Socialist Fight No 1 Winter/Spring 2009

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We are launching Socialist Fight because we were convinced that the current financial, economic and political crisis of capitalism is the deepest we have faced in our lifetimes. All the contradictions of previous crises were only overcome by preparing this crisis, by ever expanding debt and thereby masking the effects of the falling rate of profit. The laws of capitalism have produced this crisis, not the greed of bankers or the mistakes of short-sighted governments or even the opportunism of Alan Greenspan.
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    Israel/Palestine - For aBi-National Workers State! Socialist Fight Issue No. 1 Winter/Spring 2009. Price: Concessions: 50p Waged: £2, €3.   Unity is strength, L‟unité est force, Η ενότητα είναι δύναμη, Minimada iyo iskuxirnaantu waa awood ama xoog sidaa darteed waa inaan isku xirnaanaa, Zwiázkizawodowe, Einheit ist Stärke, Всеединство прочность, bashkimi ben fuqine, L‟unità è la resistenza, 团结是   力量 , A unidade é a força, 単一性 はある   強 さ , De eenheidis de sterkte, Ní neart go chur le céile, 단일성은   이다   힘   힘 , Workers of the World Unite!  Contents Page 2: Editorial: Beware of treacherous misleadersPage 3: London Buses: Strike on? Maybe! by A J ByrnePage 4: Anti-Fascism, the UAF and the SWP by SteveBagalPage 5: Occupy and organise to defend councilservices, by Steve BagalPage 6: AWL - Two Stages, Two States, and utterpolitical confusion by Tony Fox Page 6: LRC: The People‟s Charter: a pious prayer to capitalism by Tony FoxPage 7: Workers International Vanguard League of South Africa; urgent appeal to the working classPage 8: HOPIPage 8: Free Lex Wotton CampaignPage 9: For a revolutionary internationalist bloc: TheLeninist Trotskyist FractionPage 10: Greece in Revolt!, by Savas Michael Mastasof the GreekWorkers Revolutionary Party(EEK)Page11: The Platform of the International TrotskyistCurrentPage 16: Mike Macnair: An Inconsistent Neo-KauskyitePage 24: Gaza: Smash the Siege! by Yossi Schwartz inIsrael Socialist Fight is published by theInternational Trotskyist Current.Contact: PO Box 59188, London, NW2 9LJEmail: Socialist_Fight@yahoo.co.uk  Page 2   Socialist Fight Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International, Go Forward! We are launching Socialist Fight be-cause we were convinced that thecurrent financial, economic and po-litical crisis of capitalism is the deep-est we have faced in our lifetimes. Allthe contradictions of previous criseswere only overcome by preparingthis crisis, by ever expanding debtand thereby masking the effects of the falling rate of profit. The laws of capitalism have produced this crisis,not the greed of bankers or the mis-takes of short-sighted governmentsor even the opportunism of AlanGreenspan.America fought WWII not just todefeat the economic model of NaziGermany or the state-planned econ-omy of the USSR or that of the colo-nial empires of old Europe, Britainand France but to overcome all oppo-nents of the free market. Theysought to impose their neo-liberalagenda on the whole world after thewar, whilst exempting themselves asBritain did in the last globalisedeconomy in the nineteenth century,because theirs was the most power-ful and efficient economy based onTaylorism and Fordism and they hadthe best military. But they encoun-tered problems. The world was bi-polar after WWII because the USSRhad triumphed over Nazi Germanyand the war had given a powerfulimpulse to revolutionary forces eve-rywhere.But Stalinism betrayed these imme-diate challenges, which reached theirhigh points in Italy, Greece and Viet-nam. CPI leader Togliatti issued hisinfamous instructions from Moscowsignalling the Salerno Turn awayfrom the armed partisans in controlof almost all the cities of northernItaly, entered the government of thefascistPietro Badoglio, 2nd Duke of Addis Ababa(he led the invasion of Ethiopia), as minister without portfo-lio, voted for theLateran Pactsandbetrayed the Italian revolution. Sta- lin‘s percentage agreement con- signed Greece to capitalism, the KKEled byZachariadischose Stalin andclass compromise over Tito and thearmed struggle, the Greek Stalinistsmurdered Titoists and 800 Trotsky-ists and the Kremlin watched in silentapproval