Solidarity 326, 4 June 2014

El-Sisi win strengthens counter-revolution in EgyptMatthewWed, 04/06/2014 - 12:14

Abdel Fatah El-Sisi has won the Egyptian presidential elections and will become the next head of state.

El-Sisi, the senior general in the Egyptian armed forces and former Defence Secretary, won over 90% of the vote in an election involved mass intimidation by police and crack-downs on opposition activists and protesters. The election was the first to take place since the military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood government in July 2013.

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Support the Lambeth College strikeMatthewWed, 04/06/2014 - 12:05

Teaching staff at Lambeth College began an all-out strike on 3 June 2014.

The workers are fighting new contracts which attack pay and conditions and which would affect all new workers and create a two-tier workforce at the college. These are contracts that college bosses are looking to impose across the further education sector.

Picket lines will be at all three college sites, and both of the college unions are encouraging solidarity visits from local students and workers.

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Industrial news in briefMatthewWed, 04/06/2014 - 11:53

Doncaster Care UK workers struck for 14 days in May in a fight against a 50% cuts in wages and massive reductions in sick pay.

A strike committee has now been formed for the 80 out of 120 rank-and-file Unison members who have refused to accept these conditions

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A visit to Putin's camp

Submitted by Matthew on 4 June, 2014 - 11:40

Workers’ Liberty members attended the “Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine” meeting on 4 June, organised by the SOAS Marxist Society (Socialist Appeal).

On the panel were Russian leftist Boris Kagarlitsky, Sergei Kirichuk from the Stalinist Borotba via Skype, Richard Brenner from Workers’ Power, Lindsey German from Counterfire, Andrew Murray from the Communist Party of Britain, and Alan Woods from Socialist Appeal. It was chaired by Joy McCready, a member of Left Unity.

Comments

Submitted by LM on Tue, 10/06/2014 - 14:29

Hey Dan,

As you say, you weren't at the meeting. I don't remember anyone trying too hard to stop the hecklers but maybe they did - fine, good on them. From where I was sitting, most of the hecklers seemed to be members of the British left and many of them were selling the Morning Star afterwards so I stand by my comment about the degenerate culture.

Most of the platform speakers emphasised the role of fascists in the Ukranian government but said nothing about the Eurasian Russian nationalist mysticism of many of the leading figures in the separatist movement (of more here) and when I pointed this out, I was denounced by members of the audience for believing the bourgeois press.

Apologies if I have misunderstood Workers Power's and the campaigns formal position but, from my memory and notes, the tone and content of the speeches at the meeting did not communicate a position along the lines of the one you have spelt out above. Given that there was such a one-sided emphasis on the character of the Kiev government, support for the annexation of the Crimea, much explaining away of the motives of the Russian government, and virtually nothing about the reactionary character of the leadership of the Donetsk and Luhansk movements, I think "useful idiots" is rather mild for a campaign that weeks to promote such a distorted view of events in Ukraine amongst the wider labour movement.

The article was a sketch of a meeting, not an exhaustive report, and not an elaboration of our programme. I agree that there is a lot to be said about the role of the US, the IMF reforms etc and that I should have said more but the article was seeking to counter-balance the narrative at the meeting so that is why the emphasis was elsewhere.

Good that there has been an emphasis on independent working-class action in conversations you've had but, again, that was not the focus of the meeting - in fact, it was barely mentioned. Let's see how it develops.

I think a large part of what the UK left can do is, first and foremost, try and find out what is actually going on and provide a source of reliable information for people trying to get to grips with the situation by translating and promoting the work of comrades in Ukraine; explain the situation to people in a way which propagates a socialist position on ideas of independent working-class action, imperialism and national self-determination; and raise money and support for the left in Ukraine trying to establish a "third pole" against the oligarchs on both sides.

Submitted by AWL on Tue, 10/06/2014 - 15:15

This kind of initiative, organised by the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign, seems like one of the ways forward. See here.

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Working-class history at Ideas for FreedomMatthewWed, 04/06/2014 - 11:29

The AWL believes that socialist organisations must be the “memory of the working class”. A big part of our job is to preserve, rediscover, discuss and spread the lessons and inspiration of past struggles, victorious and defeated.

Our annual event, Ideas for Freedom (3-6 July), will include many discussions on working-class history, with a focus on the First World War and the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike.

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Kool-Aid or truth?MatthewWed, 04/06/2014 - 11:17

Since 23 May, debate has raged among economists about an attempt by journalists on the Financial Times to refute the claim by Thomas Piketty, in his best-seller Capital in the 21st Century, that wealth inequality is rising and likely to continue to rise in the USA and Europe.

Most economists, even quite conservative ones, reckon that Piketty has come best out of the row.

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Traditional valuesMatthewWed, 04/06/2014 - 11:08

Like millions of British television viewers, I have had many weekday evenings ruined by Kirstie Allsopp, self-satisfied co-presenter of the achingly tedious property programme “Location, Location, Location”.

Allsopp has recently taken to the Telegraph to advise young women on how to plan their careers. She advises women against going to university as a waste of valuable time — they should instead go to work straight after school, meaning they can meet a “nice boyfriend” and “have a baby by the time you’re 27.”

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Anger is not enoughMatthewWed, 04/06/2014 - 11:06

In the left’s comment on UKIP “surge” there is much about the anger and disenchantment with mainstream politics.

It is true that there is an understandable revulsion against the politicians and parties whose policies and ideology accelerated the effects of the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s.

Tom Walker talks about that anger in his article for Left Unity.

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One million out on 10 July?MatthewWed, 04/06/2014 - 11:00

Over one million workers could join a strike on 10 July against the public sector pay freeze.

A set-piece confrontation between public sector trade unions and the government could help reignite wider resistance to the Coalition, and galvanise workers’ confidence.

The National Union of Teachers already has a legal ballot mandate and says it will join a 10 July strike. The Fire Brigades Union is another possible participant.

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