Which side are you on?

November 30, 2011 at 12:37 am (Jim D, unions, workers)

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Shallow slogans won’t defeat the Con-Dems

November 29, 2011 at 12:31 am (AWL, Cross-post, Cuts, Socialist Party, solidarity, SWP, Tory scum, unions, workers)

Who's out on Nov 30th?
 
By Matthew   (via Workers Liberty)
.
“Strikes can smash the Tories”. “November 30: our day to smash the Tories”. “Mass strikes can kick out Con-Dems”. “Force Cameron out!”
.

The text under such headlines in Socialist Worker and The Socialist varies, and sometimes does not really fit the headlines, but the headline message is common and frequent.

You can see why SWP and SP think the message will be catchy. Strikes against cuts? Good. More of them? Better. Bring down the Tory/Lib-Dem government? Excellent. Combine the two ideas in a snappy phrase? Has to be even better.

Increased mobilisation and agitation could destabilise the government. Deeper economic crisis could destabilise it. Since the crash of 2008, governments have fallen in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece.

But let’s tease the issues through. Making the government fall is not necessarily a step forward. In Portugal and Spain, for example, the toppled administrations were replaced by regimes akin to Tories; in Greece and Italy, party administrations have been replaced by “technocrat” administrations designed to be less vulnerable to popular resistance to the cuts they push through.

In Britain the fall of the government would probably mean it being replaced by Labour. That would be a step forward. The new government, though under Ed Miliband pro-capitalist, would be more easily pushed by working-class pressure, and that working-class pressure, against a Labour government, could more directly shake up and transform the labour movement.

But it would not be adequate, even for winning the immediate battle on pension cuts. Balls and Miliband have refused to promise to reverse the coalition government’s measures, and will not budge from that refusal without intense and organised political mobilisation within the labour movement. Slogans which present toppling the government as the supreme prize to be won by increased strikes are thus a snare.

The SWP and SP headlines suggest to the casual reader that a good turnout on 30 November could force Cameron from office. In the small print SWP and SP recognise that more is needed.

Earlier this year SW suggested a general strike. “If the pressure gets intense enough, it can lead to the kind of united action that really does have the power to bring down the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition — a general strike” (22 March).

The suggestion has now faded to an exercise in “imagining”. “Imagine the impact if millions more said they would come out — and then decided to stay out…” (1 October). But the thought still seems to be that “smashing the Tories” is not what 30 November can achieve, but what a future general strike could win. The SP suggests something similar, though by way of saying: “we must prepare for a two-day strike as the next stage of the escalating action”.

In other words, the headlines mean: “We want more strikes. And if the strikes become really big, as big as we want, then they can win the supreme prize: topple the government”.

They mean that if strikes rise to a high pitch, capable of winning large concessions, then socialists will have presented the ruling class in advance with a convenient let-out. “You’ve made your point. Calm down, and we’ll call a general election”.

Having presented forcing a general election as the ultimate prize, the socialists will have weakened themselves in the battle that will follow, when we will have to argue against the Labour leaders’ inevitable story that the crisis means that they can’t change much, or quickly, from the Tories’ plans. Specific, “hard” demands for the strike, like “fair pensions for all”, are sharper in that situation than the apparently-radical “bring down the government”.

It is also far from certain that Labour would win the general election. When the great May-June 1968 general strike in France was finally stifled, in part with the promise of a quick general election, De Gaulle’s right wing won that 23/30 June election with an increased majority. Millions of strikers disappointed by the failure of the general strike to change society then voted for “the party of order”.

Even if Cameron lost the election, the replacement might well not be Labour but a Labour/ Lib-Dem coalition. Ed Miliband signals that he is angling for that.

To take the working class forward politically, the negative call for “kicking out the Con-Dems” or “smashing the Tories” has to be linked to a clear positive call for a Labour government, not a new coalition, and for the unions and the working class to organise for sharp demands on the Labour leaders. The call must be linked to politics, not just more strikes.

Neither the SWP nor the SP makes that link. The SP refuses to vote Labour or to fight for unions to reshape Labour. (Its article under the headline “Force Cameron Out!” ends by quarter-suggesting that it envisages an SP government replacing him. The last of the article’s concluding list of demands is: “Support the Socialist newspaper and join the Socialist Party”).

