News

Amidst Tory Brexit crisis - push for Labour to oppose Brexit

Submitted by martin on 15 November, 2018 - 2:30 Author: Martin Thomas
Remain and rebel

As we write (early afternoon, 15 November), the Tory cabinet has approved May's Brexit deal (14 November). Two leading Tory ministers have resigned. There is talk of a vote of no confidence in May being triggered among Tory MPs (15 November).

I am not a fly on the wall of Downing Street, or of Parliament's corridors, so I'm no more able to guess outcomes than a competent bourgeois journalist. In fact, less able.

Brazil: time to regroup

Submitted by cathy n on 14 November, 2018 - 7:18 Author: Interview: Andressa Alegre
Bolsanaro

Andressa Alegre is a Brazilian socialist. She talked with Solidarity from the city of Salvador in north-east Brazil.

I kind of expected that when Bolsonaro won, we would have a reaction similar to Trump’s victory in the USA. That wasn’t what happened.

In Salvador, we went to see the election results in the place where the left usually meets up for that. It was all very sad. People were crying. But there were no demonstrations or protests on the days following. None in other cities too, that I’ve heard of.

NUS: open the books!

Submitted by cathy n on 14 November, 2018 - 7:39 Author: By Maisie Sanders
nus votes

What the NUS (National Union of Students) leaders say about its financial crisis makes no sense.

The leaders says that NUS needs to cut back on its democracy in order to survive. But the few financial figures available suggest that the financial crisis, such as it is, has nothing to do with high spending on democratic procedures, let alone on campaigning.

NUS has not yet submitted its accounts for the year ending June 2018. But we can get some picture from previous years’ accounts. Income from membership and expenditure on wages seem stable.

Left challenge to PCS leaders

Submitted by cathy n on 14 November, 2018 - 7:34 Author: By Mike Chester
PCS picket

The leadership faction in the PCS civil service union, “PCS Left Unity”, are in a civil war over whose turn it is to stand for Assistant General Secretary when it comes up for election in 2019 (nominations open 17 January, balloting 16 April to 9 May).

Rogue SP member and current lay President of the union Janice Godrich is challenging incumbent SP loyalist Chris Baugh for the nomination. LU holds its final meeting to decide its nomination later in November. Whether the loser will accept the result and not stand against the LU nominee remains to be seen.

Another Europe's conference: what we think

Submitted by kellyjaderogers on 15 November, 2018 - 1:12 Author: Kelly
Worker's Liberty placard that reads "Remain and Rebel for a socialist Europe".

On 8th December Another Europe is Possible is hosting a democratic conference, where members will be debating and voting on documents relating to the organisation's structures and strategy. With Brexit round the corner, continued division in the Tory Party and the Labour Party, at the moment, just standing aside - it is more important than ever that the left builds a strong, grassroots campaign against Brexit, with positive demands for free movement and workers' rights, and a vision for a socialist Europe at its heart.

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US midterms show strengths and limits of DSA candidates

Submitted by martin on 13 November, 2018 - 12:19 Author: Eduardo Tovar
trump free us

On 6 November, Americans came out in droves for the 2019 midterm elections. Preliminary data suggests a turnout of over 113 million, which would be at least 48 per cent of eligible voters. In what was widely cast as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency, the Democratic Party gained control the House of Representatives, but the Republican Party retained its hold on the Senate.

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Labour can stop Brexit

Submitted by cathy n on 14 November, 2018 - 7:57
Corbyn and Europe

On 9 November Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that “we can’t stop Brexit”. But Labour can.

The Tories and the DUP are divided about May’s sketched-out soft-ish Brexit deal. If Labour MPs vote solidly against May’s deal, it probably can’t get through Parliament.

That reflects the fact that May’s proposals are unpopular — in surveys, 73% of the think the negations are going badly. The “hard” Brexit formulas favoured by the Tory right are unpopular. A “no deal” Brexit is more unpopular still.

