Solidarity 431, 1 March 2017

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 1 March, 2017 - 12:26 Author: Ralph Peters, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Teaching assistants in Derby struck again from 27 February to 3 March in their fight against contract changes leading to pay cuts by Derby′s Labour council. There has been 62 strike days so far in the dispute.

The previous strikes have been up to two days at a time, and this latest week was an escalation. Support for the strikes among the 600 organised school support workers remains as strong as ever. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has openly supported them and this is used to some effect by the strikers.

Scottish Labour Party: mixed picture

Submitted by Matthew on 1 March, 2017 - 12:16 Author: Dale Street

Scottish Labour Party conference on 25-26 February unanimously passed policy in favour of “a progressive federal structure for the UK” and the convening of a “People’s Constitutional Convention” by the Labour Party at UK level in order to “deliberate on these issues”.

Momentum vote: only 42% pro-coup

Submitted by Matthew on 1 March, 2017 - 12:07 Author: Simon Nelson

Last month’s elections to Momentum National Co-ordinating Group saw 75% of the 12 seats elected by Momentum members (out of 32 NCG places) go to candidates endorsing the constitution imposed in January.

In the North and Scotland region, the pro-constitution slate won all four seats. In the Midlands, Wales, East and West region they took three, and in the South East Region two. Yet only 42% voted for pro-coup people. Their over-representation was due to this being a first-past-the-post election, so the biggest minority could sweep the board.

Trump and neoliberalism

Submitted by Matthew on 1 March, 2017 - 11:50 Author: Martin Thomas

“Neoliberalism as a set of principles rules undivided across the globe: the most successful ideology in world history”, declared the left-wing historian Perry Anderson in 2000.

With Trump, we see both a strand of neoliberalism, pushed on a scale which threatens to break up neoliberalism “from the inside”, but in a reactionary way; and a strand of real revolt against neoliberalism, expressed again in a reactionary way.

On the eve of revolution: Trotsky in New York

Submitted by Matthew on 1 March, 2017 - 11:37 Author: Paul Hampton

In October 1917 Leon Trotsky was a principal leader of the Russian revolution, leading workers to power and the establishment of their own state. Trotsky would become the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, responsible for taking Russia out of the First World War. Yet his year had begun in very different circumstances.

For ten weeks Trotsky lived in exile in New York. His time there is retold by Kenneth Ackerman.

A socialist Labour Party can win!

Submitted by Matthew on 1 March, 2017 - 9:04 Author: Editorial

What does victory for Labour in the Stoke by-election mean for the Party’s strategy after Brexit? Is defeat in the Copeland by-election down to Corbyn’s “weak” leadership and he should consider standing down? Those are the discussions dominating the media and occupying Labour’s right wing.

They should also, in a different way, be our concerns. In the first place we should resist the idea that Labour’s fortunes, respectable (as in Stoke) or poor (as in Copeland), are down to Corbyn’s personality. Such views do not deal with the political situation.

Letter: Nuclear holds back renewables

Submitted by Matthew on 1 March, 2017 - 8:58 Author: Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski

Martin Thomas (Solidarity 230) is right to contribute further nuance to our thinking on the nuclear question. Yet he seems to miss our basic point: we are unconvinced that the left should positively advocate a “solution” which is known to cause further problems through its radioactive byproduct, carries unique risks, and still contributes to carbon emissions.