Editor's Choice

The birth of the Labour Party and the right to strike

In Solidarity 539 (18 March), I told the story of Labour’s rise and drew lessons for rebuilding independent working-class politics – as opposed to Lib-Lab-type “progressive” politics – today.

One aspect I’d like to explore further: how in its first years Labour grew out of, built and led a successful fight to overturn legal anti-strike restrictions and assert workers’ right to strike. That also has lessons for today.

Reply to 66 Old New Leftists who urge support for Biden

A large group of people who had been prominent in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) [in the 1960s have] written an open letter about the importance of supporting Joe Biden [for US president]... They tell us “this is an all hands on deck moment,” and that supporting Joe Biden in order to defeat Donald Trump “is our high moral and political responsibility”.

The letter of the sixty-six appeals to the lessons of history, which I think is always a good idea. What they do with history, however, strikes me as selective and superficial.

The AWL and fake news

Every few months individuals and small groups of Labour Party members on Twitter organise tweets accusing us of all sorts. Some of the social media agitation builds on a real historical incident, but one which was not in reality as described in that agitation. We responded and reflected on that incident in 2018. We are open to dialogue and discussion on any concerns about that. However much of the agitation is pure invention.

Why and how the left has shifted on Israel

Susie Linfield, author of The Lions’ Den: Zionism and the Left, talked with Martin Thomas from Solidarity.

Many of the eight writers you analyse had their thinking on Israel shaped by Stalinism. But you don’t mention Stalinism.

That was most true of Maxime Rodinson. He was a Stalinist, and even after he left the Communist Party, he remained a Stalinist. Then in some ways he substituted what he called the Arab Revolution for the Soviet Union.

The Crimean Tatars, Crimea, and Turkey

Conditions are bad for the Crimean Tatar community in Crimea, under Russian rule since Putin annexed Crimea in 2014.

No Crimean Tatar organisations are able to operate. The sixteen Crimean Tatar language schools have all been closed. The Crimean Tatar library has been shut down. The Crimean Tatar university (Tavriva) has had to move to Kiev.

The Crimean Tatar TV channel has been taken over by the Russian authorities. Of the three Crimean Tatar newspapers, two have been shut down, and one is now run by the Russian authorities.

When the Morning Star justified racism

Picture: Georges Marchais, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of France

On 15 January, 1981, the Morning Star, the daily paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain, once called the Daily Worker, had a fine front page article denouncing a proposed Tory anti-immigration law.

Straight to target: the “Nationality Bill”, it told its readers, is a racist Bill. That is why immigrant groups are vigorously opposing it, and why the broad labour movement must fight it too.

Lebanon’s revolt against oligarchic sects

Joey Ayoub, a Lebanese writer and participant in the protests, talked on the phone with Daniel Randall from Solidarity. This is what he had to say.

The movement started on 17 October, hence it’s being called “The 17 October Revolution”.

That day was very much a straw that broke the camel’s back; the consequences of some natural disasters, such as wildfires on 14 October, had piled social misery on a number of disastrous policies, and led to a widespread revolt.

Neurodiversity at work: a social model

Fatima’s autism makes her hypersensitive to bright lights, so she can’t work in our office, poor thing.

Or: The bright lights in our office make Fatima distressed as she is autistic and unusually sensitive to light. She can work here if we turn them down.

Ed’s dyspraxia makes him so clumsy that he is a danger at work.

Or: The workplace is arranged in a way that is dangerous to Ed, who is dyspraxic, and to other workers.

Faryal is dyscalculic and cannot be trusted with people’s money, so she cannot possibly work in the finance department.

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