Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Scottish energy policy demands independance

There was just an interesting item on BBC Radio 4. It is the policy of the Scottish executive that 40% of Scotland's energy supplies must come from renewable energy sources by 2020. However, there is apparently a problem because the National Grid may not be willing to connect up these new generators. So the electricity may be generated but be incapable of being delivered.

In February work started on a hydro-electric power station at Glendoe. Funding has been granted to develop generators using wave power in Orkney, and there is an extension in the number of wind farms. All very commendable and 20% or more of the energy will be surplus to Scottish needs and can be exported to England.

But the National Grid is now a private company, and has no obligation to link up these new power stations in order to implement government energy policy, whether that policy comes from Westminster or Hollyrood. What is more the National Grid was built in the 1960s with a 40 year expected life time, and needs to be overhauled and replaced, but the private owners have no intention in doing so, except in a piecemeal manner as it breaks down.

What fuck-wits thought of privatising the National Grid without building in an obligation for replacing it when it wore out, or updating it to meet national energy policy? Interestingly, the Tories – a unionist party –did more to break up the UK than anyone. Abolishing or compromising so many of the British-wide institutions, such as British Steel, British Rail, the National Grid, National Coal Board, etc.

So now the Scottish Executive will have their energy policy scuppered by a private British company, while the Scottish parliament has no powers to force this British company to follow their elected mandate. This is a clear example of how the issue of Scottish Independence runs contrary to the logic of the free market.

In the meantime, Tony Blair relies upon Scottish Labour MPs to force educational reforms onto England that do not affect their own constituents.

Woop! UK and France gripped by strikes

Both France and the UK have seen massive strike action today.

It looks like the UK public sector strikes over pensions are very solid with more than a million workers out on strike.

The BBC reports solid action, Reuters does as well. Local news seems very clear that the strike is solid right across the country. For example Swindon Evening Advertiser, The Belfast Telegraph, Daily Post (Wales), Evening Standard (London), Manchester Evening News, The Herald (Scotland), Norfolk Eastern Daily Press and Indymedia has some excellent regional reports

Later piece from the BBC pensions strike bites across UK

Pension rights are being eroded all over the world as part of a concerted employers offensive. In the US they are proposing the privatisation of social security - so there wont be any problems there then.

In Australia it became compulsory for workers to pay into a private pension in the 90's, and despite the fact that unions dropped pay claims at the time to enhance the pension package its now believed that these pensions will not provide a proper income for those who retire on them.

Even Germany, the first country in the world to have old age pensions they have increased retirement age (to 67) increased the employee's contributions and they've ended the link between earnings and pensions.

Whilst in France there is a General Strike against the proposed new laws (CPE) stripping young workers of their rights creating a generation of "throw away workers". More than 100 rallies will be held right across the country in the latest development of this ongoing struggle (see John Mullen's article) which have seen strikes, demonstrations and, of course, rioting. See Student Power (BBC) Last week something like a million people took to the streets across France and today's action has had a clear and significant national impact.

BBC's enthusiastic report on what's happening in France here reporting huge turnouts, According to AFP (sort of a French Reuters) as many as three million people are involved in the demonstrations - blimey!

The lesson is clear - whilst the employers offensive against workers' rights is an international affair our resistance can become international too, and the more we spread that resistance the greater the chances we can really push the neo-liberals back.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Don't feed the hand that bites you

Interesting report in Saturday’s Morning Star that UNISON, one of the Labour Party’s biggest funders, has suspended links with the Labour Party in connection with the pensions dispute.