as the British and US ar-mies massacred the revolution. HoChi Mihn savagely put down the Viet-nam revolution, murdered the greatTrotskyist leader Tạ Thu Thâu and welcomed back the French troops onthe instructions of Stalin. MauriceThorez in France and Stalinists ineight other European countries en-tered popular front governments tosave capitalism.The oil crises of 1973 revived therevolutionary efforts of 1968. The1974 revolutions in Portugal, the overthrow of the Colonel‘s Regime in Greece and the colonial uprisings inAngola and Mozambique thwarted fora period the neo-liberal offensive bythe US and its international allies. However the assault by Reagan‘s Paul Volker and Thatcher inflictedenormous defeats on the US andBritish working class, highlighted bythe defeat of the British Miners in1985. The Star Wars offensive, thehuge cost of the Afghanistan war andthe collapse of the price of oil even-tually led to the collapse of the de-formed and degenerate workersstates in Eastern Europe and theUSSR in 1989-91.Now the US hadfinally achieved its pre-WWII goal,history had ended and the wholeworld was neo-liberal apart from thelast few remaining workers statesand economies like Yugoslavia andIraq which were brutally repressivebut nonetheless still strong enoughto refuse to allow unrestricted accessto their markets. They saw whatunrestricted access had done to theeconomies of Africa and south Asia inparticular and did not wish to takethat road.And so they had to be invaded toteach them, and the rest of the hold- outs, a lesson. But the ‗war on terror‘  in Iraq and Afghanistan is meetingfierce resistance. And now Greece isin revolt, the first of the major classwars of the economic crisis. Italy isalso simmering.And Britain too will see its majorclass struggles. But we know that itspresent leadership, from Gordon Brown to Brendan Barber to Unite‘s Tony Woodley and Derek Simpsonwill lead nothing but defeats.But what of the parties of the left?We will expose their opportunism inour publication and in practice byengaging with them in struggle sowinning the best revolutionary fight-ers in a battle for international revo-lutionary regroupment. In the firstplace we can say that George Gallo- way‘s Respect Renewal, which ludi-crously contains the ‗eco - socialists‘ of the USFI‘s ISG, is an opportunistpopular frontist fraud. The SWP splitto the left, marginally, but they canmake no principled critique of theirpast relationship with Galloway andso now faces a split themselves. JohnRees, Lindsey German and ChrisNineham have resigned from the CC to save Rees‘s face and prepare a fightback, based on the Stop the WarCoalition, which they control. Butboth sides are united against theupsurge of the membership againstdecades of bureaucratic, not-in-front-of-the-children control freakery. TheSocialist Party wants to build its ownlabour movement as a left cover fortheir capitulation to the TU bureauc-racy like Mark Serwotka in the PCS.The Alliance for Workers Liberty hasdisgraced itself once again by givingits endorsement to Israel to bombIran and refusing critical support toHamas against the Zionist onslaught.That leaves Workers Power, Perma-nent Revolution and the neo-Kautskyites of the CPGB. We will beworking in that milieu in the main, itis there that we fight out differencesand develop our agreements.The terrible bombing of Gaza, giventhe green light by Bush and Brown,the whole of world imperialism andthe treacherous Arab bourgeoisie, particular Egypt‘s Hosni Mubarak who refuses assistance to such a belea-guered people, gives us a glimpse of what we are up against and shows usthat the imperialists and their allieswill stop at nothing to maintain theirrule in the way they want it.But we have faith in the world work-ing class, in the British, European,Japanese , Chinese, etc. and in theUS working class too who will fight asthey always have done; the US Long-shoremen in the west coast haveshown the way by striking againstthe war in Iraq. We recognise thevital need for revolutionary leader-ship internationally, that is why weare Trotskyists and that is what wewill be struggling to build. Beware of treacherous misleaders The fascist Pietro Badoglio, Toglatti‟s leader to save Italian capitalism in 1946. EDITORIAL  Page 3   Socialist