Frontline

Why Corbyn's campaign is a threat to New Labour "old guard"

Author: 

Frank Andrews

In the last few days, the right-wing of the Labour Party, through the National Executive Committee, have launched a full-frontal and brazen attack on democracy in the Labour Party to try and prevent Corbyn getting an easy ride into the leadership elections.

First the NEC ruled that only members who had joined before 12 January will be eligible to vote in the leadership contest. The vote on this ruling was won at the same meeting Corbyn was declared on the ballot, but only after he and a couple of his allies had left the room.

Attacks on Labour democracy in the leadership election show how right-wing want to destroy a left-wing voice.

Campaign for Corbyn and socialist policies! Rebuild the labour movement!

Author: 

Martin Thomas

(Updated 9am Friday 14 July)

We have won the latest round of the battle to stop Corbyn from being ousted and Labour's leader, and his supporters from being driven out of the Party. On Tuesday 12 July Labour's National Executive Committee agreed by 18-14 votes that Corbyn will automatically be on the ballot in the challenge to his leadership. A campaign of political pressure, petitioning, rallying and debate has ensured support for democratic process won out in the vote on Tuesday.

We win this round: Jeremy Corbyn is back on the ballot for the Labour leadership election. What now? How do we win, and use this opportunity to revive and transform the labour movement?

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Abolish Trident! Welfare and jobs, not warfare and mass murder

Author: 

Editorial

Nuclear weapons — and especially those nuclear weapons whose use would incinerate tens of millions of civilians — are an obscenity. A future Labour government must abolish Trident.

In the first instance, this is a moral question: Ban the Bomb! Imagine, if you can, the worst case: a nuclear attack on the UK in which London and other big cities were destroyed and millions were murdered by a foreign power. Perhaps the attack came from a rogue state run by a strange and insecure freak, perhaps it came from a resurgent Russia run by a ex-secret policeman gangster. What then?

Nuclear weapons — and especially those nuclear weapons whose use would incinerate tens of millions of civilians — are an obscenity. A future Labour government must abolish Trident.

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Unite backs Corbyn and mandatory reselection

By a delegate

Unite the union held its bi-annual policy conference from 11th to 16th July. Does the largest working-class organisation in Britain have the policies and perspectives needed for the next two years of struggle? The answer has to be, on the whole, no. 

Good policy was passed on the casualisation of work, Kurdish solidarity work, the union's relationship with the Labour Party, and many other areas.

Some good decisions but internationalist class struggle policies still required.

Turkish military coup fails

Author: 

Dan Katz
It is good the coup has failed. It is bad that the immediate political advantage will be Erdogan’s.

The attempt by a section of the Turkish army to take power has failed. On the night of Friday 15 July troops grabbed bridges, airports and television stations, as well as Military Headquarters. Parliament was bombed.

The plotters declared that they were acting, “to restore the constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law, and public order.”

Democracy, direct action, and socialism


There are decisive turning points in history that shape the future for many years ahead. The British labour movement was brought to such a turning point by the victory of the Thatcherite Tories in the 1979 general election and the events that came after it. The defeat of the labour movement then shaped the social, political, and ethical world we live in now. Was that defeat unavoidable? The revolutionary left argued then that it wasn’t: that if we mobilised our strength we could defeat Thatcher, as we had defeated her Tory predecessors in 1972-4.
Is direct action undemocratic? What methods should the labour movement use to defeat the bosses? Should we stick within the law? This new pamphlet discusses these issues and more.

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23 June: a victory for reaction and regression

Author: 

Editorial

The vote in the 23 June referendum that Britain should leave the European Union was a victory for the forces of reaction and historical regression. It has fed the fires of reactionary nationalism and chauvinism in other EU countries, people who want to go back to a Europe of competing, and possibly warring, nation-states, to what degree and with what consequences remains to be seen. In Britain, it has triggered a wave of attacks on migrants.

The vote in the 23 June referendum that Britain should leave the European Union was a victory for the forces of reaction and historical regression.

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Schedule for Solidarity 410 to 414

Solidarity 410 will be out on Wednesday 29 June 2016

Solidarity 411 will be out on Friday 8 July

Solidarity 412, Wednesday 27 July

Solidarity 413, Wednesday 10 August.

Solidarity 414, Wednesday 31 August

and then we will be back to the usual weekly rhythm. The change in schedule for 410 and 411 is because of the EU referendum and the Ideas for Freedom summer school; we skip some weeks in July and August because of summer holidays.

Solidarity 410 will be out on Tuesday 28 June; 411, on Friday 8 July; 412, on 27 July; 413, on 10 August; 414, on 31 August

How Northern Ireland voted in the referendum

Author: 

Ann Field
Brexit caused problems include loss of EU funding and potential border controls.

