News

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.

Corbyn surge changes Labour conference

Submitted by Gemma_S on 26 September, 2017 - 8:09
Labour conference 2017

The Corbyn surge is starting to filter through the party and have an impact on Labour Party Conference.

Happening in Brighton on 24-27 September, this year's conference has over 1000 delegates, more than double the usual number. Around two-thirds of those delegates are on the left, or to be more specific support Corbyn's leadership. It was reported at a Campaign for Labour Party Democracy fringe meeting that the conference has had 13,000 people at in total: delegates, observers, visitors to Momentum's The World Transformed fringe festival, and other fringe events.

How you can support the Picturehouse workers

Submitted by cathy n on 27 October, 2016 - 2:24
Hackney picturehouse strike

Here you can find a printable 1) collection sheet; 2) a letter to union branches from BECTU reps to organise donations from your trade union or Labour Party branch; and 3) model motions for trade unions, Labour Party branches and student unions. Scroll down for text of model motions. Also various useful links to more information.

Tūmanako*: New Zealand’s Labour-led government

Submitted by Matthew on 25 October, 2017 - 9:57 Author: Lesley Maher
Jacinda Adern

Twenty-six days after a general election, and on the eve of the Labour Day holiday weekend, (21-23 October) Aotearoa (New Zealand) has a new Labour-led coalition government. New Zealand’s Labour Day public holiday was celebrated for the first time in 1900. The Liberal government of the day offered the new public holiday instead of acceding to labour movement demands for a lawful eight-hour working day.

Catalonia: no to Madrid clampdown!

Submitted by Matthew on 18 October, 2017 - 1:25 Author: Tony Holmes
Catalan Firefighters

The Spanish government in Madrid says that it will suspend regional autonomy and impose direct rule on Catalonia from Thursday 19 October unless president Carles Puigdemont abandons his push for independence for the territory.

A Madrid clampdown would, soon if not immediately, lead to violent clashes such as happened when the Spanish government tried to stop Catalonia’s 1 October referendum. The Catalan police might well side with the Catalan government against Spanish government forces.

Support the Rohingya

Submitted by Gemma_S on 22 September, 2017 - 12:23
Rohingya refugees

Around 400,000 people from the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar have now fled to Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshi government was reluctant to admit them, but has been less hard-faced than Britain or the EU generally towards refugees from Syria and Eritrea. Or at least it has calculated that it lacks the means to be as hard-faced.

Many of the refugees are huddled round Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh. The Bangladesh police say that they “cannot travel from one place to another by roads, railways or waterways”, and that camps will be built to accommodate them.

What's wrong with Stalinist iconography

Submitted by cathy n on 22 July, 2017 - 9:35 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.

Unfinished Corbynism

Submitted by Gemma_S on 22 September, 2017 - 12:08 Author: Martin Thomas
Corbyn rally in Liverpool

Alex Nunns, a journalist on Red Pepper, has based this book on sympathetic interviews with many of the central people in Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 Labour leadership campaign. It’s a well-crafted, well-informed view of the Corbyn surge as it looked from the top.

It’s hard to remember now just how unexpected Corbyn’s 2015 victory was. Before the May election John McDonnell had attempted to assemble a “Left Platform” group. It flopped dismally.

Catalonia: right to choose yes, new borders no! Matthew Wed, 10/11/2017 - 11:13
catalonia dialogue

As Solidarity goes to press on 10 October, Carles Puigdemont, the president of Catalonia, has announced his response to the referendum on independence in Catalonia his government called on 1 October.

The Spanish government declared the referendum illegal, and deployed heavy Spanish police force to try to stop it, but it largely went ahead. 92% voted yes, on a 43% turnout. A series of opinion polls carried out by the Catalan government since 2011 has in recent years shown a slight majority against independence, most recently 49%-41% in July this year.

Reza Shahabi on 24th day of hunger strike

Submitted by AWL on 2 September, 2017 - 9:35 Author: Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
Reza Shahabi on hunger strike

After 24 days on hunger strike Reza Shahabi’s health is deteriorating. His condition is now said to be serious.

