Solidarity 383, 4 November 2015

Why we support union reaffiliation to Labour

Published on: Sun, 08/11/2015 - 10:04

The reaffiliation of unions like the railworkers’ RMT and the firefighters’ FBU to Labour, and new affiliations from never-affiliated unions, could help Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, and the left in our effort to politically and organisationally transform Labour.

Reaffiliation could counter the immense rightwards pressure still weighing on Labour from the MPs, from the party machine, and from the media and the whole society around us.

Argument: “There’s no need to rush into reaffiliation.”

There has already been a kind of “rush” into the Labour Party. Tens of thousands of people, most of

Fight education cuts!

Published on: Wed, 04/11/2015 - 12:29

Kelly Rogers

Students and staff at colleges are fighting cuts, out-sourcing and privatisation.

The 2010 tuition fee hike to £9,000 has meant students graduating this year have debts of £40,000 and upwards. Astronomical international fees mean that non-UK students will be saddled with more than £100,000. Another fee hike is expected in the next few years.

Russell Group universities have been agitating for such a hike, with some calling for uncapped fees. As funding for non-STEM subjects has been dramatically cut, universities are seeking pull in more money through fees. Other universities, such as the

Solidarity with refugees Open the borders!

Published on: Wed, 04/11/2015 - 12:21

Vicki Morris

Refugee flows into Europe from the Middle East and Africa were expected to decline as autumn sets in and sea crossings become more dangerous, but the numbers of people fleeing poverty and war, particularly in Syria, remain very high and are even growing.

UN figures show 218,000 crossed the Mediterranean in October; at least 700,000 have arrived in Europe this year. At least 3,000 have drowned trying to sail to Europe this year; the most recent victims were 11 people who drowned on 1 November when their boat overturned in heavy seas, just 20 metres from the Greek island of Samos. The dead

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 04/11/2015 - 12:14

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

SOAS Unison branch secretary Sandy Nicholl has been suspended from his job, leading to staff and student protests for his reinstatement. Sandy spoke to Solidarity:

SOAS students have been in occupation for over three weeks against threats to cut up to 180 courses, one third of those on offer, as part of a £6.5 million annual cuts package. These cuts could see up to 50 academic jobs going together with a similar number of support staff posts. The students also oppose the proposals by SOAS to sign a new contract extending the outsourcing of the cleaning staff, demanding instead that these mainly

Best fight on the EU terrain

Published on: Wed, 04/11/2015 - 11:51

Elliott Robinson

The British SWP advocates a vote to leave in the forthcoming European Union (EU) referendum with ever-increasing incoherence. Alex Callinicos’ article, “The internationalist case against the European Union” in the latest International Socialism journal (IS 148, 5 October 2015) attempts to give their stance some theoretical weight. In fact the position is neither internationalist, nor a rational case.

Callinicos leaves the arguments about migrants right to the end of his article. He writes: “The left Yes argument is sometimes supported by a rhetorical appeal: how can we justify voting No to

FBU to debate Labour reaffiliation

Published on: Wed, 04/11/2015 - 11:44

Jack Horner

The Corbyn surge could receive an important boost in the next month with the announcement that the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will consider reaffiliation to the Labour Party.

The union’s executive has called a recall conference on 27 November to debate affiliation. The FBU disaffiliated from the Labour Party in 2004 after a bitter pay dispute, where the Blair government intervened aggressively on the side of the employers. A combination of disgust with the disgraceful behaviour of Labour ministers, anti-political sentiment, nationalism in the devolved administrations and plans by some

A living wage for all

Published on: Wed, 04/11/2015 - 11:32


On 25 November chancellor George Osborne will declare his modifications (in response to the House of Lords vote on 26 October) of his tax credit cuts plans. He will do it together with his general annual Spending Review, in which he will announce cuts in other areas.

The tax credit cuts, unmodified, would take around £2000 a year away from a wide range of lower-paid workers with children. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are campaigning against the tax credit cuts. Three weeks remain in which to rally loud-enough protest to force Osborne to make more than minimal adjustments to his cuts.

Greer, “no-platforming” and trans-inclusive feminism

Published on: Wed, 04/11/2015 - 11:28

Students at Cardiff University recently started a petition demanding that Germaine Greer be banned from speaking at the university.

They have, as a result, brought the opposing political perspectives of trans-exclusive radical feminists, and queer and trans activists into the public eye. Greer is rightly criticised for a long history of transphobic remarks, both in her books and in public statements. She has consistently denied that trans women are women, having called trans women a “ghastly parody” of femaleness. “No-platforming” is more and more being adopted as the weapon of choice by

Scottish Labour Conference: Scrap Trident!

Published on: Wed, 04/11/2015 - 11:13

The Scottish Labour Party conference on 31 October-1 November voted overwhelmingly (70/30) against Trident renewal.

Support for Trident renewal was spearheaded by the Community and GMB leaderships. Both argued that nuclear weapons were good for the nation’s defence, and good for jobs. According to Community strategy and policy director John Park: “We are supportive of the nuclear deterrent and of the conventional defence industry.”

Trident renewal was presented by Community as the answer to the crisis in the steel industry! But Community’s stance bordered on pacifism in comparison to

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