News

NEU votes for primary tests boycott

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 8:47 Author: David Pendletone
primary

At the conference of the National Education Union (NEU: Liverpool, 15-18 April) the left has won a major and hard-fought-for victory to ballot all primary members for a boycott of all high-stakes summative tests in primary.

That position has been lost at conference for the last four years in favour of vague promises over surveys and building for a future ballot. The architects and main drivers of this victory have been Workers’ Liberty supporters and the main motion was moved by a Workers’ Liberty member.

Four days or 996?

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 9:19 Author: Rhodri Evans
Thursday

A group of Labour Party members, has launched a campaign to cut the standard working week to four days rather than five, with no loss of pay.

It’s a good initiative, at a time when, for almost the first time since the early 19th century, and despite all the talk about new technologies displacing human labour, average work hours per week are now increasing.

The Good Soldier Schwejk

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 10:18 Author: Jill Mountford
good soldier

Jill Mountford reviews The Good Soldier Schwejk (and His Fortunes in the World War) - written by Jaroslav Hasek, published 1923, adapted and directed by Christine Edzard, Sands Films, 2017. Currently being shown in Rotherhithe, London, and soon to be released on DVD.

Christine Edzard has made it her mission to revive interest in what was possibly the first satirical comedy about the absurdity of war. She adapted The Good Soldier Schwejk (sometimes spelt Svejk, pronounced Shvake) to mark the centenary of World War I.

Amritsar, a hundred years on

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 10:29 Author: Len Glover
amritsar

On 13 April 1919, in Amritsar in the Punjab, India, 50 soldiers under the command of the British General Dyer opened fire on a crowd gathering in the Jallainwala Bagh – a garden-cum-open area popular for meetings and social or religious gatherings.

Many of the crowd were there to celebrate Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year. No one was armed, there were no disturbances, it was peaceful.

The British authorities put the number of dead at 379, with more than a thousand injured. The actual number of fatalities will never be known.

A “Remain and Transform” voice in Euro-election

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 10:54 Author: Editorial
remain and rebel

Hundreds of Labour and trade union activists have signed a statement put out by Labour for a Socialist Europe demanding a radical, left-wing, anti-Brexit platform for Labour in the Euro-elections due on 23 May.

The signatories include Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West, and Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East.

Israeli right plans to annex West Bank

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 11:18 Author: Ira Berkovic
annex

Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to secure a fifth term, after his Likud party won 36 seats in the country's 9 April election.

Likud's nearest rival, the centre-right Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) coalition, won 35, but in Israel's coalition-based system, Netanyahu can rely on smaller right-wing parties to support him.

Rebellion and politics

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 11:33 Author: Mike Zubrowski
xrebel

Extinction Rebellion (XR) started their “International Rebellion” on Monday 15 April, with thousands of people participating in road blocks across central London: Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, and Parliament Square.

There were hundreds in each location, with festival-like atmospheres, and people staying overnight in some. At the time of writing, Tuesday lunchtime 16 April, there are still some active blockades with hundreds of people.

Labour: stop seeking deal with Tories: No Brexit! New public vote!

Submitted by AWL on 17 April, 2019 - 8:31 Author: Chris Reynolds

More and more Labour activists are demanding that Labour’s leaders break off the talks with the Tories on a Brexit deal.

If the last few months of political turmoil have shown anything, it is that no good or acceptable (left alone left-wing) Brexit deal is remotely on the table.

In accord with the wishes of the big majority of Labour members and supporters, the electorate should have a chance to end this mess by a new public vote with an option to Remain.

Ideas for Freedom 2019

Submitted by AWL on 2 April, 2018 - 8:36
IFF

Ideas for Freedom 2019
20-23 June 2019

Advanced earlybird tickets now available.

Facebook event

A festival of socialist ideas and leftwing discussion, hosted by Workers' Liberty, Ideas for Freedom is an opportunity to explore, through talks, film showings, workshops and debates, ideas about how our world works, and how we can fight for a better one.

Provisional agenda (more sessions to be announced soon)

"Inability to recognise antisemitism"

Submitted by AWL on 10 April, 2019 - 11:23
Left antisemitism

Look at the sheer weight of the examples of antisemitic attitudes, Facebook posts, and behaviour across so many different levels of the party and so many different parts of the country.

There are hundreds and hundreds of examples. Anyone who says there is no evidence either hasn't looked or is deliberately closing their eyes.

Brexit: new public vote should decide

Submitted by AWL on 10 April, 2019 - 11:38 Author: Editorial
voted for shambles

No deal Brexit? Theresa May’s Brexit formula, three times rejected by Parliament but somehow squeezed through on a fourth attempt?

