Solidarity 474, 4 July 2018

US socialists challenge Trump

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 14:14

Ira Berkovic

America’s largest socialist organisation, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), has taken a lead in organising radical action in solidarity with migrants and in opposition to the policies of the Trump administration, calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

DSA activists hounded Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen out of a Mexican restaurant with chants of “if kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace”, and its local branches have been organising and supporting “abolish ICE” protests throughout the country. The Metro DC DSA branch organised a

EU fences off refugees

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 14:04

Hugh Edwards

As the leaders of the EU countries on 27-29 June put their names to their “universal accord” on immigration policy, news arrived of another horrific tragedy off the coast of Libya.

A hundred men, women, and children drowned as their rubber boat exploded and they drifted helplessly in waters where NGO rescue ships are now banned by Marco Minniti, Italy’s Minister of the Interior, not in the current right-wing Italian government, but in the previous centre-left one.

Their deaths bring the total in the last months to their highest rate for a long time, despite a significant drop in the numbers

Sheffield Tram Strikes

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 14:03

Charlotte Zalens

Unite members working on the Supertram network in Sheffield will strike on 9 and 12 July in a dispute over pay.

Workers had been offered a 26p per hour pay rise for both this year and next year, which they have rejected.

Over 200 tram drivers and conductors, employed by Stagecoach, took part in the ballot and 91.7% voted for strikes.

Michelle Rodgers for RMT President!

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 14:01

Workers' Liberty supporters in RMT

Workers’ Liberty supporters within RMT are supporting Northern Rail worker Michelle Rodgers in the forthcoming election for the union’s presidency.

Michelle is standing on a platform of “Democracy, Equality, Solidarity”, seeking to ensure that rank-and-file participation and control, and equality are central to the union.

See future issues of Solidarity for more information on the campaign.

RMT AGM shows long way to go on equalities

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 13:23

By an RMT member

The Annual General Meeting of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union (RMT) took place from 24-29 June in Edinburgh.

It was preceded by a Special General Meeting, on 30 May, which debated the question of whether RMT should reaffiliate to the Labour Party, voting by a narrow margin not to reaffiliate.

The AGM passed radical policy on issues like nationalisation of the banks, meaning RMT now joins the Fire Brigades Union  in advocating public ownership of the banks and finance. The motion, submitted by the union’s Bakerloo Line branch, commits RMT to campaigning for any future Corbyn-led Labour

HE pay ballot new test for UCU

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 13:17

By a Cambridge UCU Member

On 29 June, UCU confirmed that, between August and October this year, it will ballot HE members for industrial action over pay.

This follows a consultative members’ ballot on whether to accept the 2% pay rise offered by the Universities and Colleges’ Employers Association (UCEA). On a 47.7% turnout, 82% of UCU members rejected the offer and 65% said they would be prepared to take industrial action.

Additionally, a Special Higher Education Sector Conference (SHESC) was held on 21 June, following requests from at least 20 UCU HE branches to discuss the United Superannuation Scheme (USS) dispute

Labour: dump militarism

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 13:14

Michael Elms

On 25 June, Labour Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith made a speech to the Royal United Services Institute, a think-tank made up of retired generals and military-industrial-complex grandees with well-paid jobs in “strategic intelligence consulting firms” and the like.

You might have hoped that a leader of a radically left-wing Labour Party would have had some hard words for the masters of war. Maybe something about scrapping Trident, nationalising British arms manufacturers, and repurposing the shipyards and factories for socially-useful ends.

Maybe something about taking the 2% of GDP

Sheffield Labour debates Spearmint Rhino

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 13:10

By Geoff Wolf, Sheffield Labour Party, p.c.

On Tuesday 19 June Sheffield City Council Licencing committee held a public meeting to discuss the continuation of the Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licence, which allows the adult entertainment venue Spearmint Rhino to operate in the city.

Throughout the day there were eloquent arguments presented, including a testimony from a worker and her positive experiences of working in the sexual entertainment industry. Many of the opposition arguments were formulated around “the fact that the premises are sited in a residential area” and the Public Sector Equality Duty and gender equality (PSED).

Life and politics in Iraq

Published on: Wed, 04/07/2018 - 13:05

Nadia Mahmood of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq spoke to Solidarity

We boycotted the [Iraqi] elections [of May 2018] with a very active campaign. Now many political parties and candidates in particular those who did no won seats complain that there was corruption.

The Prime Minister says that the vote count was so corrupt that all the votes need to be recounted.

It has been agreed that votes need to be recounted. A new commission formed by nine judges took the responsibility for the recounting, instead of the election commission. Then a storage site housing half of Baghdad’s ballot boxes caught fire, and the government said they had arrested those behind it.

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