Solidarity 187, 16 December 2010

London Underground dispute: defend our union!

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 13:09

Darren Bedford

As the battle over jobs continues, RMT members on London Underground are preparing to take action to defend two union reps from victimisation.

Bakerloo line health and safety rep Eamonn Lynch was initially dismissed after he followed an instruction from the line control centre which turned out to be erroneous. A driver who made a similar “mistake” a year ago on the Piccadilly Line was given a warning rather than the sack. Management are attempting to victimise a well-respected union rep in the midst of an increasingly bitter dispute and, by attacking drivers’ reps, could be attempting to

SWP slogans: "General Strike" or general nonsense?

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 12:46

Tom Unterrainer

A favourite theme of those who trade in lampooning the left is to reduce our ideas to mindless sloganeering. These scribblers conjure some ridiculous caricature and then knock it down with ease.

The influence of these exercises is such that some people turn out on demonstrations with their own home-made placards, daubed with semi-ironic slogans like “down with this sort of thing” or “I’m really angry”. Unfortunately, these creative individuals are consistently swamped by equally ridiculous but apparently earnest placards and leaflets.

The SWP is now demanding the TUC call a general strike.


Fees rise means a lifetime of debt

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 12:34

Ruben Lomas

A briefing on the BBC website gives stark figures on the new university fees policy which, if introduced, is set to take effect from September 2012.

They calculate that “a middle-earning graduate would need to earn, for example, an average of £48,850 a year for 26 years to pay off their debt.”

Read that figure again. Ask yourself how many university graduates you know who earn anything like that amount. In a climate in which jobs and wages are also under attack, how many graduates are likely to earn an average of nearly £50,000 a year for nearly 30 years? The government’s plans will literally

Build for battle in January

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 12:22

We were discussing taking some kind of radical direct action for a long time before we went into occupation.

We had a democratic meeting on a Saturday, which involved a lot of different groups and forces. We discussed what kind of action we wanted to take and decided to go for an occupation. We thought about some demands we’d like to raise and used the Sunday to make flyers, make banners and build support amongst activists for the idea. On Monday we want into occupation.

We chose this space because it’s visible. It’s near the student union, so a lot of students walk past it. Staff come into

How settlers and the IDF carve up the West Bank

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 10:53

Sacha Ismail

Between 22 November and 2 December, nine members, supporters and friends of the AWL took part in a solidarity delegation to Israel and Palestine, visiting Palestinian resistance organisations, Israelis supporting them and workers’, youth, women’s, anti-occupation and solidarity organisations in both countries. Sacha Ismail discusses some of the political impressions he had during their visit.

Firstly, I want to first discuss the ways in which Israel is undermining the emergence of a two-state settlement.

One thing leftists in Britain often argue is that a two-state solution could be no

The next steps for student activists

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 10:34

On 9 December parliament voted in favour of a massive hike in tuition fees. We cannot accept that as decisive defeat!

In 2006 the movement against the CPE law in France, which would have allowed bosses to summarily sack workers under the age of 26, continued after the French parliament passed the legislation and eventually forced its repeal. It can be done!

Forcing the government back means maintaining momentum, and that means reaching out to a wider working-class resistance to the cuts.

Students need to organise strongly, and develop organisations which can reach the trade-union rank and

Police attack students, media blame the victims

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 10:26

James Bloodworth

The gulf between what happened on student protests and what is reported by the mainstream media is reaching absurd proportions.

On 9 December march everyone could the utterly contemptible behaviour of the police. But rather than focus on that, or on the fact that a Bill to make higher education all but off-limits to poorer students was passed in Parliament by those who got their education for free, the media decided that the real problem was the protesters having the temerity to stand up to the government’s ideological marketisation of and cuts to higher education.

A little jeering and paint

Defend our right to protest!

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 10:19

Police brutality and violence matching the vicious, unrestrained ideological attacks of the Tory-Liberal government was dished out in ample portions to protesters at the student demonstration on Thursday 9 December.

Trained in the brutal arts of defending the state, wearing the best protective head gear and steel toe-capped boots public money can buy, and brandishing offensive weapons, the police lunged into crowds of protesting students, randomly and indiscriminately beating anyone in their way, including a protester in a wheelchair.

Young people, untrained, not wearing riot gear nor wielding

Mobilise against these racist thugs!

Published on: Thu, 16/12/2010 - 09:45

Charlie Salmon

The English Defence League will return to the streets of Luton on 5 February for what they are billing as a “homecoming” demonstration.

The racist riot that sparked the formation of the EDL took place in the city in March 2009, as a response to provocations by a tiny group of right wing clerical fascists at a military parade. Under the banner of “United People of Luton” a small band of hardened football hooligans, organised racists and BNP members orchestrated a 500 strong rampage which attacked Asian businesses and individual bystanders. The EDL has since grown steadily into a major force on

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