News

Expropriate the landowners!

Submitted by SJW on 22 May, 2018 - 8:03 Author: Editorial
Rough sleeper in Oxford

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK is at a record high, after a 73 per cent rise in numbers over the last three years.

According to the latest snapshot analysis by UK local councils, there were 4,751 people sleeping rough on a given night in the autumn of last year. That represents a 169% increase on 2010 figures. In the course of last year 8,108 slept rough in London, a 121% increase on 2010 figures.

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Lull but no peace

Submitted by SJW on 22 May, 2018 - 7:48 Author: Colin Foster
Gaza wall

A lull in conflict in the Middle East looks likely. But it may be short-lived, or not happen at all. None of the underlying drivers of tension have eased.

On the Gaza-Israel border, Israeli snipers killed 64 people on 14 May. That brings the total killed by snipers over weeks of protests, from which groups mostly of young men sally forth to throw stones and improvised firebombs, to over 110. Thousands have been injured.

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France 1968: When ten million workers took capitalism by the throat

Submitted by AWL on 30 April, 2010 - 3:36 Author: Sean Matgamna
May 1968

[Published in 1968]

“I hate the revolution like sin” said the hangman of Germany’s 1918 revolution, the Social Democrat Ebert. Less direct, but equally clear after the events in France, is the recent statement of the parliamentary leader of the French Communist Party, Robert Balanger: “When we talk about the revolution we now think in terms of a political struggle in which our party agrees to fight the bourgeoisie with their own weapons.”

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Venezuela: workers’ Third Camp needed

Submitted by SJW on 22 May, 2018 - 7:32 Author: Pablo Velasco
Nicolas Maduro

Nicolás Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chávez, won the Venezuelan presidential election on 20 May – a result that offers little for workers in Venezuela or elsewhere in Latin America.
Maduro received two-thirds (67%) of the vote, defeating rivals Henri Falcón (21%), Javier Bertucci (10%) and Reinaldo Quijada (<1%), with turnout less than 50%.

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Socialism Makes Sense: Ideas for Freedom 2018

Submitted by AWL on 2 April, 2018 - 8:36
A ring of roses with the words "socialism makes sense" in the middle.

Socialism Makes Sense: Ideas for Freedom 2018
21-24 June 2018
Birkbeck University, Malet St, London

Facebook event

Around the world, socialism is on the agenda.

In the UK, the Labour Party – now the biggest political party in Europe – is led by a self-proclaimed socialist.

In the USA, the movement around Bernie Sanders has made “socialism” the most-searched word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and inspired a generation of new leftwing activists.

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Who was Karl Marx?

Submitted by Anon on 5 March, 2006 - 12:36
Karl Marx

Karl Marx (1818-83) was born into a middle-class family in Germany. At university he was one of many radically-minded philosophers. In his mid-20s, partly under the influence of workers' socialist groups he met during a stay in Paris, he decided to throw in his lot with the working class then emerging as a social force in Europe.

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War clouds gather in Middle East

Submitted by SJW on 9 May, 2018 - 2:50 Author: Colin Foster
Israel-Palestine protest 14 April 2018

Threats of war are piling up on all sides in the Middle East.

On 8 May US president Donald Trump is announcing his decision on whether the US will withdraw from the 2015 deal lifting many economic sanctions on Iran and restricting Iran’s nuclear program. He is expected to withdraw.

Trump’s new National Security Adviser, since 9 April, is John Bolton, a long-time advocate of the US bombing Iran.
On 14 May Trump will make the symbolic and provocative move of declaring the US Embassy to Israel officially sited in Jerusalem rather than Tel Aviv.

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The new deal we want: socialism!

Submitted by SJW on 9 May, 2018 - 1:17 Author: Editorial
nationalise energy

The TUC has called a march and rally for 12 May under the slogan of a “new deal for working people”. There is plenty to protest about.

The cuts since the 2008 crash are overwhelming. There has been a decline in real wages. The NHS has been brought to its knees. At the start of May we heard that one million more children are growing up in poverty since 2010, due to in-work cuts in benefit.

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Rewind Labour’s policy on Europe

Submitted by SJW on 9 May, 2018 - 12:54 Author: Martin Thomas
LCSM

Labour right-winger Chuka Umunna is using European issues as a device for self-promotion and to bash Corbyn, but on the Single Market he is right.

