are pushing to ditch the G8 countries' commitment to raise an extra £25 billion in development assistance cash by 2010. Russian officials justify their retreat by saying that in 2005 they felt sorry for Tony Blair

Blair: Thirteen years of “Labour” serving the rich — a chronology

Published on: Fri, 25/05/2007 - 00:13

Over the 13 years since Tony Blair was elected leader of the Labour Party, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty has, in our publications, analysed, explained and agitated against the politics of New Labour.

John Smith dies

(Socialist Organiser, 19 May 1994)

Many commentators have pointed to the “modernity” of John Smith’s leadership. In fact, John Smith’s political career and beliefs places him in a tradition of middle-class progressivism which dates back to the aftermath of World War One.

Smith can be seen as following in the footsteps trod by many members of a privileged, slightly guilt

Italian left: the end of an era

Published on: Sun, 20/05/2007 - 18:53

By Cath Fletcher

The Rifondazione project has failed, and the Italian left now needs to rebuild. More than a year on from the narrow victory of Romano Prodi’s coalition L’Unione, which includes the Rifondazione majority, both major left currents in the party are looking to alternatives. The trade unions, meanwhile, have announced public sector strikes for early June as negotiations over a new national contract falter.

The Rifondazione majority have enthusiastically embraced joint government with Prodi’s motley collection of Catholic social-democrats and Blairite ex-CPers. Former party leader

Shelter and the housing crisis

Published on: Sat, 19/05/2007 - 11:27

By Stuart Jordan

As you take the escalator out of Euston underground in London, the new hi-tech video advertisements display a load of badly-clothed children pressing on the screens, trying to get out.

The advert then switches to plain red background with the familiar Shelter logo and the caption “These kids need a home. Text ‘Houses’ to join Shelter’s online petition.”

This advert refers to Shelter’s current housing campaign which is lobbying John Prescott (and will be lobbying his successor) to build 20,000 new “affordable social rented” homes on green and brownfield sites across the UK.

Street battles and splits in Gaza

Published on: Sat, 19/05/2007 - 11:25

By Dan Katz

On Monday 14 May Palestinian Interior Minister Hani Qawasmi resigned putting the recently-formed “national unity” government under pressure. Gunmen fought street battles and two dozen fighters were killed.

The Islamist Hamas movement and the more secular, nationalist Fatah, announced a unity government in February after talks brokered by Saudi Arabia. The leaders of Hamas and Fatah agreed a list of ministers and called for a halt to factional fighting that had claimed over 100 lives in the Occupied Territories. It was claimed that the deal had averted a full-blown civil war, and

Building solidarity without borders

Published on: Sat, 19/05/2007 - 11:23

By Mick Duncan, No Sweat secretary

THE media has recently had a field day reporting how a number of councils, led by Tory flagship Westminster, have been putting pressure on the government over immigration. The local authorities in question claim that official statistics underestimate the number of migrant workers in the UK, and say that will have to make cuts in services unless something gives.

The councils themselves have taken a position which – for Tory councils – is remarkably reasonable. “It is important to stress that migrants are people first, and migrants second,” says Colin Barrow,

Fight civil service cuts!

Published on: Sat, 19/05/2007 - 11:21

By a PCS member

THE 1st May “Labour Day” strike by PCS, the largest civil service union, saw action by 200,000 civil and public servants disrupt the administration of Britain - a bitter farewell to Tony Blair and a “enough is enough” message to Gordon Brown.

It was the second national one-day strike over pay, job cuts and privatisation by PCS members and all the signs are that the support for the second day was as high as it was for the first. The action hit jobcentres, benefits offices, customs, tax offices, the courts (including the Old Bailey where only three of 20 courts were open), the

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