Solidarity 552, 17 June 2020

Will Forward Momentum continue?

Early on in the creation of Momentum reform group Forward Momentum, its organisers made lot of it being a “time-limited campaign” that would dissolve when the Momentum NCG election was over. We have heard less of that recently, and the rumour is that the key people want the organisation to continue afterwards. Forward Momentum continuing seems to us a double-edged sword. On one hand, having a framework to hold newly elected FM-backed NCG members to account would be a good thing, and it’s hard to see any organisation providing a comparable potential framework. After the election, when time is...

Two faces of Momentum Renewal

In some ways the online rally for the Momentum national coordinating group election held by the Momentum Renewal faction on 10 June gave a good impression. The speakers all sounded properly left-wing, there was talk of class struggle, socialist policies and transforming Momentum, and so on. The first problem is that it was impossible to take any of it seriously. The people running Momentum Renewal have run Momentum since the start of 2017. Funnily enough, they seem only to have discovered there are any problems in the organisation since they decided to run for election in it. If they’re in...

Left pledges in Momentum election

The Uyghur Solidarity Campaign has produced a pledge for those standing for the Momentum and Open Labour national committees (see here), now signed by 14 Momentum and 27 Open Labour candidates. That’s good, but it’s 14 out of 57 Momentum candidates. Obviously the 24 candidates on the Stalinist-influenced Momentum Renewal slate are unlikely to sign – despite their attempts to smear Workers’ Liberty as Islamophobic. Six Forward Momentum candidates have signed so far. The FM candidates who regard the AWL as Islamophobic have not signed. The Labour Campaign for Free Movement has got 20 Momentum...

The labour movement must mobilise against the far right

Far right mobilisations were held in London, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow, Newcastle, and beyond, on 13-14 June, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. In London, thousands of far-right demonstrators took to the streets, ostensibly in defence of memorials and statues. Bristol saw hundreds, perhaps 500, with similar numbers in Leeds and Glasgow. The organisers of the Black Lives Matter demonstration in London called off Saturday’s planned demonstration for this reason. London Anti-Fascist Assembly cancelled their planned counter-demonstration to this far-right threat. Many involved were hit...

Diary of a Tube worker: First day of shops reopened

“So I have to pay now? Since when? How long for?” The first day of the 60+ Oyster Card being excluded from morning peak time travel, is not going well, at least for these passengers. “Beep beep... beep beep...” I look at the gate and “57” flashes up. The code for a ticket or pass not being valid where it is being used. “Is it a 60+ Oyster or Older Persons Freedom Pass”? It is almost all our conversations for the first hours of the day. We all clock-watch till 9am when they become valid again and the questions will stop. “Where are all these people travelling at 5am who are over 60 going to...

Goldsmiths action grows

Fixed term teaching staff have joined the marking boycott at Goldsmiths, started by Associate Lecturers (ALs) and Graduate Trainee Tutors (GTTs). They are also “working to rule”, performing only contractual duties. The college, part of University of London, has been planning cuts since the start of the year and wants to sack 163 academics on fixed term contracts and 309 ALs and GTTs. The college is putting through the sacking by allowing the contracts of these staff to expire. According to research by staff at Goldsmiths, around 75% of those being laid off are from a BME background. That is a...

£3,412 towards £10,000

A donation of £155 from Zack and £50 from Lucy takes us to £3,412, towards our £10,000 target by 22 November. We have seen an increase in sales of our paper and some of our pamphlets at the recent Black Lives Matter demos. All our branches are now thinking of ways to adapt to sales with less cash-handling. You can continue to support us by making donations by bank transfer, by PayPal, or by cheque to our office. (The industrial estate in which our office is sited will soon, we’re told, be open longer hours). We are continuing our programme of online meetings even while the lockdown eases. Zoom...

Dying for sick pay (John Moloney's column)

On Monday 15 June, PCS launched our new campaign, “Dying for Sick Pay”, with an online rally. The demand of this campaign is for equal terms and conditions for outsourced workers, specifically full occupational sick pay from day one. Early on in the pandemic, we secured an agreement with the Cabinet Office that outsourced workers would be paid in full for sickness and self isolation, but on some contracts this simply wasn’t enforced, such as OCS at the Ministry of Justice, where Emanuel Gomes tragically died after working through his symptoms, because he couldn’t afford to live on Statutory...

Black Lives Matter and the labour movement

In this issue of Solidarity, we have excerpts from an interview with West Coast US docks activist Clarence Thomas. Thomas calls for the US labour movement to get serious about challenging police racism and violence. The British labour movement needs to get serious too. Small groups of left activists like Workers’ Liberty aside, trade unions and the Labour Party have largely had no organised presence on the great wave of demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd. This is partly, no doubt, caution in the context of Covid-19; but also a more general passivity that predated the pandemic...

Poll scores won't save jobs

A survey — see here — by manufacturing bosses’ organisation Make UK published on 15 June indicates a big flood of job cuts in the next three months, July to September. They report only 11.7% of firms operating at capacity; 81% vs 39% predicting further falls in output in the next three months; a quarter of firms already having decided on redundancies; and only one-third saying they won’t make redundancies in the coming months. This week, starting 15 June, is the last time for bosses to send out the “HR1” letters required by law for large-scale redundancies if they are to take effect before the...

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