Solidarity 307, 11 December 2013

Put MP's on a workers' wage AWL Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:02

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has recommended a pay rise of 11% for MPs.

Embarrassed, and keenly aware about how their position looks to a public reeling from job losses and wage cuts, many MPs have declared that their proposed pay rise is wrong.

However, business leaders have loudly supported the pay rise. “If we are to attract talent into parliament, MPs should be paid a comparable amount to other professionals,” said Ocado chairman Sir Stuart Rose.

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 11 December, 2013 - 1:44

The RMT is planning an extensive political campaign to accompany its industrial battle to stop job cuts and ticket office closures on London Underground.

The University of London Union (ULU), which represents students at a number of London colleges, hosted a public planning meeting for supporters of the “Every Job Matters” campaign on Tuesday 10 December.

The ballot for strikes and action-short-of-strikes closes on January 10, with action due the following week if the ballot returns the expected yes vote.

Marxism at work Matthew Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:35

Over 50 trade union activists attended Workers’ Liberty “Marxism at Work” dayschool on Saturday 7 December.

The school, featuring both discussion-focused and more interactive workshops, was based on a six-part AWL educational series about Marxism and trade unionism, and included sessions on “our fantasy trade union”, the Marxist critique of current trade unions, understanding the bureaucracy, historical examples of the rank and file in action, and the role of Marxists in the workplace.

After Mao and the Tiananmen Uprising Matthew Wed, 12/11/2013 - 13:32

“It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” (Deng Xiaoping)

In the second of three articles overviewing a recent history of China, I review the era of Deng Xiaoping.

The history of Britain's anti-apartheid movement

Submitted by Matthew on 11 December, 2013 - 1:23

If you grew up in radical politics in the 1980s, anti-apartheid activism was ubiquitous — a reference point, an inspiration, and an accessible vehicle for campaigning.

Demonstrating outside the South African embassy, attending cultural and political meetings and demanding freedom for Nelson Mandela were rites of passage across the spectrum of the left.

Can re-wilding help the planet? Matthew Wed, 12/11/2013 - 12:57

Dig down a few metres beneath the fountains in Trafalgar Square and you will find the remains of elephants, lions and hippopotami.

These giant beasts grazed, stalked and wallowed through British rainforests just over 100,000 years ago. In evolutionary time this is the blink of an eye and George Monbiot, in his new book Feral, makes a powerful argument for their (eventual) reintroduction.

After 11 December "Cops off campus" protests, what next for the student fightback?

Submitted by Matthew on 11 December, 2013 - 12:50

About 3,000 students demonstrated in London on 11 December as part of the "Cops off campus" national day of action, and many more around the country. Students at Manchester and Aberdeen universities went into occupation. (For reports and pictures from across the country, see the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts website.)

Athens and Berkeley Matthew Wed, 12/11/2013 - 12:34

Policing has inevitably been an issue whenever student struggles have reached a certain pitch of struggle. In many cases, heavy-handed policing has provided a spark to the movement.

At the University of California in Berkeley, the Free Speech Movement (FSM) was kick-started when civil rights activist and alumnus Jack Weinberg was arrested 1 October 1964 for defying a campus ban on soliciting support for “off campus political and social action.”