Solidarity 363, 6 May 2015

Baltimore: the violence of capitalism

Submitted by Matthew on 6 May, 2015 - 9:15

“This city has looked like it had a riot since I was born,” Baltimore resident Vashti Presco said. “It wasn’t rebuilt after 1968, even though other cities had worse riots. That drugstore is probably never going to get rebuilt.”

Protests in Baltimore since the killing by police of Freddie Gray have been labelled as riots in the media. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has condemned those involved as “criminals” and “thugs”. President Obama condemned the protesters’ violence.

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Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 6 May, 2015 - 9:08 Author: Gemma Short

Workers at Barnet council struck on 30 April and 1 May in a dispute over outsourcing up to 80% of jobs.

Workers in all areas of the council apart from schools joined the strike, and a 50-strong picket line was held at North London Business Park, where many council offices are housed. On 1 May, strikers joined the central London May Day march after picket lines in the morning.

If the council does not move, a second phase of strikes will follow on Thursday 21 May and Friday 22 May, and a third on Monday 1 June and Tuesday 2 June.

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We need school worker unity!

Submitted by Matthew on 6 May, 2015 - 8:54

At this year’s NUT conference the Local Associations National Action Campaign (LANAC) used its bulletin to open a discussion about whether we should be in favour of a single teachers’ union.

It is excellent that debate was carried in the bulletin. It is exactly the sort of discussion we need within LANAC as we fight to strengthen and build the organisation. However there was a different viewpoint missing from the debate.

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AWL celebrates May Day

Submitted by Matthew on 6 May, 2015 - 8:41

The week of May Day 2015 (27 April-3 May) was busy for Workers’ Liberty in London.

South London AWL was involved in organising three events — a film showing about migrants and health services in Greece as part of the Save Lewisham Hospital (SLH) campaign, a debate on the left and the general election and another film showing, of ‘Still the Enemy Within’.

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Hating Tories and other poems

Submitted by AWL on 5 May, 2015 - 6:35 Author: Rosalind Robson

Many of Janine’s poems are, as she says, all about “venting her spleen on the poetic stage”. For this Workers’ Liberty member, socialist-feminist, trade unionist, spoken-word performer, every day has to be a day for hating the Tories.

Here are the worst excesses, vanities and unthinking elitism of Tory politicians, vilified and poked fun at:

“Shall I compare thee to a winter’s day?

Thou art more cold and more intemperate...”

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1945: the war ends in Europe

Submitted by AWL on 5 May, 2015 - 6:32 Author: Albert Glotzer

When World War Two ended in Europe, 70 years ago on 8 May 1945, the USA came out of it with an industrial and economic dominance such as no power had ever had before.

The US bourgeoisie and its allies also faced a surge of working-class radicalism and national liberation struggles which would include, in 1946-7 in the USA, a larger strike wave than any known before.

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Britain's New Corruption

Submitted by AWL on 5 May, 2015 - 6:26 Author: Pat Yarker

“Old Corruption has passed away, but a new, and entirely different, predatory complex occupies the State... with its interpenetration of private industry and the State... its control over major media of communication, its blackmail by the City, its reduction of the public sector to subordinate roles, and its capacity to dictate the conditions within which a Labour Government must operate...”

E P Thompson, “The Peculiarities of the English”, 1965.

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Green Party says “consume less” not “nationalise energy”

Submitted by AWL on 5 May, 2015 - 6:22 Author: Todd Hamer

The Greens’ proposals on energy involve phasing out fossil fuel and nuclear power and promoting renewables through a number of changes to the subsidy and tax regime. There is no opposition to private ownership of energy production.

It is odd given their opposition to privatisation of the NHS and railways. If they ever won political power, then the plan is for their government to act as green consumer par excellence, creating incentives to persuade private industry to go green while preaching frugality to the masses.

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