The SWP is not so dogmatic. But as of now it says nothing about Labour except to make the obvious points about Ed Miliband’s poor politics. As used by both SWP and SP, the “smash the Tories” or “kick out the Con-Dems” slogans are further examples of flim-flam “agitationalism” — socialists trying to catch the wind by shouting popular “anti” slogans without spelling out clear positive alternatives.

And to present flim-flam “agitationalist” aims as the best thing that the best development of strikes could achieve is harmful for the development of purposeful, clear-headed working-class action to win definite advances, and of serious political action.

Source URL: http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2011/11/23/strikes-and-shallow-slogans

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All out 30 November!

November 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm (Cross-post, Cuts, solidarity, unions, workers)

Who's out on Nov 30th?

A quick guide to union ballots for strike action on November 30th so far…

Around 3 million workers are estimated to be on strike on 30th November, with more ballot results being announced this week. A quick list so far, updated from info gathered by the Society of Radiographers

Ballot results so far

  • National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO): 83% in favour of strike on 45% turnout
  • Unison: 78% voted for strikes on a 29% turnout
  • Unite: 75% in favour of strike action on a 31% turnout, a breakdown of the votes sector by sector can be found here
  • GMB: 80% in favour of a strike, on a 33% turnout
  • NASUWT: 82% in favour of strike action, 91% in favour of action short of a strike; 40% turnout
  • UCATT Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians: 83% majority in favour of strike action on a 27% turnout
  • EIS Scottish teachers’ union: voted by 82.2% for action with a turnout of 54.2%
  • Scottish Secondary Teachers Association voted in 79.19% in favour on a 66.3% turnout
  • Nipsa (Northern Ireland): balloted for strikes over pensions, pay and jobs and voted by 67% for strikes on a 43% turnout
  • The Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS): voted by just under 60% for strikes on a 38% turnout
  • NAHT headteachers’ union: 75.8% voted for strikes on a 53.6% turnout
  • Society of Radiographers: 81.2% voted for strikes on a 58.2% turnout
  • Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP): 64% voted for strikes on an unknown turnout
  • Aspect: 75.1% in favour of industrial action, turnout unknown
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP): England and Wales, 86% voted for strikes and Scotland, 89.1% voted for strikes on a combined turnout of 66%
  • Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCP): voted by 85% for strikes on a 52% turnout
  • FDA: backed strikes by 81% on a 54% turnout
  • SIPTU – Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union – Irish general union with members in public services in Northern Ireland. Members voted 81% for strike action on a turnout of 39%.
  • Prospect: 75% voted for strikes on a 52% turnout
  • Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) in Northern Ireland : 77% vote for strikes
  • RMT local branch members employed by DB Regio and Nexus who run Tyne and Wear Metro, as well as staff at Orkney Ferries and Royal Fleet Auxilliary voted 80% in favour of strike action, turnout unknown

Ballot results due:

  • POA: prison workers are banned from striking, but general secretary Steve Gillan told the Trades Union Congress they would take unofficial action. In a consultative ballot members voted 97% to oppose the pension changes. POA members in secure hospitals are voting on whether to join the dispute. The ballot closes on 23 November.

Unions which previously balloted their members and will be participating in action on 30 November are:

  • PCS: live ballot over pensions, pay and cuts. Committed to November strike
  • UCU: members in Teachers’ Pension Scheme will strike again in autumn. Also won ballot last week for lecturers in older universities in USS pension scheme
  • NUT: committed to further coordinated strikes to defend pensions
  • ATL: committed to further coordinated strikes to defend pensions
  • UCAC Welsh teachers’ union: struck on 5 October and will also join 30 November
  • Unison Northern Ireland: struck on 5 October and will also join 30 November

Scab union who vow never to go on strike, but whose class-traitor members will enjoy any gains won by those going on strike, standing in the cold on picket lines, losing their pay, campaigning tirelessly to ensure Nov 30th is a success:

Scab union who didn’t trust their members enough to ballot them for N30, whose members are leaving in droves, and those who stay will enjoy any gains won by those going on strike, standing in the cold on picket lines, losing their pay, campaigning tirelessly to ensure Nov 30th is a success:

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DUP’s Robinson opposes segregated education, Cameron supports it…

November 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm (David Cameron, humanism, Ireland, Jim D, multiculturalism, Racism, religion, sectarianism, secularism, strange situations, SWP, Tory scum)

This is almost unbelievable:

While the present-day leader of Paisley’s ultra-Protestant DUP denounces segregated education

…Tory “moderniser” Cameron defends it:

Richard Dawkins puts a simple question to David Cameron:

Richard Dawkins

Why do you support faith schools for children who are too young to have chosen their faith, thereby implicitly labelling them with the faith of their parents, whereas you wouldn’t dream of so labelling a “Keynesian child” or a “Conservative child”?

[Cameron's reply]: “Comparing John Maynard Keynes to Jesus Christ shows, in my view, why Richard Dawkins just doesn’t really get it. I think faith schools are very often good schools. Why? Because the organisation that’s backing them – the church or the mosque or the synagogue – is part of the community. And it brings a sense of community and the backing of an institution to a school. The church was providing good schools long before the state got involved, and we should respect the fact that it’s not just the state that can provide education but other bodies, too.”

Mind you,  not all of the “left” has been on the civilised side on this question, either…

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Return of the Muppets

November 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm (celebrity, comedy, Guardian, Jim D, music, surrealism, TV)

“Some of us, for the record, have always played the music. And some of us, also just to clarify, never stopped lighting the lights. That’s because, for us in the cultural elite, we are always ready to meet the Muppets on The Muppet Show tonight.”

Like the Graun‘s Hadley Freeman, I loved the Muppets and am overjoyed to hear that they’ll soon be back.

They are a genuinely sophisticated act, appealing to all ages at a number of different levels, including slapstick, satire, pathos and surrealism.

Some of the best moments involved the celebrity guest stars, who were never treated with any degree of respect. Yet Roger Moore, Rudolph Nureyev, Carol Channing, Elton John, etc, etc were all happy to subject themselves to the Muppet treatment (a funnier forerunner of Ricky Gervais’s guest spots for good sport celebs in Extras and Life’s Too Short).

Some of the best moments involved Dr Teeth’s band, featuring Zoot on sax and Animal at the drums. Here’s Animal (actual drumming by the late Ronnie Verrell) meeting his nemesis:

Any suggestions for present-day celebs that you’d like to see on the new version?

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Jew-haters try to destroy LabourStart conference

November 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm (anti-semitism, internationalism, israel, Jim D, Middle East, palestine, solidarity, unions, workers)

By Eric Lee (via Workers Liberty website and Solidarity newspaper)

Last week’s LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference in Istanbul was meant to be an extraordinary event. Activists from the newly-independent unions of the “Arab Spring” countries were due to meet with colleagues from established unions from both developed and developing countries.

As Canadian union activist Derek Blackadder put it, “100 unions, 30 countries, one class”.

And there were high points, such as the visit by conference delegates to a picket line outside a factory owned by the German company GEA. The Turkish workers, locked out for weeks, were clearly moved by the presence of so many people from so many different countries.

But there was also an attempt by anti-Israel activists to break up the conference and undermine the solidarity being built.

It was decided to hold the conference in Istanbul despite the risks of this sort of thing happening. All the major Turkish unions were supportive and formed a broad-based organising committee. The oil workers union Petrol-Is donated their facilities, in part to thank LabourStart for the online campaigns it has waged over the years in support of the union’s struggles.

The conference agenda was packed with workshops and plenaries on subjects like precarious work, the role of women in the trade union movement, organising migrant workers, and global campaigning.

The first indication that things might go terribly wrong came when several North African delegates walked out during the opening plenary when I mentioned Israel (among many other countries) in my keynote address.

My remarks were followed by a video address from Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, who spoke directly about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, reaffirming the ITUC’s commitment to a two-state solution.

The conference broke up into workshops the first of which was entitled “what is LabourStart?” The first intervention from the floor came from a Palestinian trade unionist who wanted to discuss a 2006 article of mine supporting Israel’s right to self-defence when attacked by Iran through its proxy, Hizbollah. Others rose to repeat similar “charges” — that LabourStart was somehow a “Zionist” project, and was tainted by this.