Deputy General Secretary Keith Sonnet has e-mailed all the union’s political link officers advising them that funding has stopped for the May 2006 local elections except where the BNP are standing.

a UNISON spokewoman said: "It is felt that it is not appropriate or politicaly sensible to be organising on the one hand for industrial action by the union, while sending out letters and leaflets to many of the same members asking them to vote Labour"

Saturday, March 25, 2006

General Strike tommorow in France

Tommorow there will be a General Strike in France. I personally am incredibly excited about the situation. last week 1,000,000 people were mobilised *across different cities* (British demo organisers take note!). Today the BBC reported that a student group snubbed the opportunity to discuss the law with de villepin. Let see what happens.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Cash cow Iraq

There's a lot of money to be made out of Iraq if you know how to get it. I'm not just talking about hiring yourself out as a 'security consultant' with a license to kill - the corporations are cashing in on the occupation and big style.

Corporate Watch has produced a report which details, as far as we can find out where the money's coming from and who's it going to. Check it out...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

B'stard joins New Labour

It is brilliant to see that Alan B'stard has joined New Labour. The fictional king of Tory sleaze will now be selling peerages, and voting for compulsory ID cards even though Labour’s manifesto said they would be voluntary.

Explaining the defection to Labour, Mr Mayall (The actor playing B'stard) said: "They are young, they are sexy and they are much more right-wing than the Conservative Party."

According to the BBC: "The writers say they originally thought they would be writing a comedy about B'Stard shamelessly changing his spots to shift from Tory to Labour. But now they say they realise the MP fits seamlessly into the current Labour Party. "

It comes to something when appalling slime bucket Jack Dromey (husband of Harriet Harman, and useless right wing union official) is the whistle blower against Blair's financial corruption. And Witchfinder General, Peter Kilfoyle, the hammer of the Militant, complains about the Blairites being a party within a party.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mr Livingstone again

Livingstone is in the news accused of being anti-semitic, again. Unlike last time though I feel slightly less inclined to defend the man. Here's an excerpt from the BBC's piece on this Mayor in fresh Jewish controversy

"Ken Livingstone attacked David and Simon Reuben for their role in an ongoing dispute about the Stratford City development in east London. He suggested the brothers "go back (to their own country) and see if they can do better under the ayatollah". "

Now I find it hard to believe that someone with Livingstone's anti-racist credentials is anti-Semitic and stand by our article on the previous 'scandal' (What's behind the Livingstone suspension?) but there is a real problem here. You don't tell people to go back to 'their own country' and there is no context here to justify it. This seems like basic anti-racist common sense to me.

Of course life's a lot more complicated than being able to stick a label on someone (like racist/anti-racist, good bloke/wife beater) and I firmly believe that anti-racists are not immune to the prevailing ideas in society and that we can all slip up - but for someone of Livingstone's pedigree to say foreigners to go back to their own country if they don't like it here (although actually they are Indian / Iraqi not Iranian, but never mind) is a real problem and he needs to act swiftly, particularly because of his other problems, to head this off.

But regardless of the Livingstone case for a moment, can anti-racists accept racist ideas?

I think the answer is yes. I remember a massive scandal amongst the ranks of Essex university socialists about ten years ago when, at a Christmas Party, two women started having a rather loud and obnoxious conversation about how greasy mediteranians were and they tried to work out which nation was the greasiest. Others there were pretty embarressed and slow to say anything and, unfortunately, it was upto another woman, from Malta, to step in and object to this disgraceful conversation.

Now in the ensuing rows those people who decided to defend these women's actions (hmmm, yes) consistently used the argument "But how can you say they are racist when they've done so much anti-racist work" because they simply could not get their head around the idea that someone who is a genuine anti-racist could simultaneously hold racist ideas. Now all that we wanted was an apology for the incident and an acceptence that the idea of classing foreign nationals according to how greasy they are is not on - but we never argued that these people were racists, only that even the best person could succumb to an objectively racist theory, often unconsciously.

This black and white view of the ideas people hold is often responsible for wrong footing us when people step out of the role we've given them. It's responsible for the AWL described Tariq Ali as "the LibDem voting Tariq Ali", for example. What's important is that we try to approach the world with an open mind and try to see which direction people are going rather than insist that we cannot live with a contradiction and that we can be fully defined by just one aspect of ourselves.

