News

Afrin: Erdogan cracks down on Turkish dissent

Submitted by Matthew on 7 February, 2018 - 3:44 Author: Gemma Short

Eleven members of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) were arrested on 30 January following the publication of a statement by the TMA condemning Turkey′s military action in Afrin, Syria. The statement called for an end to all hostilities and warned that war posed a threat to public health. The Turkish government, along with Syrian rebels, launched an assault on Kurdish-controlled Afrin in Syria on 21 January.

Socialism Makes Sense

Submitted by SJW on 9 January, 2018 - 1:57
Socialism makes sense

The economic crisis of 2008 and its aftershocks cracked the mystique which the world capitalist system had built in the two decades after the collapse of Russian and European Stalinism. For the first time in 30 years the left is on the offensive in the Labour Party.

Socialism is again on the agenda — a society based on human solidarity, social ownership of industry and banks, and on political, economic, and social democracy.

This book confronts head-on the strongest arguments against socialism now in circulation, inside the Labour Party and beyond.

NUS: Unite the student left

Submitted by Matthew on 7 February, 2018 - 2:30 Author: Ruaridh Anderson
Unite the student left

NUS Conference 2018 will be marked by a showdown between the left and the right.

The left wing of conference will be made up of students whose politics centre on the Corbyn surge: supporters of the Labour left and socialism, however defined. The rightwing president Shakira Martin has distanced herself from this left, instead organising a high-profile review of Further Education with Vince Cable, the Lib-Dem bigwig whose party oversaw the tripling of tuition fees when it was last in government in 2009.

Labour base shifts on Brexit

Submitted by Matthew on 31 January, 2018 - 10:47 Author: Rhodri Evans
Labour against brexit demo

The base for a left-wing campaign in the labour movement to defend and extend free movement, and to stop Brexit, is expanding.

A recent poll has shown a four-to-one majority of existing and potential Labour voters want Labour to back permanent membership of the EU’s single market and customs union.

Tax the rich to build social housing

Submitted by Matthew on 31 January, 2018 - 12:46 Author: Ken Worthington, Mol Konits, George Russell and Hilary Jones
Homes for all demo

Homelessness is on the rise in the UK. By end of 2016, the official underestimate was 4,134 people sleeping rough on the streets of the UK.

The figure has doubled since 2010 and is a 16% increase on 2015. The housing campaign Shelter estimates 300,000 people sleeping rough or in temporary or overcrowded accommodation, a 13,000 increase on 2016.

Further tens of thousands are sofa surfing or staying with friends in tense conditions.

By the end of 2017, 79,190 households were in temporary accommodation, a 17% increase on 2015, and a 59% increase on 2010.

Deliveroo strikes go global

Submitted by Gemma_S on 1 February, 2018 - 9:23 Author: Gemma Short
Deliveroo strikers in Brussels

Deliveroo workers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong have all been on strike in recent weeks.

Deliveroo workers in Hong Kong stopped work on Monday 22 January and protested at Deliveroo′s Hong Kong office. Deliveroo in Hong Kong had previously paid workers by the hour rather than by delivery, giving them a stable and predictable salary.

Stop the Turkish assault on Afrin!

Submitted by SJW on 25 January, 2018 - 12:39 Author: Simon Nelson
Afrin

Turkey’s incursion and bombing campaign in Kurdish controlled area of Afrin is a worrying escalation in a prolonged stand-off on the Syrian border.

Erdogan’s hostility to the expanding territory now under the control of Kurdish forces has been held back by the support of both Russia and the US for the Kurdish forces. But as relations have thawed between Turkey and Russia, the dynamic has changed.

An open letter to fellow ASLEF drivers: which side are we on? Off The Rails Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:56
DOO strike

To download the article below as an A4 bulletin, click here.


“It has long been the tradition in ASLEF to respect picket lines whether they are our own or those of fellow trade unionists.” - ASLEF  members’ diary

TIME TO MAKE THIS A REALITY!

Dear Driver,

I am writing to you, as a fellow ASLEF driver, because I want to persuade you that we need to change how we approach the current RMT disputes over DOO/DCO.

