Frontline

E15 mums lead housing battle

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Activists from the Focus E15 campaign have occupied an empty property on the Carpenters Estate to highlight the mismatch between the empty homes there and Newham's growing waiting list for social housing.

The campaign started after last year's funding cuts by Labour-run Newham Council, with a group of young mothers fighting eviction from their homes at a hostel.

Activists from the Focus E15 campaign have occupied an empty property on the Carpenters Estate to highlight the mismatch between the empty homes there and Newham's growing waiting list for social housing.

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British MPs vote on whether to recognise Palestine

Author: 

Ed Whitby

On Monday 13 October, MPs will be given the opportunity to debate and vote on recognising the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.

The motion, proposed by left Labour MP Grahame Morris, is an attempt to put some teeth onto the stated aim of this and previous governments of a two-state settlement.

On 13 October, Parliament will vote on whether to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

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Local government pay: An indecent proposal

Author: 

Ruth Cashman

This week local government workers received details of the “proposal” (not a formal offer) from the employers’ side in the national pay dispute in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The proposal is a two year pay settlement of 2.2%, paid nine months late (on 1 January 2015) with an unconsolidated lump sum paid in December 2014 (an unconsolidated lump sum is an amount of money paid separately from salary or wages which doesn’t increase your pay in the long run).

Break down of what the government "proposal" on local government pay would mean for workers.

Trade Unions: 

After Scottish shock, reshape Britain!

Author: 

Editorial

Scotland is not settled. The whole British political system has been unsettled.

The majority on 18 September against separation — 55 to 45 per cent — was bigger than expected, and Solidarity is glad the vote went that way. We said “reduce borders, not raise them”.

But the Scottish National Party reports an influx of 10,000 new members. There is a storm on Twitter with the #45 hashtag, with which the 18 September percentage for separation spookily link their cause to the feudal-reactionary revolt of 1745, which started in Scotland.

Britain should become a democratic, federal republic.

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Control at the top, ferment below

Author: 

Martin Thomas

It was advertised in the Labour Party conference fringe guide as an NUT (National Union of Teachers) meeting with Tristram Hunt, the Labour shadow minister for education, but turned out to be something different and more interesting.

It started earlier than advertised in the guide. When I got there, the room was already full, with maybe 100 people. NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney was there, but it was not an NUT meeting. It was an hoc event organised by an individual activist, Emma Hardy-Mattinson. And Hunt was not scheduled there.

There is more left-wing feeling in the Labour Party ranks than you’d guess from the very-controlled proceedings inside the Manchester Central conference centre.

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Neo-liberalism with a veneer of socialism

Author: 

A Labour conference delegate

There are some promising policies such as a rise in the minimum wage to £8, the scrapping of zero-hour contracts, repeal of the Social and Health care bill, reversal of the 50p tax cut, repeal of the bedroom tax and exclusion of the NHS from the EU-US trade agreement.

Labour Party policy in many areas echoes neo-liberal logic — personal responsibility, individualism and retreat of the government.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Thousands march on UN climate summit

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

Over 300,000 marched in New York on Sunday 21 September, as the UN Climate Summit met there.

About 40,000 people marched in London, and other marches took place in cities across the world.

After the march some protestors moved onto Wall Street with the #floodwallstreet action.

Highlighting the danger of raising sea levels, protestors covered the area with blue dye to symbolise water.

Police arrested more than 100 protestors in Wall Street, and injured many.

Over 300,000 marched on the UN Climate Summit in New York on 21 September.

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Tubeworker 25/09/14 — Build the ban. Prepare to strike!

An industrial bulletin for London Underground workers, by London Underground workers.

This issue discusses the need to take further action in the fight against staffing cuts and ticket office closures, the ISS cleaners' dispute, plus your local and workplace stories.

Click here to download the PDF.

An industrial bulletin for London Underground workers, by London Underground workers.

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Plan C's "Fast Forward" Festival

Author: 

Daniel Randall

Nearly 200 people attended "Fast Forward", a three-day "festival" organised by Plan C and held at a youth hostel in Edale, Derbyshire, from 12-14 September. The event was an impressive undertaking, of which the organisers will undoubtedly, and rightly, feel proud.

Plan C's "Fast Forward" Festival asked important questions, and began useful discussions.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Imagine...

Author: 

Dale Street

Imagine you’re attending a union meeting in your workplace. Your workplace rep is reporting back from a meeting with management:

“Here’s the offer management has put on the table. There’s 6,300 members covered by the national collective bargaining agreement. Management is proposing to give the 500 of us here our own separate bargaining unit.

I think it’s a great offer. The last time we had a ballot on a pay deal, we got outvoted by the other 5,800 members down south. Now, if we get our own bargaining unit, we’ll always get the pay deal we want.