Although I must say that some contradictions are harder to get your head around than others - like the ex-flat mate of mine who told me proudly how anti-racist he was and that he'd "been telling a coon" this that very morning... I confess I just stared at him not sure what to say - here was a man developing an understanding that racism was a bad thing and a lecture on appropriate language was unlikely to go down well with this particular individual - but I still think he had some way to go on the road to political purity... but then again don't we all?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Calling Italians living in Britain

We have recived the following letter from Mariangella Casalucci of the Bellaciao Collective:
Please download the following leaflet (in Italian) and pass it on to any Italians you know:

General election in Italy

On the 9th of April there will be the general election in Italy.

For the first time Italians living abroad can use a postal vote to participate in the election and vote for constituency representatives, and one of the constituencies is Europe.

In this election there will be a coalition of the parties in the left (DS, Margherita, Italian Comunists, Rifondazione Comunista, Democratic Socialist and Green) called UNIONE which has as the prime mininster candidate Romano Prodi. You will find the programm and all the information on www.unioneitmondo.it

Silvio Berlusconi is unfortunatly well known in Britain also for the recent scandal which involves David Mills, Tessa Jowell’s husband. He is accused of corruption having payed money to produce false evidences in his favour.

‘Berlusconi is the most dangerous political phenomenon in Europe. He represents the most serious threat to democracy in western Europe since 1945. It might be argued that the far right as represented by such openly racist and xenophobic figures as Jean-Marie Le Pen and Jörg Haider poses a more serious danger, but such figures remain relative outsiders in the European political scene. Berlusconi does not. During his two spells as prime minister there has been a very serious erosion of the quality of Italian democracy and the tone of public life’ The Guardian 16th March

For these reason is very important that Italians living abroad participate to the election with their postal vote giving theire preferences to l’Unione and choosing the candidates from the list who more represents the left.

What do we want?

Education project to value and promote the Italian language and culture abroad against the privatisation plan of the Italian governement
Pensioners having the minimum wage they would get if they were living in Italy in case their pension is lower
Equal tax treatment for retired people who go back to live in Italy
Promote an interaculture interaction policy to enable all the migrants, Italian included, to be politically and socially active in the country where they have chosen to live

The candidates we support and we invite you to vote are:
Anna Picardi, Senato candidate, Rifondazione Comunista
Alberto Sipione, Camera candidate, Rifondazione Comunista
Marisa Corazzol Camera candidate, Comunisti Italiani

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Compulsory redundancies signal NHS crisis

According to the BBC the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent has announced that up to 1,000 jobs (from a staff of 7,000) could be cut to address their financial crisis; a £17 million defecit. An estimated 370 of the posts will be nurses and midwives. Vacant posts may not be filled to help reduce staffing and 15 consultant posts could be cut. In a staggering statement of complacency the Department of Health said it was 'reassured services would not be cut.' Staff have been told about 750 compulsory redundancies may be needed.

This is the direct result of the government's determination that Trusts must 'live within their budgets whilst providing patients with better services'! This is nonsense. Under the new system of 'payment by results' Trusts which treat 'too many' people get financially penalised. As a result of the commercialisation of the NHS and the new 'market in health care' efficiency is measured not in terms of the quality of care given to patients but by the balance sheet.

The emergence of compulsory redundancies is a salutory reminder that the government is destroying the foundations of the NHS, and the responsibility of those who support social health care to organise a national campaign against the government's disastrous privatisation agenda.

Visit: http://www.keepournhspublic.com

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Urgent call to rape survivors

I have received this letter from Women Against Rape, please pass it on widely.

Urgent call to rape survivors who've testified in court since the year 2000
Dear sisters,

We are assessing how legal changes introduced under the Youth Justice & Criminal Evidence Act and the Sexual Offences Act are being implemented in court. If you have experience of testifying in a rape trial in the recent few years, please get in touch.

