Solidarity 414, 31 August 2016

Support Ritzy cinema workers

Submitted by Matthew on 31 August, 2016 - 1:54

Two years after a prominent series of 13 one day strikes at the Ritzy Picturehouse Cinema in Brixton, The Ritzy workers are set to strike again. The strike ballot result is annonced today with union reps expecting a strong mandate to strike.

The previous strikes garnered national press attention, won a large pay rise to £9.10ph. All gained in return for a two year no strike agreement, which has now expired.

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Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 31 August, 2016 - 1:41 Author: Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

A recent survey of workers at Lambeth Council, south London, conducted by the Unison union uncovered high levels overwork, stress and anxiety among staff, following years of job cuts. The survey found that 56% of staff do not feel that they can continue at the council unless workloads improve.

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Trotsky’s criteria for a workers’ state

Submitted by Matthew on 31 August, 2016 - 12:47 Author: Martin Thomas

In a thorough study of Trotsky’s writings about bureaucratism and bureaucracy in Russia from 1917 to 1936, US socialist Thomas Twiss has shown that Trotsky’s conceptions changed as he grappled with the unexpected evolutions of the state.

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Connolly and the First World WarMatthewWed, 31/08/2016 - 12:24

Part 11 of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.

In March 1914, Asquith made his new and final proposal on Home Rule, putting forward a scheme whereby the Ulster counties could exclude themselves from the new Irish constitution. It was supposed to be a temporary exclusion, for six years, but a general election in the interim delivering a Tory majority could make it permanent.

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Labour’s leadership contest and after

Submitted by Matthew on 31 August, 2016 - 12:05 Author: Editorial

The political movement around Jeremy Corbyn is part of a global context which also includes the Sanders movement in America, the rise of Syriza and Podemos in Greece and Spain, and, in earlier and more ephemeral forms, the Spanish Indignados movement and the Occupy movements across the world. On the right, the Trump movement, the rise of Ukip, and “Brexit”, are also expressions of some of the same phenomena: the effects of capitalist globalisation, long-term neo-liberal economic policy, and specifically the 2007/8 crash.


Submitted by Jason Schulman on Thu, 01/09/2016 - 04:00

Unless this transformation of the labor movement is also occuring in much of the rest of Europe, how long could a workers' government in Britain possibly last? Given the global market, wouldn't it end up governing in the interests of capitalism even if its officials didn't form a government with the intent of doing so?

And why argue exclusively for radical economic reform? Shouldn't there also be radical reform of the British state -- abolition of the House of Lords, of the monarchy, etc.?

Submitted by AWL on Wed, 07/09/2016 - 09:12

How long would a workers' government in Britain last without significant working-class upheaval, and other workers' governments, across Europe? Not long at all. So, we agree on that.

And we have made it clear elsewhere that we believe the labour movement should take up "constitutional" questions and argue for a federal republic.

Submitted by Jason Schulman on Wed, 07/09/2016 - 14:32

Can you please point me to where you've taken this issue up? Thanks.

Submitted by AWL on Mon, 12/09/2016 - 02:49

Our article "The cause of labour is still the hope of the world: what the working-class movement can do to regroup", written in the immediate aftermath of the Tory general election victory in May 2015, argues that socialists should advocate: "Democratic reform; abolish the monarchy and the House of Lords; for a democratic federal republic of England, Scotland, and Wales (loosely federated with a united Ireland), with constituent assemblies elected by proportional representation."

It also says:

"The labour movement cannot challenge nationalism in Scotland by counterposing the de facto nationalism of support for the status quo. We must pose our own, progressive alternative to the current union: a democratic federal republic, with open borders. This must be part of a wider anti-racist push that makes the tough, currently-unpopular arguments against immigration controls and seeks to develop an internationalist working-class identity based on mutual solidarity.

A campaign for democratic and constitutional reform that is republican, anti-racist, and internationalist can resolve legitimate aspirations for greater self-determinations without leading us down the blind alley of nationalism, on either 'side'."

And here's an article, from 2012, on the abolition of the monarchy.

Submitted by Jason Schulman on Mon, 12/09/2016 - 21:34

Thank you for the excerpts and links.

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LettersMatthewWed, 31/08/2016 - 11:49

I really enjoyed reading Laura Rogers’ presentation on Trident (Solidarity 412) which powerfully and evocatively set out the class based case against nuclear weapons.

Despite or perhaps because growing up in the Cold War, I was never an instinctive unilateralist or a moral disarmer. Probably I was naïve, but I never felt I was living in constant fear of a nuclear holocaust. I never believed the Russians ever had any intention of invading Western Europe. My argument against nuclear weapons was and is more objective.

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Stop the purge, transform Labour

Submitted by Matthew on 31 August, 2016 - 11:37

A letter to John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn:

Dear Jeremy and John,

Comrades: There now seem to be scores of Party officials trawling through Labour members’ and supporters’ social media accounts, going back for years, looking for “evidence” to prevent Corbyn supporters from voting in the leadership election. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, have been barred.

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GCSEs: a pointless misery MatthewWed, 31/08/2016 - 11:28

Every year, the media report on GCSE and A-level results and how they compare to previous years. Then they forget about until the next August. For students and school workers, however, GCSEs are a constant source of bewildering misery.

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