May’s Brexit formula, tweaked to promise a permanent customs union with the EU, and — to Labour’s shame! - pushed through with Labour front-bench support?

A long Brexit delay — ending with pretty much the same options?

Any of those options, but conditional on a new referendum to accept the favoured option or go for Remain?

The Tory back benches rebelling, forcing May out of office, precipitating an early general election?

A bridge to the far right

Submitted by AWL on 10 April, 2019 - 11:03 Author: Steve Michaels and Sacha Ismail
placard

This is a reply to a Full Brexit article.

The “Full Brexit” project describes itself as a network of “activists, academics, journalists and policy experts, all on the broad political left” dedicated to “seizing the historic opportunity Brexit offers for restoring popular sovereignty, repairing democracy, and renewing our economy”.

Why has the ISO collapsed?

Submitted by martin on 16 April, 2019 - 2:58 Author: Martin Thomas
iso

On our last count, Stephen Wood’s piece on the collapse of the USA’s International Socialist Organization was the most-read of Solidarity’s articles on our website (bit.ly/c-iso).

In the next issue of Solidarity we hope to have further coverage from one of our people who is in Chicago for a while, and will have a chance to talk face-to-face with ex-ISOers and other left-wingers who’ve been able to observe the ISO up close. Chicago was the ISO’s main base.

Dangerous nonsense: Bower on Corbyn

Submitted by martin on 9 April, 2019 - 6:48 Author: Dale Street
books

Every Labour canvasser will have come across him (and, invariably, it is a he).

Leering out of his doorway he delivers a deranged tirade about how the country is going to the dogs. Communist-run trade unions. Moscow gold. Economy wrecked by strikes. Scroungers living off the dole. Better off than him, an honest hardworking man.

Of course, not a racist. But too many immigrants. Especially Muslims. Bogus asylum-seekers. Should stay in France. Got a council house instead of his daughter. Live off the state. He’s accused of racism for telling the truth. In his own country!

Tories run scared on LGBT+ education

Submitted by AWL on 10 April, 2019 - 10:36 Author: David Pendletone
RSE

On 1 April, the BBC news website reported that 85 Head teachers from Birmingham had met with officials from the Department of Education.

The meeting followed protests by parents in Birmingham about the implementation of the new curriculum in Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) for primary schools. The new curriculum teaches children that there are different kinds of families, including families where the adults are in lesbian or gay relationships.

Algeria: "down with the system"

Submitted by martin on 8 April, 2019 - 7:40 Author: Kamel Aïssat, Titi Haddad
algeria protest

Algeria is full of surprises: Bouteflika has nominated the general who wanted to sack him as a minister... just before announcing his own resignation, set for 28 April (the legal end date of his term in office). Kamel Aïssat, an activist with the Algerian Parti Socialiste des Travailleurs [Socialist Workers' Party or PST], was at a Paris meeting of the NPA [New Anti-Capitalist Party] and explained the situation and the people's reactions.

[Army chief] Gaïd Salah announced on [30 March] that he was asking for Articles 102, 7 and 8 of the Constitution.

Rebuilding socialism in the US

Submitted by AWL on 6 April, 2019 - 1:40
capitalism failed

Dan La Botz is a longstanding socialist activist, based in Brooklyn. He is a member of the socialist group Solidarity and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and a co-editor of the independent socialist journal New Politics (newpol.org). He spoke to Daniel Randall of Solidarity (the Workers’ Liberty newspaper) about prospects for the socialist left in the USA.

DR: How do you think the socialist left should orient to the Bernie Sanders campaign?

Russian troops come to Venezuela

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 12:38 Author: Eduardo Tovar
Russian troops

Over nine weeks have passed since Juan Guaidó, backed by the National Assembly, declared himself interim President of Venezuela on 24 January 2019, challenging the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro.

Guaidó continues to enjoy support from the US, Colombia, Brazil, and other states, but admits that a change in government cannot occur without the backing of the Venezuelan armed forces.

Defend NUS democracy!

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 12:24 Author: Maisie Sanders
NUS

This year’s National Union of Students (NUS) Conference in Glasgow (9-11 April), will be very different to previous years′. Elections will take place on the first day before motions debates begin, no official fringe meetings will take place due to "lack of funds for staff", and delegates will vote on a reform motion coming from the right-wing led by President Shakira Martin, which proposes scrapping all remaining structures which enable rank and file control of NUS.

Socialists win 10% in Chicago election

Submitted by cathy n on 10 April, 2019 - 6:48 Author: Eduardo Tovar
chicago dsa

In the wake of the recent elections in Chicago, 10% of the 50 seat City Council will be members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (CDSA). In these elections, CDSA endorsed four candidates: Jeanette Taylor, Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Andre Vasquez, and Rossana Rodríguez-Sanchez.

