News

Two months of revolt in Sudan

Submitted by AWL on 20 February, 2019 - 9:09 Author: Simon Nelson
Sudanese revolt

Mass protests in Sudan have been ongoing since December 2018. The rising cost of bread and fuel has sparked calls for “Just fall – that’s all” against President Omar al-Bashir and his ruling National Congress Party. Leaders of nine opposition parties have been arrested.

Neurodivergent Labour launched

Submitted by AWL on 20 February, 2019 - 10:30 Author: Fraser Andrews
logo

On 9 February, over fifty activists from across the country attended the official launch of Neurodivergent Labour at a meeting in London. The term “neurodivergent” refers to the condition of being cognitively atypical, e.g. autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, or Tourette’s.

Ideas for Freedom 2019

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

Ideas for Freedom 2019
20-23 June 2019

Super-earlybird cheap tickets close 24 February.

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.

We will be holding a whole four days activities for you to get involved in.

Registration

Gang of Seven, Brexit and antisemitism

Submitted by AWL on 19 February, 2019 - 6:16 Author: Ralph Peters and Tom Harrison
gang of seven

Seven right-wing Labour MPs quit on Monday 18 February. They did not join another party or form a new one. They did not call on their rank-and-file supporters within Labour to quit.

Two Tory MPs sceptical about Brexit, Nick Boles and Sarah Wollaston, face deselection by their local Tory parties in coming weeks, and a Government minister has openly said that the hard-right Tory MPs “are not Conservatives” and should join the new “Brexit party” being launched by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Clear migration spies out of workplaces

Submitted by AWL on 20 February, 2019 - 1:16
no migration spies

The Observer newspaper on 17 February reported that the Government is “attempting to embed immigration officers at a rate of almost £60 an hour as part of an ‘enhanced checking service’ being offered to public services, understood to include NHS trusts and local authorities, as well as private firms.”

The kids are coming (don't say you weren't warned)

Submitted by martin on 21 February, 2019 - 3:36 Author: Alan Simpson
school strike

Occasionally, just occasionally, there are weeks full of silver linings. The one that saw Britain's first nationwide schools 'climate' strikes was definitely one of them.

When Greta Thunberg began her lone climate protest outside the Swedish Parliament last August she was not to know that, within 6 months there would be 70,000 pupils a week, across 270 towns and cities worldwide, who would be joining her. Their message was simple: "Wake up! There's a climate emergency."

If you had followed the week's debates in Britain's Parliament you wouldn't have guessed.

Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK

Submitted by martin on 20 February, 2019 - 11:31 Author: Martin Thomas
Syrian refugee camp

Shamima Begum, the British-born 19-year old who went to Syria to join Daesh at the age of 15, should be allowed to return to the UK.

Her support for the sectarian clerical-fascist Daesh is to be condemned. But to deprive anyone of legal rights, as to imprison them, should be done only after charge and fair trial, not by decree of a government minister anxious to placate an electorate in a nationalist mood.

She is a British citizen, and so is her baby son. Even people convicted of horrible crimes after due process do not have their citizenship withdrawn.

Schools climate strike: build now for 15 March!

Submitted by AWL on 20 February, 2019 - 1:14 Author: Maisie Sanders
climate strike

Tens of thousands of young people joined the Youth Strike for Climate school walkouts on Friday 18 February in town centres and outside schools across the UK. It was organised as part of the Fridays for Future school walkouts started by Swedish school student Greta Thurnberg, which have now gone global.

The Yellow Vests: potentials and dangers

Submitted by AWL on 20 February, 2019 - 11:38 Author: Michael Elms
yellow vests

The Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) movement, now fourteen weeks old, drew thousands of protestors onto the streets of France on 16 February. Although the latest demonstrations fell short of the estimated 50,000 who came out the week before, the movement shows little sign of stopping.

Alcohol is harmful. Dry January will not help

Submitted by AWL on 20 February, 2019 - 1:04 Author: Todd Hamer
alcohol bad

Alcohol [see Martin Thomas’s article in Solidarity 494, and Stephen Wood’s letter in 495] is the most harmful psychoactive substance we know in terms of overall mental and physical damage, addiction, crime and costs to the economy and communities.

Another win for rail workers

Submitted by Off The Rails on Mon, 18/02/2019 - 22:05
South Western Railway

Workers on South Western Railway (SWR) have struck another huge blow against Driver Only Operation, winning an agreement that a safety-critical guard will be retained on all SWR services.

