Solidarity 166, 4 February 2010
The latest figures from the British Social Attitudes Survey show that while people have become more liberal on social issues such as gay rights, there has been a rightward drift on economic questions.
On Monday 1 February the higher education funding body, the HEFCE have announced the details of how the budget cuts imposed by Peter Mandelson back in December 2009 will fall. The headline cuts is one in the universities' teaching budgets — £215m in the acedemic year 2010-11.
Moishe Postone is a Marxist academic based at the University of Chicago. As well as writing extensively on Marx’s political economy, he has also been central to the development of theories of “left anti-semitism”, which look at ways in which positions taken by left groups, particularly on Israel/Palestine, can feed into, or be based on, hostility to Jews.
At the conference of the Socialist Workers' Party which took place on 9-10 January, the expulsions of dissident members Clare Solomon and Alex Snowdon were confirmed.
The Socialist Party has launched a “Trade Union and Socialist Coalition” (TUSC) for the general election. Seeing itself as a successor organisation to the “No2EU” slate, TUSC has so far failed to achieve significant trade union backing: Bob Crow is involved in a personal capacity, but the RMT Executive decided to concentrate on re-electing its sponsored MPs.
As we reported in Solidarity 3/164, the University of Sussex Students’ Union recently passed a policy committing it to a boycott of Israeli goods. Workers’ Liberty opposes such boycotts because we believe they cut against what is objectively necessary — international working-class solidarity to help Palestinian and Israeli workers build unity around a programme of mutual respect and equal rights — and create the potential for an anti-semitic backlash by exceptionalising Israel.
Following a law passed in 2004 banning the hijab (Muslim headscarf) and other symbols of “religious affiliation” in state schools, the French government is now discussing a proposal to ban the wearing of the burqa (the full body veil) in various public spaces, including on public transport. It takes place as part of a concerted government campaign to assert a secular French “national identity”.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the case of rapist black cab driver John Worboys has highlighted again the criminal justice system’s appalling handling of rape allegations. It does nothing to inspire confidence in an already mistrusted system, which contributes to the low rape conviction rate, currently 6%.
A Labour Party plan to scrap prescription charges for people with long-term health conditions has been shelved, and is now expected to reappear as a manifesto pledge in this year's general election.