Solidarity 530, 8 January 2020

"We want a leader who will help ensure the members decide policy"

We are proposing this text as a basis for discussion on the questions activists should raise during the leadership contest. Please post comments or ideas below or email us at awl@workersliberty.org *** We want to make the leadership contest an opportunity to raise the level of political discussion on the left. We call on members and affiliates to press the candidates for clear commitments on continuing the party’s democratisation, above all making conference sovereign; on defending, developing and crucially campaigning for left-wing, pro-working class policies; and on standing up for free...

US-Iran: a clash of imperialisms

The conflict between the USA and Iran in the Middle East which has now flared hot again is a conflict between two imperialisms. They are two different sorts of imperialism. The USA is a world power, Iran, a regional power. The sway of the Iranian state over the oppressed nations within its own borders (Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Baluchis, etc.) is directly political and military. Its less direct sway in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, etc. is also politico-military. Being much less strong economically than US capital, Iranian capital has to rely on such politico-military methods. The USA, for decades...

Hong Kong protesters call for joining unions

The New Year started in Hong Kong with a million strong march, organised by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF). The huge turnout and strength of feeling of the protest marchers, from age 12 to people over 80, was a clear signal to the authorities that the protest movement still has plenty of fight and determination, despite the many thousand arrests since last June. On the march there were many calls on people to join their trade union, which is a very positive development. So far in the six month protest, the only significant successful industrial action has been taken by air traffic...

Sanders and Soleimani

The drone attack ordered by US President Donald Trump has shaken up the entire Middle East, raising fears of a regional conflict – or worse, a world war. But it has also shaken up the Democratic primary, sharpening the differences between Senator Bernie Sanders and all the other candidates. To the extent to which foreign policy has played a role in the Democratic contest so far, it has largely focussed on the past. Sanders is often quick to point out that he opposed the Iraq war, and voted against it, while Biden and other Democrats were cheering George W. Bush on. This echos the 2016 race,...

“No retreat, no truce!” say French strikers

As we go to press, 7 January, the French government is sitting down with the various union federations to discuss the ongoing dispute over its pension “reforms”. The government hopes that a few limited or even cosmetic concessions will be enough to peel away some unions and begin to the mass strikes and protests that have swept France since early December. It is standing firm on its central policy of changing how the level of public-sector pensions is calculated and introducing disadvantages for those who won’t retire later (64, as against 62 now). Many private sector pensions are also tied to...

Oppose Modi's anti-Muslim drive!

Since winning power India in 2014, Nahendra Modi and the BJP have pursued a Hindu-chauvinist agenda. On 12 December the Modi regime passed its Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), building on the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in attempting to remove the rights of many Muslim Indians. Since the CAA passed last month there have been protests across India, not only from Muslims but also from the left and other defenders of India’s secular constitution. Following a ban on all protests in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh (ruled by the BJP but with a 40% Muslim minority), continued...

A weather-vane not a signpost

Any socialist who didn’t feel sick to the stomach on the morning of 13 December has something seriously wrong with them. But the reaction of the Morning Star and its political masters, the Communist Party of Britain went beyond that and verged upon grief and hysteria. Instead of studying the polling evidence for the reasons, they lashed out at the only (supposed) “cause” of defeat they could countenance — Labour Remainers. Their hysteria even involved an element of perverse gloating. The 14-15 December Morning Star used its front page to crow (in large block capitals) that “Remain is Over”,...

Letters

Revolution by stealth I’m surprised that Katy Dollar’s report on the 14 December Labour Transformed conference (Solidarity 529) does not mention the repeated, unpleasant attempts of the organisers to prevent Workers’ Liberty members selling our materials and running a small stall in a corridor. I’m surprised, also, that the report does not mention the organisers’ comments to our members that AWL supporters would not be welcome in the organisation they were setting up, or their silly attempts to demagogically label us as the people who are members of the “democratic centralist organisation in...

"Regrouping the left”

I commend Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) for broaching the difficult, yet important question of how the socialist movement can revive and reinvent itself and offer a genuine alternative to global capitalism against the false choice between neoliberal centrism and right wing ultra-nationalist populism. As the recent general election in the UK has demonstrated there is still a long way to go before anything that resembles a revolutionary movement comes to the fore. Despite the failures of Labour and Syriza, I still think a space is still possible for a new and truly revolutionary left. I...

Make Labour councils centres of resistance!

In the cacophony of post mortems of Labour’s defeat, the role of Labour councils is being overlooked or at least understated. I think that a significant contributor to the erosion of Labour’s base has been councils which cut services, do the bidding of developers, and are generally bureaucratic, unresponsive and inaccessible to working-class people. They are seen as the establishment and are the first political institution that people see affecting their lives negatively. This has contributed to the alienation of Labour from working-class communities, to a loss of the idea that by electing...

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