Guards in the RMT had recently returned a resounding 84% majority in favour of further strikes, in a re-ballot forced on them by the restrictions of the anti-union laws. RMT had planned a strike for 22 February, but has now suspended this following SWR’s offer.

For Labour! Against Brexit!

Submitted by AWL on 13 February, 2019 - 11:41 Author: Editorial
Brexit means Brexit

Labour right-wingers have chosen this moment to help out the hard-pressed Tory government. They have turned up the volume on the murmured speculations about a right-wing split from Labour just as the Tory impasse worsens. Labour and trade union activists want unity to maximise the chances of using the Tories’ thrashing-round to oust them from office, to force an early general election, and to get a new public vote to stop Brexit.

Brexit's never-ending nonsense

Submitted by martin on 9 February, 2019 - 2:29 Author: Alan Simpson
No blindfold Brexit

Let's get the bad news out of the way first. Whatever happens, Brexit is going to dominate parliamentary politics for at least another year, maybe more. No matter how bored you are by it, no matter how tempted by the thought, "Oh, sod it, let's just jump and get it over with", the nightmare still has years to run.

Unions and the Inland Empire

Submitted by martin on 17 September, 2018 - 1:24 Author: Chris Reynolds
The Warehouse Workers' Resource Centre marches with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights on May Day 2018 in Southern California

Pic: The Warehouse Workers' Resource Centre marches with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights on May Day 2018 in Southern California

Review of "Choke Points: Logistics Workers Disrupting the Global Supply Chain", edited by Jake Alimahomed-Wilson and Immanuel Ness

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach employ about 14,000 dockworkers, with the number fairly static as throughput has risen. The whole logistics industry around those ports employs over 500,000, with the number increasing.

The historians and the Bolsheviks

Submitted by AWL on 13 February, 2019 - 10:53 Author: Colin Foster
civil war

On Tsarism, the bourgeois liberals under Tsarism, the Provisional Government in 1917, the Whites in the Civil War, and even the Mensheviks and the SRs, what Figes has to say is pretty much what the Bolsheviks said of them. Thus, for example: “Trotsky described Martov as the ‘Hamlet of Democratic Socialism’ – and this is just about the sum of it… [His qualities] made him soft and indecisive when just the opposite was required”.

Irish nurses to ballot on offer

Submitted by AWL on 19 February, 2019 - 12:22 Author: By Micheál MacEoin
irish nurses

Action was suspended in the nurses’ strike in the Republic of Ireland on 11 February, after the Labour Board (the state’s industrial relations tribunal) intervened to recommend a settlement ahead of planned three-day strikes.

The three-day strike, which was due to begin on 12 February, was to be an escalation from a 24-hour strike on 30 January and two further 24-hour strikes on 5 and 7 February.

Union should fight to abolish GCSEs

Submitted by martin on 19 February, 2019 - 8:01 Author: Alan Gilbert
Exam hall

Kenneth Baker, the Tory minister who introduced GCSE exams, has called for their abolition.

"They have a profound impact on young people's mental health... exam stress is creating a 'troubled generation'...

"The focus on GCSE performance tables is creating such a pressure to drive up academic results that many schools are... being forced into rote learning to deliver..."

Baker spoke on 11 February, the same day that Robert Halfon, chair of Parliament's Education Select Committee, and a right-wing Tory, made the same call.

Deliveroo: next strikes 14 February?

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2019 - 12:31 Author: Zack, a Bristol Courier and treasurer of Bristol Couriers Network
deliveroo couriers

Strike action by Deliveroo couriers has spread across the country, with simultaneous strikes having been held in various locations over pay, on 1 February. These strikes were inspired by an energetic and visible strike that took place in Bristol on the 18 January, and precipitated by steadily decreasing pay.

Students: secret “White Paper” plots end to debate

Submitted by Matthew on 13 February, 2019 - 9:09 Author: Maisie Sanders
vote

The National Union of Students (NUS) has released a “White Paper” which outlines “reforms” to destroy its democratic structures. Unlike a government White Paper, which is public, these proposals are hidden from the vast majority of NUS members. They have been sent only to student union sabbatical officers and NUS full time officers for consultation.

Venezuela: barricades at the borders

Submitted by AWL on 13 February, 2019 - 10:44 Author: Eduardo Tovar
aid at the border

Three weeks after Juan Guaidó declared himself president of Venezuela, on 23 January, neither Guaidó nor the sitting president, Nicolás Maduro, shows any sign of backing down.

