Solidarity 270. 16 January 2013

London teachers want plan to fight on pay

More than 250 people attended the pay briefing organised for London National Union of Teachers reps on a snowy Saturday in the centre of the city (19 January 2013).

The turnout reflects the anger ordinary teachers feel about the government's austerity drive and Michael Gove's all-out assault on the working conditions and living standard of teachers.

Save Lewisham Hospital, save the NHS!

Matthew Kershaw, the Special Administrator brought in to reorganise NHS services after South London Healthcare Trust went bust, has made his final recommendations.

There are no surprises. He recommends SLHT be dissolved, with services being taken over by other Trusts, and that Lewisham Hospital’s A & E and maternity units be axed.

One law for the rich...

The Government has cut future pensions for public sector workers by saying that entitlements will be upgraded for inflation only by the consumer price index (CPI) instead of the retail price index (RPI). The apparently fiddly adjustment will lose some pensioners 20% or more of the value of their pensions.

DWP jobs saved?

A strike by workers in the Department for Work and Pensions against job losses, scheduled for 21 January, is unlikely to go ahead.

The ballot, in response to the announcement of 43 compulsory redundancies, returned a vote in favour strikes, but it now looks as though management might back down from that. PCS union leaders say talks with management have been “very positive”.

As we go to presss, the exact detail of the talks is unknown. Members should decide on the future of the dispute.

If the jobs have indeed been saved, that is a significant victory.

Action for jobs and safety on the Tube

Tube workers employed by the Trainpeople agency demonstrated outside Transport for London headquarters on Tuesday 15 January, demanding jobs and justice.

The workers, some of whom have worked on the Bakerloo Line for five years, found themselves facing the dole queue when 19 new directly-employed staff were taken on to fill roles that the agency staff were already fully trained for and had already been working in.

How I was expelled from the SWP (IS)

I was expelled from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP, then called IS) on 4 December 1971. IS then was different from, and more open than, the SWP today. But there are links between then and now.

IS (SWP) had deliberately promoted itself as democratic and open since 1957-8, as a riposte to the bigger and more active, but tightly-controlled, SLL led by Gerry Healy (only tiny shreds from which continue today: it collapsed in 1985).

What were the Communist Parties?

Mike Wood has spent some years researching the evolution of the Workers Party, the group formed by Max Shachtman and his comrades after the 1940 split in the US Trotskyist movement.

This is a second article reporting the results of his research, following a first published in Solidarity 267, 5 December 2012.

One area of discussion in the Workers’ Party in the 1940s which ran slightly aslant the other disputes was on the nature of the official “Communist”, i.e. Stalinist, parties outside the USSR.

Hurrah for Zhukov?

On 2 February, a lavish “Victory at Stalingrad 70th Anniversary Night” is being organised by Philosophy Football (an enterprise run by former Communist Party activist Mark Perryman) and the Hope Not Hate anti-fascist group.

The keynote speaker will be Seumas Milne, associate editor of the Guardian and former business manager of the Straight Left, a Stalinist splinter publication.

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