Solidarity 145, 29 January 2009

General strike in France as socialists found new party

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 15:37

Vicki Morris

On Thursday 29 January, all of France’s main trade unions will participate in a general strike. The strike is also backed by the (‘social-liberal’ opposition) Socialist Party and has the overwhelming support of the public, according to polls.

The large trade unions are partly responding to pressure from smaller left-wing unions, in the run-up to elections in workplaces in March that will determine which unions represent the workers. The Socialist Party has just elected a new leader, Martine Aubry — she won narrowly against Ségolène Royal — after a period of internal turmoil following Royal’s

SWP: time for political accounting

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 15:30

Charlie Salmon

When is a resignation not a resignation? Well, in politics of course. We know from bourgeois politics that disgraced politicians — even those exposed, bruised and publicly humiliated to the extent of Peter Mandelson — can make dramatic comebacks.

Click here for part 1 of this article.
A return to the limelight is made all the easier when the political differences between warring factions are paper thin. Easier still when those who’ve been sidelined are seasoned political operatives. Such is the case with the former leadership of Socialist Workers Party.

The resignations of John Rees and

Debating Gaza

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 15:28

About 60 people, mostly young, crammed into a Green Park social centre on 15 January for a forum on the war in Gaza held jointly by Workers' Liberty and the Worker-communist Party of Iraq.

We held the meeting to provide a space for activists from the Palestine solidarity movement to discuss the issues involved in opposing the war, and in order to put forward our own shared view — an internationalist position which looks to mutual working-class recognition and solidarity across the borders on the basis of a two-state settlement, opposed to political Islam as well as Israeli imperialism and

Camberwell and Peckham: support our socialist candidate!

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 15:24

Workers’ Liberty member Jill Mountford will be standing in the south east London seat of Camberwell and Peckham at the next general election — against New Labour deputy leader and cabinet minister Harriet Harman.

In the midst of a recession which for working-class people means job losses, wage cuts and repossessions, the need for working-class socialist candidates to take the class struggle into elections and into Parliament could not be more obvious.

On Sunday 25 January, local Workers’ Liberty activists were joined by comrades and supporters from across London for a day of action in the

Student action on Gaza: occupying against the occupation

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 15:21

Ed Maltby

Students at nearly 20 universities across the UK have staged occupations in protest at Israel’s war on Gaza.

Some, such as LSE and Essex, have already ended successfully, with key demands (such as official university statements of condemnation of the war and support for scholarships for Palestinian students) being met by university management. Others, such as Sussex and Cambridge, are ongoing at the time of writing.

Many occupations have been important spaces for political debate, with discussions taking place about the politics of the Middle Eastern conflict and issues facing the movement,

A fairytale of Mumbai

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 15:07

Rosalind Robson

Review of "Slumdog Millionaire".

Although Slumdog Millionaire has generally received very good reviews it has also had its fair share of critics. Some of the criticism may be worth consideration. For instance: that it is an “outsider's” view of India, that the political movement against poverty in Indian city slums should have been shown, that the film’s child actors have not been adequately helped.

Other criticisms strike me as a bit silly or snobby — the film’s “magical realism” is not up to the genre’s high standards (Salman Rushdie aka Chief of the Magical Realism Police); the film steals

Sri Lanka: an onslaught to crush the Tamils

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 15:01

Robin Kugan Sivapalan

For most Tamils in the world today, the events of the last month have been devastating but they must also have been expected.

Maybe 300 Tamils have been killed in the last few days [28 January] by Sri Lankan army shelling; 300,000 civilians are trapped in a full-scale warzone being denied the right to leave by the Tigers or genuine safe passage and humanitarian aid by the Sri Lankan government.

The seizure of the de facto Tamil Tiger capital Kilinochchi on 2 January 2009 came exactly a year after the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapackse formally abrogated the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire of

Workers of the world: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Hong Kong

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 14:56

Ira Berkovic

Zimbabwe teachers plan strike; Botswana mineworkers seek reinstatement; migrant workers strike in Hong Kong.

ZIMBABWE: The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe has vowed to strike when school term begins on 27 January if the government does not increase its basic minimum salary, currently at US$2. The union is also protesting at appalling work conditions, and argue that schools should not open following the cholera outbreak in the country.

Some parents’ have made charitable donations to teachers to keep them in work and the schools open. Union official Oswald Madziva said, “parents now want

The Obama presidency

Published on: Sat, 21/02/2009 - 14:53

Ruben Lomas

The inauguration of Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States of America, is a source of intense hope for a great many American workers. More people than ever before, including more people from Afro-American and Latino backgrounds, turned out to vote for Obama in the November 2008 elections.

His emphasis on the importance of “change” mobilised tens of millions, deeply disillusioned with the state of their country and the inability of the current political system to change it, to reinvest some hope in American democracy and become active politically for the first time.


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