NHS winter crisis: stop this scandal!

Submitted by SJW on 16 January, 2018 - 7:32 Author: a junior doctor & an ambulance worker
NHS

Hospitals across the country continue to buckle under the stress of winter-related conditions — persistent cold weather and a nasty strain of influenza. But the responsibility for this crisis must lie with the government.

Further evidence of the danger patients face this winter were highlighted by the increased ambulance response times for even the patients with the most serious conditions — those waiting with potential conditions such as heart attacks and strokes — for whom every minute is vital.

After Carillion: nationalise all the big public contractors!

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2018 - 10:06 Author: Martin Thomas
outsourcing

The labour movement should demand that not just Carillion, but all the big public service contractors, Serco, G4S, Capita, should be nationalised with minimum compensation, and their public contracts brought back in-house.

Their workers - including agency staff and formally-self-employed contractors - should be brought into union-negotiated public-sector pay and conditions, and the services should be run under the democratic control of the workers and elected public authorities.

DOO strikes escalate

Submitted by SJW on 16 January, 2018 - 8:18 Author: By a train driver
DOO picket

RMT guards on Merseyrail, Northern, Greater Anglia, South Western and Southern Train Operating Companies struck on 8, 10, and 12 January, as the fight against Driver Only Operation escalates.

Guards on Northern were very solid again, and Merseyrail workers kept up their usual high standard of solidarity with the vast majority of guards supporting the strike, as well as almost all drivers, who are members of Aslef. Elsewhere the support seems to have been patchier, for example on South Western where the urban depots are solid but the outlying depots are reportedly less so.

Rebellion in Iran: Iranian socialists speak!

Submitted by AWL on 3 January, 2018 - 7:47 Author: AWL

Friday 19 January, 7:30pm, Institute of Education WC1H 0AL, Room 537

Facebook event here
Eventbrite tickets here

Across Iran, workers and young people are protesting against poverty, exploitation, and demanding freedom from a stifling authoritarian regime.

Around the world, they have been answered by a movement of solidarity.

After Carillion: nationalise all the big public contractors!

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2018 - 10:06 Author: Martin Thomas
outsourcing

The labour movement should demand that not just Carillion, but all the big public service contractors, Serco, G4S, Capita, should be nationalised with minimum compensation, and their public contracts brought back in-house.

Their workers - including agency staff and formally-self-employed contractors - should be brought into union-negotiated public-sector pay and conditions, and the services should be run under the democratic control of the workers and elected public authorities.

Trump in America and the world

Submitted by Matthew on 10 January, 2018 - 11:55 Author: Ira Berkovic
Trump

On 22 December, US President Donald Trump passed the most significant piece of domestic legislation of his term thus far, the so-called “Tax Cuts and Job Act”.

This tax reform, one of the most sweeping in decades, will cut corporate tax by 15%. The package also includes measures such as lowering taxes on overseas profits.

Catalonia: everything stays the same, so everything must change

Submitted by martin on 23 December, 2017 - 8:24 Author: Martin Thomas
Flags in Barcelona

"If we want everything to remain the same, everything must change", says the young aristocrat Tancredi to his uncle, the Prince, in the turmoil of Italian unification as portrayed in Lampedusa's novel The Leopard.

The hard-Brexit right in disarray - but Labour, too

Submitted by martin on 18 December, 2017 - 2:40 Author: Martin Thomas
Mail and Express

In mid-December, Theresa May agreed to keep British economic regulations "aligned" with the EU, thus opening the way to talks on a transition period and a Brexit trade deal. And rebellious Tory MPs defeated the Government in the House of Commons, to limit the Government's ability to legislate by decree over Brexit.

The hard-Brexit press, the Mail and the Express, backed the "alignment" deal, but were furious at the Tory rebel MPs. On 9 December the Mail's headline was: "Rejoice! We're On Our Way", and the Express had: "Huge Brexit Boost At Last".

How members can take control of the Labour Party

Submitted by Matthew on 13 December, 2017 - 11:39 Author: Keith Road and Martin Thomas
Conference should be democratic

The Labour Party is doing yet another democracy review.