It will be abject if Labour ends up using its votes in the Commons to save the Tory government on a possible pro-Single-Market amendment which will be debated in the House of Lords on 8 May and may be backed by enough Tory rebels to defeat May unless Labour gives her its votes.

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Protest against Israeli shootings: For an independent Palestine alongside Israel

Submitted by SJW on 10 April, 2018 - 7:29 Author: Editorial
Gaza protests

The Israeli army has killed 44 Palestinians, and injured hundreds more, after Israeli Defence Force (IDF) snipers opened fire on demonstrations on Israel’s border with the Palestinian territory of Gaza, on Fridays between 30 March and 27 April.

One protestor, 18-year-old Abdel Fattah Abdel Nabi, was shot in the back as he turned to flee IDF fire. Another victim was Gazan journalist Yaser Murtaja, killed by a bullet to the abdomen underneath his bullet-proof vest clearly marking him out as a member of the press.

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UUK backs down, but no deal yet

Submitted by Gemma_S on 27 March, 2018 - 1:42 Author: Gemma Short
Hundreds of UCU members on a picket line with placards and a purple smoke flare

On Friday 23 March UCU members were emailed by the union with a ″proposal for resolving the dispute″ on pensions from Universities UK.

The new proposal is a significant step back by the employer, and shows victory could be within reach, but does not guarantee enough for strikes to be called off just yet.

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Support the May Day McStrike!

Submitted by SJW on 25 April, 2018 - 12:52 Author: a McDonalds worker
McStrike

Workers at five McDonalds restaurants (in Crayford, Cambridge, Manchester, and two in Watford) will strike on Tuesday 1 May. Richard, a Bakers’ Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) activist from Watford, spoke to Solidarity.

I first got involved through one of our organisers, Gareth. I’ve been a member of the union since before the September strike but we didn’t have the numbers in Watford at that point to ballot, but I attended the strike committee meeting in Crayford. I helped build up the campaign with workers from the other stores.

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"We've really started something"

Submitted by AWL on 27 March, 2018 - 7:47 Author: By Olivier Delbeke
22 March strike

Between 400,000 and 500,000 demonstrators – on top of the 202,000 from pensioners' groups on demonstrations the previous week – came together across France, with around 60,000 in Paris, including the public sector and railway workers, came together on 22 March.

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Revolt in the degree factory

Submitted by SJW on 14 March, 2018 - 11:55 Author: A UCU member
UCU London demonstration

On Monday 12 March Universities UK and the University and Colleges Union (UCU) announced they had reached an ″agreement″ at ACAS in the ongoing dispute over the USS pension scheme.

As details of the ″deal″ came to light UCU members across the country were at first confused as to why the UCU would have agreed such a deal, and then angry.

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NUS Conference 2018: defeat the right, fight for left-wing, militant leadership

Submitted by AWL on 27 March, 2018 - 12:09 Author: AWL Students
Demo pic

At last year’s National Union of Students conference, NUS’s broadly leftish leadership was displaced by a new, mostly more right-wing team of officers. President Malia Bouattia, whose re-election we critically supported, lost to incumbent Shakira Martin.

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Editorial: Trump threatens trade war

Submitted by SJW on 14 March, 2018 - 12:28 Author: Editorial
World trade

On 1 March Donald Trump announced tariffs of 25% on steel imports, 10% on aluminium imports.

Other governments are alarmed by this shift towards trade war. The OECD, a consortium of the world’s 35 strongest capitalist economies, has criticised the move. Further argument will come at the meeting of the finance ministers and central bank governments of the G20 (20 strongest countries) in Buenos Aires on 19-20 March.
Socialists should be alarmed too, for our own distinct reasons.

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Tories welcome “modernising” Saudi Prince

Submitted by SJW on 14 March, 2018 - 12:56 Author: Ralph Peters
Saudi welcome billboard

This month’s visit to the UK of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MbS), at the head of a large delegation of Saudi military and business leaders, marks a new low for the Tory government.

It also indicates a major strategic economic priority for the Tory government, as Emily Thornberry put it, “to plug the hole that will be left in Britain’s trade and growth prospects … after Brexit”.

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Behind Wakanda’s utopian vision

Submitted by SJW on 14 March, 2018 - 1:15 Author: Sameem Rahimi
Black Panther audience

Firstly, I like Black Panther as a character. My first introduction him was in the highly acclaimed (and short lived) ‘Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ TV series from 2010.

The portrayal of this character was that of a stoic, no nonsense, quiet member of the team, who relied on his instincts and intellect to overcome more powerful enemies.