University tags "dangerous" writings of Norman Geras

Submitted by martin on 7 November, 2018 - 8:58 Author: Martin Thomas
Index of banned books

Above: the Catholic Church's Index of Banned Books, 1640

"A friend has assigned one of Norman Geras's essays (Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution) for his undergraduate course, and as a consequence all the students have to fill in a special form, in accordance with the university's implementation of the Government's 'Prevent' policy.

"The essay is here, for those who want to see just what it is the university and the Government are worried about:

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Iranian sugar-cane workers start new strikes

Submitted by martin on 9 November, 2018 - 10:57 Author: SZAC
Haft Tappeh strikers in August

Renewed strikes by the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Company workers in Iran have taken up the demands put forward in August 2018. The August strike was suspended after management and regime officials made a number of commitments that were then not fulfilled.

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Momentum's video on antisemitism

Submitted by martin on 9 November, 2018 - 12:29 Author: Daniel Randall
Zionists control Wall St

The following article is based on a Twitter thread, here. The author plans to expand it into a longer piece.


Momentum has produced a video on antisemitism. I think this is a step in the right direction, and it’s good to see Momentum putting out content that directly challenges the idea that there’s no antisemitism on the left. But there’s quite a bit in this I’d query...

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Arron Banks, the EU, and the Morning Star

Submitted by AWL on 7 November, 2018 - 10:19 Author: Jim Denham
Banks and Farage

Arron Banks is a millionaire who quite frequently threatens legal action against those who cross him, so I’ll be careful what I write here. What can be stated as a matter of straight fact is that his highly complex business and financial arrangements were of sufficient concern to the Electoral Commission that they have now passed their investigation into the £8 million he gave to Leave.EU, and other pro-Brexit groups, over to the National Crime Agency.

Workers' Liberty conference 24-25 November 2018

Submitted by martin on 31 October, 2018 - 1:34
awl

On 24-25 November, members and friends of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty will meet for our annual conference.

Since August we've been circulating draft documents and organising regional pre-conference meetings to prepare the conference.

One of the main documents for the conference, on what sort of organisation we need, has been published in Solidarity: bit.ly/rev-org. Another main document, on Brexit, is largely a codification and collation of material published in Solidarity on the issue.

Demand every Labour MP votes against Brexit

Submitted by AWL on 7 November, 2018 - 10:49 Author: Editorial
peoples vote march

The May government and its Brexit process are bracing themselves to take the coming weeks at a run, trying to hurtle us all over a rickety bridge. Yet it looks like they could be saved by some Labour MPs voting for the Tories’ Brexit formula.

Constituency Labour Parties and trade unions should insist that all Labour MPs vote against the Tories’ deal. There is a real chance of bringing down the Tory government. No-one who will vote to save the Tory government deserves to be a Labour MP.

Morning Star picks up from Trump

Submitted by AWL on 31 October, 2018 - 10:45 Author: Jim Denham
pipebomb

On 24 October a number of crude but potentially lethal pipe-bombs were sent to prominent Americans known for their opposition to Donald Trump.

On 26 October one Cesar Sayoc, a Trump supporter and petty criminal, was arrested in connection with the bombs. Mr Sayoc’s van was decorated with numerous stickers backing Trump, a “CNN sucks” sign and images of prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, in crosshairs.

Climate resistance must be built from below

Submitted by AWL on 31 October, 2018 - 11:04 Author: Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski
system change

In his new book Burning Up, A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (Pluto Press), Simon Pirani notes that the world economy tripled in size between 1945 and 1973. And the world began to burn as much fossil fuel, every three years, as in the whole of the nineteenth century.

Rayner Lysaght and Sean Matgamna debate "Socialism, Ireland, and permanent revolution"

Submitted by martin on 22 October, 2018 - 4:36
ireland

On 9 November 2018, 7:30 at the London Welsh Centre, 157-163 Grays Inn Rd WC1X 8UE, Rayner Lysaght, author of "The Republic of Ireland" and many other books, debated Sean Matgamna of Workers' Liberty on the perspectives of Irish politics.


