Tuesday, 1 October 2013

A Tuesday miscellany

Daily Mail forgets it's own history......

Since the Daily Mail have chosen to have a go about Ed Milibands father, Ralph (whose book The state in capitalist society was required reading when I was a student), I thought it timely to remind them of their rather murky past.

You can find good articles on this issue at the Tendance Coatsey and Poumista blogs.

PCS union to launch new strikes

Readers will recall that the main civil service union PCS has undertaken a "consultation" exercise with it's branches over the last couple of months. The NEC is not due to meet until October 22nd but the news from the top is that the members are up for "some form of action and the type of action that will take place will be decided at their meeting.

This news came as a bit of a surprise at my own Branch Executive Committee meeting today as the dispute has been on hiatus for some months now and there was little support for reviving it amongst our members at least. Mind you with the PCS President gallivanting all over the place calling for a General Strike it should have come as no surprise.

Meanwhile a fresh strike is being proposed by the DWP Group as one of the Professors supporters Dave Owens reports in the latest issue of the Socialist Worker rag:

The PCS union’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) executive is recommending strikes to stop privatisation plans. 
The government wants to transfer personnel work into a joint venture called “Shared Services Connected” and retain just a 25 percent share. 
It plans to complete the privatisation by 1 November.
This will put 1,200 jobs at risk, 845 of which are in DWP. It would also see the personal records of up to 180,000 civil servants moved offshore.
Steria UK, the government’s preferred bidder, says it intends to make redundancies and to take work offshore. 
These would affect four departments—the DWP, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (Bis) and the Environment Agency. 
The meeting agreed to ask the union’s disputes committee to support a strike ballot of affected members. 
Since the privatisation is to be complete by 1st November, one suspects the comrades have left it a little late on this one. If they were really serious then shouldn't they have called an emergency Group Executive meeting when the announcement was made? By the time the ballot is held it will be already to late.

Greek Fascists fight for Assad

The news about Greece has been dominated by their Governments crackdown of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party following the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, a rapper who specialised in anti-fascist lyrics. Regular readers may recall a post from Howie's Corner back in June which detailed the visit by BNP leader Nick Griffin (and some of his fascist mates from the European Parliament) to Syria as guests of President Assad.

News has now emerged that another bunch of Greek Fascists are actually fighting for Assad as Vice.com reports:

The newspaper clipping I was sent claimed that Black Lily have been in touch with their "Syrian brothers in arms" for years, before describing how they have now joined the fight alongside the regime: “Fighters from all over Europe joined the ranks of the Syrian Army and civil defence in mass," it read, "among them many Greeks. Greek fighters have participated in all major battles that commenced in [the] south and west of the country [over] the last two years, and so far no casualties have been reported. It's not a coincidence that, in the fierce battle that took place in al-Qusayr, beside the praise for the heroic Hezbollah, the Greek fighters received credit for their bravery as well."
The chest-beating rhetoric doesn't end there – Black Lily are keen to prove their kinship with Syria, pointing to the fact that the largest Christian group in the country is the Greek Orthodox Church. When pushed on the number of fighters they have there, they told me that they have a platoon fighting in Syria and that thousands of Russians, Ukrainians and Polish nationalists have declared themselves ready to defend Assad. These might seem like the words of a fantasist, but could have some basis in truth; a rebel blogger recently wrote that he'd encountered mercenary military advisers from Russia and Eastern Europe. "They are not sent by the armies of these countries," he said, "but they have a military background. This is what is making things in Ghouta so hard – they can attack from so many areas because of their large numbers, and when we kill some of them, more want to come to Syria and fight."
I wonder what the Daily Mail will make of this?

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