This time, however, the review comes under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and its coordinator is Katy Clark, formerly a left-wing Labour MP and someone we on Solidarity have known as a solid socialist back to her student days in Aberdeen and Edinburgh in the late 1980s and early 90s.

The deadline for Phase 1 submissions is 12 January, and they are to cover BAME (black and minority-ethnic) Labour, Young Labour, and Labour Women's Conference.

Mauritius socialists plan Diego Garcia protest

Submitted by martin on 12 December, 2017 - 3:37 Author: Lindsey Collen
Lalit demo

On Friday 8 December a demonstration in Mauritius calling for the huge US military base in Diego Garcia (in the Indian Ocean) to be shut down, and the archipelago's inhabitants to be allowed to return. On Thursday afternoon, the demonstration was banned.

The Chagos archipelago, of which Diego Garcia is part, was ruled by Britain. After Mauritius became independent, Britain bought the archipelago backed and forcibly evicted its inhabitants, between 1968 and 1973, to make way for the US base.

Against Trump, fight for a real two-states deal for Palestine

Submitted by Matthew on 13 December, 2017 - 12:49 Author: Rosalind Robson
For two states

Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and by strong implication the whole of Jerusalem including the eastern, occupied and Palestinian, part of the city has been rightly condemned.

It is largely a symbolic move. Russia recognised (West) Jerusalem as Israel's capital in April 2017, but no other country, surely no EU country, is likely to follow the example of Putin and Trump.

Sarwar's business backers

Submitted by cathy n on 27 December, 2017 - 3:33 Author: Ann Field

Anas Sarwar spent more than twice as much as Richard Leonard in the Scottish Labour Party (SLP) leadership contest held late last year. A large proportion of the donations came from businesses linked to his family.

Sarwar spent over £150,000 during the ten-week election campaign. The largest campaign donation (£41,000) came from United Brands Ltd., part of United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd. (UWS), which was founded by Sarwar’s father and uncle and is now run by his brother Asim.

Support Picturehouse workers — students and workers unite!

Submitted by cathy n on 18 December, 2017 - 1:30 Author: Joe Booth
Staff wars

On Thursday, 14 December, 2017 I attended a picket of Hackney Picturehouse against the mistreatment of the workers at the cinema and every other Picturehouse and Cineworld cinema in the United Kingdom. The Picturehouse workers have been on strike now for over a year: they’re paid £9.30 per hour, no access to sick, maternity or paternity pay, and the managers are refusing to negotiate with them.

The housing crisis and fighting back

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 12:44 Author: Rosalind Robson and Gemma Short
Housing crisis

Britain has a housing crisis. According to Shelter more than 300,000 people — the equivalent to one in every 200 — are homeless or living in inadequate homes. According to official figures 1.3 million people are on a local authority waiting list for housing. By 2020, 25% of people will be renters, rather than home owners. Londoners now spend 40% of their income on rent, and increasing.

Labour: Come out against Brexit!

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 12:35
vote remain

Editorial from Solidarity 456

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott declared last month: "I will argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed" (on Brexit). On 2 December, Jeremy Corbyn added: "We’ve not made any decision on a second referendum". An opinion poll on 1 December showed that a 68%-19% majority of Labour voters want a referendum on whatever Brexit deal the Tories produce. A 50%-34% majority of the whole electorate also wants a referendum before a deal can go ahead.

Reverse the inequality spiral!

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 12:57 Author: Colin Foster
Reverse the inequality spiral

The share prices of big companies (the FTSE 100) continue to rise. Top bosses' pay dropped a bit between 2015 and 2016, but is on a long-term trend to rise faster than workers' wages, and stood at £3.45 million in 2016 (median pay for FTSE 100 CEOs). The average profit rate of UK firms (outside finance and outside the North Sea oilfields) recovered entirely a long time ago from its dip in 2008-9, and is now around 13%, compared to 8% in 2001.

