Solidarity 162, 5 November 2009

Solidarity 3/162

Published on: Thu, 05/11/2009 - 01:00

Download pdfs of the paper and of the accompanying posters for Ideas For Freedom winter 2009 and for solidarity with the postal workers (see "attachments").

Organise support for Leeds bin workers

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

David Kirk

At the end of October the council offered a “deal” with a shallower pay cut — a cut of hundreds of pounds a year instead of thousands of pounds per worker — and a massive workload increase. In a mass meeting called by the Unison and the GMB unions, workers overwhelmingly rejected this offer.

The council is continuing to use agency staff and moonlighting workers from other authorities to try to break the workers’ resolve. And the Lib-Dem/Tory administration it has stepped up its offensive against the striking workers by recruiting permanent un-unionised workers on £4,000 less a year than the

SWP crisis: Rot at the heart of “united front” work

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

Tom Unterrainer

Very many people are revolted at the state of the world. Whether it be in reaction to war, racism, exploitation, oppression or the sickening displays of meanness and hypocrisy that effuse from the bowels of government, we have all experienced that visceral urge to tear the head off this system and those who marshal it.

We feel this way every day. But unlike those who either sink into despair or comfort themselves with a purely academic understanding of capitalism and its degradations, we — the socialists, revolutionaries, Marxists — aim to change things. We agitate, educate and organise to

The City Hall office road to socialism?

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

Sacha Ismail

Redmond O’Neill, a leader of the Socialist Action group, has died aged 55 of cancer. Because O’Neill was an official in Ken Livingstone’s London mayoral administration, his death has received wide attention, for instance in the Guardian.

Ken Livingstone’s obituary describes him as a “lifelong revolutionary socialist and leading figure on the left for three decades”. In fact, for many years it has been an abuse of language to call O’Neill and his organisation socialist, or even really part of the left.

It was not just their grim support for Stalinist and other “progressive” authoritarian

A new campaign for migrant rights

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

Bob Sutton

Bob Sutton reports on the Hands Off My Workmate conference.

On 17 October around 140 activists and trade unionists met in London for the first “Hands Off my Workmate” conference — a launch pad for a wider trade-union based campaign to defend migrant workers against checks and raids in the workplace.

The event, held at the School of African and Oriental Studies, had been set up by members of the Socialist Workers’ Party through SOAS Unison and UCU branches. In June this year, nine cleaners working at the university were grabbed in a brutal dawn raid by immigration services armed in full riot

Develop Support Committees

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

Ed Maltby

The example of the 19th District in Paris.

The new wave of strikes and occupations has sparked a very strong mobilisation around the striking workplaces in the 19th district: TFN, a cleaning company, and Suburbaine, which is building tram-lines.

Militants from political organisations (NPA, Alternative Libertaire, Parti de gauche), unions (CGT, Solidaires, CNT), associations (MRAP, an anti-racist group and the League for the Rights of Man) and community groups (Quartier solidaire Belleville), engaged in the struggle for the regularisation of all undocumented migrants, have regrouped under a

Strikers speak out

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

Ed Maltby

Badiaga, Camara, Doukouré, Dramé, Gakou, Kouyaté, Siby, Sylla are delegates from the Seni strikers, industrial cleaners at Kremlin-Bicêtre (Val-de-Marne). They are members of the CGT.

How do you explaing this movement?

The struggle was started by those who are currently contracted with Seni, but we have among us comrades who were employed in the past for short contracts. On our picket line, there are some comrades who are not presently employed by Seni. Some have been sacked, some as long as five years ago. Some of us are in the process of being regularised.

The movement is demanding a general

Migrant workers strike for legal status

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

Ed Maltby

Since 12 October, a new wave of strikes by around 4,000 undocumented migrant workers (sans-papiers, “without papers”) has swept France. At the time of writing, over 40 workplaces have been occupied by the workers, who are demanding “regularisation” (legal status), employment rights, and changes in immigration law to make life easier for France's hyper-exploited immigrant workforce.

The French labour movement has learnt its lessons from previous sans-papier strikes in May 2008 (see Solidarity 3/133), and has rallied to support them. The movement is using a variety of imaginative tactics to beat

Debunking racist myths

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

Bruce Robinson

Bruce Robinson reviews Race and Intelligence: Science's Last Taboo, 26 October, Channel 4. (Still viewable on Channel 4’s website).

Somali-born Rageh Omaar’s programme entered the “dangerous territory” of the purported relationship between race and intelligence. Every few years it reappears in the form of the assertion that IQ tests show black people to be less intelligent than whites and that this is caused by genetic differences.

It is pushed by a small group of academics and taken up by the far right but never, in Omaar’s (wrong) opinion, resolved because of a reluctance to confront and

Leon Trotsky and the annihilation of classical Marxism

Published on: Fri, 06/11/2009 - 09:10
Author

Paul Hampton

Paul Hampton reviews Stalin’s Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky by Bertrand Patenaude

In the early hours of 24 May 1940, twenty men in uniform led burst into the last refuge of Leon Trotsky. The muralist David Siqueiros and his Stalinist cohort riddled Trotsky’s Mexican sanctuary with over 300 shots.

Seventy three bullet holes were counted in the doors, walls, windows and mattresses. Trotsky survived because his partner Natalia had the presence of mind to slide out their bed and drag the Old Man into a corner. Trotsky’s grandson Vsevolod (Seva) Volkov scrambled under his bed and

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