Solidarity 530, 8 January 2020

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 09:01

Ollie Moore

Rail union RMT has begun re-balloting its members on South Western Railway (SWR) for further industrial action to defend the role of the guard. SWR guards concluded a month-long strike on 1 January, and are now re-balloting as the six-month mandate of their current ballot, stipulated by anti-trade union legislation, has now expired.

The new ballot closes on 23 January. If it returns a majority and meets the required thresholds, SWR guards could take further action. No direct negotiations have been held between SWR and RMT since November.

Elsewhere, RMT members on the Tyne and Wear Metro struck

Bushfires burn holes in climate change denial

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 08:51

Janet Burstall and Riki Lane

The current fire season, and drought, in Australia are expected to continue for months.

When the fires do end, rainforests and animal habitats may never regenerate fully, and animal populations may never recover.

The seeds of a socialist political response to climate change might grow out of the opposition to the government, if climate activists can develop a clear set of demands, and broaden support for a just transition.

The world has seen the devastating bushfires in Australia, and the humiliation of Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his failures to lead a government response.

Lowlights for

Letter: a devastating critique of the European Union

Published on: Tue, 07/01/2020 - 18:23

Andrew Northall

John Cunningham’s article Central and Eastern Europe 30 Years On (Solidarity 529) was really interesting and thought provoking.

John’s describes and analyzes how the European Union’s Single Market and the operation of “free movement” led to the devastation of what were once reasonably advanced and self sufficient economies and societies, with the loss of significant proportions of mainly younger, more economically active parts of their populations, and their subjugation as part of the “core-periphery” model to almost semi colonial and exploited status within the EU.

I think this amounts to a

Trotskyism and Stalinism in the Labour Party

Published on: Tue, 07/01/2020 - 18:17

Daniel Randall

A Times article of 21 December reported that Rebecca Long-Bailey had appointed “self-proclaimed Stalinist” Alex Halligan to organise her campaign for the Labour leadership; the article highlighted in particular a badge worn by Halligan appearing to celebrate violence against “Trotskyites”. Then, on 27 December, Owen Hatherley in the Guardian asserted that the anti-Brexit wing of the Labour left is “dominated by members or ex-members of Trotskyist groups”, and referenced Paul Mason's argument that “Stalinists” such as Andrew Murray and Seumas Milne must be “forced out”. Do these terms have any

The most incoherent suicide note in history

Published on: Tue, 07/01/2020 - 17:58

By Dale Street

The "Scottish Labour Open Letter"

The Scottish Labour left has been presented with a new hero of the class struggle: Alison Evison.

Evison is the sole Labour member of Aberdeenshire Council. She is also Deputy Leader of the Council Opposition Alliance (consisting almost entirely of SNP councillors), President of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, and Secretary of the COSLA Labour Group.

At no point in time has Evison, whose multiple roles in local government make her particularly well-placed to do so, ever advocated defiance of the cuts imposed on Scottish local authorities over the

Keir Starmer in Stevenage

Published on: Mon, 06/01/2020 - 08:13

Josh Lovell

Keir Starmer launched his bid to be Labour’s next leader in my constituency (Stevenage) earlier today (5 January). I attended this to get a sense of where Keir is pitching his campaign, and to get a broader understanding of what his vision is for the labour party, the trade union movement, and the country as a whole. As in any type of election, it is crucial to reflect on what was missing from the points made by Starmer, as well as any inconsistencies with his past record.

I should make clear up front that I am not going to be supporting Starmer in this election, and I knew this before

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