Frontline

What's wrong with Stalinist iconography

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

In the recent past there has been a minor craze in and around the Labour left for using 1930s Stalinist iconography. This craze, based in social media, ranges from the use of Stalinist socialist realist “art” to images and memes attacking Trotskyists, including ice-picks emojis etc. Some people, so we understand, who volunteer for Momentum like to use jargon attacking Trotskyists, taken from these social media exchanges, such as “Clear Them Out”. They mean that people who support Workers’ Liberty or Socialist Appeal should be expelled from the Labour Party.

The political implications of the current craze for using social media images and memes praising Stalin and attacking Trotskyists

Railworkers fighting for our safety

Author: 

Joe Booth

On July 20 2017 Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) organised a demonstration outside the Department for Transport, London.

The demo was also attended by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT). Activists handed in a 4,000 signature petition for the return of train guards who are being got rid of by management – for disabled’s and passenger’s rights and lives.

Disabled activists protest against train guards being removed from trains.

Defend the Picturehouse Four!

Author: 

Ollie Moore

Cinema workers at five London branches of the Picturehouse chain struck again on Friday 7 July, as their battle for living wages, union recognition, and other benefits continues. Picturehouse bosses have raised the stakes of the dispute by sacking four Bectu union reps from the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, the site where the dispute began. Three of those reps have had their appeals rejected, with a fourth waiting on an appeal outcome. All intend to pursue their cases at Employment Tribunal.

Support sacked trade union reps at Picturehouse cinemas.

Trade Unions: 

Make May resign!

Author: 

Editorial

According to the media over the 8-9 July weekend, the argument among Tory MPs is whether to replace Theresa May now by David Davis, or to wait to replace her until the autumn. Even Tory party chair Grant Shapps has no confidence in May: “Theresa May will need to operate a completely different model to remain in power”. Getting May out will be a first step in bringing down the Tory government. Only a first step.

For the Tories in office to take a skewed snapshot vote and interpret it as a blank cheque for their policies is not democracy.

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SWP: fifth wheel of Corbynism?

Author: 

Martin Thomas

There were about 500 at the opening rally of the SWP's "Marxism" summer event in London on 6 July. That's fewer than in some previous years, I think, and an older crowd - about a third grey or white-haired.

Nevertheless, enough not to sneeze at, and the closing rally on 9 July was near 1000.

At its annual summer event, the SWP is presenting itself as a sort of fifth wheel of Corbynism, supposedly with special skills for demonstrations and strikes

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Brexit: fight for free movement!

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

As the UK-EU negotiations on Brexit begin, the political landscape in Britain is in flux. The general election result was widely interpreted as a riposte to the Tories’ push for a hard Brexit. Now senior Tory critics of a hard Brexit, and indeed of Brexit per se, are becoming bolder.

The bulk of Labour members are very likely in favour of free movement yet this has not found expression in the hierarchy or public position of the party.

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Picturehouse victimises trade union reps!

Picturehouse is trying to victimise trade union reps at the Ritzy cinema, Brixton.

Picturehouse cinemas have suspended seven Bectu trade union reps, in the midst of ongoing strike action.The dispute for a Living Wage, decent sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, and union recognition has run for over 10 months so far.

Trade Unions: 

Tubeworker — July 2017 – Topple the Tories!

Author: 

Tubeworker

The latest edition of Tubeworker, an industrial bulletin for London Underground workers, by London Underground workers.

Click here to download the PDF.

The latest edition of Tubeworker, an industrial bulletin for London Underground workers, by London Underground workers.

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New strikes in war against DOO

RMT members on Southern, Northern, and MerseyRail will strike again in July, as the fight to stop "Driver Only Operation" (DOO) continues.

Southern workers will strike on 10 July, Northern workers on 8-10 July, and MerseyRail on 8, 10, and 23 July.

Activists in the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaign are working with RMT to organise picket line support. Demonstrations in support of the strikes, highlighting the vital role of the guard in ensuring safe and accessible trains, are planned in several cities.

Trade Unions: 

Scottish Labour: still failing

Author: 

Ann Field

Compared with the 2015 general election, Labour’s share of the vote at a UK level increased by 10%, from 30% to 40%, in the general election on 8th June. But in Scotland it increased by just 3%, from 24% to 27%.

In Scotland as whole the Labour vote increased by just under 10,000. Take away the increase of 7,000 votes in just one constituency (Edinburgh South, the one Scottish constituency held by Labour in 2015), the picture is even bleaker: an increase of only 3,000 votes.

Labour in Scotland has failed to exploit Labour's general renewal.

