Unison branch secretary and library striker on the Lambeth library occupation - and what you can do to help

Ruth Cashman is a Lambeth library worker, a leading activist in strikes to stop library cuts and joint secretary of Lambeth Unison:

Ruth Cashman on the Carnegie library occupation.

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Lambeth libraries campaigners occupy Carnegie library to stop closure

Banners outside the occupation

Earlier on the 31st

Carnegie Library in Herne Hill, Lambeth (South London), was due to close tomorrow, 1 April, but library campaigners have occupied it to stop the closure.

Spread the word! Build solidarity!

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Non-Independence Day in Scotland


Dale Street
Nationalists fantasise about what might have been had Scotland voted for independence.

If the 2014 referendum had resulted in a ‘Yes’ vote, last Thursday (24th March) was to have been Independence Day. To mark the occasion, that day’s issue of “The National” published an eight-page supplement on what the news would have been on that imaginary day.

(As “Times” columnist Hugo Rifkind recently explained: “It took me a while, but I’ve finally got my head around ‘The National’. It’s the newspaper equivalent of William McGonagall, isn’t it?”)

A victory for disabled activists and the workers' movement, not for IDS


By Janine Booth, co-Chair, TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee
Tories forced to withdraw Budget cut to disability benefits. How has this come about?

For several years, disability rights has seemed the most intractable of issues to fight on.

A population soaked in Daily Mail outrage and Jeremy Kyle cartoon characters seemed determined to believe that most people who claimed to be disabled were not and that the few who were deserved pity not resources. Even the Paralympics led less to increased respect for disabled people and more to an unrealistic superhero stereotype used to bash people who were never going to win wheelchair marathons or run faster on blades than others do on legs.

A Europe of borders and resistance


Theodora Polenta
For as long as the war in Syria lasts and chaos prevails, refugees will try by every means possible to get to a place that is safer, however many summits the governments call and however many fences and borders they erect.

Here’s what the “Fortress EU” of ever increasing land, air and sea fences and more actual and conceptual borders says to us all, and not only to the refugees of Syria’s war: There is no place for you to live, because I want to grab your resources and check your routes. There is no other place for you to go to breathe. There is no way to walk. The only option to endure, to endure, to adapt, to live with the annihilation of any planning for a better future. And, to a large extent, those messages represent the broader social, economic, and cultural values of today’s capitalism.


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NUT conference to discuss "escalating timetable of strikes"


Gemma Short
Delegates at NUT conference to vote on an escalating timetable of strikes against the Education White Paper.

This afternoon (Saturday 26 March) the National Union of Teachers conference will discuss a priority motion on the Government's white paper and its new attacks on schools.

In a shift from previous years conference is expected to vote for a timetable of strikes. The main motion calls for a timetable of strikes, and a popular amendment by the Local Associations for National Action Campaign (LANAC) sets out that there should be an "escalating timetable of strikes based on the model of the junior doctors' dispute".

IDS resignation shows we can beat cuts



Disabled People Against the Cuts has posted the following after Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory minister for Work and Pensions, resigned on 18 March 2016, on his own account in protest against the 16 March Tory Budget's cuts to disabled people's benefits.

It's been an amazing week – culminating in the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith

Whatever he resigned for – and we don’t believe a word that he says about standing up for disabled people – the fact remains – he is gone.

What happens with the new Minister Crabb, we have yet to discover, but what we do know is:

Disabled People Against the Cuts comments after Iain Duncan Smith's 18 March resignation.

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Tories take an axe to schools

The National Union of Teachers has commented on the Government's 17 March White Paper proposals to make every school an "academy" (directly funded by central government, with no local authority control over its management) and to abolish Qualified Teacher Status.

Getting rid of Qualified Teacher Status is a clear indication of how little this Government respects teachers or parents, who believe their children should be taught by a qualified teacher. Leaving schools and heads to decide whether a teacher has reached suitable standards lacks coherence...

The National Union of Teachers responds.

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Why socialist feminism?


Women in Workers' Liberty

As revolutionary socialists fighting for a society based on human need not profit, Workers’ Liberty makes class struggle and radical social change central to our feminism. We are socialist feminists. This pamphlet explores what “socialist feminism” might mean in the context of the latest “wave”, and global conditions.

New pamphlet exploring socialist feminist debates. Buy online here.

Osborne plans new cuts


Martin Thomas

Tory chancellor George Osborne will make fresh cuts to social spending in his 19 March 2016 budget. So he has said in advance, following official estimates that economic slowdown will increase the government's excess of spending over revenues.

At the same time he will probably make some small new tax cuts, whose benefits to working-class people will almost certainly be smaller than the social cuts, but which will feed through into clear gains for the well-off.

Tory chancellor George Osborne will make fresh cuts to social spending in his 19 March 2016 budget.

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Zero-hours contracts banned in NZ, boom in Britain


Martin Thomas

On Friday 11 March 2016 New Zealand passed a law banning zero-hours contracts, which will come into effect from 1 April. The new law that employers must guarantee a minimum number of hours work each week, and workers can refuse extra hours without repercussions.<1--break-->

On Friday 11 March New Zealand passed a law banning zero-hours contracts, which will come into effect from 1 April.

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Against anti-semitism, for due process

In the run-up to the September 2015 Labour Party leadership election, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people accused of being associated with the far left were summarily expelled from the party, or blocked from joining. Some of those have been reinstated, but there has since been a steady trickle of further expulsions, including, recently, Momentum Steering Committee member Jill Mountford, Solidarity editor Cathy Nugent, and prominent socialist lawyer Nick Wrack.

Gerry Downing's promotion of anti-semitic ideas is unacceptable. But there should be due process in the Labour Party.

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Nationalise the energy companies


Luke Hardy

If you needed more proof that the our private-run energy sector is failing workers, service users and future energy security the last week must have provided it.

It started with one of the big six energy suppliers, Npower, announcing large losses and that they plan to reduce the workforce by 2400. The workers and unions are still in the dark as to where the company plans these job cuts to hit and when. It could include workers for other companies who work on behalf of Npower. Npower is doing particularly badly due to poor consumer service and failed outsourcing.

NPower job cuts and overcharging of consumers... more proof of the need to end private ownership of energy production.

SNP's referendum claims shown to be false


Dale Street

Had the 2014 referendum resulted in a majority for Scottish independence, the first day of an independent Scotland was to have been 24 March 2016.

But last week, just a fortnight before the scheduled Independence Day, the SNP government’s annual “Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland” (GERS) report blew apart the economic claims peddled by the SNP during the referendum campaign.

SNP promise that everyone would be £500 better off in an independent Scotland was completely unrealistic.

Reports from junior doctors' pickets and protests on 9-11th March

From Pete Campbell, junior doctor in Newcastle

"Solid picket at my hospital in Cramlington. ITV coverage here. Other picket lines in the north east looked well supported. Bigger or at least as big as last time. I haven't heard any government reports trying to claim numbers are down."

Junior doctors struck for 48 hours between 9-11th march, we joined their picket lines.

Solidarity Statement: Stand With Students and Teachers of JNU

This statement is republished from Secularism Is A Women's Issue

The Hindu-Right government of India identifies the nation with its Hindu majority and imposes the domination of Hinduism over all citizens of other denominations and “lower” castes.

Over the past few years, the Hindu-Right has curtailed free speech at universities, banned books, and falsified history.

A statement in solidarity with the students and teachers of JNU - New Delhi University.

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