Solidarity 334, 3 September 2014

Russia: hands off Ukraine!

Published on: Thu, 04/09/2014 - 11:02

Dale Street

As from late August, what amounts to a straightforward Russian invasion of Ukraine is underway.

Alexander Zakharchenko, self-styled “Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic”, has said that there are 3,000 to 4,000 Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. But, he claims, they are soldiers on leave who prefer fighting to going to the beach!

All three offensives were launched from Russia and were backed up by artillery fire from the Russian side of the border. The most southerly of three new offensives launched by pro-Russian separatists with Russian aid is along the southern coast of Ukraine,

PCS to join October 14

Published on: Thu, 04/09/2014 - 10:54

Gerry Bates

The civil service union PCS is almost certain to join the unions striking on 14 October over pay.

Local government workers who struck on 10 July are already set to strike again on 14 October. This time they may be joined by health workers also demanding pay rises.

Health workers’ wages have dropped in real terms every year since 2009, and between 12 and 15 percent since 2010.

This year 60% of workers are offered no rise, and others get one percent.

Unite health workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have a strike ballot running from 26 August to 26 September; Unison health workers in

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Thu, 04/09/2014 - 10:37

Unison members in Doncaster are now on their 57th day of strike action as part of action against Care UK who cut wages by up to 35%.

They will be on strike until 14 September, and have pickets every day at 7am outside Care UK’s Doncaster office, as well as trips to picket offices in other cities and to speak at meetings.

The strikers are also currently having weekly members’ meetings to discuss the dispute.

Ritzy workers reject offer

In a ballot closing on 26 August, Ritzy cinema workers have voted to reject an offer by management, by 24 votes to 23. On their Facebook page workers said:


Teachers should strike on 14 October

Published on: Thu, 04/09/2014 - 09:15

Patrick Murphy (NUT Exec member, in personal capacity)

It is essential that the National Union of Teachers call our next action to coincide with the cross-union pay strike on 14 October.

We cannot afford miss the opportunity to co-ordinate with the country’s biggest unions, or the potential to make a greater impact by acting alongside school support staff.

You would think that the common sense of this approach would need little or no argument. The NUT continues to pursue our three-year campaign for pensions, pay, and education. Our 2014 conference reasserted the importance of co-ordinating with other unions, in particular school staff unions.


Israel's left calls for support

Published on: Wed, 03/09/2014 - 14:54

Elisabeth Tzurkov, a project director at an Israeli hotline for migrants and refugees, spoke to Pete Radcliff.

It’s hard to tell where the deal [signed by Israel on 26 August, for a ceasefire] may be leading us. I’m sure that Israel will never allow a seaport or an airport to be built in Gaza while it’s under Hamas control. This is something that is unacceptable to 99.9 percent of Israeli Jews and it will just not happen.

Rather, Israel hopes to make issues go away with time.

In 2005 Israel committed itself to helping aid to enter Gaza to allow the rebuilding of the seaport. It never happened

Putin set to face down West

Published on: Wed, 03/09/2014 - 14:45

Dale Street

The fighting in the south-east of Ukraine stems fundamentally from longstanding Russian imperialist policy.

Russian president Putin does not want to see Ukraine leave Russia’s “sphere of influence” by signing an Association Agreement with the European Union. He also fears Ukraine joining NATO (unlikely, but now, after the Russian aggression, less unlikely).

As long ago as 2008 Putin told the then American President George Bush: “You don”t understand that Ukraine is not even a state. What is Ukraine? Part of its territory is Eastern Europe. But the greater part is a gift from us.”

In late 2013,

Do your best to change the world

Published on: Wed, 03/09/2014 - 14:41

Camila Bassi

Have you ever walked down a street, seen a stranger looking depressed, and felt a painful tug of the heart?

Have you ever read or watched the news and recognised a truth to the world, that it is founded on inequality and injustice and breeds unnecessary human suffering, and not been able to turn away then and thereafter? For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this. I’ve had empathy, connection, insight, and yearning for change. Indeed, what else is there to making a socialist? Perhaps, our own biographies.

I grew up in a British Asian household with regular visits to and from the wider

Tom Cashman

Published on: Wed, 03/09/2014 - 14:32

Jim Denham

In the last issue of Solidarity, Bruce Robinson remembered the life of Tom Cashman, socialist trade unionist and long-time associate of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, who died last month. In this and future issues we will print further tributes.

Tom Cashman was, quite simply, one of the finest and most principled people I’ve ever met.

I first encountered him around about 1974 or 75 in the bar of Birmingham University Guild of Students. Tom was there attending a Troops Out conference; I was a naive young member of IS [today SWP] who had begun to have doubts about the Cliff regime and had


Published on: Wed, 03/09/2014 - 14:23

Janine Booth (intro) / Eva Gore-Booth (poem)

Eva Gore-Booth (1870–1926) was an Irish poet and dramatist, and a suffragist and labour movement activist.

She was the younger sister of Constance Markiewicz, the nationalist, socialist and feminist who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising and in its aftermath became the first woman elected to the British Parliament, but who, as an Irish republican, refused to take her seat.

Eva became politically active before her older sister did, and like Constance, reacted against her privileged background and committed herself to siding with oppressed people and fighting for social change. She spent most

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