The Scottish left: the strongest nationalists

Author: 

Ann Field

“The Labour Party in Scotland has been wiped out.” That was the verdict of the Socialist Party Scotland (SPS) on the 2015 general election. The next step was: “The trade union movement must now prepare to build a new mass party for the working class.”

In alliance with the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the SPS had stood ten candidates in Scotland under the ‘Trade Union and Socialist Coalition’ (TUSC) banner. Their votes ranged from 0.2% to 0.7%, and amounted to only 1,772 in total.

But that did not constitute a “wipe-out”.

The SWP and Scottish Socialist Party said Labour was finished and decided to tail-end Scottish nationalism...

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Grenfell: Capitalism kills

Author: 

Gemma Short

Around 1am on Wednesday 13 June a fire tore through 24-storey Grenfell Tower in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, killing a currently unknown number of people. Firefighters have told people the number will be in triple figures.

The fire at Grenfell Tower has exposed inequality in housing and exploded the narrative that “we’re all in this together”. The class divide exists. It kills people.

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Finsbury Park attack: defend Muslim communities

Author: 

Keith Road

We condemn the murderous attack on people outside the Muslim Welfare Centre in Finsbury Park, London, on 19 June.

As it is Ramadan, worshippers had just finished their prayers after breaking the daily fast. One man was killed and nine people were taken to hospital.

Violence against Muslims is something that the mainstream tabloid press helps to stir up — most insidiously, the idea that all Muslims have a special responsibility to sort out Islamist terrorists.

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Justice for Grenfell!

Author: 

Gemma Short

Late at night on Tuesday 13 June, a fire gutted Grenfell Tower in west London.

It is likely that a large number of people have died: firefighters have told people the number will be in triple figures. Many hundreds of people's lives have been destroyed as their family members, friends, neighbours, and homes have been taken from them.

Our solidarity is with those families and with the emergency service workers who battled to save them whilst witnessing harrowing scenes.

Protests demand justice for the victims of Grenfell and change.

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Grenfell Tower appeal

Author: 

Len McCluskey

Dear friends,

The full horror of the fire at the Grenfell Tower is yet to unfold but we do know that there has been fatalities, serious injuries and hundreds of people are left destitute and in despair.

Once again our emergency services have been called upon to display the selflessness and heroism we are sadly becoming all too accustomed to. Unite will be sending its solidarity to our colleague unions to express our very deep thanks for all that they do to in the name of public service.

Appeal from Unite the union.

Trade Unions: 

Force the Tories out!

Author: 

Editorial

We have a Tory minority government. But how long Theresa May, or any Tory, can stay is another matter.

The Tories look likely get a working majority in Parliament, at least on budget and confidence votes, by a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).There will be divisions between the Tories and the DUP, and within the Tory Party as the talks on Brexit proceed and as economic stresses sharpen. The Tories are likely to drop more abrasive policies like reintroduction of grammar schools, but they are in deep trouble.

Recycle the energy from election doorsteps into action on the streets and in the workplace, and rearm the labour movement politically

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Tories' anti-union laws scupper "London Bridge 3" ballot: fight must go on!

Today we received the disappointing news that the ballot for action to win reinstatement for Lee Cornell, and justice for Dave Sharp and Saeed Sioussi (the "London Bridge 3"), had failed to meet the 50% turnout threshold required by the Tories' Trade Union Act.

Despite returning a majority of 80% in favour of action, the 35% turnout is not enough for the union to call a legal strike, meaning cross-combine action in this dispute is impossible without a re-ballot that does hit the thresholds.

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RMT branches call for Labour reaffiliation

Following Labour's surge in the general election, several branches of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) have called for the union to reaffiliate to the party, in emergency motions to the union's AGM.

RMT, whose predecessor union helped found Labour, had its affiliation effectively severed in 2004 after the national union refused to prevent its Scottish branches backing candidates of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Following Labour's surge in the general election, two branches of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) have called for the union to reaffiliate to the party, in emergency motions to the union's AGM.

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Nationalists in decline

Author: 

Dale Street

Compared with the 2015 general election, the number of SNP MPs fell from 56 to 35. Scottish Tory MPs increased from one to 13, Scottish Labour MPs increased from one to seven, and Scottish Lib-Dem MPs increased from one to four.

Eleven of the new intake of SNP MPs have majorities of less than 900. In some constituencies their majorities were wafer-thin: two, 21, 60, 75, and 195.

The Scottish Labour left needs to recruit new Labour voters, especially youth into the Party and break the grip of the right.

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