On Thursday 7 February, a convoy of lorries carrying humanitarian aid reached the Tienditas international bridge on the Venezuela-Colombia border. Venezuelan troops barricaded the bridge with two shipping containers and a fuel tanker.

Save Lambeth children’s centres!

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2019 - 9:17 Author: Kelly Rogers
lambeth protest

Local parents, residents and trade unionists in Lambeth are campaigning against the latest round of cuts to children’s centres. Lambeth Council’s proposals would close five of 23 children’s centres in the borough, and cut in half the provision at another seven centres.

Brexit can still be stopped

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2019 - 11:15 Author: Martin Thomas
brexit shambles

Brexit can still stopped. The first step, though, is to halt an emerging mood of retreat among anti-Brexit people.

“People switch off from responding to every depressing political twist and turn of Brexit”, one activist wrote to us this week. Another: “people in my local [anti-Brexit] group feel down after Jeremy Corbyn’s responses on 28 and 29 January”. Yet others have said: “Face facts. Brexit is going to go through. No amount of agitation now will make much difference. The task now is to prepare the left for after Brexit”.

The curious incident of the Stalinists who didn’t bark

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2019 - 10:41 Author: Jim Denham
no deal brexit

In possibly his most famous Sherlock Holmes short story, Silver Blaze, Conan Doyle introduced the idea of the “negative fact”: Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” Holmes: “That was the curious incident.” Holmes drew a conclusion from an expected fact (the dog barking) that did not occur.

Health-anuary

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2019 - 11:50 Author: Martin Thomas
baa lamb

For January 2019, 4.2 million people said they would join “Dry January”, a pledge to drop alcohol for the month. The Alcohol Change UK group, which organised “Dry January”, says that (even if some of those 4.2 million had lapses) this year’s response was the biggest ever, and hugely up on January 2013, when the project started with just 4,000 signing up.

NEU: call a march on school funding!

Submitted by martin on 4 February, 2019 - 2:25 Author: Patrick Murphy (NEU national executive, in personal capacity)
NEU

On 28 February the Executive of the National Education Union (NEU) meets to consider the next steps in our campaign on funding and pay.

The most significant new information available to NEC members will be the results of a lengthy indicative ballot which closed in mid-January. After a number of "warm-up" questions about support for the union's campaign, the ballot asked whether members would support industrial action to achieve its demands.

Neurodiversity, capitalism, and socialism

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2019 - 12:43 Author: Janine Booth
nuerodiversity

Autistic, dyspraxic, dyslexic and other people with atypical brain wiring have particular experiences under capitalism – with positive and negative aspects, but for many people including distress and disadvantage. This article looks at the experience of neurodivergent people under capitalism, how socialism might remove distress and discrimination, and how we can achieve that.

Capitalism and neurodiversity

Rallying Labour for migrant rights and against Brexit

Submitted by AWL on 6 February, 2019 - 10:19 Author: Sacha Ismail
stop building borders

Fifty Labour activists from ten boroughs across London attended a 4 February emergency meeting in Lewisham to discuss the Labour Party’s stance on migrants’ rights.

The meeting was called by Labour for a Socialist Europe, Labour Campaign for Free Movement and Another Europe is Possible, in cooperation with local left activists, in response to Labour’s fiasco over the Tory Immigration Bill. In Parliament on 28 January, the Labour front bench at first recommended abstention on the Tory bill. It swung to voting against only under pressure and at the last minute.

7,000 jailed in Iran

Submitted by AWL on 30 January, 2019 - 10:42 Author: Colin Foster
White Wednesday

Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian, are still in Iran’s jails but Ali Nejati has been allowed into hospital. Bakhshi is a leader of the Haft Tappeh sugar¬cane workers, in south¬west Iran; Nejati, a former leader of those sugar¬cane workers; Gholian, a social activist and supporter of the workers. All three are known to have been tortured in jail, and their jailing is part of a response by the Iranian government to action by the sugar¬cane workers, and by steelworkers in nearby Ahvaz, which has seen dozens jailed and then released since late last year.

Replacing nuclear by… gas?

Submitted by AWL on 30 January, 2019 - 12:08 Author: Mike Zubrowski
gas power

Hitachi has shelved plans for a new nuclear plant at Wylfa, Wales, months after Toshiba scrapped plans in Moorside, Cumbria, and Horizon suspended work at Oldbury, Gloucestershire. These withdrawals by three private Japanese corporations leave gaps in the UK government’s already bad climate and energy strategy.