Fight Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International, Go Forward! The fight has gone out of the disputeover pay which caused such disruption on London‘s buses in August, Septem- ber and October of last year. The srci-nal plan was to fight for the samewages and conditions for all buswork-ers across London. £30,000 or 5%whichever is the greater was the tar-get. The TGWU/Unite claimed that paycan vary across companies from£20,000 to £28,000, including shiftallowances, bonuses and unsocialhours payments. The Unite claim would take drivers‘ salaries to a minimum of  £30,000 a year or a 5 percent increase,whichever is the greater. Other key points in the unified claim forbus drivers are:A maximum of 4 hour 30 minutes of continuous driving duty before a break7 hours 36 minutes maximum time onduty per day38 hour weekly time on dutyTime on duty to be spread over a maxi-mum of 10 hours daily (currently a 12-hour spread)Drivers to be allowed a minimum of 20minutes to carry out security and safetychecks on their bus before beginning todriveA minimum of 11 hours between duties There were a number of serious prob-lems with this approach. Even if every-one got the £30,000 it would still notmean equality because back in 1993-94 the eleven different companies thatthen took over from London Transportimposed eleven different sets of wagesand conditions and every new smallcowboy company that won a routeimposed their own. Within companiesand within individual garages newroutes were won by tendering on newrates until the First/Centrewest strikeof 2000 when thirteen different ratesapplied in that main garage alone. Thatvictory led to increased militancy whichwon improved wage rates and a grad-ual elimination of different rates withincompanies but the cross company dis-parities were never tackled.LT and its successor TfL under Living-stone continued to exploit these differ-ences by the completive tenderingregime, maintaining a downward pres-sure on wages. In his last year in officeLivingstone tightened the tenderingprocess to close a big gap in funding.Routes have been lost by all companiessince to lower tenders, often from newoperators with lower rates and worseconditions.Given the injurious effects of competitive tendering itseems inexplicable that theLondon Convenors committeeand the Unite bureaucracyled by Senior Organiser PeterKavanagh is so dead setagainst campaigning for itsabolition. Moreover thevagueness of the claimmeant that the crucial issueof harmonising conditionswas never tackled. Somecompanies pay unsocialhours, some do not, somehave good overtime and workrest day rates, other pay flatrates at all times, all only payovertime after the scheduled duty iscomplete so a five day, twelve hourspreadover duty would pay flat rates allthe way through. And some pay for theforty minute meal relief but the major-ity do not. It stands to reason thatbefore £30,000 means anything theseconditions must be harmonised, that isthe company convenors must come toan agreed set of conditions to be en-dorsed by the shop stewards and thenballoted by all the bus drivers in Lon-don. This work has not even begun.Furthermore there is the question of how a London wide deal could bestruck given that all negotiations takeplace on an individual company level.Kavanagh has floated the idea of a TfLcommittee negotiating with Unite onbehalf of all companies, given that TfLare the ultimate paymasters. Living-stone just ignored the idea. Johnson simply said ‗no‘ and has now begun to privatise the only TfL run company, thesmall East Thames Buses, which hasthe best conditions like a final salarypension scheme. Surely a campaign tobring the buses back into public owner-ship is an absolute must but again,seemingly inexplicably, the London Convenor‘s Committee and Kavanagh are resolutely opposed.Which brings to the strike wave, whichis still apparently ongoing. It has itsown website at; http://www.londonbusworkers.com/?q  but the last entry was on 21 Octoberexplaining that the strikes due on 22October (the next day!), which wouldhave involved 14,000 drivers had been called off because, ―an injunction granted to Metrobus in the high courtearlier this month, and the threat fromall of the other companies to pursuethe same course of action, has causedUnite to suspend industrial action while it seeks legal guidance‖.  