At the end of the session, at my suggestion, an emergency meeting was held between myself and the North African delegates in an attempt to clear the air. I told them it was essential that we be open and transparent, and that I would honestly answer any questions. It was an initially tense but ultimately productive meeting as one by one I dealt with idiotic rumors that had been spreading for years — such as that LabourStart suppresses Palestinian labour news. (Something easily disproved by simply looking at the LabourStart website.)

Meanwhile, the local anti-Israel activists, led by an English expat (and member of the pro-Hamas Socialist Workers Party), were gearing up for a full assault on the conference. They began circulating a “resolution” opposing the presence of representatives of the “racist Zionist” Histadrut at the conference.

Their campaign was an odd one for at least two reasons. There were five Israeli citizens (one a Palestinian Arab woman) but none of them came to represent the Histadrut.

Second, LabourStart conferences are not decision-making bodies, so no resolutions are ever debated or adopted.

Around this time, rumours began flying that someone had uncovered photos of myself, in military uniform, participating in the occupation of the West Bank.

While this was going on, the conference continued peacefully with very productive sessions. One featured Palestinian trade unionists from two rival organisations at which neither one mentioned the campaign for boycotts, divestments and sanctions — BDS — targetting the Jewish state.

Another very interesting workshop featured two Israelis (one Arab, one Jewish) from the Workers’ Advice Center, a left-wing alternative union.

The Israelis were mingling with people they would never have been allowed to talk to before — including delegates who came from the illegal independent unions in Iran.

One of the most interesting workshops was entitled “Echoes of the Arab Spring” and featured speakers from the USA, Israel and Iraqi Kurdistan to discuss uprisings that have taken place outside the Arab world, but which were inspired by Tunisia and Egypt.

The little room was packed with delegates from more than a dozen countries, including several from Arab countries. But as soon as the session began, a handful of Turkish pro-BDS campaigners demanded to know if the Israeli speaker was a member of the Histadrut. I moderated the session, and intervened to prevent the disruption — I told them that I had been a member of Histadrut when I lived in Israel, and that Histadrut members were certainly welcome here.

The disruptors shouted abuse, and eventually stormed out, slamming the door behind them. Not a single Arab left the room and a very fruitful discussion was held.

While we discussed the Occupy Wall Street movement, the social protests in Israel and the 62-day long uprising in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Israel-haters were busily posting hand-written signs all over the building saying that the “racist Zionist Histadrut” was not welcome — and specifically naming not only the Israeli activists, but myself. There was a tense moment as one of the handful of Jewish participants tried to take down one of the signs, but violence was averted.

During the final plenary session, there was an attempted disruption as a pro-Hamas activist rushed the stage claiming to be representing the conference organising committee. Following a long rant about Zionism, one of the North African delegates demanded the floor — and spoke out against the anti-Israel disruptors.

On the day after the conference closed, the Arab delegates from Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain and North Africa stayed behind for a very fruitful session with LabourStart and the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center.

In the end, the conference was a success. A real contribution was being made to the creation of a new global  solidarity network for trade unionists.

The anti-Israel activists couldn’t have cared less. Their only goal was to get out their message of hatred — that Israelis were not welcome there.

But in the end, they failed in their effort to destroy this historic attempt to bring together trade unionists from many countries. Their attempt to do so showed up the BDS campaigners as people with no interest in social justice or global solidarity, but simply as Jew-haters.

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Thanksgiving thoughts from Jazz Lives

November 23, 2011 at 8:36 pm (blogging, humanism, jazz, Jim D, music, poverty, solidarity, United States)

Michael Steinman, over at Jazz Lives, has been reflecting on the meaning of that old American institution, celebrated tomorrow: Thanksgiving. He starts out, quite understandably, giving thanks for jazz and all the pleasure it’s brought him. Some nice Youtube clips, too, of some great present-day musicians playing the old standard Thanks A Million (lyrics by Gus Khan, melody by Arthur Johnson).