Many old reactors are due to retire through the 2020s, and coal-fired power stations are due to be phased out by 2025. These new nuclear plants were due to fill the energy gap while contributing to the UK’s (insufficient) climate goals.

China: 10 million Uighurs face state terror

Submitted by AWL on 30 January, 2019 - 12:51 Author: Ollie Moore
free the uighurs

Jen Kirby, writing for American news website Vox, has described the system of surveillance and repression in Xinjiang put into place since 2016, when Chen Quanguo was appointed head of the regional government. Xinjiang, in the north west of China, is home to ten million Uighur Muslim people.

“Increased surveillance and police presence accompanied [Quanguo’s] move to Xinjiang, including his ‘grid management’ policing system.

Student Left Network meets 2-3 March

Submitted by AWL on 30 January, 2019 - 10:31 Author: Maisie Sanders
Student-worker activism

On 2-3 March 2019, at Sheffield University, students will be gathering to coordinate action on a national and regional scale, share activist and campaigning skills, and debate and discuss political ideas.

At the Student Left Network conference, you’ll meet students from across the UK and get involved in coordinating student left activism for the coming year. There will be workshops, discussions, debates, votes on motions (and socials). We will also elect a National Committee to coordinate things for the coming year.

Labour's National Executive on Brexit and immigration

Submitted by martin on 1 February, 2019 - 9:27 Author: Pete Willsman, Alice Perry
McDonnell

These are the two reports so far published of the discussion on Brexit at the Labour Party's National Executive Committee on 29 January 2019.

They show that redoubled campaigning is needed for the views of Labour's rank and file to find substantial expression in the top committees. Neither report indicates any discussion at the National Executive on Labour's attitude to the Tory Immigration Bill second reading on 28 January (the front bench first called for abstention, and then, late, after pressure, voted against).

Pete Willsman

Salvini pushes Italy to right

Submitted by AWL on 30 January, 2019 - 12:40 Author: Hugh Edwards
Salvini

“The moment we have been waiting for 50 years has arrived, the cycle has of anti-fascism has closed — determinate ideas have entered the hearts of the Italian people”. Roberto Fiore, veteran fascist, and now national secretary of Forza Nuovo, one of Italy’s fast growing neo-Nazi forces, addressing a conference on “From Populism to Revolution”.

Dig down to revive left activism

Submitted by AWL on 23 January, 2019 - 11:02 Author: Rhodri Evans
general election now

On 12 January, the People’s Assembly and other groups mounted their response to maybe the biggest parliamentary-political crisis ever in British history.

They called a demonstration in London: “General election now!”

The People’s Assembly is an anti­-cuts group run by the Counterfire split from the SWP, but getting active support and resources from Unite and other unions. It has had the skills and the reach to organise big demonstrations — up to 250,000 on a general demonstration against cuts in June 2015.

Glasgow equal pay: accounts to settle

Submitted by AWL on 23 January, 2019 - 11:11 Author: Ann Field
glasgow pay

Last October, the lack of progress in settling a long-running dispute at Glasgow City Council led to the biggest equal-pay strike in British history.

On Monday 21 January, over 250 women members of the GMB employed by Glasgow City Council attended a meeting to hear an update on the campaign.

The previous week the media had reported that agreement had been reached with the now SNP-­run Council in a dispute stretching back to 2006, when the then Labour­controlled council introduced a new pay scheme to address gender-­based pay inequalities.

Sex and the City Goes to Holyrood

Submitted by martin on 21 January, 2019 - 4:43 Author: Dale Street
Mary Queen of Scots

At first sight "Mary Queen of Scots", released in the UK on 18 January, appears to be another celluloid contribution to the cult of Mariolatry.

Its trailer portrays Mary as an armour-clad warrior leading her troops into battle, a target of religious misogyny, a feisty heroine who faces down Queen Elizabeth, a victim of patriarchal politics, a champion of equal rights, and a fatal casualty of her own virtues.

Left should unite to save NUS

Submitted by AWL on 23 January, 2019 - 10:06 Author: Maisie Sanders
2012 demo

The “Board” of the National Union of Students (NUS UK) voted on Wednesday 16 January to abolish the NUS Trans Campaign’s officer, committee and campaign budget.

The Society and Citizenship Vice President post has also been abolished, alongside International Officer, LGBT Women’s Place, and all of the Nations’ Vice Presidents.

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