Metrobus has only 1,000 drivers but nonetheless ‗the threat‘ was enough to send the convenors of the other 13,000drivers led by Kavanagh scurrying forcover. On top of that there was noofficial communication from the unionso that drivers discovered that theaction had been called off from com-pany notices, which some militantsdemanded be ignored as a companyploy. Since then Unite has conducted aconsultative ballot of all eight compa-nies on 5 December, when drivers wereunder all the pre-Christmas financialpressures, which resulted in a renewedmandate by about 75%. Cynics sug-gested this was a disappointment forthe union leaders, now stuck in a dis-pute they did not want but do not knowhow to finish. So now we can appar-ently expect more strikes in Januaryand February after the legally requiredpostal ballot, which was supposed tobegin on 5 th January. Or can we?The reason for the fierce opposition toending competitive tendering and tocampaigning for public ownership is thecorrupt relationship many convenors and ‗reps‘ (this is the favoured ternrather than ‗shop steward‘) have with their companies. Convenors are on fulltime secondment as are reps in biggarages. All stewards enjoy the free weekend in the TGWU‘s hotel in East- bourne where garage managers andmore senior managers and chief execu- tives involve them in ‗partnership‘ pro- grammes, often led by a professional  ‗partnership‘ company. There theylearn loyalty to the company‘s ‗corporate values‘ washed down by generous and unlimited quantities of free alcohol and the best of cuisine.So when a strike comes their loyalty tothe company is tested by their desireto look after the best interests of theirmembers or maybe it is only a desireto get re-elected every two years. Inthis dispute convenors have been toldthey will have to go back driving buses.   London Buses: Strike on? Maybe! by A J Byrne Bus strikers at Lea Interchange inSeptember (Pic: Swalee Emambacus). CLASS STRUGGLE  Page 4   Socialist Fight Leon Trotsky: I am confident of the victory of the Fourth International, Go Forward! Some reps in the larger garages havealready lost their full time secondment.And there are other, no less importantfavours under threat. Many of the pro-management convenors and stewardsrely on the company to deal with anymilitant opponents. They simply go tothe senior manager and ask them to discipline the ‗troublemaker‘ as a ‗frightener‘ or sack them if that does not work. But it is difficult to expectthat level of cooperation when youorganise strikes against the company.And the Eastbourne spring junketsmust also be called into question now.There is yet a further problem. Giventhe appalling corruption of Unite on thebuses members in increasing numbershave been voting with their feet and joining the RMT. As one senior RMT leader said, ―we tell them to go back and reform their own union but theysay that is impossible because they have it all sown up with the managers‖. So Kavanagh has a problem. If he doesnot deliver in this year at this wageoffensive many more will leave for theRMT. And his company convenors arenot unduly bothered because the rec-ognition agreement is with Unite andeven if 90% joined in individual ga-rages the convenor and the reps wouldstill retain their privileges as long as itdid not pass 50% in the bargaining unitas a whole. Kavanagh cannot be thatcomplacent, he must defend his unionas best he can by making some mini-mal progress at least. And not all con-venors and shop stewards are corrupt(maybe the majority of the former anda large minority of the latter). The bestof them are genuinely inspired by thegrowing militancy of the membership.But it is the corrupt ones that still callthe tune in London and do not expectUnite to do anything drastic about thatsoon. So strike on? Maybe! Anti-Fascism, the UAF and the SWP by Steve Bagal In 2008 the British NationalParty (BNP) have made bigefforts at public campaigning invarious cities/areas. This marksa new departure in their at-tempts to grow into a massforce, which is their immediategoal. Unite Against Fascism(UAF) is their mainstream oppo-nent in this. This anti-fascistorganisation is a front for theSocialist Workers Party (SWP)and is supported by the most of the big Trade Unions but at abig political