Solidarity 485 carries interviews with Lysaght and Matgamna outlining the ideas they will debate.

Interviews by Martin Thomas: click here for Lysaght, and click here for Matgamna

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Women say: “Not OK Google”

Submitted by AWL on 7 November, 2018 - 11:25 Author: Kelly Rogers
google walkout

On Thursday 1 November, thousands of Google workers staged an international walk-out to protest against the company’s handling of sexual harassment. Thousand of workers from cities as far apart as New York, London, Berlin, Zurich, Singapore, Tokyo and more, took part. Many of them took to the streets, or gathered in squares and parks holding placards with slogans like “O.K. Google, really?”.

The Canary, Laura Kuenssberg, and taxes

Submitted by martin on 8 November, 2018 - 1:28 Author: Martin Thomas
tax

On 31 October The Canary launched another of its many attacks on BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

Kuenssberg, paid over £220,000 a year and with a posh background, is not left-wing. The Canary is self-professedly "progressive".

But The Canary's attack serves not to reveal facts ignored or tucked away by the BBC and similar media; rather, to try to stifle necessary critical debate within the labour movement by claiming that there is no issue other than mischief-making by the media.

25 years of jail for Catalan leaders?

Submitted by martin on 6 November, 2018 - 8:09 Author: Martin Thomas
Catalonia

On Friday 5 November Spain's Supreme Court Prosecutor called for sentences of up to 25 years for the Catalan nationalist politicians jailed after the 1 October 2017 referendum on independence for Catalonia.

The prosecutor's case is that the Spanish constitution says that such a referendum could be called only with the agreement of the Spanish government. The Spanish government did not agree: in fact it mobilised state forces to try to disrupt the referendum.

The referendum ended inconclusively - 92% for Catalan independence, on only a 43% turnout.

Liam Daltun, Peter Graham, Maureen Keegan: in defence of three dead Irish socialists

Submitted by dalcassian on 27 September, 2016 - 8:07 Author: Sean Matgamna
Troops go onto the streets in Belfast, 1969

Having recently completed a witch-hunting series of articles 'exposing' various left-wing organisations as being responsible for industrial strife in Britain, the News of the World on December 10th [1971] launched a new series. This time the message is that the real cause of the "trouble" in Northern Ireland is not that the Catholics are being repressed. No, it's all produced by the intervention of... yes, Russian and Fast European agents!

The spikes of austerity

Submitted by AWL on 31 October, 2018 - 11:58 Author: Matt Cooper
stop precarious work

Pay volatility is much greater than has previously been assumed, with the vast majority of workers in stable jobs experiencing significant month-to-month changes in pay.

Low pay comes with spikes.

A recent report by the Resolution Foundation looks at month-to-month changes for workers in stable employment. Previous research has only looked at how workers’ pay varies year-to-year.

The issues behind the Glasgow equal pay strike

Submitted by Gemma_S on 30 October, 2018 - 11:31 Author: Dale Street
glasgow equal pay march

Up to 8,000 Glasgow City Council workers, members of the GMB and Unison, took part in last week’s two-day equal pay strike.

For 48 hours only emergency cover was available in home care services. Primary schools and nursery schools were closed. Secondary schools were open, but without a school-meals service.

Workers in Glasgow’s four refuse and recycling centres refused to cross picket lines, bringing refuse collection to a halt for the duration of the strike. Some parking attendants and museum and libraries staff also refused to cross picket lines.

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Labour Against Racism and Fascism launched

Submitted by AWL on 24 October, 2018 - 11:38 Author: Ruth Cashman, personal capacity
Lambeth Unison

On Monday 15 October I attended a meeting on behalf of my union branch, Lambeth Unison, to discuss the setting up a local Labour Against Racism and Fascism network.

The meeting was attended by Secretaries and BAME Forum members from 14 South London local Labour Parties, as well as union reps.

