Solidarity 381, 21 October 2015

Oppose tax credit cuts!


Lizzie Brooks

George Osborne has announced a new wave of cuts to tax credits, to be implemented in April 2016.

The income threshold for Working Tax Credits, currently £6,420, will be cut to £3,850 per year. Those earning over £3,850 will see their payments considerably reduced.

The income threshold for those claiming Child Tax Credits will go down from £16,105 to £12,125. Tax credits will also taper at a much faster rate. For every £1 over the income threshold individuals earn, they will lose 48p of their tax credits, up from 41p.

Far right surge in Swiss election


Sebastian Osthoff

On 18 October Swiss voters elected new representatives for the two chambers of the Swiss parliament.

Though there has to be a second round of elections for the smaller chamber of parliament, the Council of States, the results are clear. As was generally predicted the right wing nationalist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) won the most votes, increasing its share of votes to 29.4%.

Industrial news in brief


Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens and Gemma Short

Rank-and-file London Underground workers’ bulletin Tubeworker is calling for Tube unions to reinstate industrial action in disputes over jobs, pay, and Night Tube.

Tube bosses derailed negotiations by restating a pay offer unions had already rejected.

The RMT’s pay claim is for a four-day, 32-hour week for all grades and a pay rise that keeps pace with increases in the cost of living.

Unions previously suspended strikes after 24-hour running (“Night Tube”) was deferred, but with talks faltering, many activists are calling for a return to action.

FE strikes on 10 November


Gemma Short

Workers in Further Education colleges will strike on Tuesday 10 November as bosses impose a pay freeze.

UCU members in Further Education voted 74% in favour of strikes after the Association of Colleges rejected the union′s claim for a £1 per hour pay rise. Unison members also voted to reject the pay freeze, voting by 95% in favour of strikes.

The Rosa Luxemburg I met as a student


Antoinette Konikow

Antoinette Konikow was a Ukrainian-born American socialist, and a founding member of the Communist Party USA. She was expelled from the Communist Party in 1928 for being a Trotskyist, and remained active as such until her death in 1946. In this article, Konikow describes Rosa Luxemburg, with whom she studied in Zurich.

Árpád Göncz: 1922 – 2015


John Cunningham

Sometimes being worthy, decent and honest isn’t enough.

Although at the time I moved in slightly more elevated circles than I do now, in the nine years I lived in Hungary I never met Árpád Göncz, Hungarian President for ten years in the nineties, who died on 6 October.

Physical force feminism


Cathy Nugent

Suffragette retells the story of the early 20th century movement for women’s suffrage from the point of view of East London laundry worker Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan).

Maud is gradually drawn into the movement, as she tries to make sense of childhood trauma and overcome the grim restrictions of wage slavery. The film shows a selection of historical events in the year or so leading up to Emily Wilding Davison’s “sacrificial act”, stepping in front of King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby in June 1913.

Six lessons from Greece

Greece has been one of the countries worst affected by the economic slump since 2008. It has also been where left-wing responses to the slump have been strongest.

Lesson one: industrial action alone does not provide an adequate working-class answer to capitalist crisis. Greece has had over twenty general strikes since 2009. They have been important as gestures, as rallying calls, as signals, and in galvanising social forces which Syriza later benefited from. But they have not won anything.

We need to make our unions effective

Rachel Mullen, a young activist in the Bakers Food and Allied Workers’ Union and a delegate to Labour Party conference, spoke to Solidarity.

I work for Greggs, in one of their shops, in Gateshead. I became a shop steward five years ago, when I was 20. I work in the same branch as my mum, and she helped me get involved in the union.

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