Solidarity 505, 8 May 2019

Schools: learning not labelling

Author

Duncan Morrison, Assistant District Secretary, Lewisham NEU (personal capacity)

School worker activists in the National Education Union (NEU) are busily preparing for the consultative ballot about boycotting high stakes summative testing in primary schools. The ballot was decided at the union's conference in April.

The NEU says: "There can be no lasting solution to problems of children’s well-being, teacher workload, curriculum narrowness and teaching to the test unless our assessment system changes.

Guaidó’s big push fails

Author

Eduardo Tovar

Nearly four months into the Venezuelan Presidential crisis, it has come the closest so far to a literal coup dynamic. On the morning of Tuesday 30 April, Juan Guaidó, the self-declared interim President of Venezuela, appeared in a video near a Caracas air base with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who had previously been kept under house arrest. Accompanied by men in military uniforms, Guaidó announced the “final phase of Operation Liberty”, calling on troops and civilians to make a last push against the incumbent President Nicolas Maduro. Protests erupted in the streets.

May Day arrests in Iran

Following a call by four independent labour organisations, Trade Union of the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Union, Coordination Committee for Establishing Labour Organisations and the Retirement Alliance, workers, teachers, students and pensioners demonstrated outside the Iranian regime’s "parliament" on May Day.

The regime’s response was to arrest a large number of demonstrators.

Semenya: a cruel decision

Author

Steff Farley

An abridged version of this appeared in Solidarity505.

I started in athletics as a 15 year old middle distance runner in 2009, meaning Caster Semenya was incredibly formative to me, serving as a huge inspiration and becoming one of my heroes. I watched the Berlin World Championships, so famous for Usain Bolt’s world record display, but while I greatly admired the best sprinter of all time, it was Caster Semenya that made me fall in love with athletics.

Nothing to report?

Author

Keith Road

Since September the CLP (Constituency Labour Party) representatives on Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) have all been broadly on the left, 8 of them supported by Momentum and all 9 by the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.

Making campaign wider?

Author

Mike Zubrowski

Extinction Rebellion, after eleven days of ambitious, disruptive, relatively widespread, and extensively covered actions in their “International Rebellion”, (15-25 April), have moved into a “regenerative, resting phase". They have been celebrating wins so far: media coverage, politicians seeming receptive, changes in public narratives towards recognising the gravity of the situation; reportedly huge expansions of local XR branches.

Hard border: all the fault of the EU?

Author

Jim Denham

A bizarre episode occurred on 1 May in Cork, Ireland. Taoiseach [prime minister] Leo Varadkar was due to speak at a meeting organised by the ruling Fine Gael party as part of its campaign for directly elected mayors. The meeting had to be adjourned for a period when members of the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) – the youth wing of the Communist Party of Ireland - disputed proceedings.

Letters

Let's be honest. Even if Labour had a good line on Brexit, a better leadership, a PLP not out to sabotage it, and all the rest, a majority Labour government will be hard to win. Unless other fronts are opened in the class struggle to break the barriers.

Don’t bail out Tories on Europe!

Author

Editorial

Responding to Tory Brexit minister James Cleverly on the BBC, on 3 May, Labour's Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner said: “You as a Brexit Minister should understand that we are in there [in the Labour-Tory talks on Brexit] trying to bail you guys out".

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