Solidarity 130, 10 April 2008

Solidarity 3/130

Published on: Thu, 10/04/2008 - 01:34

Front page: Stop boosting Beijing! Free Tibet! Solidarity with Chinese workers! Back page: Pay revolt on 24 April. Centre pages: A new sort of financial crisis. Download as pdf.

Stop boosting Beijing!

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:35

Charlie Salmon

If China's Stalinist bureaucrats hoped the Olympic torch relay would draw attention away from their crackdown in Tibet, they must now be sorely disappointed. As the torch paraded through London on 6 April, its bearers were met by a succession of protesters, some of whom attempted to snatch and extinguish the flame.

After welcoming the flame — flanked throughout its journey by Chinese security drawn from a paramilitary organisation, the “People’s Armed Police”! — into Downing Street, Gordon Brown and Tessa Jowell issued restrained words of criticism against human rights abuses in China and

Government attacks low-paid ... again

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:34

Jack Yates

One of Gordon Brown’s last acts as chancellor was to introduce a new “tax simplification” scheme. The scheme, coming into effect this week, abolishes the 10p income tax rate for childless workers under the age of 65 who earn less than £18,500. What is dressed up as a tax “simplification” is in fact a direct attack on five million low waged workers.

These moves come in the wake of a Treasury Select Committee report that slammed Alistair Darling’s optimism on the general financial outlook. The chancellor has already slashed growth forecasts from 2.5%-3% to 1.75%-2.25% and projected a £7bn

Organise migrant workers

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:32

Gerry Bates

A House of Lords Committee headed by former CBI president, Lord Vallance of Tummel, has attacked the government in a report "The Economic Impact of Migration". The committee claims that immigration has had "little or no [economic] impact" in contrast to claims by Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, that £6bn has been brought into the economy by migration.

The Tories, Lib Dems and Sir Andrew Green from the right-wing MigrationWatch organisation have all jumped on the issue. Green claimed that the report has "torn to shreds the government's economic case for the massive levels of immigration

The Labour Party is a stinking corpse!

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:30


It is time for the trade union movement to face facts with New Labour. Time to draw up a balance sheet on the process of disenfranching the working class that began with the Thatcher government in 1979. In some key aspects what Brown and Blair have done to the Labour Party has completed Thatcher’s work.

Three recent events demand of socialists and trade unonists that we recognise where things are now in the labour movement.

The first was the departure of Tony Blair and the succession of Gordon Brown to his position as prime minister and leader of the Labour Party.

For years people at the top

150 at protest to defend Mehdi Kazemi

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:28

David Broder

Over 150 people turned out on Saturday 22nd for a protest against the deportation of Iranian gay 19-year-old Mehdi Kazemi. Even though the Iranian regime has already executed his boyfriend, Mehdi is in limbo, with the Dutch government and the UK Home Office refusing to let him stay. The protest also highlighted the cases of Pegah Emambakhsh — an Iranian lesbian woman — and Jojo Yakob — a Syrian gay man — also under threat of deportation.

This turnout was particularly pleasing in that it came despite snowy weather and bitter cold. Dozens of activists came from outside London, including groups

Anti-immigration controls conference

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:25

Becky Crocker

The second trade union and communities conference against immigration controls (London, 29 March) brought 150-200 activists together to organise a coordinated national campaign. It linked the politics of individual anti-deportation campaigns to the fight for freedom of movement for all.

A speaker in the opening session, a cleaner activist from the living wage campaign at conference venue SOAS, introduced himself, saying “I am illegal. And because I am illegal, I am exploited”. He saw his fight for immigration status as flowing from the economic instability he fled in Ecuador.

John McDonnell

French teachers threaten action

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:22

Ed Maltby

As British teachers are mobilising for a historic strike, their French counterparts are engaged in a bitter struggle of their own, in the face of a ferocious government attack and a scandalously timid union leadership.

The Sarkozy government recently produced the Pochard Report, which represents an acceleration of the neo-liberal educational reforms of the past decade. It recommends greater autonomy to local educational authorities to hire, fire and re-allocate staff; individual contracts between teachers and the local authority, rather than collective statutes upheld by central government;

Tube bosses’ attacks slowed but not stopped

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:20

Unions have slowed London Underground’s drive to casualise its workforce -but by avoiding mistakes, they could have stopped it.

For the first time, TSSA was willing to join RMT in holding a strike ballot, and the unions were united in their demands and strategies. And RMT took the right step in calling an all-grades strike ballot. Members of the two unions voted 81% and 83% respectively for strikes; the Executives called a 72-hour strike.

The pressure forced the employer to abandon “mobile supervision” of stations, to withdraw a new, weaker procedure for workers refusing to work on safety

Obituary: Greg Tucker

Published on: Mon, 14/04/2008 - 09:19

RMT members learned with great sadness of the untimely death on Sunday 6 April 2008 of Greg Tucker, secretary of RMT’s Waterloo branch since 1993 and of the union’s National Conference of Train Crews & Shunting Grades since 1992, writes Alex Gordon on the Bristol RMT website.

Greg had suffered a malignant throat cancer diagnosed over a year ago.

As well as being a leading socialist activist for over 30 years, Greg Tucker played a crucial role in the emergence of RMT as a democratic, fighting, industrial trade union following the NUR-NUS merger in 1990.

Greg joined British Rail as a member of

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