Solidarity 269, 9 January 2013

Where is Egypt going?

Published on: Thu, 10/01/2013 - 13:04

From a referendum called with only two weeks notice and voted for on 15 and 22 December, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammad Mursi has now forced through the adoption of an Islamist constitution that holds great threats for Egyptian democrats and workers.

The proposals from the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won 64% of the vote on a dismal 32% turnout. Many urban and working class centres including Cairo and Mahalla voted against it. The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) distributed two million leaflets against the new constitution in workplaces.

Organising against gender violence

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2013 - 12:52

Up to 800 people protested outside the Indian High Commission in London to demand justice for Jyoti Singh Pandey, the victim of a brutal gang rape in Delhi.

The protest was organised by Southall Black Sisters. Chants include “women’s tradition: struggle not submission!”, and “don’t blame women for rape!”

Rahila Gupta of Southall Black Sisters said: “We are here today to show solidarity with Indian women; their struggle is our struggle. We are here to shame the Indian government into taking action. Notions of shame and honour are used to control women’s behaviour; we’re here to say to the

Lewisham hospital fight: march on 26 January, build for a work-in!

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2013 - 12:48

On 8 January, the Special Administrator released a response to the public “consultation” over his proposals to reorganise south London health services — including closures at Lewisham Hospital.

It acknowledged that it had encountered 96% opposition to the closure of the A&E department... but pledged to carry on with the closure regardless!

The people behind this plan have an undisguised contempt for the people of Lewisham. We cannot let them shut our services.

On 4 February, Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt will make his announcement in response to the recommendations of Trust Special

Civil servants' strike ballot

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2013 - 12:45

Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) members in the Department for Work and Pensions will strike on 21 January if a ballot, which closes on 10 January, returns a yes vote.

The immediate context for the ballot is the announcement of 43 compulsory redundancies, but the potential strike comes against a backdrop of a much wider set of attacks against DWP workers. DWP sites, including Job Centres, face cuts, and the automation of various benefits processes also threatens jobs. Workers at the DWP Social Fund also face what the union calls “an uncertain future”, with the Fund due for abolition

Reinstate Dave Muritu!

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2013 - 12:41

Halesowen College maths lecturer Dave Muritu, also the secretary of the University and College Union at the college, was sacked on 20 December (the last working day before Christmas) following what the union has called a “kangaroo court”.

The college claims Dave was sacked for poor results, despite his results being above the national average. The entire disciplinary hearing was conducted in breach of the college’s own procedure, with no evidence against Dave submitted in advance. Three other lecturers and union activists in Dave’s department are now also facing similarly spurious disciplinary

Sack the agency, not the workers!

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2013 - 12:37

Thirty-three Tube workers face unemployment unless a battle to save their jobs is successful.

The workers are employed by the Trainpeople agency and work on London Underground stations, with full LU training and wearing LU uniforms.

Some of them have worked on the Tube for over five years, and have even been used to train new staff. But on 19 December, Trainpeople told them LU would not be renewing their contracts and that they would have no new work as of 16 January. The background to the sackings is the arrival of fifteen new directly-employed staff onto the Wembley Central stations group

The Gramsci enigma

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2013 - 12:29

The legacy of the great Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci has been contested in hundreds of books and articles, particularly since the 1970s — so much so that these days university students are more likely to come across him than Karl Marx. But the Gramsci they encounter comes in a confusing variety of interpretations — a proto-Eurocommunist Gramsci, a liberal Gramsci, a revolutionary Gramsci and a radical democrat Gramsci.

Part of the explanation comes from the particular circumstances Italian Communism and Gramsci faced. The Italian Communist Party (PCI) was illegalised between 1926 and

Councillors against the cuts

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2013 - 12:24

Entire local services could close in many part of the UK, taking hundreds of jobs with them, as councils seek to make further budget cuts in 2013.

Southampton City Council plans to cut nearly 300 jobs and close their entire youth and play service, as well as the council’s only remaining children’s care home. Newcastle City Council’s cuts plan will see 10 libraries close, its entire arts funding programme abolished, the closure of the youth and play service, and many other cuts, amounting to over 1,000 job losses. North East Lincolnshire Council’s cuts average out to a £150 per person reduction

The Establishment Blues

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2013 - 12:14

Sixto Rodriguez is a Mexican-American singer-songwriter from Detroit.

His life story is incredible. A construction worker who drifted around the city’s working-class districts writing about poverty, alienation, drug abuse, and class struggle, he was discovered by Detroit-based music producers in the late 60s who hailed his songwriting talent as comparable to that of Bob Dylan’s.

When his two albums, released in 1970 and 1971, flopped in America, he went back to construction work and relative anonymity, going on to gain a degree in philosophy and stand as a candidate in local government

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