In particular, if you testified in court since 2000 were you asked any questions about your previous sexual history, or your mental health? What did the judge do about it, if anything? Or since 2003 has "consent" been an issue in court for you ?

Also, do you know anyone who is going through reporting rape, or taking it to court at present who’d like to be in touch with us?

Please call or email us with your experience right away on 020 7482 2496 war@womenagainstrape.net

Best wishes,

Monday, March 13, 2006

April 21 deadline looming for Department for Transport rail consultation

RMT is working with sister rail unions and other rail campaigners for the protection and expansion of rail services to be at the heart of new procedures. The deadline for responses to a Department for Transport consultation is 21 April and any organisation or individual can respond, including local rail campaigners and rail users' groups.

The DfT consultation document deals with closure procedures and minor modifications guidance. The document is a direct result of the Railways Act 2005 which promised that Government would consult on new closures guidance before they were introduced into law. RMT members will remember that when the 2005 Act was going through Parliament we raised the criticism that at a time when rail was carrying more passengers than at any time since the 1950s it was bizarre that so much of the Act addressed the closure of lines, services and stations.

Since the Act was passed there have been disturbing press reports that branch lines should be concreted over and that many lightly used stations could be closed.

In 2007 the DfT will produce their High Level Output Specification and also announce how much money they have available in the railway pot. There are indications that the Treasury is seeking to cut £1billion a year from the railway budget. It is in this context that the closures guidance should be seen.

On the face of it the guidance looks acceptable. Once a closure is proposed a cost-benefit analysis is conducted with monetary values placed on a series of factors including the impact that closure will have on the environment, accessibility, safety and the economy. However two things are important to bear in mind. Firstly the cost-benefit analysis is already used and all too often utilised as a barrier to investment on rail network. Secondly, and probably more importantly, consultants employed to conduct the analysis are likely to come up with the results that are required by the DfT. Put simply if the DfT wants figures that support a closure then the consultant will provide them.

Regrettably, the guidance once again raises the spectre of bustitution and makes clear that in addition to the money which could be saved by closure the potential value of the land which could be sold as a result of closure should be taken into account by the cost -benefit analysis. Commenting on the procedures with specific regard to bustitution the highly respected Rail Business Intelligence journal recently said: "the fundamental problem is an underlying assumption that buses, which obviously incur negligible infrastructure costs, are in principle as good as the rail services they replace. The danger is that bustitution will inevitably emerge as the cheapest option for a substantial proportion of the network as the noose tightens".

The new guidance scraps the current system where the regional Rail Passengers Committee produces a report on the hardship likely to be caused by the proposed cut. Under the rules to be scrapped final decision over closure rested with the democratically elected Secretary of State for Transport.

For the future the new procedure will allow Network Rail, Train Operating Companies, or a rail funding authority (DfT, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, PTAs or the Mayor of London) to propose a closure. The decision to go ahead will be made by the unelected Office of Rail Regulation.

The consultation process itself requires that notices are placed in both local and national newspapers and in the stations affected by the proposed closures. Organisations have 12 weeks after the second newspaper notice appears to respond.

Trade Unions and local rail users' groups are not in the list of bodies and organisations that have, by law, to be consulted with. Significantly there is no obligation that the consultation process holds public meetings or hearings to discuss the closure proposals. This is a serious omission. It is vital that local communities and trades unions are able to meet publicly and collectively in order to hold to account those who are proposing the removal of local rail services.

The full closures procedure document can be found at the
Department for Transport website.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Zimbabwe's MDC splits

I realise that not everyone shares my admiration for the comrades at Weekly Worker (shame on you all) but one thing that cannot be denied is that they have carried some really useful international comment (apart from on Scotland of course)

This week's paper carries an excellent article on Zimbabwe that none of the British press has reported as far as I can see. For your reading pleasure I have reprinted Munyaradzi Gwisai's piece (article originally from here )

The holding of a congress at the end of February by the Movement for Democratic Change faction headed by Welshman Ncube and Gibson Sibanda, which included the election of officials, and the impending Tsvangirai faction congress, taken together, signal a permanent split.