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Socialism Makes Sense

Submitted by SJW on 9 January, 2018 - 1:57
Socialism makes sense

The economic crisis of 2008 and its aftershocks cracked the mystique which the world capitalist system had built in the two decades after the collapse of Russian and European Stalinism. For the first time in 30 years the left is on the offensive in the Labour Party.

Socialism is again on the agenda — a society based on human solidarity, social ownership of industry and banks, and on political, economic, and social democracy.

This book confronts head-on the strongest arguments against socialism now in circulation, inside the Labour Party and beyond.

Come to the Fête de Lutte Ouvrière 2018

Submitted by SJW on 27 February, 2018 - 7:20
Banner reads "Communism is the future of the world"

Every year, tens of thousands of people from all over Europe come to visit the Fête de Lutte Ouvrière, a festival of socialism. Many different groups come to debate, exchange ideas and literature and hear talks.

There is also a huge range of stalls, musical performers, science exhibits, climbing, sports, amazing food, a medieval village (really) and general camping fun.

This year the festival is 19-21 May.

Workers' Liberty members and friends have been going to the Fete every year since the 1970s, and this will be no exception. So come along with us.

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Open borders for people!

Submitted by Matthew on 28 February, 2018 - 11:13
UK border controls

Editorial from Solidarity 463

The Labour Party has inched a step further to opposing the erection of new barriers between Britain and Europe.

That brings the immediate prize of a possibility, within the next few weeks, of defeating the Government in Parliament over its desire to take Britain out of the European customs union.

It should also open a thorough discussion in Labour over Europe, leading to a debate at the Labour Party conference in September.

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Italian elections: fascist menace grows

Submitted by Matthew on 28 February, 2018 - 9:15 Author: Hugh Edwards
Lega Nord

The horrific act of fascist violence on the 3 February in the central Italian town of Macerata, where eight young west Africans were gunned down by a neo-fascist thug, has highlighted the level of putrefying decadence of the major political contenders for office.

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Maduro stabilises authoritarian regime

Submitted by AWL on 5 March, 2018 - 1:34 Author: Pablo Velasco

The Bonapartist regime in Venezuela has stabilised its rule for now, but is becoming increasingly authoritarian while still failing to meet the elementary needs of workers. Nicolas Maduro’s regime has managed to quell right-wing opposition protests through a combination of repression and gerrymandering. The government faced down last year’s opposition demonstrations and proceeded to establish a parallel parliament – the National Constituent Assembly, breaking the stalemate in the legislature.

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University pension revolt gains strength

Submitted by Gemma_S on 27 February, 2018 - 6:45
A big red picket fence in front of the gates to a University building.

See more coverage of student protests here.

As Solidarity goes to press, staff at 64 universities are on the fourth day of strikes over pensions which began on Thursday 22 February. Seven more universities are due to join in coming weeks.

There has been a strength of feeling on the picket lines unprecedented in recent university disputes. A thousand people joined a protest at Bristol, and at many other campuses numbers have been in the hundreds.

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We are all West Virginia

Submitted by AWL on 6 March, 2018 - 4:33 Author: By US International Socialist Organization (6 March)
West Virginia teachers

West Virginia is often discussed as the symbol of the rightward shift of downwardly mobile white workers.

Decimated by the decline in unionized mining jobs, it's the second-poorest state in the country and spends an incredible 12 percent of its GDP on costs related to the opioid epidemic.

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NUS: Unite the student left

Submitted by Matthew on 7 February, 2018 - 2:30 Author: Ruaridh Anderson
Unite the student left

NUS Conference 2018 will be marked by a showdown between the left and the right.

The left wing of conference will be made up of students whose politics centre on the Corbyn surge: supporters of the Labour left and socialism, however defined. The rightwing president Shakira Martin has distanced herself from this left, instead organising a high-profile review of Further Education with Vince Cable, the Lib-Dem bigwig whose party oversaw the tripling of tuition fees when it was last in government in 2009.

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Labour base shifts on Brexit

Submitted by Matthew on 31 January, 2018 - 10:47 Author: Rhodri Evans
Labour against brexit demo

The base for a left-wing campaign in the labour movement to defend and extend free movement, and to stop Brexit, is expanding.

A recent poll has shown a four-to-one majority of existing and potential Labour voters want Labour to back permanent membership of the EU’s single market and customs union.

