News

Left needs clearer Euro-message

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 08/05/2019 - 12:18
maintenant le peuple

On 18 April, the European Parliament posted polling projections for the 2019 European elections. The projections show the European People’s Party (the big alliance of "centre-right" parties, though not including the British Tories) on track to remain the largest party in the Parliament – but by a slimmer majority. The figures had the EPP falling from 217 to 180 seats.

Making campaign wider?

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 08/05/2019 - 12:59
xr

Extinction Rebellion, after eleven days of ambitious, disruptive, relatively widespread, and extensively covered actions in their “International Rebellion”, (15-25 April), have moved into a “regenerative, resting phase". They have been celebrating wins so far: media coverage, politicians seeming receptive, changes in public narratives towards recognising the gravity of the situation; reportedly huge expansions of local XR branches.

The pro-Farage “left”

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 12:32
Farage Galloway

On 17 April, George Galloway declared his support for Nigel Farage and his newly formed Brexit Party.

Farage is a former Tory, then Ukip leader. He is vehemently anti-migrant. He has called for the NHS to be replaced by “social insurance”, for laws against discrimination at work to be repealed, and for millions of public sector jobs to be cut.

Union to boycott high-stake school tests

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 12:16
NEU

On 15 April, the first day of the National Education Union (NEU) conference, delegates voted to ballot primary members for a boycott of all high stakes summative testing, including Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs and the phonics tests.

An (electronic) consultative ballot will run from 4 June to 12 July or later. Disaggregated “real” ballots will follow at the end of 2019, in areas and schools where there has been sufficient response to the consultative ballot, and will conclude in January 2020.

Left movement surge

Submitted by martin on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 13:37
Standing Together

On 9 April, the Israeli left had the general elections. All together, the left parties have less than 20 seats, out of 120. This is the rock bottom of the Israeli left in its 70 years of history.

Around these left parties, the Knesset is filled with a massive majority of centre, right, and far-right parties. None of those are committed to progressing an Israeli-Palestinian peace, none of those are active in the fight for social justice, and none will try to cancel the discriminatory Nation State Law or to fight racism.

For Labour, against Brexit

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 12:37
Labour for SE

The “build unions, not borders”, “socialist Europe”, “free movement” anti-Brexit left is organising to make an impact in the Labour campaign for the Euro-election on 23 May.

A model is the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory (SCLV) initiated in 1978-9 by Socialist Organiser, a forerunner of Solidarity. It produced literature arguing for a Labour vote against Thatcher’s Tories, and also criticising the 1974-9 Labour government and proposing socialist alternatives.

Caring for the NHS

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 11:29
NHS demo

Mark Thomas’ show Check Up: Our NHS at 70 is a whistle-stop and funny tour of what is wrong with underfunding, short staffing and the creeping privatisation of the NHS.

In some ways this is Mark Thomas at his softest, and probably on a topic on which he is on very safe ground.

But the takeaway message is that inequality, low incomes, poor housing, cuts to social care and local authority services have all combined with the dismantling of the NHS to make the health outcomes for the poorest significantly worse.

An open letter to the SWP

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 09:15
Durham TAs

I’m writing this letter as a working class woman, a teaching assistant, a trade unionist and a revolutionary socialist. Oh, and did I mention that I am really angry too!

Last week I returned from the inaugural conference of the National Education Union (NEU) — a union that has joined teaching staff and support workers together for the first time — or should have!

Capital and the Amazon

Submitted by martin on Mon, 29/04/2019 - 22:08
Amazon

A report by Amazon Watch released on 25 April 2019 indicts the role of global commodity traders and financiers in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest – provides 20% of our oxygen, houses 10% of the planet’s biodiversity and 20% of its flowing freshwater. It stabilises global climate through driving weather patterns, and is home to many indigenous peoples. Preventing its deforestation is crucial in curtailing global warming and other world-wide climate catastrophes.

Where the Wasteland Ends

Submitted by martin on Thu, 25/04/2019 - 20:20
Greenhouse gases

Ugly scenes outside parliament have made the place look and feel like the Siege of Troy. But around the country bigger issues already fill the landscape.