The immediate reason was the insistence of the Ncube middle class faction to participate in last year?s senate elections, and the refusal of Tsvangirai, under pressure from below, to continue legitimising the regime though participation in rigged elections. However, the origins of the split are much deeper. They lie in the hijacking of the MDC by the middle classes and capitalists in 2000.

Under the leadership of Ncube, they used the money from western donors, NGOs and South African president Thabo Mbeki to commercialise the struggle, to boot out radical workers, activists and socialists and to reduce the role of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which had formed the party, to nil. They cancelled the 2000 December mass action in favour of elections, courts and western sanctions, fearful that the route of jambanja (protest action) would further radicalise the masses against both Mugabe and capitalism. They won control because the masses allowed themselves to be bribed by their money and failed to develop their own working people ideology which would see the party being led by workers themselves and fighting for the interests of working people against dictators, bosses and capitalists.

But by 2005, with the worsening economic crisis and the failure of the elections route threatening radicalised mass revolts, capitalist elite forces in both the MDC and the ruling Zanu-PF, supported by Mbeki, felt that they had to move rapidly, take control of their parties and strike a compromise deal, that would have sanctions lifted, accelerate the IMF's economic structural adjustment programme (Esap) under Gideon Gono, the governor of Zimbabwe's Central Bank, and stop the persecution of the MDC as a 'loyal opposition.' In Zanu-PF, middle class and capitalist forces around Joyce Mujuru, Joseph Msika and John Nkomo seized power after the failed attempt to stop Mujuru becoming vice-president in 2004. Fearful of past events in Serbia and Ukraine, they accelerated the drive for compromise with their colleagues in the MDC.

The army commander, general Constantine Chiwenga, concerned that Operation Murambatsvina ('Drive out trash' - expelling hundreds of thousands of 'unofficial' residents from their homes in 2005) had failed to destroy the spirit of resistance in the masses, pleaded with Gono and the politicians 'to do anything possible so that my soldiers won't have to meet hungry protestors in the streets'. To reach their Muzorewa-type settlement, it was necessary that in both parties radical and nationalist forces had to be crushed or removed. Thus in Zanu-PF the war veterans were silenced and placed under the army; Joseph Chinotimba and his Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (set up by Zanu-PF to rival the ZCTU) were castrated; middle class nationalists like Jonathan Moyo crushed and Mugabe, assured of both his political legacy and his personal and family's safety, promised to retire in 2008, to be replaced by the Mujuru-Nkomo faction, which is very close to the multinationals.

In the MDC the remnants of the radical trade unionists and activists were kicked out. Under Mbeki's tutelage, Ncube and David Coltart from the MDC and justice minister Patrick Chinamasa secretly drafted and signed a new constitution, which excluded persons without a degree from becoming president (ie, Tsvangirai). This is when Tsvangirai woke up and started fighting. Supported by the MDC rank and file, he called for a radical paradigm shift, including the boycott of elections, leading to the split.

Some say the re-entry into politics of former student radical Arthur Mutambara on the side of Ncube-Sibanda will have an impact. But he is now part of an MDC faction totally controlled by a middle class elite, committed to collaboration with the Zanu-PF dictatorship, including participating in fake elections under a rigged constitution. This is why they were given $8 billion by the government - released just in time for their congress! This is why Gift Chimanikire was rejected as president in favour of Mutambara, who has been away for 12 years and lacks a support base to control the party. His statement that he was opposed to participation in elections is just empty talk, for he did not fight for that position at the congress, nor was such a resolution passed. If he insists on this he will be immediately kicked out, which is why they have amended their constitution to say it is not the party president who will be its presidential candidate.

