News

Bust up in PCS Left Unity shows it's time for a new start

Submitted by martin on 11 December, 2018 - 10:01 Author: A PCS activist
pcs happier days

Click here for longer version of this article.

In November, the PCS Independent Left (PCS IL) selected John Moloney, a genuine rank and file PCS activist with an outstanding campaigning and negotiating record, to contest the 2019 PCS election for Assistant General Secretary (AGS). Nominations open on 17 January, and voting will run from 16 April to 9 May.

Coal, gas, and the GMB

Submitted by martin on 11 December, 2018 - 9:55 Author: Mike Zubrowski
Energy

On 29 November 2018, the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland published a report Engineering for Energy: a proposal for governance of the energy system.

The report explicitly does not “make any recommendations about what types and proportions of generation types should be used in the electricity system”, focussing instead on overall co-ordination of the energy system, with useful nuggets of insight.

Unite members protest for free movement

Submitted by AWL on 12 December, 2018 - 11:15
mccluskey

Dozens of activists in the Unite union — from a wide range of its industrial sectors — have protested against general secretary Len McCluskey’s reported comments against immigration.

According to the Guardian (5 December), McCluskey warned Labour leaders against their hesitant moves towards favouring a new public vote which could stop Brexit. He “spoke about tackling people’s concerns about immigration and the exploitation of immigrant labour. He said there would be a sense of betrayal among the members if we went for a second referendum”.

Labour Against Brexit

Submitted by AWL on 23 November, 2018 - 12:10 Author: Editorial
love corbyn hate brexit

Theresa May’s Brexit mess shows that the whole Brexit business is a nonsense. Labour should say that.

Labour should campaign for an immediate putting-back of the Brexit date, an early general election, and an incoming Labour government to hold a “people’s vote” to abandon Brexit.

Whatever the hopes in June 2016 made a slight majority of a rigged electorate (excluding EU citizens settled here, who vote in local government elections, and 16-17 year olds) opt for Brexit, the reality is different.

Tories out, Brexit out!

Submitted by AWL on 12 December, 2018 - 12:41 Author: Editorial
Theresa May

Solidarity goes to press soon after Tory prime minister Theresa May decided to delay the parliamentary vote on her EU withdrawal deal, maybe until January, and to seek “reassurances” from the EU to sweeten the deal. The deal would have been heavily defeated if put to the House of Commons as scheduled on 11 December.

The crisis of Scottish Labour

Submitted by martin on 11 December, 2018 - 10:13 Author: Dale Street
leonard

The Crisis of Scottish Labour

A Survation opinion poll carried out in mid-November found that Labour had a 1% lead over the Tories in England and a 17% lead over the Tories in Wales. But in Scotland Labour was on just 23%, a poor third behind the SNP (40%) and the Tories (27%).

As with any opinion poll, the precise figures are open to challenge. But as far as Scotland is concerned, the figures reflect the experiences of many Labour canvassers on the doorstep. Two overlapping factors explain the polling figures for Scotland.

A cross-class Remain campaign would be a compromise of principle

Submitted by AWL on 13 December, 2018 - 10:31 Author: Daniel Randall
A “Remain and Rebel: For a socialist Europe” placard.

The Brexit crisis is perhaps the most significant moment in politics in Britain for a generation or more. The internationalist, class-struggle socialist left must, within our capacities, intervene in that moment to articulate an independent working-class politics.

Best for Business?

Submitted by AWL on 12 December, 2018 - 10:33 Author: Gerry Bates
best for britain

In the closing speech at the Another Europe Is Possible conference on 8 December, Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle recommended Best for Britain as the group with which AEIP should combine to form a joint campaign in a new public vote on Brexit. Because the speech was right at the end of the conference, no one had a chance to point out that an amendment passed earlier in the day, moved by Ben Towse and insisting that AEIP must above all voice an independent left-wing line, contradicted this proposal. But it did.

Our conference

Submitted by AWL on 5 December, 2018 - 1:45 Author: Arthur Bunting
banner

Workers’ Liberty opened our annual conference on 24-25 November with a session on the case for building a revolutionary organisation on the lines developed by the Bolsheviks in the period up to and during the revolution they led in 1917.

There is no short-cut to mass support. We have to build up, as the Bolsheviks did, from the basic tasks of developing our press, recruiting people one by one, doing “singlejack” agitation, striving to make our activities more accessible and outwardfacing.

Environment: "moral issue", or politics and class?

Submitted by martin on 20 November, 2018 - 4:41 Author: An Extinction Rebellion volunteer interviewed
XR graphic

Activists blocked bridges in central London on 17 November, and plan to do the same on 24 November, at the call of the new movement Extinction Rebellion. A volunteer with Extinction Rebellion spoke (in a personal capacity) to Mike Zubrowski from Solidarity.

Far from the shallow now

Submitted by martin on 6 December, 2018 - 5:28 Author: Alan Simpson
Climate change
  • Brazil opts out of hosting the next Climate Conference as President Bolsonaro prepares
    prepares to ditch the Paris Agreement (Greenpeace)
  • G20 nations are still putting over £100bn of subsidies into fossil fuel industry (Guardian)
  • Polish coal company becomes first sponsor of next UN Climate Conference in Katowice
    (DeSmogUK)
  • CO2 levels rise for the first time in 4 years (BBC)
  • From London to Shanghai, the world's sinking cities face devastating floods (Christian Aid)

RMT elects first woman president

Submitted by martin on 11 December, 2018 - 11:43
Michelle Rodgers for RMT president leaflet

Michelle Rodgers has been elected president of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers (RMT), becoming the first woman president in the union’s history. She won a comprehensive victory, with 7,198 votes; her two opponents, Steve Shaw and Jamie Nickles, took 4,598 and 443 votes respectively.