The meeting was initiated by activists in Dulwich and West Norwood CLP who had been alarmed by the rise of new far-right street movements in the UK, led by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA), and coalescing around the #FreeTommy movement.

A working-class agenda in Iraq

Submitted by martin on 31 October, 2018 - 3:10 Author: Muayad Ahmed
Muayad on 1 May

Muayad Ahmed Muayad Ahmed is an Iraqi revolutionary socialist, and former secretary of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq. He and other activists recently parted ways from the WCPI. On a visit to London, Muayad spoke to Solidarity about what they are doing.

We have formed a new organisation, called the Organisation of the Communist Alternative in Iraq, OCAI. In July we issued a founding statement, in which our main programmatic aims and tasks are formulated in 34 clauses. The document will be available in English shortly.

Brazil: rising of the women

Submitted by AWL on 31 October, 2018 - 10:59 Author: Hector Lopez
Ele Nao

Three weeks before the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections now won by the fascistic Jair Bolsonaro, some 150,000 people, the majority women, took to the streets in Brazil to declare their opposition.

In London protests against Bolsonaro have also been mainly women. They rebel against Bolsonaro’s aggressive sexism and his disregard for democracy.

Advance estimates of the second round poll on 28 October were that although Bolsonaro would win (as he did), he would be in a clear minority among women.

In Defence of Bolshevism

Submitted by Gemma_S on 17 August, 2018 - 12:26
Lenin

Order online | Bulk orders | Full contents | Study guide

Max Shachtman's Under the Banner of Marxism, which forms the bulk of this book, deserves to be considered one of the classic polemics of the Marxist movement, alongside The Poverty of Philosophy, Anti-Dühring, and others. It defends the Bolsheviks, their revolution, their work to build a revolutionary socialist movement, and the continued relevance of their approach.

PCS: time to ditch the "broad left" model!

Submitted by martin on 31 October, 2018 - 1:10 Author: Phil Dickens
pcs

By Phil Dickens. Cross-posted from the PCS Independent Left website.

The fight over who will be the Left Unity candidate for Assistant General Secretary in next year’s elections could hardly be farther removed from the concerns of PCS members in the workplace. Most won’t be even tangentially aware of it, and if they are will view it as irrelevant.

But it does say something about the current position of our union.

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Left must reshape the Remain movement

Submitted by AWL on 24 October, 2018 - 10:18 Author: Lizzy Brooks
left bloc

The headlines following from Saturday’s People’s Vote demo have, understandably, focused on its size. Organisers say 670,000 people took part.

If true, that is bigger than the Trump demo this summer. It’s plausible that it was bigger that the anti-austerity March for the Alternative in 2011, at the height of the public-sector strikes. It’s possibly the largest since the anti-war demonstrations in 2003-4.

Whatever the truth, it certainly dwarfed the overwhelming majority of protests that have taken place in recent years.

NEU Conference Motions - 2019

Submitted by Class Struggle on Fri, 26/10/2018 - 09:56
NEU COLA strike

Workers' Liberty schoolworkers have written a raft of motions for NEU conference, covering a range of issues from testing and teachers' pay through to union democracy and the representation of support staff, fighting the anti-union laws, defending free movement and more!

See if you can get one or more of our motions passed through your NEU division. Motions need to be submitted by 3rd December 2018, so keep an eye out for division meetings in November!

Help us to priorities our motions at division meetings before 18th February 2019.

Labour should scrap Universal Credit

Submitted by AWL on 17 October, 2018 - 10:26 Author: Luke Hardy
Universal Credit

The intervention by Gordon Brown, together with the campaign being run by the Daily Mirror to stop Universal Credit, exposes how weak Labour’s policy is on this area and benefits in general. Labour's policy on Universal Credit is “pause and fix”, which means: opposing the latest cut to tax credits that is being rolled into universal credit; reducing the waiting period and making it easier to opt for the housing element to be paid direct to landlords.

And why not a united Ireland?