Secondly, despite his heroic leadership role in the 1980s struggles against dictatorship and Esap, the Mutambara of 2006 is a different person. He has abandoned the poor and working people and joined the side of the rich and capitalists. He has worked and continues to work in his own business for huge multinationals and international banks responsible for Esaps throughout Africa and the third world. He is trusted enough by USA and UK imperialists to work in their most sensitive institutions like the Nasa space agency.

In his acceptance speech, he outlined his vision of what he saw as the mandate of his generation - and it is one for the black elites and rich and not one for working people. His vision is no longer as it was in the 1980s in his student days, which was one of abolition of capitalist private property and the redistribution of wealth so that the poor may eat, have houses, land, education and a living wage. Now he talks of a vision of 'commercial farmers, innovative entrepreneurs, productive workers and creative managers' who will compete with other global capitalists in screwing the poor. Instead of redistribution of land to the poor peasants he now calls for title deeds in land, so that those who looted the farms are protected for ever. Unlike before when he used to denounce Esap, the IMF and so forth, today, like Gideon Gono, he supports the so-called New Partnership for Africa?s Development (Nepad) and calls for restoring ties with the 'international community' - ie, the IMF and multinationals and the Group of 8 led by Bush and Blair.
Mutambara is now part of the elite and exploiter classes who fear the jambanja of the masses - which is why Ncube and co invited him. This is a reality recognised even by the Financial Gazette, a front for Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation, which observed: 'Analysts and those who went to college with him, however, said despite his militant words, Mutambara was not going to be confrontational. He was looking for a compromise ?'

So does that mean the Tsvangirai faction is the solution? By calling for a paradigm shift and spearheading the boycott of the senate elections, including risking the split of the MDC, we commend Tsvangirai. However, we must not forget that it is Tsvangirai himself who played a key role in inviting into the MDC the middle classes and capitalists who ended up hijacking the party - and the party still continues to participate in municipal elections, after the boycott of senate elections. He must now correct this by spearheading the total clean-out of the MDC of remnants of such forces as capitalists like Eddie Cross and placing its leadership squarely back with tried and tested working people activists and leaders, who are ideologically clear. It is now time to make the talk of a paradigm shift reality, which entails the restoration of our vision of the late 1980s.

This means five key things:
  • A vision of democracy where the wealth of society is used to fulfil basic human needs like food, health, housing, education and leisure, and not the profits of the few capitalists. This requires that the wealth of society is democratically owned and controlled by the majority and not as the private property of the few. The IMF and Esap - ie, neoliberalism and capitalism - should be rejected.
  • No to continued participation in rigged elections, no to collaboration with the regime and capitalist-imperialist forces and yes to mass popular resistance - jambanja ndizvo! Current MPs, mayors and councillors should remain in office only as long as they are prepared to participate in and lead the jambanja.
  • Yes to resistance based on a Working People's Charter of Freedom demanding things like a living wage, right to strike, full subsidies for and reversal of the massive increases in costs of food, education, health, farming inputs, transport and housing; restoration of services like water, sewerage and electricity; an immediate end to payments to the IMF and international banks; jailing of those responsible for state murders, corruption and seizure of properties; redistribution of land to the poor and peasants; and a people-driven new constitution guaranteeing these rights and truly democratic elections.
  • No to commodification and commercialisation of the struggle and resistance. Yes to cadres and no to rented crowds and mercenaries!
  • The building of an effective engine to spearhead this popular resistance: namely a united democratic front of the Tsvangirai MDC and all radical and democratic forces and social movements, modelled on the United Democratic Front in South Africa in the 1980s, which was built by the ANC, Cosatu, the South African Communist Party and civic society. This calls for the immediate convening of a second Working People's Convention to map the way forward in terms of ideology, strategy and tactics - in particular the Charter and a Working People's Calendar of Resistance for 2006 and in the long term.

We hope the MDC will consider these ideas at its forthcoming congress and come up with a new transformed leadership and resolute resolutions in favour of mass resistance

Friday, March 10, 2006

Come on you Blue Eyes!