A new Israeli assault on Gaza

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 12:30 Author: Ira Berkovic and Colin Foster
great return

Israel has again bombed Gaza, the small area of densely-populated land inhabited by Palestinians on which Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade.

The blockade of Gaza has led to profound social immiseration in the territory, with many referring to it as an “open-air prison”. According to official statistics in Gaza, five people were wounded by Israel’s strikes. Since the bombing, which took place on 25 March, at least one Palestinian has been killed by Israeli soldiers, and several others wounded, in protests on the Gaza border.

Move to rolling strikes

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 9:05 Author: Zack, IWGB National Deliveroo Committee chair
deliveroo strike

Organising to take on Deliveroo, nationally, has taken big steps forward this week. The IWGB National Deliveroo Committee, meeting again, is systematically collating and redistributing information from places we have members. We have launched a national bilingual bulletin, Puncture, to be printed, posted and distributed in various locations, as well as IWGB Deliveroo campaign “visiting cards”.

Moving on from “target Barclays”

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 9:11 Author: Mike Zubrowski
barclays climate criminals

Momentum recently announced a new campaign “Bankrupt Climate Change”. It is good that they are campaigning on climate issues. The way they are doing so lets Labour off the hook, and is inadequate and undemocratic. It nonetheless provides opportunities for building a socialist environmentalist campaign.

Labour and Jackie Walker

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 10:54
Jackie Walker

Views on Jackie Walker’s expulsion from the Labour Party, 27 March.

It seems Walker has been treated terribly. Which should be no surprise given the nature of the Labour machine — no, not necessarily hot on antisemitism, but very hot on reacting to the right-wing, reacting to the right-wing press, dealing with things administratively, targeting those seen as “cranks”, etc. That in itself is reason not to support her expulsion, the lack of due process.

Trump, Banks, and Putin

Submitted by AWL on 3 April, 2019 - 11:48 Author: Jim Denham
Trump and Putin

When the Mueller report found no evidence of “collusion” between Trump’s team and Putin, most decent people (and not just “liberals”) were disappointed, while pointing out that Trump had not been “exonerated” (as he claimed) of obstructing justice. Yet the Morning Star (in its editorial of March 26) positively crowed with delight and echoed Trump’s own propaganda:

“After a two-year inquiry, Mueller can find no evidence of collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign team and Putin’s Russia

Lexiteers and the "liberal left"

Submitted by AWL on 1 April, 2019 - 1:33
Full Brexit

At a rally for “Full Brexit” (a grouping claiming to argue against Brexit from the left) held in London on 26 March, RMT activist Eddie Dempsey spoke from the platform to denounce the betrayal of Leave voters by a left-liberal elite.

Labour for a Socialist Europe published a statement criticising that speech.

Schools: we’ll strike each month

Submitted by AWL on 27 March, 2019 - 11:28
Climate strike

Eleanor Buffery is a year 8 school student in Gloucester who organised the local youth strike for climate. She spoke to Maisie Sanders.

I found out about the strikes in the local and national news and I thought it was really important. I read more about it, talked to my friends and we decided to take action! I got in touch with Youth Strike for Climate nationally, set up a social media page and got started organising our own strike.

How left "anti-Zionism" fed an antisemitic ferment

Submitted by martin on 1 April, 2019 - 9:50 Author: Sean Matgamna
Brenner

In the mid-1980s, Socialist Organiser, a forerunner of Solidarity, ran a long debate - discussion articles, letters, rejoinders, from a wide variety of views - on Israel-Palestine.

One of the contributions then was from Lenni Brenner, author of two books very influential on the "absolute anti-Zionist" left (Zionism in the Age of the Dictators and The Iron Wall). The following reply to it by Sean Matgamna was written at the time but never published, except in a small-circulation pamphlet collecting the debate with unpublished additions.

Remain and rebel: a socialist manifesto for Europe

Submitted by martin on 5 March, 2019 - 12:54
Remain and rebel

A new pamphlet from Workers' Liberty summarises our arguments on Brexit, Europe, international solidarity, free movement, immigration, and how to build socialist politics cross-borders.

40 pages A4. Cover price £4. With postage - non-UK £6, UK £5. Cheap rates for bulk orders: four for £15, ten for £35, twenty for £60. Buy online with the PayPal button below.

Blues Power

Submitted by AWL on 27 March, 2019 - 9:12 Author: Barrie Hardy
McCalla

Right-wing politicians always have great difficulty trying to get support from anyone with artistic integrity. In the Thatcher era, when numerous talented musicians sang up for the Labour cause under the banner of Red Wedge, all the Tories could cobble together were talentless tosh like Vince Hill, Jim Davidson and Mrs Mopp. Similarly, the Trump Presidency from the world of showbiz have been decidedly threadbare.