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Tax the rich to build social housing

Submitted by Matthew on 31 January, 2018 - 12:46 Author: Ken Worthington, Mol Konits, George Russell and Hilary Jones
Homes for all demo

Homelessness is on the rise in the UK. By end of 2016, the official underestimate was 4,134 people sleeping rough on the streets of the UK.

The figure has doubled since 2010 and is a 16% increase on 2015. The housing campaign Shelter estimates 300,000 people sleeping rough or in temporary or overcrowded accommodation, a 13,000 increase on 2016.

Further tens of thousands are sofa surfing or staying with friends in tense conditions.

By the end of 2017, 79,190 households were in temporary accommodation, a 17% increase on 2015, and a 59% increase on 2010.

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Deliveroo strikes go global

Submitted by Gemma_S on 1 February, 2018 - 9:23 Author: Gemma Short
Deliveroo strikers in Brussels

Deliveroo workers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong have all been on strike in recent weeks.

Deliveroo workers in Hong Kong stopped work on Monday 22 January and protested at Deliveroo′s Hong Kong office. Deliveroo in Hong Kong had previously paid workers by the hour rather than by delivery, giving them a stable and predictable salary.

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Stop the Turkish assault on Afrin!

Submitted by SJW on 25 January, 2018 - 12:39 Author: Simon Nelson
Afrin

Turkey’s incursion and bombing campaign in Kurdish controlled area of Afrin is a worrying escalation in a prolonged stand-off on the Syrian border.

Erdogan’s hostility to the expanding territory now under the control of Kurdish forces has been held back by the support of both Russia and the US for the Kurdish forces. But as relations have thawed between Turkey and Russia, the dynamic has changed.

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An open letter to fellow ASLEF drivers: which side are we on?

Submitted by Off The Rails on Fri, 19/01/2018 - 10:56
DOO strike

To download the article below as an A4 bulletin, click here.


“It has long been the tradition in ASLEF to respect picket lines whether they are our own or those of fellow trade unionists.” - ASLEF  members’ diary

TIME TO MAKE THIS A REALITY!

Dear Driver,

I am writing to you, as a fellow ASLEF driver, because I want to persuade you that we need to change how we approach the current RMT disputes over DOO/DCO.

NHS winter crisis: stop this scandal!

Submitted by SJW on 16 January, 2018 - 7:32 Author: a junior doctor & an ambulance worker
NHS

Hospitals across the country continue to buckle under the stress of winter-related conditions — persistent cold weather and a nasty strain of influenza. But the responsibility for this crisis must lie with the government.

Further evidence of the danger patients face this winter were highlighted by the increased ambulance response times for even the patients with the most serious conditions — those waiting with potential conditions such as heart attacks and strokes — for whom every minute is vital.

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After Carillion: nationalise all the big public contractors!

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2018 - 10:06 Author: Martin Thomas
outsourcing

The labour movement should demand that not just Carillion, but all the big public service contractors, Serco, G4S, Capita, should be nationalised with minimum compensation, and their public contracts brought back in-house.

Their workers - including agency staff and formally-self-employed contractors - should be brought into union-negotiated public-sector pay and conditions, and the services should be run under the democratic control of the workers and elected public authorities.

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DOO strikes escalate

Submitted by SJW on 16 January, 2018 - 8:18 Author: By a train driver
DOO picket

RMT guards on Merseyrail, Northern, Greater Anglia, South Western and Southern Train Operating Companies struck on 8, 10, and 12 January, as the fight against Driver Only Operation escalates.

Guards on Northern were very solid again, and Merseyrail workers kept up their usual high standard of solidarity with the vast majority of guards supporting the strike, as well as almost all drivers, who are members of Aslef. Elsewhere the support seems to have been patchier, for example on South Western where the urban depots are solid but the outlying depots are reportedly less so.

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Rebellion in Iran: Iranian socialists speak!

Submitted by AWL on 3 January, 2018 - 7:47 Author: AWL

Friday 19 January, 7:30pm, Institute of Education WC1H 0AL, Room 537

Facebook event here
Eventbrite tickets here

Across Iran, workers and young people are protesting against poverty, exploitation, and demanding freedom from a stifling authoritarian regime.

Around the world, they have been answered by a movement of solidarity.

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Trump in America and the world

Submitted by Matthew on 10 January, 2018 - 11:55 Author: Ira Berkovic
Trump

On 22 December, US President Donald Trump passed the most significant piece of domestic legislation of his term thus far, the so-called “Tax Cuts and Job Act”.