A parable about the Scottish referendum.

Around the world: 

Stop humiliating students!

Author: 

Gemma Short

At the start of term 50 students at Heaton Manor school in Newcastle were put into isolation and issued with detentions for wearing “the wrong uniform”. The school has insisted that a certain type of trousers be worn, saying students should not wear “tight fitting trousers or leggings”.

This is not an isolated case, it has similarities to a movement in the US against sexist dress codes in schools (where there are usually no uniforms) and colleges.

Those movements have been highlighting dress codes that ban short skirts or shorts, “spaghetti strap tops” or tight trousers.

Schools should not be a place where problems in society are reinforced and even taught. They should be a place where they are challenged.

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Four hour strike in NHS not enough

Author: 

A South London health worker

Last week’s Solidarity carried an article that argued “a four hour walk out [on 14 October] is a good tactic in the NHS [as a starting point]” and “It is vital that discussions on strike tactics are held at workplace level where union members know what action can be most effective”. I disagree.

Unison’s leadership are worried about low turnout and unnecessary deaths on a strike day. They have attempted to solve these problem by proposing a four-hour stoppage. They hope healthworkers will be more likely to strike for half a day and it will be less risky for patients.

Many nurses still believe that it is illegal for nurses to strike and the Unison leadership has done nothing to dispel this myth. It has failed to set out a clear strategy for safe but effective strike action in the NHS.

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Help Kurds and Iraqi left resist ISIS

The ultra-Islamist group ISIS is a threat to all the people of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Syria, as well as to the people who live in the territory where it currently rules.

It openly declares itself a “caliphate”, hostile to democracy as a “western” idea. It represses and persecutes religious minorities — Christians, Yazidis, others — and Sunni Muslim Arabs who dissent.

Summary killing of people who refuse to pledge allegiance to ISIS has been common across Iraq and Syria. So have been persecution of non-Sunni religious groups and a special tax on Christians

The ultra-Islamist group ISIS is a threat to all the people of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Syria, as well as to the people who live in the territory where it currently rules.

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Burnham: put your words into action

Author: 

Gerry Bates

Andy Burnham once again repeated his promise to “repeal the Tory Health and Social Care Act” if Labour win the next election.

Burnham was speaking from the platform at the 6 September Trafalgar Square rally of the People’s March for the NHS. It is good that Burnham makes the promise to repeal the Act publicly, but it is not enough.

When Burnham was Health Secretary under the last Labour government he backed the recommendations of Sir David Nicholson, the chief executive of the NHS, to make £20 billion “efficiency savings” by 2015.

A return simply to pre-2010 status for the NHS is not enough.

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14 October: organise on the ground

Author: 

Gemma Short

Between 2008 and 2013 real wages fell by 8.2%, on average. The median worker lost £2000 a year, for many that will have been much worse.

The wage squeeze is worse for younger workers, a 14% drop for those aged 18-25, 12% for 25-29 year olds. Each decade since the 1980s real wages growth has been lower than the previous decade.

In the public sector wages have fallen by 15%, many face a pay freeze.

14 October will be a display of the potential power of the labour movement, and will raise hopes for all workers feeling the squeeze on wages. The labour movement should bolster that hope with a strategy to win.

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Trade Unions: 

TUC: don't mention the war!

Author: 

Dale Street
Motion on Ukaine ignores Russian military attacks on Ukraine!

“Don’t mention the war!” — that well-known line from an episode of the 1970s sitcom “Fawlty Towers” — should have been the header for the emergency motion entitled “Situation in Ukraine” passed by last week’s TUC congress. (1)

The motion ignored Russia’s ongoing political and military attack on Ukraine’s right to self-determination. It misrepresented the (real but limited) influence exerted by fascist organisations in Ukraine. And its concluding demands sounded left-wing but were in fact politically incoherent.

TUC congress: Stalinist apologetics and "waiting for Labour"

Author: 

Howard Peters

TUC Congress was yet another somnambulant snore-fest, punctuated with only slender outbreaks of debate. Much as always was decided beforehand behind the scenes, leaving many delegates to wonder what had become of the workers’ parliament. However beneath the surface some democratic discussion was evident and on a few occasions, burst out into the light.

18 October demonstration is not linked to programme of action.

Trade Unions: 

Pride! The power of solidarity

Author: 

Karina Knight

The writer, Stephen Beresford, first heard the story of LGSM from a friend. He told a pre-screening audience that it inspired him greatly — the film is clearly a work of care and love. The characters are the real members of LGSM. Mike Jackson and others input into the writing and production, infusing the personalities, lives and experiences of the LGSM activists.

A review of Pride, a film telling the story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in the 1984-85 strike.

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