Morning Star: “Clive Lewis branded ‘out of order’ by RMT’s Mick Cash”

Submitted by AWL on 31 March, 2019 - 10:47
full brexit

This article in the Morning Star (published on 29 March) defended remarks made by Eddie Dempsey at a recent "Full Brexit" rally, by way of inaccuracies and misleading remarks including about Workers' Liberty. That article has now been taken down from their online publication.

Support trans people’s rights!

Submitted by AWL on 23 April, 2018 - 12:58
Trans solidarity flag

The AWL has been discussing the theory and politics of transgender identity and rights. This is the policy we have passed; we are continuing our discussion.

1. We support transgender rights and express our solidarity with trans people. We oppose prejudice, hostility and discrimination against trans people, and advocate support and compassion towards them.

2. We accept people in the gender they identify as (including non-binary identities).

Green New Deal and workers’ control

Submitted by AWL on 27 March, 2019 - 11:03 Author: Mike Zubrowski
Wind power

Many environmental groups and much of the environmental and Labour left has talked enthusiastically about a Green New Deal, including for example Alan Simpson (Solidarity 499) and Clive Lewis. The idea is inspired by similar proposals in the USA. But neither there nor here is there a single unified proposal.

For a Labour government which stops Brexit

Submitted by AWL on 27 March, 2019 - 10:44 Author: Editorial
Placards

As we write, it’s three days since the huge anti-Brexit protest on 23 March, the biggest demonstration in Britain since the 2003 march against the invasion of Iraq. It is the day after Parliament rebelled against the government (Monday 25th) to mandate, 329 to 302, “indicative” votes on different Brexit formulas. It’s the day before those “indicative” votes are held, on Wednesday 27th. And 17 days before Britain “automatically” crashes out of the EU with “no deal”, unless before 12 April Parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the Tories with the EU.

Fight ban on the “unskilled”

Submitted by AWL on 20 March, 2019 - 10:59 Author: Ben Tausz
builders

The government’s Immigration Bill has emerged from Committee stage without amendments and is set to return to the House of Commons.

We do not yet know when this will be, but the date is likely to be set soon because the Tories want to get their basic Brexit legislation through before 29 March.

The Bill will end free movement for EU citizens and hand over a blank cheque for Ministers to write a new immigration regime themselves – so-called “Henry VIII” powers.

After Christchurch, organise against far right

Submitted by AWL on 20 March, 2019 - 11:59 Author: Riki Lane
christchurch

Friday 15 March was a day of contrast in both Australia and New Zealand – exuberance and militant action by students striking for climate action in both Australia; followed immediately by immense sadness, horror and anger at the mass murder by a fascist at a mosque in Christchurch.

Students go for system change, not climate change

Submitted by AWL on 20 March, 2019 - 11:09
student strike

The best guess is that one and half million students, in over 120 countries, struck on Friday 15 March to demand that their governments start emergency action on climate change.

In London, the central rally of school students in Parliament Square was 4,000 or more. Everyone we talked with said there was no ongoing organisation in their school for the walkout. They’d found out about it on social media and come with their friends.

There were also sizeable groups of university students at Parliament Square.

Socialists Oppose Brexit: Workers’ unity! Bring down borders!

Submitted by AWL on 20 March, 2019 - 12:10 Author: Editorial
l4se

We don’t know what will happen over Brexit in the next weeks or months. Neither does anyone else.

The ruling class is divided several ways on the issue. That creates an opportunity for the left and the labour movement to change outcomes.

Unlike many issues on which the ruling class divides, this is one where the labour movement and socialists have much to win or lose.

We can win or lose the free movement within Europe which has brought 3.8 million citizens of the EU27 countries to enrich our culture and our labour movement.

The ship that turned away

Submitted by martin on 11 March, 2019 - 5:39 Author: Alan Simpson
ship

Sometimes the starkest warnings come from events that don't take place. In this case, the warning came from Honda's decision to turn back a ship destined for the UK. It was the arrival that never happened. But its significance runs far beyond Honda's current vehicle production in Swindon, Nissan's plans for manufacturing in Sunderland, Toyota's plant in Derbyshire or BMW's production of the new Mini at Cowley, Oxford.

Jon Lansman on Labour's antisemitism "tragedy"

Submitted by martin on 6 March, 2019 - 12:39 Author: Jon Lansman
Zionists control Wall Street

Jon Lansman talked to Solidarity.

You've said that the concern about antisemitism in the Labour Party is based on realities, not something contrived or invented. Why do you say that?

Because I've seen loads and loads of cases at the National Executive, and I know them to be real. I also know that those cases are very rarely to do with Israel-Palestine.

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