In yesterday’s Independent there was an interesting (to me anyway) article about the favourite books of football managers.

The survey conducted by the National Football Museum in Preston uneathered the improbable gem that well liked Birmingham City manager, Steve Bruce's favourite book is “Frank Sinatra, When ole' Blue Eyes was a Red” by Martin Smith. Printed by Redwords, the cultural books imprint of the SWP, available from Bookmarks at £5.99. (It hope it is not uncomradely to point out that you can buy it for only £4.79 from Amazon)

For those of you wondering, Jose Mourinho’s favourite book is the bible, perhaps he thinks it is about him?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Comment on Alan Thornett

We've recieved this from the Muslim Action Commity commenting on Alan Thornett's piece The Danish Cartoons

Dear Sir,

I read the article by Alan Thornett on the Danish cartoons and was very depressed to read his inaccurate comments on the numbers attending the various rallies called to protest against the Danish cartoons. This is clearly politically motivated, as it is clear he neither understood the position of the Muslim Action Committee and clearly sought to promote the MAB who are allies in his coalition.

The national press reported that the MCB and MAB's demo on the 11th drew between 3-5000 demonstrators and that the MAC demo on the 18th drew 10-15,000 demonstrators. Independent organisations such as the Islam Channel whose ceo Mohammed Ali and it's political editor Yvonne Ridley are both part of Respect and the Anri-War Coalition reported that the MCB/MAB demonstration had 20,000 demonstrators and that the MAC demonstration had 60,000.

Any independent observer and anyone who examines the press coverage and the areiel footage will know that the MAC event was larger and could not possibly have been smaller as Mr Thornett asserts.

No real examination of the MAC's aims and objectives have been examined by any of the socialist reporters and actually there was no principaled stance not to have non-Muslims on stage. Vanessa Redgrave in fact spoke that day. However our stance is one of promoting Islamic religious values which can be shared and appreciated by others such as good manners, civility, tolerance. It is not the case that we wish to be isolated but rather that we want to stand on our own feet and fight our battles based on our own values, not others.

Thank you for your time, i hope some sort of amendment and apology will be forthcoming.

Ismaeel-Haneef Hijazi
Media Representative
Muslim Action Committee (MAC)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Nepalese Maoists free 100 prisoners

A few days ago Nepalese maoists raided a town in eastern Nepal, attacking government buldings and freeing 103 prisoner - presumably including a number of maoists.Local officials say that troops reulsed the attack - the reality is that raiding a town and then retreating are typical guerilla/maoistt tactics. On March the 14th they are threatening a blockade of the capitl combined with a general strike - lets wait and see what happens. For anyone interested in the character of the Maoist movement in nepal, there was a very interesting interview posted here a while back with one of their leaders.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Another Searchlight exclusive

While I’m praising the latest issue of Searchlight, it is worth mentioning the lead article by Nick Lowles of how Tony (Bomber) Lecomber has been sacked as national development officer for the BNP, after a meeting between him and notorious Liverpool gangster Joe Owens, in which Lecomber suggested that if Griffin was convicted of race hate, then the BNP should respond by murdering a cabinet minister.

If you did want such a top politician topped, then Joe Owens would be a likely man to discuss it with, as according to searchlight he has “helped” the police with murder enquiries in the past, and if it wasn’t for the strange tendency of prosecution witnesses to disappear, Owens might well be a guest of Her Majesty. As it was Owens thought it was a set up, and called for Lecomber’s head.

UVF to disband?

This month’s print edition of Searchlight tells the most curious tale, of how the loyalist terror group the Ulster Volunteer Force may be preparing to dissolve itself.

There is no end to how strange the story is, as it first broke in some print editions of the Observer with a story written by veteran journalist Henry McDonald, based upon a highly placed source within the UVF. It also appeared in the (print only) Irish edition of the Independent on Sunday. For some reason the London edition of the Observer did not carry it, and it has not appeared on either paper’s web page. As Searchlight observes, this is a bit odd as it is BIG NEWS.

