Some 200 people came to the Globalise Resistance annual conference last Saturday.
There were thoughtful and informative debates on Third World debt, climate change, Iraq, preparations for the G8 counter-mobilisation and other issues.
I particularly enjoyed the session with Eric Toussaint.
Rochdale school backs refugees
St John's primary school in Rochdale held a rally on Friday of last week against the deportation of seven asylum-seeking children and their families.
The children, who are under imminent threat of deportation, have attended the school for more than three years. Head teacher Jed Morgan started the anti-deportation campaign three weeks ago, after one of the pupils at his school, who had lived in Rochdale for over four years, was deported to Angola.
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition in support of the campaign at St John’s.
As part of the anti-deportation campaign, many of the school children have made their own posters and pictures to send to Tony Blair. One poster asks, “Why send our friends to their deaths?”
Bolton works to stop deportation
Around 100 people packed into Bolton Socialist Club on Tuesday of last week after the local branch of the NUT teachers’ union issued a call to stop the deportation of the Sukula family.
Ngiedi Lusukumu fled the Democratic Republic of Congo as the country descended into civil war at the end of 2001. She and her family were beaten up by government militias looking for her husband, Sukula Kiala, an opposition activist.
Her six children now attend local schools in Bolton.
The campaign got a huge boost on Friday when the Bolton Evening News featured the Sukula family on its front page and joined the campaign to stop them being deported.
The following day the paper printed another double page spread on the family. Both issues also contained cut-out coupons to send to the home office demanding that the family is allowed to stay.
“This is a tremendous start to the campaign,” said Barry Conway, secretary of Bolton NUT.
Send messages of support to Sukula Family Campaign, c/o Jason Travis, Mount St Joseph School, Greenland Road, Bolton BL4 0HT, or email them to email@example.com
Welsh TUC not happy with Labour
There was anger with New Labour at the annual conference of the Wales TUC, which was attended by 250 delegates.
Despite the strong pro-Labour emphasis of the conference platform there were significant rebellions over Wales TUC procedures and policies.
The highlight of the conference was the address by Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the journalists’ NUJ union, outlining the BBC dispute.
Conference expressed unanimous support for the campaign against BBC job cuts. This was followed by a packed fringe meeting organised by the media unions.
By contrast, the Amicus union failed to raise the HSBC bank strike, which took place on the last day of the conference.