Solidarity 509, 5 June 2019

Why we marched against Trump

On 3 and 4 June, Workers’ Liberty and Solidarity people joined thousands in London protesting against Donald Trump’s state visit. On 4 June we were part of an “against Trump, against Brexit” contingent, with Labour for a Socialist Europe and Another Europe is Possible.

Against “special needs” cuts

Author

Janine Booth

On Thursday 30 May, campaigners protested at twenty-eight locations around the country, demanding the reversal of cuts to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding. Organised mainly by parents and SEND kids, protests ranged from a handful of people with a banner to hundreds on town hall steps.

The Willsman affair

Author

Sean Matgamna and Simon Nelson

On 31 May, Pete Willsman, a veteran of the Labour left and a current member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), was suspended by the Labour Party on charges of antisemitism. The suspension followed publication of comments made by Willsman at a chance meeting with a journalist. How should the left respond? Simon Nelson and Sean Matgamna present different views.

A victim of panic
Sean Matgamna

Open letter to Livingstone

Author

Sean Matgamna

Ken Livingstone, billed since January as debating with us at the Ideas for Freedom summer school on 22- 23 June, has now withdrawn, pleading family commitments. Sean Matgamna responds with an open letter.

Ken: it’s a shame you have bottled out of our scheduled debate. I’ m bitterly disappointed. I was looking forward to kicking your butt. It’s been quite a while since I had a chance to do that. We will keep an empty chair on the platform for you in that session, and give extended speaking time to anyone ready and willing to come and argue your case.

Losing the “climate election”

Author

Janet Burstall

The Australian Labor Party’s climate action platform for the May 2019 Federal Election was the most ambitious yet. Pre-election polls showed climate change was a high priority for voters.

The Liberal-National coalition was divided on climate action. Climate-change deniers controlled the party room, and had elected Scott Morrison as leader, an MP who had famously cradled a lump of coal in parliament to show his support for coal-fired power. Yet Labor lost the election.

Markets, cuts, and education

Author

Maisie Sanders

The Augar review into post-18 education and funding, commissioned by Theresa May last year, was released on 30 May.

As yet the government says only that it will “take very seriously the report’s proposals”. The report presents its aim as a more “accessible” system of higher and further education that provides “value for money” for both students and taxpayers and is more responsive to labour market demands.

Brexit: a “workers’ cause”?

Author

Jim Denham

Communist Party of Britain (CPB) general secretary Robert Griffiths had a piece in the Morning Star of 31 May entitled “Time for Labour to stand unequivocally by the working class”. He claims that the way to do that is for Labour to back Brexit. Brexit is a working-class cause.

Letters

Defining people's oppressions?
I’m canvassing opinions on the call for marginalised groups of people to “define their own oppression”.

The LGBT+ organising group at the National Education Union conference argued for a definition of transphobia which I agreed with. It was however defeated on the basis that there are conflicting views on what constitutes transphobia and that the amendment was anti-woman.

Reinstate the “auto-excluded”!

In November 2016, Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) got a report that during that year’s leadership election, 618 members had been “auto-excluded”, and 1,038 members had been and were still suspended. We know no definite figures for the similar purge during the 2015 leadership election, but surely many more were “auto-excluded” or banned from membership then.

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