Solidarity 201, 20 April 2011

Misrata: our Guernica, our Srebrenica

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 15:28

On 18 April anti-Qaddafi rebels in Misrata — Libya's third-largest city, and the main city held by rebels in the west of the country — were reported as saying that without outside aid the city would soon fall to its month-long siege by Qaddafi's army.

They said that there had been no NATO air strikes on the siege troops for three days.

The European Union has a plan to send up to one thousand ground troops to Misrata “to secure the delivery of aid supplies”, and to fight only in self-defence. EU officials say they are waiting for UN endorsement of the plan. On 19 April the British government

Cameron slaps Lib Dems, woos racist vote

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 15:21

On 14 April, David Cameron tried to firm up the Tory vote for 5 May with a hardline speech on immigration and on welfare cuts.

The speech was made to an invited audience of Tory activists in a small town, but pushed to the press so that it would get front-page headlines. (Daily Mail: “PM savages Labour's open-door policy”).

Lib-Dem leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said he saw the speech in advance and “noted rather than approved” it. Lib-Dem business minister Vince Cable, more irritably, told the BBC that the speech was “very unwise”.

“I do understand there is an election coming but

Teachers set to strike on 30 June

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 15:15

If all goes to plan the conference of the National Union of Teachers (22-26 April) will vote to ballot union members on taking strike action to defend pension rights.

If they do there is every chance that they will be joined by college lecturers’ union UCU and civil servants’ union in co-ordinated strike action. The NUT may also be joined by other teaching unions, ATL and NASUWT.

We will have put in place the beginnings of a trade union coalition prepared to take action. We will need, however, to move onto the next hurdles very quickly. The first is to deliver a huge vote for action and

"Forward to the past" is no answer for Labour

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 15:05

“Family, faith and flag” is being promoted as Labour’s new big idea.

Nostalgia for a time when men were men, the church had more social control, and England used to win World Cups is patently ridiculous. But nostalgia can be a strong political force — a negative one.

I was pondering the negative power of nostalgia after the National Executive Council meeting of the CWU recently. The meeting formally agreed to wipe out the discipline charges made by the previous Union of Postal Workers (UPW) Executive against members of the London Divisional Committee (LDC) who took solidarity action for the

Students shifting left?

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 15:00

At the 2011 National Union of Students conference, 12-14 April, the minority votes against the leadership on a national demo and on universal grants were very strong.

NCAFC supporters Michael Chessum and Sean Rillo Raczka scored well in the elections for VP Education and VP Welfare. The results for the part-time section of the executive, where AWL member and Royal Holloway president-elect Daniel Cooper withdrew in favour of Michael Chessum, were not out when we went to press. In the election for President, the leadership was split, after incumbent Aaron Porter’s decision to stand down

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 14:56

GMB members at Nottinghamshire County Council have voted 6 to 1 in favour of industrial action in an indicative ballot. A full ballot for strike action will now follow.

Workers at the council are facing a pay cut equivalent to 12%, comprised of several individual cuts. Many of these cuts are already in place.

Unison members at the council have already taken strike action, and although it comes later than might be hoped, the GMB’s decision to move towards action as well may contribute towards breaking the perception of the GMB as the “no-strike” union in many public sector workplaces.


BA strikes on hold

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 14:53

Unite has put the brakes on potential industrial action as it enters into new “exploratory” talks with British Airways management.

In late March, workers voted by 83% (on a 72% turnout) to take further strike action in a dispute which has stretched over two years. That most recent ballot gave Unite a mandate to call action by 15 April, but according to a union statement BA bosses have agreed to grant the union a month’s extension while talks take place.

The union has declared that “a lasting peace is essential for the well-being of all cabin crew and for the benefit of British Airways’

Dublin 1913

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 14:37

The Dublin Labour War was one of the great battles of the working class. In 1913, under the leadership of Jim Larkin, the working class of Dublin was making Dublin one of the best organised cities in the world.

Dublin’s slums were officially admitted to be among the worst in the British Empire. Infant mortality was higher there than in Calcutta. During the 1914-18 war, a British Army recruiting leaflet would tell the workers of Dublin that the war trenches of France were healthier than the slums of Dublin! But now the workers were on the move.

The workers had discovered the power of the

The many sides of Malcolm X

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 14:23

Manning Marable, US academic and longstanding member of Democratic Socialists of America, died on 1 April, three days before the release of his book Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. Dan Katz looks at Marable’s account.

Malcolm X was gunned down by former comrades of the Nation of Islam (NoI) on 21 February 1965, aged 39.

When Malcolm died, his murder made headlines across the world. In the US he divided opinion sharply: for the majority he represented a threat of black violence and retribution; for a many black activists he was an intransigent, unbending opponent of white supremacy and

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