Last week’s EU referendum saw a majority of just under 56% in Northern Ireland vote in favour of ‘Remain’. At 63%, the turnout was lower than in England, Wales and Scotland.

Unlike in Scotland not all regional constituencies voted ‘Remain’. Eleven voted ‘Remain’, and seven voted ‘Leave’. Levels of turnout also varied widely: between 68% (Fermanagh and South Tyrone) and 49% (Belfast West).

The power-sharing government of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein was split over the referendum, with the former backing ‘Leave’ and the latter backing ‘Remain’.

Move fast to defeat the coup against Corbyn

We can defeat the attempted right-wing coup against Jeremy Corbyn if we move fast and with determination.

The conspirators have strength in Parliament (how much exactly, we don't know yet) and a media eager to help them damage Corbyn and the left – but their support among Labour Party members and trade unionists is very limited indeed.

We can defeat the attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn if we move fast and with determination.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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The left and the Brexit vote

Author: 

Martin Thomas
Some on the left hail the Brexit vote as a victory. This is manipulative and fantasy-ridden politics.

On 24 June, as the Brexit referendum result hit the school where I work, both students and teachers were aghast.

The idea that this was a “working-class revolt” inflicting “a massive reverse” on the rich and powerful had no takers in a school whose catchment area is among the 5% poorest in the country. Some students told me “I have dual nationality, Slovak and British [or whatever it might be], so I’ll be all right. But...” And they’d sigh.

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After the Leave vote: stand up for migrants, defend Corbyn, fight for unity and solidarity

Author: 

Cathy Nugent
The left must come together to defend migrants, fight right-wing attacks on the Labour leadership and argue for socialist politics.

The vote to leave the EU reflects deep and growing social distress caused by years of vicious capitalist attacks against living standards, public services and democratic rights. But the vote was also a defeat for labour movements in Europe, for internationalism and for the left. The three million Europeans living, working and studying in the UK will now be fearful about their future. The response of socialists and the labour movement can only be to redouble our fight against austerity, defending migrants and for the socialist vision of a better world.

Our New Book: Can socialism make sense?

Author: 

Paul Hampton

This is a review of the new book by Workers' Liberty Can socialism make sense?

A review of Can Socialism Make Sense? by Sean Matgamna.

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Rents spiral, especially in London

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Even on the mean average income - which is quite a bit higher than the median income, the income of the worker halfway up the income range - a young worker now has to pay out 57% of her or his income to rent an average one-bedroom home in London.

Rents are spiralling, and the new Housing Act will make things worse.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Who profits from your pension fund

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Railpen is the pension scheme covering 500,000 current and former railworkers in Britain. According to a new book, What they do with your money, reviewed in the Financial Times on 18 June, it used to believe it was paying £75 million a year to financiers to manage its funds.

Then it probed further, and found that really £290 million was being sucked out of the pension fund each year in fees for "fund managers". Over 30 years, for example, that would be £9 billion, or over 40% of the total value of the fund.

A huge chunk of workers' pension contributions go not to pay pensions, but to enrich "fund managers"

Issues and Campaigns: 

What "balancing the budget" means

Author: 

Martin Thomas

"Crikey, had a great 'win' last week which sent some parents into a storm", boasted Mark Small on Twitter in mid-June.

His firm is a contractor which is paid by local councils to fight parents' claims to get Special Educational Needs provision for their children. As the Guardian puts it, "its success rests on its ability to help cash-strapped local authorities cut the costs of SEN provision".

It also sells training to council officials to help them minimise SEN provision.

A lawyer boasts about how many Special Education Needs applications he has blocked.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Financial Times backs workers' control

Author: 

Martin Thomas

According to law, when a company collapses, the creditors (the other companies to which it owes money) have rights. The workers, and the retired workers dependent on pensions funded by the company, have few.

When the company is prospering, however, all the rights belong in theory to the shareholders, who have limited rights when the company collapses but, on the other hand, stand to lose little then.

It doesn't make sense to you? More interesting, it also makes no sense to John Kay, a conservative economist who writes regularly for the Financial Times.

In the case of BHS, workers' control makes sense even to a conservative economist writing for the Financial Times.

Trade Unions: 

Remember Jo Cox, fight against division, campaign to remain

Author: 

Simon Nelson
Far right sympathies of Jo Cox's murderer should give us all pause for thought.

The murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox in the West Yorkshire village of Birstall on 16th June has shocked the public, political activists and the labour movement internationally. Our condolences go to her family, friends and comrades.

That an MP, while holding an advice surgery, would be attacked and murdered by a local man — who seems to have links to fascist organisations and held extreme right wing beliefs — is thankfully highly unusual. However the motivation for this attack should give us pause for thought.

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