Submitted by AWL on 17 October, 2018 - 9:03 Author: Editorial
Ireland

The Border in Ireland has never made democratic sense. It was drawn to maximise the "little Orange empire" for the Protestant-Unionists of the north east in the 1921 partition of Ireland. It has been a running sore for almost a century.

To this day, along almost all its length, the majority of the population on the Northern side of the Border is "Catholic", Irish-Irish rather than British-Irish in its identity. The Border makes no political or human sense now. For a long time there have been no border checks.

Jews and Arabs standing together

Submitted by AWL on 11 October, 2018 - 10:25
Standing Together

Above: Activists from the Standing Together movement.


As part of an ongoing series of interviews with leftist activists in Israel/Palestine, Daniel Randall of Workers’ Liberty spoke to Hannah Pollin-Galay, an activist in Standing Together, a cross-party movement organising Jews and Arabs against occupation and in favour of social and economic equality. By profession, Pollin-Galay is a Yiddish and Holocaust researcher at Tel Aviv University.

Satanic Verses, thirty years on

Submitted by AWL on 10 October, 2018 - 11:31 Author: Matt Cooper
Down with Satanic Verses placard

Last month saw the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

Rushdie’s sprawling novel defies summary: interlinking stories meld scurrilous fantasies, dark humour and cutting political satire directed not only at Islam, but British racism and Indian immigrants’ attempts to adapt. It is an honest attempt to deal with the warping pressures of racism, religion and cultural dislocation.

Where are the young ones?

Submitted by martin on 20 September, 2018 - 8:14 Author: Martin Thomas
Labour Party meeting

Above: a Labour meeting. It's good to see older activists coming back into circulation. But where are the young people who are the overwhelming base of Corbyn-Labour's support in society?

Even after the Corbyn surge, which has swelled Labour membership to a size not seen for decades, the average age of Labour members is 53, only a bit below the Tories' average of 57.

More Labour members (29%) are over 65 than are under 44 (28%). Only 4% of Labour members are under 24 - a lower figure even than the Tories' 5%.

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Stop Brexit! Fight Poverty!

Submitted by SJW on 19 September, 2018 - 12:15 Author: Editorial
Labour campaigning

At its conference on 22-26 September Labour has the chance to galvanise its new and enthused activist layer into becoming a serious force against the Tories, their disastrous policies for working-class people pushed through over eight years.

To do that Labour needs to overhaul its democracy and commit itself to a radical programme. Top of the kind of political shift Labour needs to make is on Brexit.

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The repeal of section 377

Submitted by SJW on 19 September, 2018 - 12:26 Author: Camila Bassi
Demonstration against section 377

In 1861, during British colonial rule, Section 377 was introduced into the Indian Penal Code: a law with origins in England’s Buggery Act of 1533. This marked, in Victorian language, India’s criminalisation of homosexuality. With the independence of India in 1947, Section 377 survived.

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Brutal crackdown on China’s Uyghurs

Submitted by SJW on 11 September, 2018 - 9:01 Author: Ben Tausz
Uyghurs protesting in the USA

News of state repression against China’s Uyghur people have become prominent in recent months. Reports at the UN estimate up to a million are held in internment camps.
China denies the mass detention and points to constitutional guarantees of equality and religious freedom, but the mounting evidence is discrediting such pretences.

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Threat of US-backed coup as Venezuela crisis deepens

Submitted by SJW on 11 September, 2018 - 9:26 Author: Eduardo Tovar
Venezuelan opposition demonstrate

Amid economic crisis and civil unrest in Venezuela, the New York Times reported on 8 September 2018 that the Trump administration has been in secret talks with Venezuelan military officers to stage a coup against President Nicolás Maduro.

This follows Trump’s indications in August last year of a ‘military option’ for Venezuela.

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Do we need a new ANL?

Submitted by SJW on 29 August, 2018 - 9:08 Author: Dan Katz
ANL Carnival poster

My conclusions from attending a protest against a “Free Tommy Robinson” rally in London on 14 July were as follows:

• There were two anti-Robinson marches but combined they were still outnumbered by the right-wing mobilisation.