Cuts could devastate domestic violence refuge service

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 9:26 Author: Ruth Willis
Sisters Uncut protest

According to Women’s Aid there were over twenty thousand referrals to refuge services in 2015-16. Of these, a quarter were turned down due to lack of space. The actual numbers of people accessing all domestic violence services is much higher. The figures are staggering.

Trump’s government for the rich

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 1:46 Author: Gerry Bates
Grad protest

Donald Trump's tax overhaul was passed early on Saturday 2 December in the US Senate. Although the bill will now need to be reconciled with the House-passed version, it is likely to include tax cuts which will make the rich and US corporations much richer, while also punishing the working class and the poor.

Capital, an abridgement

Submitted by Gemma_S on 9 October, 2017 - 4:08
Rule Carousel

Otto Rühle's abridgement of Capital, out now.

131 pages, including introduction and study notes.

As Karl Korsch remarked: “The investigation Marx undertakes in the first volume of Capital is only formally limited to the productive process of capitalism. In actual fact, in his treatment of this aspect, Marx grasps and portrays the totality of the capitalist mode of production, and the bourgeois society that emerges from it”.

Catalonia: for self-determination

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 9:02 Author: By Colin Foster

The latest opinion polls for the parliamentary election in Catalonia on 21 December suggest an outcome similar to the previous election in 2015: a narrow parliamentary majority for the separatists, but with a minority of the popular vote.

A 15 November poll gives the ERC 24%, Puigdemont’s people (running as Junts per Catalunya) 17%, and CUP 6%, in total 47% of the vote but 68-74 seats out of 135.

Budget alternatives should focus on control

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 10:14 Author: Editorial
John McDonnell

In a number of speeches in the run-up to the Tory government’s Budget on 22 November, shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has rightly indicted the Tories’ record since George Osborne began their cuts program back in 2010.

• A 30% increase in food bank usage in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out, as the six-week delay in making the payment pushes thousands into destitution.

• The NHS so cash-strapped that even its top bosses say it will crumble without a big boost. Cuts in per-student finance for state schools for the first time since the 1990s.

How the 0.1% rule

Submitted by martin on 23 November, 2017 - 9:54 Author: Martin Thomas
plutocracy

"How does a political party dedicated to the material interests of the top 0.1 per cent of the income distribution win and hold power in a universal suffrage democracy?", asks columnist Martin Wolf in the Financial Times (21 November 2017).

It is indeed the question of questions about the politics and economics of today's social system. Wolf is a former right-wing Labourite who recounts that in the early 1970s he shifted "from social democracy to classical liberalism. I remain such a liberal today".

Stop this slave trade!

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 10:52 Author: Ralph Peters
Victory Imasuen

Recent reports about the Libyan slave trade adds further to the horror of what is going on in Libya and across the south Mediterranean region.

The Libyan slave trade has been known to be in operation for years. It accompanies the brutal exploitation of those fleeing poverty in Sudan, Chad and Nigeria. It is well illustrated by the story of Victor Imasuen, the young Nigerian interviewed by US broadcaster CNN on his return to Nigeria, a video that subsequently went viral.

Free education now!

Submitted by Gemma_S on 19 November, 2017 - 1:57 Author: By Ruairidh Anderson
Students marching with banners that read "free education - tax the rich"

As many as 7,000 students marched through London on Wednesday 15 November to demand “Free Education now — tax the rich”.

The protest was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and supported by Momentum, RMT, Unite, NUS Scotland and student unions across the country. Workers’ Liberty student activists were centrally involved in organising and leading the demonstration, along with other comrades in NCAFC.

Left candidate wins Scottish Labour leadership

Submitted by cathy n on 20 November, 2017 - 12:26 Author: Dale Street
Richard Leonard

On Saturday 18 November, Richard Leonard was announced as the new Scottish Labour leader. In the election contest triggered by the sudden resignation of Kezia Dugdale, he defeated Anas Sarwar by 57% to 43%.

Among individual members Leonard had a narrow majority (52% to 48%). Among affiliated trade union supporters he had an overwhelming majority (77% to 23%). Among registered supporters Anas Sarwar secured a narrow majority (52% to 48%).

