Solidarity 414, 31 August 2016

Support Ritzy cinema workers

Two years after a prominent series of 13 one day strikes at the Ritzy Picturehouse Cinema in Brixton, The Ritzy workers are set to strike again. The strike ballot result is annonced today with union reps expecting a strong mandate to strike.

The previous strikes garnered national press attention, won a large pay rise to £9.10ph. All gained in return for a two year no strike agreement, which has now expired.

Industrial news in brief


Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

A recent survey of workers at Lambeth Council, south London, conducted by the Unison union uncovered high levels overwork, stress and anxiety among staff, following years of job cuts. The survey found that 56% of staff do not feel that they can continue at the council unless workloads improve.

Not-so-liberal commentariat


John Cunningham

Although I’ve never had had warm feelings towards the media, I also dislike the tendency to blame the media for every ill or woe in the world; it just doesn’t work like that. The media isn’t all bad all the time.

Trotsky’s criteria for a workers’ state


Martin Thomas

In a thorough study of Trotsky’s writings about bureaucratism and bureaucracy in Russia from 1917 to 1936, US socialist Thomas Twiss has shown that Trotsky’s conceptions changed as he grappled with the unexpected evolutions of the state.

Connolly and the First World War

Part 11 of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.

In March 1914, Asquith made his new and final proposal on Home Rule, putting forward a scheme whereby the Ulster counties could exclude themselves from the new Irish constitution. It was supposed to be a temporary exclusion, for six years, but a general election in the interim delivering a Tory majority could make it permanent.

Labour’s leadership contest and after



The political movement around Jeremy Corbyn is part of a global context which also includes the Sanders movement in America, the rise of Syriza and Podemos in Greece and Spain, and, in earlier and more ephemeral forms, the Spanish Indignados movement and the Occupy movements across the world. On the right, the Trump movement, the rise of Ukip, and “Brexit”, are also expressions of some of the same phenomena: the effects of capitalist globalisation, long-term neo-liberal economic policy, and specifically the 2007/8 crash.


I really enjoyed reading Laura Rogers’ presentation on Trident (Solidarity 412) which powerfully and evocatively set out the class based case against nuclear weapons.

Despite or perhaps because growing up in the Cold War, I was never an instinctive unilateralist or a moral disarmer. Probably I was naïve, but I never felt I was living in constant fear of a nuclear holocaust. I never believed the Russians ever had any intention of invading Western Europe. My argument against nuclear weapons was and is more objective.

Stop the purge, transform Labour

A letter to John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn:

Dear Jeremy and John,

Comrades: There now seem to be scores of Party officials trawling through Labour members’ and supporters’ social media accounts, going back for years, looking for “evidence” to prevent Corbyn supporters from voting in the leadership election. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, have been barred.

GCSEs: a pointless misery

Every year, the media report on GCSE and A-level results and how they compare to previous years. Then they forget about until the next August. For students and school workers, however, GCSEs are a constant source of bewildering misery.

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