Solidarity 403, 4 May 2016

Aleppo under siege

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 12:58 Author: 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.

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Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 12:53 Author: 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.

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Unison’s rotten pay deal

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 12:43 Author: 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.

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Pushing Labour on council cuts

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 12:37 Author: 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

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Uniting the Dublin socialists

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 12:02 Author: 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.

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Livingstone, Labour and Anti-Semitism

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 11:46 Author: 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.


Submitted by Matthew on Wed, 04/05/2016 - 13:27

Whatever you think the solution to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is - a single, secular state, two states, a binational federation - it is not anti-semitic to think that the partition of British Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1948 was a mistake and it would have better for both peoples if it had not happened, as it would have if India and Ireland had not been partitioned by Britain.

Submitted by Jason Schulman on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 04:01

Sadly, we can't build time machines and prevent such mistakes from ever having happened. There are a hell of a lot of things wrong with Israel. But Israel can no more be abolished than other, earlier colonial-settler states -- from the U.S. to Australia -- can be abolished. The struggle is to (for want of a better word) normalize such states to remove them of their ethnocratic and racist aspects.

Barry Finger is very good on this:…

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Don’t let the Tories recover!

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 11:27 Author: Editorial

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.

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Letter: No socialist content in Hungary

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 11:22 Author: 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.

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When anti-Zionism and anti-semitism are the same

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 11:18 Author: 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.


Submitted by John D on Tue, 11/10/2016 - 20:58

I've commented before on the common experience of left-wing "debates" on Palestine/Israel/Zionism/Anti-Semitism being scheduled for Friday evenings, Passover evening, and such. Bit of a waste of time. A lost cause.

What a surprise! (not). Not really worthy of analysis. Honest. Really. We get it.

The latest SWP fun-for-all was scheduled for tonight, Tuesday evening.
All welcome! Free speech on the left! Come and have your say!

A debate entitled ‘How Can Palestine be Free?’ was due to be hosted at Manchester University Students Union, before the institution delayed it, citing concerns over a lack of balance in the debate.

"Due to be hosted by the Socialist Worker Student Society within the union building, the event was scheduled to begin at 5.30pm; half-an-hour before Yom Kippur begins."

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