This tax reform, one of the most sweeping in decades, will cut corporate tax by 15%. The package also includes measures such as lowering taxes on overseas profits.

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Catalonia: everything stays the same, so everything must change

Submitted by martin on 23 December, 2017 - 8:24 Author: Martin Thomas
Flags in Barcelona

"If we want everything to remain the same, everything must change", says the young aristocrat Tancredi to his uncle, the Prince, in the turmoil of Italian unification as portrayed in Lampedusa's novel The Leopard.

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The hard-Brexit right in disarray - but Labour, too

Submitted by martin on 18 December, 2017 - 2:40 Author: Martin Thomas
Mail and Express

In mid-December, Theresa May agreed to keep British economic regulations "aligned" with the EU, thus opening the way to talks on a transition period and a Brexit trade deal. And rebellious Tory MPs defeated the Government in the House of Commons, to limit the Government's ability to legislate by decree over Brexit.

The hard-Brexit press, the Mail and the Express, backed the "alignment" deal, but were furious at the Tory rebel MPs. On 9 December the Mail's headline was: "Rejoice! We're On Our Way", and the Express had: "Huge Brexit Boost At Last".

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Ofsted criticises “sexist and sectarian” faith schools

Submitted by cathy n on 27 December, 2017 - 3:19 Author: Gerry Bates
faith school

“Will Ofsted start policing thought crime in schools?! wailed a headline in the Catholic Herald on 13 December. The magazine was responding to an Ofsted report that shed some light on faith schools.

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How members can take control of the Labour Party

Submitted by Matthew on 13 December, 2017 - 11:39 Author: Keith Road and Martin Thomas
Conference should be democratic

The Labour Party is doing yet another democracy review.

This time, however, the review comes under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and its coordinator is Katy Clark, formerly a left-wing Labour MP and someone we on Solidarity have known as a solid socialist back to her student days in Aberdeen and Edinburgh in the late 1980s and early 90s.

The deadline for Phase 1 submissions is 12 January, and they are to cover BAME (black and minority-ethnic) Labour, Young Labour, and Labour Women's Conference.

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Against Trump, fight for a real two-states deal for Palestine

Submitted by Matthew on 13 December, 2017 - 12:49 Author: Rosalind Robson
For two states

Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and by strong implication the whole of Jerusalem including the eastern, occupied and Palestinian, part of the city has been rightly condemned.

It is largely a symbolic move. Russia recognised (West) Jerusalem as Israel's capital in April 2017, but no other country, surely no EU country, is likely to follow the example of Putin and Trump.

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Sarwar's business backers

Submitted by cathy n on 27 December, 2017 - 3:33 Author: Ann Field

Anas Sarwar spent more than twice as much as Richard Leonard in the Scottish Labour Party (SLP) leadership contest held late last year. A large proportion of the donations came from businesses linked to his family.

Sarwar spent over £150,000 during the ten-week election campaign. The largest campaign donation (£41,000) came from United Brands Ltd., part of United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd. (UWS), which was founded by Sarwar’s father and uncle and is now run by his brother Asim.

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Support Picturehouse workers — students and workers unite!

Submitted by cathy n on 18 December, 2017 - 1:30 Author: Joe Booth
Staff wars

On Thursday, 14 December, 2017 I attended a picket of Hackney Picturehouse against the mistreatment of the workers at the cinema and every other Picturehouse and Cineworld cinema in the United Kingdom. The Picturehouse workers have been on strike now for over a year: they’re paid £9.30 per hour, no access to sick, maternity or paternity pay, and the managers are refusing to negotiate with them.

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The housing crisis and fighting back

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 12:44 Author: Rosalind Robson and Gemma Short
Housing crisis

Britain has a housing crisis. According to Shelter more than 300,000 people — the equivalent to one in every 200 — are homeless or living in inadequate homes. According to official figures 1.3 million people are on a local authority waiting list for housing. By 2020, 25% of people will be renters, rather than home owners. Londoners now spend 40% of their income on rent, and increasing.

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Labour: Come out against Brexit!

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 12:35
vote remain

Editorial from Solidarity 456

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott declared last month: "I will argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed" (on Brexit). On 2 December, Jeremy Corbyn added: "We’ve not made any decision on a second referendum". An opinion poll on 1 December showed that a 68%-19% majority of Labour voters want a referendum on whatever Brexit deal the Tories produce. A 50%-34% majority of the whole electorate also wants a referendum before a deal can go ahead.

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