Solidarity 167, 18 February 2010

As cuts begins to bite, the fightback must begin now

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 23:16

Dan Katz

The UK jobless total now stands at 2.46 million unemployed, or a rate of 7.8% — including 923,000 16-24-year-olds. More job cuts are on the way. A survey of 700 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reveals that firms in all sectors plan to shed 6% of their workforce in the first quarter of 2010.<--break-->

The government wants to cut higher education funding in England by £449 million. The University and College Union (UCU) says 6,000 university jobs were already at risk across the UK and 9,000 more could go in England alone.

Although the government has delayed a

Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 23:11

Sean Matgamna

A new initiative, the Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists, attempts to resolve the dilemma facing socialists in the May election: what should we want the outcome to be?

What government of the available possibilities do we want to emerge from the general election?

Of course we would like a workers’ government — a government that would serve the interests and needs of the working class as the Tories and the Blair-Brown governments have served the bankers and the rest of the capitalist ruling class.

That is not an option.

The handful of candidates being fielded by the would-be left

Our History — The left and local government in the 1980's: an Open Letter to Ted Knight (1980)

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 22:54

Sean Matgamna

“There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

So too with labour movements: there are turning points, crises, decisive moments whose outcomes shape the future. The victory of the Thatcher Tories in 1979 was one such turning point. But it was the turning point it proved to be only because of the response of the labour movement and its leaders to the assaults that followed.

Instead of mobilising to resist laws that shackled the unions and against the cuts and large-scale sackings

Abolish the police?

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 22:32

Clarke Benitez

Ali Dizaei, the disgraced Metropolitan Police commander recently found guilty of perverting the course of justice, was dogged throughout his career by allegations of corruption and misconduct and was finally prosecuted for perverting the course of justice for framing a business associate for assaulting him.

Dizaei also became prominent for publicly accusing the Met of racial discrimination against him (he is British-Iranian), giving the right-wing press an easy angle on the whole case — they claim that he “played the race card” and exploited “political correctness gone mad” to avoid being

Filesharers of the world unite?

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 22:28

Will Lodge

A small victory was earned for filesharers last month when the creator of Oink website was acquitted at Teesside Crown Court. Filesharing, where individuals can share information online, has angered the music and film industries by ignoring copyright laws, and thus denying big corporations millions of pounds of income. This ruling gives hope to four Swedish filesharers (administrators of Pirate Bay) found guilty in April 2009 of “assisting in making copyright content available”, who were sentenced to a year in jail, and fined damages of more than $3,600,000, payable to 17 big companies

Albert Booth 1928-2010: an "Old Labour" man

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 22:18

Janine Booth

Albert Booth, former “Old Labour” Cabinet Minister, lifelong socialist and trade unionist, and my much-loved uncle, has died aged 81.

Albert was born in Winchester in 1928. His father's search for work took the family up and down the country, and by the late 1930s they were living in Willesden, north London. One day, ten-year-old Albert answered a knock on the door. An unemployed hunger marcher was collecting along their street to pay for the funeral of a fellow marcher who had died en route. Young Albert listened with horror as he learned that when working-class people died, their bodies lay

J.D. Salinger 1919-2010: spellbound by the moment

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 22:13

By Jordan Savage

“Short stories are by nature daring little instruments and almost always represent commensurate daring in their makers”, writes Richard Ford in his introduction to the second Granta Book of the American Short Story. Of course, any collection of American fiction, and particularly one dedicated to the short story, that overlooks J D Salinger’s contribution can only be considered, as Holden Caulfield might put it, “phoney” in the extreme.

This oversight aside, Ford’s idea of “daring” provides a useful lens through which to consider Salinger. In his stories about the Glass family, for example, the

We need to save the NHS

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 22:05

Todd Hamer

Over recent years New Labour’s permanent revolution of “restructuring” inside the NHS has laid the groundwork for the privatisation of healthcare. These changes have been put in place without any public scrutiny. Now, using the political cover of the economic crisis, NHS bosses and politicians are planning enormous cuts and this will speed up plans for privatised healthcare.

Last year McKinsey management consultancy was tasked with finding £15-20 billion in savings in the NHS by 2014-15. Their report, leaked to the press, painted a bleak picture for healthcare workers and patients. Their

UK Independence Party: sometimes quirky, always reactionary

Published on: Thu, 18/02/2010 - 21:56

Dan Katz

It is now common to meet working-class people who say they are sympathetic to, or will vote for, the UK Independence Party. Clearly what they stand for has a resonance, including a resonance with former Labour supporters, alienated by New Labour's record in government. Anti-fascist activists need to arm themselves against this unpleasant far-right party.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) polled 16.5% of the vote in the 2009 European elections beating Labour and winning 13 seats in the European parliament. UKIP will get fewer votes in the coming general election — partly because of the voting

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