Solidarity 439, 24 May 2017

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 24 May, 2017 - 12:56 Author: Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Cinema workers at East Dulwich Picturehouse in south London will strike on Saturday 27 May to coincide with the opening of the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. Workers at the other cinemas involved in the dispute have just voted for further strikes, and will be on strike on 3-4 June to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival, which Picturehouse hosts.

Scots nationalism can be pushed back

Submitted by Matthew on 24 May, 2017 - 12:40 Author: Anne Field

The SNP performed so well in the 2015 general election that it wants to make 2017 a repeat performance, albeit with a few changes to the roles to be played by the different characters.

Exploiting the boost given to nationalism and national-identity politics by the 2014 referendum, the SNP succeeded in persuading Scottish voters in the 2015 election that they key question was not which political party should form the next government, but which political party would best represent Scotland.

Isolating the Russian revolution

Submitted by Matthew on 24 May, 2017 - 12:35 Author: Morgan Philips Price

The following abridged article is by Morgan Philips Price, the Russian correspondent for the Manchester Guardian. First published in the US magazine Class Struggle in May 1919, it describes the foreign policy of all the ruling classes in Europe towards Russia after the October revolution.

Labour: rebuild the welfare state

Submitted by Matthew on 24 May, 2017 - 11:53 Author: Gemma Short

The welfare state created by the 1945 Labour government was a little bit of the “political economy of the working class” carved out of a still capitalist economy (a phrase Karl Marx first used to describe the victory of the fight for a ten-hour working day).

To some extent the ruling class has been forced to accept a minimal level of state provision. There is a constant battle over what proportion of profits is redirected, over who should receive support, and what sort of support is given. The ruling class has been winning that battle for some time.

Grow old? Fall sick? Vote Labour!

Submitted by Matthew on 24 May, 2017 - 11:33 Author: Editorial

The Tories used their general election manifesto to reveal their true callousness. They decided to squeeze more money out of elderly people to pay for social care, and hit less well pensioners by cutting winter fuel payments and ditching the “triple lock” on pensions (introduced in 2011 the triple lock guarantees that the basic state pension will rise by 2.5%, the rate of inflation, or average earnings growth, whichever is largest).

Letter: Taking them down a peg Matthew Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:12

Andrew Northall (Letters, Solidarity 438) asks important questions about taxing the ultra-rich and the merely well-off. No socialist strategy, I believe, can escape the risk of a “counter-revolutionary reaction” from the rich.

That is not just because of our challenge to their income. It is because of our challenge to their wealth and their power. No socialism is possible without taking the top 1% down a peg, and they will resist that ferociously. At certain times they will shrug and pay more tax.

Macron’s government of “civil society”

Submitted by Matthew on 24 May, 2017 - 10:34

The French socialist newsletter Arguments pour la lutte sociale reports on Emmanuel Macron’s government appointments.


Emmanuel Macron has nominated a relative unknown for his Prime Minister, but Édouard Philippe is a perfect representative of the Deep State of the 5th Republic.

The waning of Chavismo?

Submitted by Matthew on 24 May, 2017 - 10:21 Author: Pablo Velasco

For the last seven weeks Venezuela has experienced violent opposition protests intent on toppling the elected Maduro government. Since the beginning of April, over 50 people have been killed during demonstrations orchestrated by the right-wing Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD – Democratic Unity Table).