Student left slams democracy shutdown

Submitted by Maisie on 11 December, 2018 - 5:04 Author: Maisie Sanders
Student protests in 2015

Student Left Network member and Workers’ Liberty supporter Justine Canady launched her campaign for National Union of Students (NUS) President on Friday 7 December.

She is running as part of the Student Left Network’s campaign of no confidence in current NUS President Shakira Martin. More candidates on the Student Left Network slate will be announced soon.

Martin has given unelected student union CEOs and staff unchecked control over the NUS's response to its financial deficit, a response which will severely curtail democracy and campaigning.

London airport workers launch campaign for living wage

Submitted by cathy n on 28 November, 2018 - 8:01 Author: Unite organiser
baggage handlers

On Tuesday 27 November 2018 over 100 Unite the Union reps from cargo handling, cabin crew, catering, cleaning, engineering, security, baggage handling and the fire service along with some Unite officers and organisers packed into a committee room in the House of Commons for the launch of a campaign across four major airports.

General election and a new vote

Submitted by cathy n on 5 December, 2018 - 2:26 Author: Editorial
remain and rebel

Labour is inching back towards the “Remain [in the EU] and Reform” stance it took in the June 2016 referendum, but only inching. The deep discredit of the Tories’ Brexit formula makes it urgent for Labour to switch back fully — and in the meantime for anti¬Brexit Labour people to organise to develop a pro¬Labour, anti-Brexit public profile.

Together for Climate Justice?

Submitted by cathy n on 4 December, 2018 - 9:01 Author: Mike Zubrowski
climate change placards

Saturday 1 December saw a national demonstration “Together for Climate Justice”, organised by Campaign against Climate Change. The protest offered solidarity with environmental activists at the upcoming UN climate talks in Poland, and raised the importance of tackling climate change globally and in the UK. A similar march is organised annually, but was smaller this year, with perhaps 500 protesters present.

Brexit and fighting the far right

Submitted by AWL on 5 December, 2018 - 12:35
anti robinson poster

Stopping Brexit isn’t anti-fascism

Callum Cant takes issue over the 9 December counter¬demo

The Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) are obsessed with trade unions. When their march was blocked in October, their leadership couldn’t stop themselves from fantasising about beating up organised workers. For many of their supporters, the organisation’s high point was when a DFLA group launched a serious physical attack on RMT members in a pub in Whitehall. The essence of their politics is a hatred of the organised working class.

“Democracy Brigades” in Brazil

Submitted by AWL on 5 December, 2018 - 1:52 Author: Luiza Xavier
MTST

Since the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the second round of Brazil’s presidential election on 28 October — he takes office in January — the resistance has been limited to small initiatives focused on self¬defence of LGBT individuals, or legal representation of activists. Large demonstrations such as those seen after Trump’s election in the US have not happened.

"Social calamity and economic disaster"

Submitted by martin on 20 November, 2018 - 12:43 Author: Martin Thomas
Food banks

"14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials...

"Various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40% by 2022...

"Homelessness is up 60% since 2010, rough sleeping is up 134%.... Food bank use is up almost four-fold since 2012, and there are now about 2,000 food banks in the UK, up from just 29 at the height of the financial crisis".

46-day hotel strike wins

Submitted by martin on 20 November, 2018 - 8:43 Author: Eduardo Tovar
Hotel strikers marching

In Boston, USA, the 46-day Marriott Hotel workers strike has ended in victory. Organised in UNITE HERE Local 26, the workers ratified a tentative agreement between the union and Marriott International on Saturday 17 November. The full details are not yet public, but the deal appears to include a pay rise for all employees, as well as more guaranteed work hours, parental leave, an increased pension, and improved protections against sexual harassment.

Iranian strike leader beaten up in jail

Submitted by martin on 20 November, 2018 - 4:15
Demonstrators in Shush

Above: demonstrators in the streets of Shush

Esmail Bakhshi, the jailed union rep of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers, has been so badly beaten in prison that he was transferred to hospital for treatment.

He has injuries to his face and head, including severe bruising, and has suffered from internal bleeding. As of 29 November it is not clear if he is now back in jail or still in hospital.

Bolsonaro's threat to Brazil

Submitted by AWL on 23 November, 2018 - 10:55 Author: Alessa Alegre
Bolsonaro

Shortly before he was elected president of Brazil on the second round (28 October), Jair Bolsonaro made clear the extent of his intolerance to political opposition, saying of his political opponents “either they go overseas, or they go to jail”.

He plans vastly to increase the powers of the militarised police, which will have a significant impact on working-class, predominantly black, communities.

Rejoicing in nonsense

Submitted by AWL on 23 November, 2018 - 11:20 Author: Jim Denham
Corbyn and Brexit

“E-Useless: Corbyn Hits Out At ‘One Way’ Brexit – We can do better than this, Labour leader says” was the front page headline in the 19 November Morning Star.

Predictably, the pro-hard Brexit (sorry, “Lexit”) paper liked Corbyn’s interview on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday (18 November), in which he’d opined “We’ll vote against (May’s) deal because it doesn’t meet our tests.”

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.

Issues behind the Glasgow equal pay dispute

Submitted by cathy n on 19 November, 2018 - 8:44 Author: Dale Street
glasgow strikers

Glasgow City Council Labour Group leader Frank McAveety has issued a letter which supposedly puts the record straight about the history of the City Council’s long-running equal pay dispute. In fact, it does no such thing.

The letter begins by listing “some spectacular things” achieved by Labour administrations during their 40 years in power in the City Chambers.

It does not do so for the sake of accuracy – many Labour Party members will have a less positive assessment of the record of the City Council Labour administrations – but for the purpose of creating a narrative:

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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

---

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!

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.

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.

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?”.

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.

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