But then Michael moves on to some more general points about love, humanity, common decency and taking action for a better world. Wonderful stuff, and I make no apologies for simply reproducing the closing paragraphs:

…And a footnote, nothing preachy.  I teach English — literature and writing — to four classes of college freshmen and sophomores, and I met with them this last Monday and Tuesday.  At the end of each class, I looked at them very sternly and said, “I have a Thanksgiving homework assignment for you.”  I can’t describe the collective skepticism in the room, because I never give “homework,” and asking students to “do work” over a holiday when the college is closed seems to them a violation of their basic rights.  And some of them know my deadpan humor.  (Others were simply waiting for me to stop talking so that their holiday could begin, and I understand this completely.)

I said, “I assume many of you are going off to have some sort of meal with family or friends this holiday?” and many of them agreed.

“OK,” I said.  “Here’s your assignment.  Find someone in that room, someone you love.  TELL that person you love him or her.”

Some of them giggled; they all looked relieved.  Maybe that’s the most important thing I will teach them this semester.

One more four-bar break.  I do, of course, have a secret purpose in all of this.  If everyone got in the habit of acknowledging their gratitude, it would be a world full of people saying and thinking THANK YOU! and I AM SO FORTUNATE, which would be lovely additions to the cosmic atmosphere.  And perhaps then we could move into the next phase: noticing those who have less to be thankful for, whether they are homeless people on the street, the Chinese workers who suffer to make our technology (see Mike Daisey’s play about Steve Jobs if you have a heart!) . . . the list is longer and sadder than I can say.  And we could then move from noticing to taking action.  What a wonderful world, then, indeed.

Wishing you all happiness — and not just on Thursday.  JAZZ LIVES wouldn’t have a reason to exist without you.

PS: Ricci Ricardi on the very greatest version of Thanks A Million.

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Bradford TUC call on music festival to withdraw invitation to Gilad Atzmon

November 23, 2011 at 12:48 am (anti-fascism, anti-semitism, Asshole, genocide, israel, Jim D, music, palestine, unions)

Engage reports:

Hope Not Hate and Bradford TUC have now called for the organisers of Raise Your Banners to withdraw the  invitation to Gilad Atzmon.

Nick Lowles writes :

Bradford TUC is joining up with the HOPE not hate campaign in calling on the Bradford-based Raise Your Banners organisation to withdraw its invitation to Gilad Atzmon who is due to perform at one of its events on 25 November.

Gilad Atzmon is an antisemite and flirts with Holocaust Denial and Holocaust Deniers. He was born in Israel but now lives in the UK and is a jazz musician.

This is just one of his many offensive comments about the Holocaust.

“When I was young and naïve I was also convinced that what they told us about our ‘collective’ Jewish past really happened. I believed it all, the Kingdom of David, Massada, and then the Holocaust: the soap, the lampshade, the death march, the six million.

As it happened, it took me many years to understand that the Holocaust, the core belief of the contemporary Jewish faith, was not at all an historical narrative for historical narratives do not need the protection of the law and politicians.”

“It took me many years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense. Here is just one little anecdote to elaborate on:

“If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein – free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?”

“I am left puzzled here; if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?”

Atzmon is also implicated in the distribution of the Holocaust denier Paul Eisner’s book ‘The Holocaust Wars which he has described as a ‘great text’. This great text is notorious for its defence and espousal of amongst others Ernst Zundel, the convicted Holocaust denier. He has also been linked with Israel Shamir, another Holocaust denier, who has links to many white supremacist and Nazi groups. Indeed when Eisner’s document was originally posted it was on Shamir’s website, Atzmon described Shamir as a ‘unique and advanced thinker’.

We believe that Atzmon should be shunned by all decent people – just as we would shun David Irving and Nick Griffin. Just because Atzmon is Jewish does not mean that he cannot be either antisemitic or deny the Holocaust.

Bradford TUC voted unanimously to denounce Atzmon and his invitation to perform at the Raise Your Banners event. The TUC has written to the organisers in the hope that they will withdraw the invitation. Paul Meszaros, of Bradford TUC and HOPE not hate Yorkshire, said: “There is no way that Atzmon should play. The evidence against him is overwhelming.

“We are appalled at this decision and believe that this is a serious point of principle. Bradford TUC has long been at the fore of the anti-fascist movement in the area and it is in this tradition that we demand the withdrawal of Atzmon’s invitation.”

