Solidarity 511, 20 June 2019

Fight for a socialist Europe

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 11:06


Boris Johnson is likely to become the new Tory leader and prime minister, some time in the week after 22 July. If by some fluke he throws the leadership contest, almost surely someone equally hard-Brexit will win. This sharpens the choices on Brexit, and narrows further the space for temporising.

Johnson is less a right-wing ideologue, and more a mainstream opportunist, than Mario Salvini in Italy. But his choice is to project the Tories so as to appear as Brexiter as Farage (and thus recoup votes). His choice is to cut away from the EU and to veer towards Trump.

Neither Johnson nor any

Boris Johnson, climate denier

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:54

Mike Zubrowski

Staring at the snow settling on a flower pot, in January 2013, Boris Johnson said he had an “open mind” as to “the encroachment of a mini ice age”, and cast qualified doubts about global warming. Indeed, his spewing contained the deep wisdom that “human beings have become so blind with conceit and self-love that we genuinely believe that the fate of the planet is in our hands”.

Johnson, here, hasn’t so much got his mind so open that his brain falls out, as his eyes so tightly shut that it squeezes his brain out of his ears and nose, dribbling onto his face. Boris Johnson outdoes even many of

General strike in Brazil

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:50

Luiza Xavier

On Friday 14 June, schools, public transport, banks, universities and factories in Brazil stopped in Brazil for the first general strike under the right-wing Bolsonaro administration which took office in January.

The strike was called collectively by various trade union “centrals”, political parties (such as the PT, PSOL and the PCdoB), and numerous student unions. Its main demand is a stop to the pensions reform, which is set to go through the Chamber of Deputies in the week starting 17 June. Pensions have been used as a scapegoat, since the Temer government, to justify the lack of

Behind the US-Iran tension

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:45

Morad Shirin

Clearly the attacks on Norwegian and Japanese tankers off the Gulf of Oman on Thursday 14 June increase the risk of a miscalculation leading to military clashes in the region. However, these attacks were probably not carried out by any of the Iranian regime’s armed forces, not even the Pasdaran or a section of the Pasdaran (though that can’t be completely ruled out).

In order to assess them correctly we shouldn’t just zoom in on their level of sophistication but also follow up other factors, especially their political and diplomatic purpose. We have to ask: “Which state is going to benefit

Hong Kong: a Yankee plot?

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:38

Jim Denham

Throughout the recent dramas in Hong Kong, Britain’s “socialist daily” the Morning Star, said precisely… nothing. No coverage at all until after the Hong Kong government had backed down. Then that after-the-event coverage was (as we shall see) even more revealing than the previous noncoverage.

Perhaps the people who run the paper (i.e. the Communist Party of Britain – the CPB) thought their readers wouldn’t be interested — but then, the paper recently carried a lengthy and highly diplomatic report of a CPB delegation to China.

Since 9 June, up to two million people in Hong Kong — more than


Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:27

I’d like to comment on Martin Thomas’s tale of contrasted autistic students in his maths class (interview with Judy Singer, Solidarity 510).

For sure, the autistic students he describes are very different from each other — there is a significant contrast between Student A who needs just a little adjustment in order to participate, and Student B who does not participate but knits and occasionally shouts. But it is a leap of logic to automatically conclude from this that Student B is impaired.

Student B is certainly a lot more divergent than Student A: a lot more different from typical

Build for 20 July anti-Brexit march

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:21

Two anti-Brexit marches have been announced for the coming months, to follow up the big demonstrations on 20 October 2018 and 23 March this year.

The first, on 20 July, noon from Park Lane, London, will go under the bland title “March for Change”, but bills itself as the “pro-European grassroots demo”. Its lead slogan is “Reunite with Europe”. It also has a string of other demands: “For the NHS; For the Environment; For our Rights, Freedoms and Equalities; For our Communities, our Jobs and our Pensions; For our Voice, our Votes and our Veto”.

Another Europe is Possible and Labour for a

The Labour Party’s new rules

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:03

Dave Levy

The current Labour Party rules, as set by Conference 2018, are now being circulated. It’s about time, and they are still not available on Labour’s website (though they can be found here). This is despite one of the rules agreed setting the inception date of the new rules as at 27 September 2018, eight months ago.

The new rules are the result of the fabled Democracy Review, a process which over nine months took “evidence” from thousands of members and affiliated organisations, together with rule changes proposed by CLPs and affiliated organisations and tabled at conference 2017. Having taken

Stonewall and the early days

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 09:18

Ian Townson

The “Stonewall riots”, which began on 28 June 1969 in New York, marked the start of the modern lesbian and gay rights movement.

During the McCarthyite witch hunts in 1950s America it was believed that a homosexual underground existed as part of a “communist conspiracy”. It was sometimes called the Homintern (after the Comintern, the Stalinist Communist International). The fearful authorities went so far as to depict this threat to security as a contagious social disease. Despite the fact that it was completely illegal to be gay and despite rabid persecution by the FBI and other state agencies

Not the worst kind of renegade

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 09:03

August Grabski

Karol Modzelewski died on 28 April 2019. He was a well known personality on the western anticapitalist left in the 1960s, as co-author of the “Open letter to the Party”.

After the collapse of “actually existing socialism”, he was treated as a moral authority by the liberal media in the Third Polish Republic, as one of the fighters for Polish democracy.

Karol Modzelewski was born in Moscow in 1937 in a family of Communist activists. His stepfather, Zygmunt Modzelewski, became the foreign affairs minister in “People’s Poland” in 1947. In 1964, Modzelewski, who was then a lecturer at the

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