Solidarity 460, 31 January 2018

Deliveroo strikes go global

Published on: Thu, 01/02/2018 - 09:23

Gemma Short

Deliveroo workers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong have all been on strike in recent weeks.

Deliveroo workers in Hong Kong stopped work on Monday 22 January and protested at Deliveroo′s Hong Kong office. Deliveroo in Hong Kong had previously paid workers by the hour rather than by delivery, giving them a stable and predictable salary.

Workers had previously set the hours they were available for work and would be paid for those hours, apart from a meal break. However Deliveroo plans to change the system so that they can decide how many workers are needed at a time, reducing

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 13:29

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens, Michael Elms, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

Lecturers strike over pensions

Staff at 61 universities have voted to strike in a dispute over pensions, beginning on 22 February.

University bosses want to remove guaranteed pension provision, in favour of a “defined contribution” scheme where the eventual pay-out is dependent on performance of investments. Staff face losing up to £200,000 over the course of retirement.

The ballot achieved a 58% turnout nationwide with an impressive 88% vote for action. The universities involved are primarily the older “pre-92” universities, and the affected workers are academic and academic-related staff

Corbyn: transwomen welcome on all-women shortlists

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 13:23

Gemma Short

On the Andrew Marr show on Sunday 28 January, Jeremy Corbyn affirmed that “the position of the party is that where you have self-identified as a woman, then you are treated as a woman.”

Although the NEC is yet to make a formal announcement, it is expected that it will affirm that transwomen can self-define in order to stand on all-women shortlists and in women’s sections of the Labour Party, and will not be asked to have a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Corbyn′s position is correct, and his statement is a welcome affirmation of what had been the norm for transwomen in the Labour Party before

NEC intervenes on HDV

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 13:20

Simon Nelson

In a motion moved by Jim Kennedy from Unite, the Labour NEC has called on Haringey Council to reconsider the Haringey Development Vehicle, a plan to sell off £2bn of public land and form a private partnership with blacklist developer Lendlease to build 6,400 homes.

The intervention of the NEC has been deeply controversial on the right of the party, who have condemned intervention from, as one Haringey Cabinet member put it, “the politburo” into the affairs of the local council. The move is unusual, but so are the circumstances of the council’s plan. There are currently 22 sitting councillors

The newspapers’ film

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 13:16

Simon Nelson

Simon Nelson reviews The Post, in cinemas now

Steven Spielberg’s film was designed to win Oscars. With big name actors, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, this could have been an exciting story about press freedom and government cover-ups, and a positive message of the good side winning against the bad and dishonest.

It is the story of the 1971 Pentagon Papers. Utterly shocking when first the New York Times, then the Washington Post and others papers published them, they documented the US policy in Vietnam since the Second World War. How US’s secretive interventions had backed up the vicious Diem

Overcoming markets

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 13:09

Martin Thomas

Yanis Varoufakis: Talking to my daughter about the economy: a brief history of capitalism (Bodley Head 2017)

Yanis Varoufakis, the Athens professor of economics who was finance minister for the first five months of the Syriza government in Greece, resigned when Syriza complied with international capitalist diktats, and now leads the Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM), has written a good plea for socialism. The book is due out in paperback in July.

The coming era, he argues, “will be typified by the momentous clash between two opposing proposals: ‘Democratise everything!’ versus “Commodify

Raymond Williams: thirty years on

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 13:06

John Cunningham

January 2018 marks thirty years since the death of Raymond Williams, the writer, theoretician and critic.

In the 60s and 70s Williams’ star shone brightly in the intellectual firmament of the left. It has faded somewhat since. Unjustly so in my opinion, for there is still much to be learnt from the writings of this son of a Welsh railway worker who became one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of his generation, much to the chagrin no doubt of many of his colleagues at Cambridge University, where Williams graduated and was to spend all his life as a lecturer.

Perhaps, ironically, it is

Learning the lessons of the Labour left

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 12:57

Will Sefton

A Party with Socialists in it: a History of the Labour Left (Pluto Press 2018) by Simon Hannah.

Clarion editor Simon Hannah has produced a well written and concise history of the Labour left from the party’s inception through to the present day.

In 270 pages the book deals with over 120 years of history in quick-fire fashion. It is a useful resource for people on Labour’s Marxist and reformist left. It the first book to try to describe the contradictions and struggles of the Labour left as it enters a phase where a lifelong backbench rebel and obscure Labour left activist could become Prime

Tax the rich to build social housing

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 12:46

Ken Worthington, Mol Konits, George Russell and Hilary Jones

Homelessness is on the rise in the UK. By end of 2016, the official underestimate was 4,134 people sleeping rough on the streets of the UK.

The figure has doubled since 2010 and is a 16% increase on 2015. The housing campaign Shelter estimates 300,000 people sleeping rough or in temporary or overcrowded accommodation, a 13,000 increase on 2016.

Further tens of thousands are sofa surfing or staying with friends in tense conditions.

By the end of 2017, 79,190 households were in temporary accommodation, a 17% increase on 2015, and a 59% increase on 2010.

Since 2010 the number of government-funded

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