News

Merseyrail and DOO

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2019 - 10:30
mersey rail

Merseyrail is one of the Train Operating Companies (TOCs), where workers have been resisting the imposition of Driver Only Operation (DOO), which involves the abolition of the safety¬critical role of the guard. Guards are represented by the RMT union, with drivers overwhelmingly members of Aslef. Among the TOCs, the Merseyrail is uniquely strong because it is the only one where Aslef drivers in large numbers have respected RMT guards’ picket lines. However, the Merseyrail industrial action has stalled for months now.

Venezuela, the Morning Star, and the facts

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2019 - 11:38 Author: Jim Denham
Maduro and military

“Despite being elected with over two thirds of the vote last May in an election given a clean bill of health by hundreds of international observers…” began the Morning Star’s editorial on 12 January, under the headline: “Venezuela is under siege – it needs our solidarity.”

Trump and the McCarthyites

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2019 - 11:48 Author: Barrie Hardy
cohen and trump

When faced with criticism it’s common these days for right wing politicians to scream “McCarthyism”. Trump regularly does this in angry and irrational tweets to ward off criminal charges arising from the Mueller investigation. The Trump strategy is to accuse his opponents of crimes he’s culpable of himself and to establishing himself as a victim of political persecution. Such behaviour has spread across the far right like fish rotting from the head.

Cool on Trump, hot against liberals

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2019 - 10:45 Author: Colin Foster
Trump and Putin

On 4 January, US president Donald Trump, in a rambling speech at a meeting of his cabinet, praised the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. “The reason Russia was in, in Afghanistan, was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there”.

Trump holds USA hostage

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2019 - 9:14 Author: Eduardo Tovar
trump and wall

As of Monday 14 January, the US federal government has been partly closed for 24 days — the longest shutdown in the nation’s history. Federal agencies that provide services deemed essential are still running, but “nonessential” services, including those relating to scientific research, food inspection, and the maintenance of national parks, have stopped completely.

Universal Credit: still hurting

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2019 - 12:52 Author: Luke Hardy
uc protest

Amber Rudd, the new Tory Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has scrapped the plans to extend the two-child limit on Universal Credit for those with children born before April 2017. She has also postponed the next stage of Universal Credit roll-out, due to hit three million in-work tax-credit claimants within the next few weeks was postponed.

Charter for the wealthy

Submitted by AWL on 10 January, 2019 - 12:14 Author: Theo Boorgerijnck
hostile environment

The immigration lawyers’ association has described the Tories’ Immigration White Paper, published in December, as “a charter for the wealthy”. It threatens to fulfil the right-wing Brexit promise to extend to EU migrant workers the existing hostile treatment of their non-EU counterparts. Skilled workers, defined as those with the equivalent of A¬Levels and above, and earning over a salary threshold, will be able to apply for medium¬term work visas. The overall cap on numbers and the requirement for resident labour market tests will be removed for these workers.

Katowice and catastrophe

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2019 - 12:22 Author: Mike Zubrowski
climate change demo

The outcome of the latest international climate negotiations, COP24, in Katowice, Poland, in December, has been widely condemned as completely insufficient by environmental organisations. Some early proposals would have aimed for a 30% reduction, but then reduction was made voluntary.

There were no collective commitments made to increase emissioncutting actions or ambitions. Commitments did not even align with the goals of the Paris Agreements of 2015, themselves widely recognised to be woefully insufficient.

If You're in the Building, You're in the Union

Submitted by Class Struggle on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 13:46

By a London Teacher

A potentially very positive consequence of the ATL/NUT merger to for the National Education Union (NEU) is that it removed the barrier that the National Union of Teachers imposed on itself not to recruit non-teaching staff in schools. By doing so the possibility has been created of much more effective workplace organisation in schools.

The NEU now claims over 450,000 members, including a significant and growing number of non-teaching staff.

The Morning Star resurrects “Blue Labour”

Submitted by AWL on 9 January, 2019 - 1:12 Author: Jim Denham
Blue Labour

What a pre-Christmas treat the Morning Star gave us! More than a whole page given over to an anti- EU tirade under the snappy headline “Brexit offers the possibility for socialists to lead a political transformation – The immediate task before us is to leave the EU and break the constraints on democracy that it represents”. And if that wasn’t enough to stir the patriotic hearts of all loyal readers, the author closes with the clarion¬call: “No deal is the real deal and the left should unite in pursuit of that end.