Reza Shahabi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Trade Union of the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, was ordered to return to prison on August 8th. According to a report by this trade union, Mr Shahabi began his hunger strike protest on August 8th as he entered Rejai Shahr prison in Karaj. He is protesting about the legality of his case and prison conditions.

Support the McDonalds workers!

Submitted by AWL on 11 September, 2017 - 4:46
McDonald's workers strike

Workers at two McDonald′s stores in the UK will be striking on Monday 4 September. The strike is part of a global McDonald′s strike, and is the first time McDonald′s workers in the UK have struck.

Workers in Cambridge and Crayford were balloted and voted by 95% in favour of strikes. Almost as soon as the ballot result was announced McDonald′s offered 80,000 of its UK workers guaranteed hours, thereby agreeing to one of their demands even before the strike. Steve, a worker at a McDonald′s store in Cambridge, spoke to Solidarity about their struggle.

Thames riverboats workers win reinstatement for sacked colleague

Submitted by AWL on 21 August, 2017 - 7:36 Author: Daniel Randall

UPDATE

Following the announcement of the strike ballot below, City Cruises agreed to reinstate Hairia. RMT has hailed the outcome as a significant victory for union members at City Cruises.


Captains and mates working for City Cruises, a company which runs sightseeing trips along the River Thames, will ballot for strikes to demand reinstatement for Hairia Abdo, an unjustly sacked colleague.

Venezuelan crisis deepens

Submitted by cathy n on 12 August, 2017 - 7:29 Author: Pablo Velasco
Sample

Venezuela’s growing social polarisation and slide towards civil war has intensified in recent weeks, the combined result of right-wing destabilisation and the actions of the Maduro government.

The current political impasse arises from the unravelling of the “Bolivarian” project of Hugo Chávez. His successor Nicolás Maduro narrowly won the presidential election in 2013, but failed to retain the regime’s popularity with the majority of Venezuelan people.

Labour should listen to Birmingham refuse workers

Submitted by Gemma_S on 8 August, 2017 - 11:59 Author: By a South Birmingham Momentum member
Sample

For the past few weeks the refuse workers in Birmingham have been in dispute with Birmingham City Council over proposed changes to pay-grades, terms and conditions, and levels of public safety.

Workers from the Unite union are now beginning a third week of industrial action. I went down to Lifford Lane depot this morning to find out more about the dispute.

Bart's strikers name more dates

Submitted by Gemma_S on 8 August, 2017 - 11:30 Author: Gemma Short
Sample

Serco-employed workers at Bart's Health NHS Trust will strike again on 18-22, 25-29 August, and 1-5, 8-12, and 15-19 September.

Workers have so far stuck for 22 days, including a two week strike from 25 July to 7 August, in their fight over low pay. Serco is still refusing to negotiate with the workers' union Unite.

They are demanding a 30p per hour increase, and for lower workloads.

Glasgow homeless service workers fight back

Submitted by cathy n on 7 August, 2017 - 3:49 Author: Terry Elliot

Worse working conditions for the workers. And a worse service for clients.

That’s the result of Glasgow City Council putting its homelessness outreach support services out to tender, and cutting from five to two the number of organisations supporting homeless people transitioning into settled accommodation.

Workers who were transferred into Loretto Care, one of the two successful bidders, earlier this year found themselves moved from fit-for-purpose workplaces into an empty shell – no office furniture and no IT equipment – on a remote industrial estate.

Railworkers fighting for our safety

Submitted by Gemma_S on 21 July, 2017 - 2:53 Author: Joe Booth
Sample

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.

Defend the Picturehouse Four!

Submitted by Gemma_S on 12 July, 2017 - 1:02 Author: Ollie Moore
Sample

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.

Make May resign!

Submitted by Matthew on 12 July, 2017 - 11:30 Author: Editorial
Sample

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.

SWP: fifth wheel of Corbynism? martin Thu, 07/06/2017 - 22:54
SWP

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 event will attract more over the weekend.

New strikes in war against DOO

Submitted by Off The Rails on Thu, 06/29/2017 - 21:06

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.

Scottish Labour: still failing

Submitted by cathy n on 26 June, 2017 - 10:07 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.