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Britain

Wave of workplace occupations aims to reverse tide of closures; August 5: Thomas Cook workers arrested

Avril Boyne, more than eight months' pregnant, who has nine years' service at Thomas Cook, protesting at the closure of the travel agency and the redundancy package offered to staff at the Thomas Cook office, Grafton Street, Dublin. Thomas Cook is offering five weeks' pay for each year of service but workers are holding out for eight weeks. Photograph by Matt Kavanagh/Irish Times.

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STOP PRESS: Thomas Cook sit-in raided by police, workers arrested!

Send protest/solidarity emails to wendy@thomascook.ie and fennj@tssa.org.uk

For jobs and the environment: Why the workers occupied the Vestas wind turbine plant

Climate campaigners show their support for the Vestas workers.

Below is the text of a speech written by a Vestas worker for delivery at trade union and environmental movement meetings. It gives an excellent insight into the background of the struggle, and its wider political significance. It first appeared at http://savevestas.wordpress.com. See also ``Capitalism vs the environment: Wind turbine workers fight factory closure with sit-in'' for more coverage.

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I’ve come today to speak about a little factory called St. Cross on the Isle of Wight – otherwise known as Vestas; you may have heard about it before …

Class struggle and ecology: An ecosocialist approach

By Socialist Resistance (Britain)

…we with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and… all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage of all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly

— Friedrich Engels.

Ecology as crucial as imperialism

For socialists in the 20th century imperialism was the great dividing line between those who accepted the logic of capitalist society and those who were willing to challenge it. In the first decades of the 21st century it is apparent that imperialism and war will remain inherent features of late capitalism. To these threats we must add the genuine and serious risks of severe ecological degradation and climate change caused by the capitalist economic model as factors that will shape socialist politics in the coming decades.

The biosphere and us

Scottish Socialist Party: ‘Little Britain’ politics and the left

By Alan McCombes

April 24, 2009 -- Voters who want an isolationist Britain will be spoiled for choice in the European elections on June 4th. On the far right, the BNP and UKIP both demand an independent Britain. Left of centre parties that want British withdrawal include Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Parry and the NO2EU Yes To Democracy coalition. While these four parties promote British independence, the Free Scotland Party campaigns for an independent Scotland outside the European Union.

What should be the attitude of Scottish socialists towards Europe? Should the left back British separatism? And does the NO2EU Yes To Democracy campaign represent a progressive step forward?

(Updated May 3) Ireland & Britain: Car workers occupy plants over jobs -- Support Visteon workers!

May 3, 2009 -- Workers at Visteon, following a four-week battle, have gained a victory. After the occupation of the Visteon plants and 24-hour picketing when the company announced its liquidation, Ford/Visteon bosses were finally forced to concede to the workers' demands. Workers in Enfield and Basildon have already voted in favour of the deal, while those at Belfast will be voting soon. Below are reports and videos that recount events as they unfolded.

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(Updated April 2) Eric Toussaint on G20: `Putting a fresh coat of paint on a world that is collapsing'; police attack protesters

London on March 28, 2009. Protest organised Put People First, an alliance of more than 150 unions, and attended by 35,000 people. Photo by Xinhua.

Stop press April 2

George Monbiot: G20 protests: Riot police, or rioting police?

At the G20 protests in London only one group appears to be looking for violent confrontation – and it's not the protesters.

Red Pepper: Death in the City

Britain: New left alliance for EU elections

Bob Crow.

March 24, 2009 -- Spectrezine -- Last week saw the launch of the ``No2EU -- Yes to Democracy'' electoral front, which is critical of the European Union and opposed to the Lisbon Treaty. The alliance is an initiative of Bob Crow, head of Britian's biggest transport union, the RMT. Below, Crow explains why activists have taken the decision to challenge British Labour Party complaceny on this viciously anti-working class treaty.

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It's not every day I agree to head up a new left-wing EU-critical electoral alliance to stand in the European elections, but it wasn't a decision taken lightly. My union has been following developments in the European Union for many years and has debated the impact of EU treaties and various directives each year at its annual general meetings. Many RMT members have suffered as the result of EU diktats such as the one which led to the privatisation of our rail network.

`For international solidarity between workers' -- British left debates Lindsey oil refinery strike wave (updated Feb. 7)

Below are a range of views from the British and Scottish left on the strike wave that erupted at the Lindsey oil refinery and rapidly spread across the country. Statements from Socialist Resistance, Scottish Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Respect MP George Galloway, the Socialist Party, the Morning Star, Lenin's Tomb blog and the Socialist Unity blog.

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For international solidarity between workers

Socialist Resistance statement

British MP: `My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza'

By Liam Macuaid

January 15, 2009 -- This snippet is taken from MRzine. Gerald Kaufman is on the rightwing of the British Labour Party and it's so exceptionally rare for him to say much that the readers of this site would agree with that it’s worth posting.

Close the US military base on Diego Garcia! Complete the decolonisation of Mauritius!