Open letter to Corbyn: fight Brexit!

Submitted by AWL on 9 January, 2019 - 1:54 Author: Sacha Ismail
brexit march

“I think we need to respect the referendum. As I say, I think that there is a deal which can be struck within Parliament that brings everybody together, that respects the views and wishes of communities whether they voted Leave or Remain” —Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary for Business, Sky News, 16 December.

Comrade Corbyn!

Two months of “Gilets Jaunes”

Submitted by AWL on 9 January, 2019 - 11:32 Author: Michael Elms
gilets jaunes

On Saturday 5 January, an estimated 50,000 demonstrators came onto the streets of France to take part in “Act VIII”, the eighth national protest of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement. In Paris, a bloc of working¬class women in yellow jackets came to the fore and broke police encirclements. The movement has shrunk since “Act I” on 17 November 2018, which saw an estimated 300,000 on the streets, but it has defied predictions that it would die off during the Christmas¬New Year break.

"Crisis and sequels" out in paperback

Submitted by martin on 20 December, 2018 - 10:10
Crisis and sequels

What were the formative developments in the economic crash of 2008? What does it tell us about the future of capitalism? What shaped the economic depression and turmoil since 2008? What light do the events shed on Marxist theories of economic crisis, and vice versa?

"Crisis and Sequels", edited by Workers' Liberty contributor Martin Thomas, was published in hardback in 2017, at a price accessible to university libraries, but is now available in affordable paperback.

Trump’s bluster, Assad’s strength

Submitted by AWL on 9 January, 2019 - 9:24 Author: Simon Nelson
al-Bashir and Assad

On 19 December, US president Donald Trump announced a snap decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. At first he said the troops would be out within 30 days, but now it looks like several months at least. The plan is now conditional on assurances from Turkey regarding the safety of the Kurds in Northern Syria.

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.

Socialism is not Cuba

Submitted by AWL on 9 January, 2019 - 11:50 Author: Rhodri Evans
poverty in cuba

Fidel Castro’s 26 July Movement overthrew the corrupt Batista regime, and took power in Cuba sixty years ago, at the start of January 1959. The early period of the Castro regime improved social provision and living standards for the poorest in Cuba. Increasingly it did that while also suppressing the independent trade unions and political pluralism which existed, even though harassed and weak, under Batista.

Q&A on immigration

Submitted by martin on 1 January, 2019 - 12:51
Labour Campaign for Free Movement

The working class is a global class. Refugees and migrant workers are our brothers and sisters, and we should unite with them against the bosses and plutocrats - who are also a global class, and even the most "British" of them hostile to us.

Openness to refugees and immigration has historically made countries richer both culturally and even economically.

Brexiter: "Migrants are a drain on UK resources, including benefits and NHS"

Fighting fire in the class struggle

Submitted by AWL on 26 December, 2018 - 10:56 Author: Sacha Ismail
'We rescue people, not banks' - FBU slogan adopted from Spanish firefighters

In 2018 the Fire Brigades Union, which organises operational firefighters, fire control staff, fire brigade officers and others in the UK fire and rescue service, celebrated its hundredth anniversary as an independent union. For its centenary the FBU has published a book, Fighting Fire, about the last thirty years of its history.

Another voice from Gaza

Submitted by cathy n on 24 December, 2018 - 10:21 Author: Dan Katz
Asmaa al-Ghoul

A rebel in Gaza, behind the lines of the Arab Spring, by Asmaa al-Ghoul (pictured) and Selim Nassib is a short and easy-to-read book that should be read on the left.

For much of the British left Gaza exists only as an example of Israeli brutality; and Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, exists only as a group that fights Israeli bullying.

This book tells us about another aspect of the matter - what it is like to live as an opponent of Hamas, in Gaza, under a one-party religious state.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cuts, calamity and councils

Submitted by AWL on 5 December, 2018 - 12:48
budget cut

Peter Kenway is director of the New Policy Institute, and author of much research on local government. He talked with Martin Thomas.

Philip Alston’s recent report on “social calamity” in the UK focused on cuts in benefits. There have also been huge cuts in local government. What is their impact?

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.

"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".

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.

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