February 2000

Anarchism & Environmental Survival

Date:

Graham Purchase is one of the most prolific writers in the Australian anarchist movement, and in books such as 'Anarchist Society & its Practical Realisation', has made a serious contribution to the debate on the future of the anarchist movement, and how our ideas can best be put into practice today. Here, we review his latest book, 'Anarchism and Environmental Survival'.

The Life, Times & Confessions of Victor Serge - The Bolsheviks' pet anarchist

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Leninists are fond of quoting from the writing of Victor Serge, as a means of getting a libertarian rubber stamp for the actions of the Bolsheviks during the October revolution and the subsequent events. In his keynote article "In defence of October"[1] John Rees uses no less than 8 quotes from Serge's writings within the space of 70 pages. Poor old Lenin only managed to clock up 4 original quotes, while Tony Cliff's dubious interpretation of all these events manages to get more quotes in than one could possibly count. To a certain extent, what the Leninists of today are trying to tell us is that Serge was a practical man, and he knew that the only way for the revolution to succeed was to row in behind the Bolsheviks. So, with this in mind, we take a look at Serge's' autobiography "Memoirs of a Revolutionary".

Is Bill Gates really worth 14,000,000 people?

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BETWEEN 1986 AND 1999 Bill Gates, the richest man on earth, earned over 14 million dollars a day from the increasing value of his Microsoft shares alone. Yet over one billion people on this planet live on less than one dollar a day. Some put Gates' wealth down to hard work, but the reality is that some of these low earners are working far longer hours.
Women workers in the garment industries in Bangladesh earn as little as 63p a day1. The UN reports that they "spend 56 hours a week in paid employment on top of 31 hours in unpaid work - a total of 87 hours". The reality of this new millennium is that inequality is now greater than ever, and according to the UN it is getting worse.

Irish government plans more discrimination through 'direct provision'

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TWO NEW BUZZWORDS have entered the lexicon of the Department of Justice; "dispersal" and "direct provision". The government's "solution" to the crisis of accommodation for asylum seekers in Dublin, like many State solutions, has served to create more problems than it has solved.

Workers Solidarity suspending production for a while - Spring 2000

Date:

Regular readers of Workers Solidarity will have noticed that this issue is quite late in coming out. We are currently dicsussing our publications (Workers Solidarity and Red & Black Revolution) with a view to making changes in the way they are produced and sold.

That's capitalism WS59

Date:

Chinese construction worker Chen Xianggui was recently convicted of "gathering people to disturb the social order'', a charge based on his union activism while working in Kuwait. Chen went to Kuwait in 1996 as one of thousands of Chinese overseas labourers and joined a union of foreign workers. As a union activist he helped organise a one-week strike in Kuwait in 1997 over unpaid overtime. The strike was legal under Kuwaiti law. But Chinese authorities revoked Chen's passport in early 1998, forcing him to return to China. He was arrested and held in detention until October 28th last year, when a court in Jintang County in his native Sichuan province convicted him.1

Swedish libertarian socialist Björn Söderberg murdered by fascists

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SWEDISH FASCISTS murdered a long time trade unionist last October. Björn Söderberg was an activist of the 'libertarian socialist' Swedish Workers Central Organisation (SAC) union. He was shot three times outside his apartment in the Stockholm suburb of Satra. He was shot in the head.

Some lessons from the 'Campaign Against A New Partnership Deal' 2000

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THE WORKERS Solidarity Movement have, since their inception with the Programme for National Recovery in 1987, identified 'social partnership' agreements as a major problem. Not only do they hold down wages while placing no limits on prices or profits; they also massively reduce ordinary members' participation in their unions, erode internal union democracy, and encourage a denial of independent working class interests.

The problems of leadership

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I recently found myself on a morning flight from London to Dublin with two leaders - David Trimble and Ken Magennis. If that plane had crashed it can almost be guaranteed that there would have been some conspiracy theory surrounding it. The crash would have meant that this article would never have been written - but in the greater scheme of things it would be remembered due to the fact that these leaders' lives would have been lost.

Workers copy TDs and demand an extra £250 a week

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Conference notes the pay claim lodged by TDs seeking an increase of £250 per week. Therefore conference instructs the incoming Executive Committee to lodge a claim for an across the board increase of £250 per week for all PSEU members. This claim is to be lodged with the Department of Finance by 1st June 2000.

Partnership fight provides real opportunity for return to activism in teachers' unions

Date:

THE BATTLE AGAINST the latest "social partnership" deal - The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness - in the teachers' unions has thrown up the best chance for decades for the building of a real rank-and-file oppositional group within the three teacher unions. Activists in all three unions - the INTO, TUI and ASTI - have united in "Teachers Against Partnership" and delivered a strong message to the leadership of the unions that passivity among the rank-and-file is coming to an end.

Working conditions in retail - Confessions of a store grunt

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AT THE MOMENT there are approximately 236,400 people working in the wholesale and retail trade. Most of us working in this sector are badly paid, as unskilled labour usually is. Recently Roches Stores office workers went out on strike for better pay. Some of them were being paid as little as £4.16 an hour. They were successful and got a 25% pay rise.

The Executive is still no way forward for Northern Ireland

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THE NORTHERN EXECUTIVE (the wanna-be government of the six counties) is gone for the moment. The leaders of the UUP, SDLP and Sinn Féin had been getting used to the Ministerial high life. They were not eager to let it go.

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