Solidarity 213, 3 August 2011

Lambeth libraries: strong campaigns can save jobs

Submitted by Matthew on 4 August, 2011 - 1:08

Lambeth Council in south London agreed to a deal which will save all the jobs in the library service following the workers announcing strike action against libraries cuts.

Lambeth council wanted a staffing restructure in its libraries which would massacre frontline services and leave 40 people at risk of redundancy. By combining a high-profile public campaign with the threat of strike action, every job in the service has been saved; reading groups, storytimes and enquiry services will continue.

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Thousands march for Bombardier jobs

Submitted by Matthew on 4 August, 2011 - 1:03

Thousands demonstrated on Saturday 23 July to save jobs at the Bombardier train manufacturing plant in Derby.

The demonstration was extremely well supported locally, and the fact that thousands were mobilised at relatively short notice for a demonstration in a location that doesn’t host many mass demos is an encouraging indication of the potential for a real campaign to save jobs at the plant.

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BBC strike

Submitted by Matthew on 4 August, 2011 - 1:00

BBC workers took a second day of strike action on Monday 1 August in a battle over job cuts.

National Union of Journalists General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The NUJ is proud that our members everywhere in the BBC have recognised this threat to their colleagues [...] The latest ludicrous management ploy is to claim that the strike today isn’t having any effect. Clearly BBC management doesn’t watch the corporation’s output very much.”

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Social workers join Southampton strikes

Submitted by Matthew on 4 August, 2011 - 12:57

Social workers at Southampton Council joined local government workers’ indefinite rolling strikes on 3 August as the Tory-led council continues to push ahead with its cuts programme.

Nearly 500 workers in the social care department struck on Wednesday 3 August, and Unison members will take a further 6 days’ action from 4 August. The strike highlights in particular the insulting £1,400 “market supplement” offered to some social workers, intended to offset the impact of cuts but which the workers’ union describes as “part of the problem, not the solution”.

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FBU to ballot on pensions?

Submitted by Matthew on 4 August, 2011 - 12:54

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced that industrial action in the autumn over reforms to the firefighter pensions scheme now looks “increasingly likely”.

Consultation with members is ongoing and the union reports that it is making “preliminary arrangements” for a strike ballot. It would be the FBU’s first national dispute since the 2002/2003 pay campaign.

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The Workers Committee

Submitted by Matthew on 4 August, 2011 - 12:45

J T (John Thomas) Murphy was a Sheffield metal-worker and, in 1920, became a founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. He was involved in the shop stewards’ movement which arose during the First World War. He went on to be involved in the CP-initiated National Minority Movement, one of the most significant mass rank-and-file movements in British labour history.

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Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln

Submitted by Matthew on 4 August, 2011 - 12:39

By Dan Katz
This book is available for a bit more than £8 on Amazon, which makes it a bargain.

The author — Robin Blackburn — is a former editor of New Left Review, and has previously written two good books on slavery (The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery and The Making of New World Slavery).


Submitted by Matthew on Sat, 06/08/2011 - 09:30

Of course Marx "would have done better to remember his own conclusions following the revolutions of 1848: for working class independence" but I think the question is how much of a grip he had on the situation in the US.

Mass communication and media now let us see what is happening anywhere in the world instantly. Marx had the bourgeois press and letters from his supporters in the US, mainly German emigres in the North. How much did he know about the split in the Northern bourgeoisie between Lincoln and the Radical Republicans, the state of the American labour movement etc?

Trotsky discussing with his US supporters in Mexico in the late 30's asked them whether black people in the American South spoke English. They were from New York and the Midwest and said they thought so but weren't sure.

Submitted by Mark on Mon, 08/08/2011 - 21:57

I'm sure he knew exactly what Lincoln represented politically. The evidence is in his correspondence with Engels. They had a very detailed picture. Lack of knowledge is not the reason. (And how much knowledge do you need to write: 'The workers need their own class organisations to fight for their own distinct interests'?)

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The voice of power

Submitted by Matthew on 4 August, 2011 - 12:34

It would be odd if book reviews in socialist newspapers spent much time reviewing novels about obscure dead aristocrats. It would look like the usual Independent on Sunday, Sunday Times or Observer books pages which are chock full of pastoral, aristocratic, nostalgic publications of dubious literary worth.

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