A call to action from Bob From Brockley.

Above: a sick man promotes his sick book

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Shelagh Delaney and A Taste of Honey

November 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm (cinema, class, drama, Feminism, good people, humanism, Jim D, literature)

Shelagh Delany, playwright and writer, b 25 November 1939, d 20 November 2011

Shalagh Delany wrote A Taste of Honey when she was scarcely 18. It portrayed the life of a young working class Salford girl who becomes pregnant following a one-night stand with a black African seaman. Her best friend is a gay art student. It was, as you can probably guess, in start contrast to the sort of plays then being written by the likes of Terence Rattigan and Noel Coward. It was also a more profound and insightful play than John Osborne’s mannered Look Back in Anger of a couple of years earlier.

Delany never repeated the success of her first play, but it’s not entirely true or fair to describe her as a “one-hit wonder” (as does today’s Guardian in a headline that’s been removed from the online edition): her second play, The Lion in Love was actually not bad and she later went on to write the screen plays for Albert Finney’s extraodinary film Charlie Bubbles and Mike Newell’s Dance With A Stranger about Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain.

Shelagh Delaney was a pioneer female working class playwright who dealt with real people and previously taboo subjects with warmth and compassion. Here’re Rita Tushingham and Murray Melvin in a scene from the 1961 film:

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Egyptian revolution continues

November 22, 2011 at 8:15 am (blogging, democracy, Egypt, Human rights, Jim D, liberation, Middle East, revolution)

The best and most reliable coverage of Egypt (and the Middle East as a whole),  I’ve yet come across, from Juan Cole‘s well-named Informed Comment:

Egypt is virtually rudderless as morning breaks on Tuesday.  Interim prime minister Essam Sharaf and his cabinet tendered their resignations in protest against the use of violence against protesters in Tahrir Square.  The demonstrators had been demanding that the military withdraw its “Silmi Communique,” which pledged military oversight of the next Egyptian government, put the military budget off limits to the civilian authorities, and gave the military veto over articles in the new constitution before they went to the electorate for a referendum.

Sharaf’s cabinet apparently is willing to stay on for a short period until another interim government can announced.

One possibility being considered by the military, according to one Arabic newspaper, would be to appoint Mohammed Elbaradei (a presidential candidate and former head of the IAEA at the UN) to former a government of national unity.

Some 20,000 protesters were in Tahrir Square on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, smaller crowds of protesters had gathered again in in downtown Cairo.  In Alexandria late Monday, 5000 protesters surrounded a central security building.  In the port city of Ismailiya, an angry crowd of 4,000 gathered, and two were killed when police fired on them.

Aljazeera English reports that protesters are calling for a million-person march on Tuesday afternoon.

But the powerful Muslim Brotherhood party, Freedom and Justice, announced that they would not join the demonstration. They said they did not want to see the confrontation ratcheted up.  Typically when the Muslim Brotherhood does not join a demonstration, the rally is smaller and less successful than it would have been otherwise.

In the wake of the killing of some 33 protesters around the country (some 24 of them in downtown Cairo) since Friday, crowds in Tahrir Square have started chanting “The people want the fall of the Air Marshall [al-Mushir],” i.e. they are calling for the outster of Air Marshall Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who is de facto Egypt’s interim president.  

Protesters also called for the formation of a government of national unity by the New Year, and the election of a civilian president no later than April (the current plan, backed by the military, is for staggered parliamentary elections to be held for the lower and upper houses through March, after which a constituent assembly will draft a constitution.  Next year this time, presidential elections would be held.

A credible new civilian government needs to be established as soon as possible.

Pictures and brief eye-witness report from Tom Dale here

There seem to be pickets at the Egyptian Embassy every day this week from 5-7. Today there is an appeal to bring student / trade union banners.
Saturday 26 November UK, March to Egyptian Embassy. Meet Paddington Green, 12noon
Details here: http://snuproject.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/egypt-appeal-for-international-solidarity-mobilisation-mena-solidairty-network/ including links to Facebook groups.
Also a link to EFITU statement on why they are going to Tahrir: http://menasolidaritynetwork.com/2011/11/19/egypt-independent-union-federation-joins-tahrir-sit-in/

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