A 'climate emergency' conference in Lancaster drew in some 200-300 local authority and climate groups (along with similar numbers live-streaming their way in). All were anxious to talk about existential survival. I've done similar meetings recently in Norwich, North Notts, Stroud and Hebden Bridge; each making the same point. It is climate change that most threatens our children's prospects, not Brexit (...or the Spartans).

SNP floats new referendum on separation

Submitted by martin on Tue, 30/04/2019 - 17:04
Scotland and EU

SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence if Britain leaves the EU. The referendum would be some time before 2021, when the next Holyrood elections take place.

The Scottish Parliament is to pass a “framework Bill” by the end of this year. This will lay down the rules of a second referendum. Westminster’s permission would not be needed to pass the Bill.

NEU votes for primary tests boycott

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 17/04/2019 - 08:47
campaigners at the conference

Above: campaigners at the conference

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 Wed, 17/04/2019 - 09:19
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.

True, but never mind that...

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 17/04/2019 - 11:06
JLM

"These things really happened, that is the thing to keep one's eye on. They happened even though Lord Halifax said they happened ... and they did not happen any the less because the Daily Telegraph has suddenly found out about them when it is five years too late" - George Orwell, Looking Back on the Spanish War (1942)

On April 7, the Sunday Times carried a front page lead story claiming that the Labour party has failed to take action against hundreds of members accused of antisemitism. The story was apparently based upon leaked emails and a database from Labour’s HQ.

Against Netanyahu's plan to annex Area C of the West Bank!

Submitted by cathy n on Fri, 19/04/2019 - 10:33
17 April Israeli embassy

Activists from Workers' Liberty, the Worker-communist Party of Iran (Hekmatist, Official Line), and others protested on the street outside the Israeli Embassy in London on Thursday 18 April.

Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has announced plans to annex to Israel Area C of the West Bank - 60%-plus of the West Bank's land area, surrounding every one of the 160-odd patches of land (cities, towns, villages) designated as Areas A and B with some autonomous control by the Palestinian Authority. The Trump administration in the USA has given a tacit endorsement to this plan.

Amritsar, a hundred years on

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 17/04/2019 - 10:29
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.

Algeria: "down with the system"

Submitted by martin on Mon, 08/04/2019 - 19:40
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.

A “Remain and Transform” voice in Euro-election

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 17/04/2019 - 10:54
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 Wed, 17/04/2019 - 11:18
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 Wed, 17/04/2019 - 11:33
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 Wed, 17/04/2019 - 08:31
Corbyn and May

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.

The Good Soldier Schwejk

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 17/04/2019 - 10:18
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.

Brexit: new public vote should decide

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 10/04/2019 - 11:38
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?

Tories run scared on LGBT+ education

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 10/04/2019 - 10:36
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.

Protest for “two states”

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 08/05/2019 - 08:43
two states

Workers' Liberty, the Worker-communist Party of Kurdistan, the Worker-communist Party of Iran (Hekmatist - Official Line), and others, will be demonstrating for a democratic "two states" settlement, peace, and workers' unity in Israel-Palestine on Saturday 11 May. We will meet at noon at the BBC, Portland Place, London W1.

Why has the ISO collapsed?

Submitted by martin on Tue, 16/04/2019 - 14:58
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.

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 Tue, 09/04/2019 - 18:48
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!

Rebuilding socialism in the US

Submitted by AWL on Sat, 06/04/2019 - 13:40
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 Wed, 03/04/2019 - 12:38
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 Wed, 03/04/2019 - 12:24
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.

A new Israeli assault on Gaza

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 03/04/2019 - 12:30
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 Wed, 03/04/2019 - 09:05
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”.

Labour and Jackie Walker

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 03/04/2019 - 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 Wed, 03/04/2019 - 11:48
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

How left "anti-Zionism" fed an antisemitic ferment

Submitted by martin on Mon, 01/04/2019 - 21:50
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 Tue, 05/03/2019 - 12:54
Remain and rebel

This 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 Wed, 27/03/2019 - 09:12
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 Sun, 31/03/2019 - 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 Mon, 23/04/2018 - 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).

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