Solidarity 403, 4 May 2016

Aleppo under siege

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 12:58

Simon Nelson

In an interview with the Observer (1 May), Brita Haji Hasan, the head of the Aleppo City Council, highlighted the dramatic decline in the Syrian city’s population. He said, “In 2013 there were two million people in and around the city… there are 400,000 right now.”

The semi-siege like conditions that Aleppo is now under expose the sham of the so called “ceasefire” that was negotiated with the supposed support of all sides — US, Russia and Assad. The Geneva discussions which “achieved” the cessation of hostilities have brought little benefit to Aleppo.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura has said

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 12:53

Ollie Moore, Darren Bedford and Alice Bolton

Train guards on Southern in the RMT union are set for further strikes after talks between RMT and Southern bosses collapsed.

Workers are fighting the extension of “Driver Only Operation”, and resisting the de-skilling of the role of the guard, which the union says will have dire consequences for passenger service and safety on what are already some of Britain’s most overcrowded rail routes.

Workers struck on 26 April, and further strikes are planned for 10-11 and 12-13 May. Southern management have conducted an intense campaign of bullying and intimidation against their staff, threatening to

Unison’s rotten pay deal

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 12:43

Simon Nelson

Unison members were shocked, or would have been shocked had they found the news buried on the Unison website (27 April), to find the Union has gone against the recommendation for strike action from the 2016/18 pay consultation and accepted the employers’ derisory offer.

Once again accepting a two-year pay deal, meaning a rise of just 1% on the majority of spinal points, shows a complete capitulation without a fight. Former General Secretary candidate and head of Unison′s local government section Heather Wakefield said: “Having talked to members in local government across England, Wales and

Pushing Labour on council cuts

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 12:37

Jill Mountford

Momentum has been operating on the basis of regional delegate meetings (or, in at least one case, a mass members’ meetings) which send policy and elect representatives to the National Committee (NC).

On 30 April, London groups sent delegates to the second London region gathering. It was, overall, a positive and productive meeting. Summary of what was agreed (all good things):

• Election of a nine-person provisional London steering committee

• A London Momentum conference, open to all members, in August

• Coordinated London campaigning against council cuts

• A motion to the NC calling for

Uniting the Dublin socialists

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 12:02

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

When Connolly arrived in Dublin in May 1896 he had his work cut out for him. The situation for the working-class was even worse than in Edinburgh. Overcrowding and tuberculosis were rife, and the city had the fifth highest recorded death rate in the world.

To make matters worse, despite the creation of the Irish Trades Union Congress (ITUC) in 1894, the labour movement had largely been untouched by the wave of New Unionism across the water. It was dominated by cautious craft unions based in luxury goods industries

Livingstone, Labour and Anti-Semitism

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 11:46

Sean Matgamna

On one level the sudden media outcry about Ken Livingstone’s anti-semitism is being used and fed by the Labour right, especially the stupid part of the right — and, of course, the Tories — to sabotage the Labour Party in the London mayoral and other local government elections and to discredit Jeremy Corbyn.

Livingstone has been what he is now for decades. He was the same Livingstone when the Blairite right took him back into the Labour Party, in 2004, after his 2000-4 term as London mayor. The bigger truth, however, is that, whatever their motives, those who cry out against Livingstone’s

Don’t let the Tories recover!

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 11:27


A rising mood that cuts are not inevitable, a rising anger against economic inequality, and a rising confidence that alternatives are possible, has damaged the Tories in recent months.

Ian Duncan Smith resigned, demagogically spilling the truth that the Tories have been victimising the worst-off to benefit the rich. That was one of the side-products of the Tories’ splits over Europe, which have seen Tory right-wingers suddenly “discovering” that the NHS is underfunded and suggesting Britain’s EU budget contributions could fill the gap.

The Tories were forced to retreat on disabled benefits.

Letter: No socialist content in Hungary

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 11:22

John Cunningham

Gemma Short is quite right in her comments on Steve Bloom’s review of The Two Trotskyisms (Solidarity 402): the nationalisations in Eastern Europe had no socialist content.

I lived in Hungary from 1991 to 2000 and in this time became acquainted with the giant Ózd steelworks complex near the border with Slovakia. I hasten to add that I never, unfortunately, visited the steelworks, but I knew a documentary filmmaker, Tamás Almási, who made a series of films on the workers there and their experience of going through privatisation and finally the closure of the works.

In all Almási made eight

When anti-Zionism and anti-semitism are the same

Published on: Wed, 04/05/2016 - 11:18

Dan Katz

Dan Katz compares the Socialist Worker Party′s position on the Livingstone anti-semitism row to what we say.

SWP: Anti-Zionism and anti-semitism are not the same thing.

AWL: Not necessarily the same; but quite often they are. The anti-Zionists who carry placards equating Israel with Nazi Germany are anti-semitic. The anti-Zionists who oppose Israel by picketing “Jewish” shops like Marks and Spencers are anti-semitic. The anti-Zionists who complain about Zionist-led media are anti-semitic. And the anti-Zionists who pick on Israeli Jews — uniquely — as a people without the right to a state are

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