Religious right routed in Australian marriage equality “vote”

Submitted by SJW on 21 November, 2017 - 12:06 Author: Riki Lane
Marriage Equality

Australia’s “postal survey” on same-sex marriage saw a resounding victory for LGBT+ equality.

61.6% said yes to marriage equality, and over 12 million people (79.5%) participated in this voluntary, non-binding poll — a higher rate than the Brexit vote.

All states had a yes majority, and 133/150 electorates voted yes, including almost all regional and rural ones.
However, 12 electorates in Western Sydney voted no. These were mostly Labor-held, with working-class, largely immigrant populations.

Tax the rich! Save the NHS!

Submitted by Matthew on 15 November, 2017 - 10:13 Author: Gerry Bates
NHS

Simon Stevens, the chief of NHS England, is no socialist. He is a former top manager for a big US private profit healthcare firm, an advocate of “market solutions”, and paid about £200,000 a year. Yet at a conference on 7-8 November he looked around him and said the waiting list for hospital operations could hit five million.

Salmond, RT UK, and nationalist propaganda

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 8:54 Author: By Ann Field
snp logo

Alex Salmond now has his own weekly show on RT UK, the British subsidiary of what used to be called Russia Today.

This is good news, in the sense that it has further undermined Salmond’s credibility and has added to divisions within the SNP.

RT is a propaganda channel for the Russian government. Not simply because it is funded by the Russian government, but first and foremost because that is what it understands its role to be.

Universal Credit: why are we waiting?

Submitted by Matthew on 13 November, 2017 - 9:19 Author: Matthew Thompson
UC protest

Although the Government ultimately ignored the 299-0 House of Commons vote, on which Tory MP's were whipped to abstain, calling for a pause in the national rollout of Universal Credit, parliamentary and media scrutiny continues to focus on the punitive aspects of the policy, especially the six week waiting period before any money is paid to people submitting new claims.

Help us raise £20,000 to support this website

Submitted by Matthew on 11 January, 2017 - 12:49 Author: Cathy Nugent
Anti-Pinochet march

Our new website is now live! Have a look around.

But fundraising is not over! We will be fundraising until we reach our £20,000 goal in order to pay for the website, for future updates, and for staff to work on updating the website going forward. Find our how below.

Why are we raising money?

Unions and the IHRA

Submitted by SJW on 17 November, 2017 - 1:00 Author: A teacher

On 15 November Southwark NUT agreed a motion proposed by a member or sympathiser of the Weekly Worker grouplet. The motion (attached) passed with ten votes in favour, to my vote against, and a couple of abstentions. It will be submitted by Southwark NUT to our annual conference.

The WW leaders – notorious liars with malleable politics - are currently positioning themselves as the go-to people for ‘left’ antisemites, defending Livingstone - amongst others - against justifiable charges of antisemitism.

Seize their wealth!

Submitted by Matthew on 8 November, 2017 - 8:58 Author: Cathy Nugent
Seize their wealth

Another day, another revelation. The super-rich avoid paying tax.

The leak of 13.4 million data files (the “Paradise Papers”) to the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Germany, shared with media around the world, has shone a light on the pathologically anti-social behaviour of the rich pile up their wealth and refusing to contribute to the financing of hospitals, schools and the care of the old, sick and disabled.

Trump’s trade turn is regressive

Submitted by Matthew on 25 October, 2017 - 10:35 Author: Editorial
NAFTA

“Anyone who thinks [Donald Trump] has dropped his vow to rip up the global trading system has not been paying attention”, wrote Edward Luce in the Financial Times (18 October), after the fourth round of US-Mexican-Canadian talks on Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement, closed on 17 October.

Make Labour anti-capitalist

Submitted by Matthew on 4 October, 2017 - 10:57 Author: Simon Nelson
Joining in the applause

By the end of its conference (22-26, September) Labour had agreed to take all PFI contracts back “in house” across the public services, to ballot tenants on regeneration schemes and to repeal all the anti-union laws.

These policies are great starts, taking Labour towards have bold pro-working class policies but they are not enough without a commitment to a class-struggle socialism that looks to workers’ struggle as the lever to change society.