The Unite Against Fascism (UAF) marchers probably had an average age of over 50 and they were overwhelmingly middle class. The march was not stewarded. The Antifa march was younger and had a (purely verbal) stated intention of physically stopping the right.

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Austrian government attacks migrants and Muslims

Submitted by SJW on 29 August, 2018 - 8:45
Kurz and Stache

Q:How did the coalition government come about?

Following the collapse of the coalition between the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People's Party (ÖVP) in May 2017, the People’s Party won the resulting election but were without a majority in parliament. They needed to go into coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ).

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Thousands march against Nation State Law

Submitted by SJW on 8 August, 2018 - 12:08 Author: Ira Berkovic
Protest against Nation State Law

Tens of thousands of people, perhaps as many as 100,000, demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday 4 August to protest against the new “Nation State Law”, which opens the door to legally-sanctioned racism against non-Jews.

The law relegates Arabic from the status of official language, and asserts that “the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people”. Israel’s Arab minority, which makes up around 20% of the population, has formal legal equality, but faces frequent discrimination, which many fear the new law will intensify.

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Nottingham shows the campaign against Brexit can only be left wing

Submitted by SJW on 8 August, 2018 - 11:45 Author: Will Sefton
Manuel Cortes speaking at the Left Against Brexit

On Monday 30 July, 130 people gathered in Nottingham to hear left wing anti-Brexit speakers make the case for Labour to oppose Brexit.

Speakers included Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the TSSA rail union as well as local migrant workers and anti-racist campaigners.
The organisers had held stalls in the town, advertised at the local Pride and other festivals and covered social media. The meeting surprised even them. It was five times larger than a similar event that was had held only three months earlier. 

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IHRA definitions do not exclude criticism of Israeli governments

Submitted by AWL on 14 August, 2018 - 12:26 Author: AWL*
IHRA document

An open letter (printed in full below) is being circulated which calls on Labour’s National Executive to refuse to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) examples of antisemitism. Workers' Liberty thinks the Open Letter is based on a misunderstanding of the IHRA and thus will not help Labour's leadership deal with the controversy over the Party's new code on antisemitism.

Despite what is said, no IHRA examples, exclude criticism of any racist actions of the Israeli government.

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The dangers of Germany's new left populism

Submitted by SJW on 8 August, 2018 - 11:05 Author: Dale Street
Sahra Wagenknecht addresses a Die Linke rally

Sahra Wagenknecht, co-chair of the parliamentary fraction of the German left-wing Die Linke party, has announced the launch-date and name for a new extra-parliamentary “broad movement”.

It will be launched on 4 September, and it will be called #StandUp.

On one level #StandUp — targeted at members of Die Linke, the SPD (German Labour Party), the Greens and those not members of any party — is a response to last year’s general election results.

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Don't leave fighting Labour Party antisemitism to the right

Submitted by AWL on 4 August, 2018 - 5:13 Author: By Sean Matgamna
corbyn sorry

There is something dreamlike in the turmoil in and around the Labour Party about anti-semitism. Episodes occur — Pete Wilsman on the seventy rabbis are pulled out of the memory hole; the meeting Jeremy Corbyn hosted back in 2010...

There are demands for confession, retraction and contrition. Corbyn goes through the motions of responding to the latest revelations, disinterred memory of old events. For sure, his opponents in the party and the Tory press are out to get him.

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The answer to Trump: rebuild working-class organisation

Submitted by SJW on 18 July, 2018 - 10:08 Author: Matt Cooper
Trump demo

July saw the one-man circus that is President Donald Trump smear its rancid trail across Europe.

Most eye-catching was Trump’s support for the anti-immigrant racism of the European populist right. He re-told the standard cultural racist narrative to the Sun, saying that immigration had “changed the fabric” of the continent “I think you are losing your culture.”

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