According to the UVF source: the war is over for their volunteers and they should engage in community based projects, and support the Progressive Unionist Party.

This prompted the article to be reproduced on the Combat 18 website (for those of you not in the know, 18 is code for Adolf Hitler), with an offensive message, the gist of which is that Combat 18 members don’t think very highly of the PUP

The Progressive Unionist Party is itself the strangest beast in all God’s creation. There is a declaration from the PUP on the website of the Irish republican journal the Blanket. “The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) is a democratic political party whose policies are based on the principles of democratic socialism. It was formed in 1977 by Independent Unionists, ex- Northern Ireland Labour Party members and a number of ex-prisoners associated with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commando (RHC). … . The PUP sought to articulate the views of the working class, while at the same time, introducing policies that improved their quality of life.”

Since then the PUP, and particularly their capable frontman David Ervine have sought to straddle the two stools of progressive working class politics and armed loyalism. A task so seemingly impossible that it makes a marriage of Trotskyism, Galloway’s career and Islam sound quite respectable.

So will the UVF disband? Perhaps, but the source for the story says they will not decommission their arms. And as many loyalist paramilitaries, particularly the UDA are morphing into outright gangsters, without even a pretence of politics, a UVF source promised Searchlight: “there will be a time before it all finishes, before they all become politicians, where they’ll have to deal with those the process does not reach for whatever reason. Before we put the war to bed, we’ll have to put the monsters we created to sleep with it.”

In South Africa the conflict was lanced with the “Truth and Reconciliation” process. Are the loyalists going to end the war with a process of Death and Recrimination instead?

Monday, March 06, 2006

homosexuals to be sent back from Holland to Iran

Rita Verdonk, the dutch foreign minister has said that she will send gay Iranians back to their country of origin. This stupid woman has accepted that in Iran soddomy can carry the death penalty, has even stated that in Iran 'its important not to be too open about your seuxal orientation' but insist that the deportation of gays is Justified because 'it is not completely impossible to function as a homosexual in Iran'. What revolting criteria to use!For nearly a decade it was 'not completely impossible' for jews to function inside Nazi Germany. This does not however mean that the refusal of countries around the world the world to take in refugees was not a grave injustice. Personally i think that this fuckwit should be put in a hole in the ground and told that it is 'not completely impossible' for her to function as long she never feels like leaving.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blog news; into RSS-o-sphere

Lots of tweeking still to do (all suggestions welcomed) but here comes number one and is a launch into new, unfamiliar territory. The Socialist Unity Blog will now available on RSS - the sytem that all the hip kids now use to get their news.

If you've already got RSS set up just click this link to add us


You can also use this link to get your rss started

Thursday, March 02, 2006

No to nuclear power

Recieved this letter today

The world is facing climate change through the increasing carbon emissions of modern society. The Blair government is now considering going down the nuclear road again. This is a mistake we could all end up paying for.

A new nuclear power station takes 10 years to build, but we need action now. Sizewell cost the taxpayers £3.7 billion, and decommissioning our current ageing power stations would cost an estimated £56 billion.

Nuclear power is not carbon free. Its cycle of production causes 50% more emissions than wind power. We need a government that genuinely pursues renewable energy sources. Such as wind power, and all new buildings having cavity wall insulation. The use of solar power roofing with an increase in the government subsidy to at least two thirds of the cost of installation.

Another strong reason for not using nuclear power is that it’s not safe. As the slogan painted on a railway bridge in Portobello Road stated “Nuclear power fades your genes” This might not seem too important locally until you realize that they were transporting nuclear waste up the West London line to Willesden junction on its way to Sellafield. I spoke to British Nuclear Fuels to try and ascertain whether this was still the case. After speaking to four different departments I was no wiser, but they did promise to get back to me!

Eddie Adams

Alliance for Green Socialism Prospective candidate for the Golborne Ward.