US-occupied Diego Garcia

By Lindsey Collen, Lalit (Mauritius)

October 26, 2008 -- Five separate judgments were handed down in the House of Lords’ October 22 judgment on the appeal of the British government against the Chagossians’ right of abode on Diego Garcia. Lords Hoffman, Rodger of Earlsferry and Carswell found against the Chagossians’ right of abode, while Lords Bingham of Cornhill and Mance found in favour. In this article, we’ll summarise the arguments the judges relied upon and also briefly comment on the numerous mentions of Lalit in the judgment, before moving on to the question of Diego Garcia in more political terms; the illegal military occupation of Diego Garcia and the Chagos islands by the British and US, which is the reason for the horrendous banishment of the Chagossians from their home islands is an eminently political problem.

Class struggle and ecology -- An ecosocialist contribution to the discussion on revolutionary regroupment*

By Liam Mac Uiad

....we with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and... all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage of all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly -- Friedrich Engels.

Ecology as crucial as imperialism

For socialists in the 20th century imperialism was the great dividing line between those who accepted the logic of capitalist society and those who were willing to challenge it. In the first decades of the 21st century it is apparent that imperialism and war will remain inherent features of late capitalism. To these threats we must add the genuine and serious risks of severe ecological degradation and climate change caused by the capitalist economic model as factors that will shape socialist politics in the coming decades.

The biosphere and us

Secret CIA prison on Diego Garcia confirmed

By Andy Worthington

August 2008 -- The existence of a secret, CIA-run prison on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean has long been a leaky secret in the “War on Terror” and recent revelations in TIME — based on disclosures by a “senior American official” (now retired), who was “a frequent participant in White House Situation Room meetings” after the 9/11 attacks, and who reported that “a CIA counter-terrorism official twice said that a high-value prisoner or prisoners were being interrogated on the island” — will come as no surprise to those who have been studying the story closely.

Mauritius: Britain cites Lalit's support for Chagossians to oppose their return

By Lalit de Klas

July 16, 2008 -- According to attorney-at-law Robin Mardemootoo, who represented the Chagos Refugee Group at the House of Lords Judicial Committee, which acts as the ultimate court of appeal in London, last week, the Mauritian revolutionary organisation Lalit was referred to during one hour of pleadings by the UK government legal representative Jonathan Crow, QC. There are not official transcripts of this kind of hearing.

Britain: New left regroupment effort announced

An invitation to participate in the creation of a new Revolutionary Socialist Organisation

This text was voted on and passed at a meeting in London on Sunday 29th June. A Steering Committee was also elected.

The purpose of this document is to launch a regroupment process, which will culminate in a conference after a period of discussion. It registers the most important areas of agreement we have achieved at the beginning of this discussion. There are other areas, not included, which will have to be the subject of further discussion.

1. This is a proposal made by members of the International Socialist Group (ISG), Socialist Resistance (SR), a group of former members of the SWP and some independent Marxists not presently in any organisation. It is an invitation to everyone who would be interested in establishing a new revolutionary organisation based on an understanding of the need for Marxists to build a revolutionary organisation and to work for the widest unity of the working class on economic, social and political issues.

Respect and the London election results

By Nick Wrack and Alan Thornett, Socialist Resistance

May 6, 2008 -- The New Labour project is falling apart at the seams. Its local election results were the worst in 40 years, with only 24% of the vote and coming third behind the Liberal Democrats. This is a disastrous result for British Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In London, the election of the Conservative Party's Boris Johnson as mayor and the presence of a far-right British National Party (BNP) member on the Greater London Assembly will disturb and depress all who value the multi-cultural diversity of the city.

What kind of left for the 21st century? Democratic Centralism and broad left parties

Socialist Resistance steering comittee

January 2008 -- Since the beginning of the decade important steps have been made in rebuilding the left internationally, following the working class defeats of the ‘80s and ‘90s and the negative impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Broad parties and narrow visions: the SWP and Respect

By Murray Smith

January 4, 2008 -- The crisis which has led to a split in Respect is an important development, affecting as it does the principal force of the radical left in England. The future will tell us whether the current crisis represents just another failure, another dead-end, another missed opportunity for the English left, or whether, as seems increasingly possible, it offers Respect itself the chance for a renewal and is perhaps a step on the road towards a broader formation.

Whichever way you look at it, the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) is at the centre of the crisis. It is or was the central component of Respect, as it had been of the Socialist Alliance which preceded it, and it has been one of the main protagonists in the conflict that has engulfed Respect. So I want to look at what has happened from the point of view of the relationship between the SWP, a traditional far-left organisation, and the broader left formation that Respect is. I think there are some lessons to be learned which go beyond Britain.

Militant: what went wrong?

By Phil Hearse

Phil Hearse came into politics through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and subsequently joined the Young Communist League in 1962 at the age of 13. He was expelled in 1963 for being a member of a "Trotskyist-led faction". From 1967, he was for 27 years a member of the British section of the Fourth International, before joining Militant Labour in 1994. After three years he left with a small group to help found Socialist Democracy.

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