price. The SWP have become the organisation‘s sen- tries, they are present at all mobilisa-tions against the BNP and do their bestto split away the militant antifascists incollaboration with the police. This is anecessary precondition for them to re-tain the support of the trade union bu-reaucrats.This is in line with their attempts toaccommodate the Stalinists of the CPB(Morning Star), their partners in theStop the War Coalition. UAF is a popularfront organisation of the traditionalStalinist type; it is strongly opposed tomilitant anti-fascism, preferring to enteralliances with fair- weather ‗anti - fascists‘  like Alan Sugar and others leading capi-talists and members of the Conserva-tive and Liberal parties, who are obvi-ously our enemies. This is the line of Hope not Hate – vote anybody but theBNP, as if a vote for Tory Boris Johnsonfor London Mayor could stop fascism. Itshould be obvious to all class consciousworkers that fascism is a product of capitalism in decline and faced with thealternative of fascism or socialism thereis no doubt which these liberal petty-bourgeois (and bourgeois) forces willchoose. And to accommodate them wemust agree to abandon our own revolu-tionary programme (although this is nota problem for the SWP as they have noprogramme atall!). The liberal bourgeoisie‘s first priority is to preventrevolution, defend-ing the so-called  ‗multi -kulti democ- racy‘ we apparently live in, which is onlya cover for the in-creasingly nakedclass oppressionfaced by all workersin modern bourgeoissociety, comes sec-ond to that. They see no need to fighteffectively against fascists; Weyman Bennett‘s (the SWP‘s CC member in charge of UAF) antics in collaboratingwith the police have become legendaryon the anti-fascist left and when com- bined with bogus ‗revolutionary‘ empty propaganda does serious damage to thereal fight. (PR websitewww.permanentrevolution. net/entry/2433, Liverpool: Cops defend thefascists – Weyman Bennett defends thecops)We counterpose the traditional commu-nist tactic of the United Front, as out-lined by Lenin at the Second Congressof the Communist International in 1920and developed by Trotsky to combat thedisastrous ultra-leftism of the StalinistThird Period in Germany. Our under-standing of combating fascism startswith the need for physical confrontationof all racists and fascists where theyattempt to peddle their filth amongworking people and the dispossessedwho may be vulnerable to it: militantantifascism is our creed; the workingclass must be involved in an active anddemocratic way if we really are going tosmash fascism in the fight for SOCIAL-ISM. The leaders of UAF fail to under-stand that fascism is the 'last resort' of capitalism and the only effective way tofight it is with socialist/revolutionaryideas and methods! Whilst we are do-ing this we are placing demands on thebureaucratic misleaders of the workingclass – Fascism is a class issue, mobiliseto fight it now!The Liberals and Tories that are friendsof the UAF Popular Front are enemies of the working class - of that there can beno question! They are infinitely closerpolitically to fascism than to the workingclass, regarding the BNP as over enthu-siastic patriots who are doing good work against ‗troublemaking ‗ socialists and trade unions. So our tactic must be tomobilise the organised working class inthe TUs, Labour party branches andCLPs to fight for their own class inter-ests, only this will open the road tosocialism and defeat fascism. What do we propose?    that organising committees areestablished in all areas, firstly inthose areas in which the fascistsare attempting to organise!    These need to be comprised of working class people and their rep-resentatives, and should be estab-lished in communities as well as inworkplaces in order that all poten-tial allies of the organised workersmay be involved!      that the organised labour move-ment takes up the matter of anti-fascism, and mobilises for struggle!    Antifa workers and their alliesshould organise for militant antifastruggle, regardless of what thebureaucratic misleadership of theworking class say.      In antifascism as in all aspects of the class struggle, we are with thebureaucrats when possible, againstthem when necessary.  
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