Solidarity 480, 3 October 2018

Labour needs a critical left wing

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 12:33

Keith Road

More than 12,000 people attended Labour Party conference 2018, with local parties sending noticeably larger delegations then in previous years. There was less of a focus on Corbyn as “a celebrity”, an improvement, and proceedings involved less political grandstanding. But the level of political debate was still, overall, quite low.

We were told that Corbynism has matured into something that is now “mainstream”. The leadership wants Labour to have profile as a serious “party of government” who can capture the “national mood”. Press coverage seems to agree that Corbyn has partially succeeded in

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 12:04

Ollie Moore, Sacha Ismail, Gemma Short and Patrick Murphy

Drivers on London Underground’s Piccadilly Line brought the line to a standstill with a discontinuous strike across 26-28 September.  The strike saw different shifts of drivers striking across 26-28 September, with Night Tube drivers striking on Friday 28 September.

This was the first strike involving Night Tube workers since the service was launched in 2016.  The strike, organised by the RMT union, was a sequel to one planned for 11-14 July, which was suspended after union reps agreed a last-minute deal with Piccadilly Line bosses. Several activists criticised the suspension, arguing that

“Glasgow Labour has much work to do...”

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 11:54

Ann Field

“Glasgow Labour has much work to do to regain the trust of our communities, and to be given the chance to form an administration again… Over the coming years, Glasgow will face enormous challenges.” That’s what the publicity said for an all-members conference organised last weekend by Glasgow City Council Labour Group.

After 40 years in control of the City Chambers, Labour had gone into opposition after losing last year’s local authority elections. But there was no sign at the conference that the Labour Group understood why it had lost office. In fact this was the after-effect of the suicidal

Canvassers for hire?

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 11:45

Steve Allen

The prolonged debate about “One Member One Vote” (OMOV) within Labour Students flared up again over the summer, as the National Chair removed all mentions of the policy from their social media accounts. It is right to criticise the National Chair for this apparent cover-up, and to criticise their three predecessors who were also elected on platforms to implement OMOV.

A new constitution was adopted at the 2016 “Extraordinary Conference” and ratified at National Council later that year. It included the premise of OMOV, which the National Officers were mandated to deliver. National Officers

The No-Party people

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 11:34

Sean Matgamna

During the 1980s, a lot of people who thought of themselves as Marxists [grew] indifferent or hostile to any project of building a Marxist organisation. This tribe, and it was quite an important component of the Labour left, marched or ambled, in so far as it expressed itself explicitly, under the idea: we will develop the influence of Marxism by promoting left-wing ideas in the existing broad labour movement, trade unions and Labour Party.

No socialist organisation beyond the Labour Party and its coteries and careerist cliques was needed. The existing structures were sufficient. This view

Israel-Palestine: ways to reconciliation

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 11:15

Hussein Agha is senior associate member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and co-author (with Ahmad Samih Khalidi) of A Framework for a Palestinian National Security Doctrine. He has been involved in Palestinian peace negotiations for three decades. We reprint here with permission from Fathom journal, an extract from an interview with Fathom editor Alan Johnson.

HA: Looking back, I have concluded that Oslo was more than anything else an attempt by Israel to resolve its security predicament by making the Palestinians responsible for Israel’s security in the territories and saving Israeli money

The Israel-Palestine debate

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 11:09

Diary of a delegate

As with many things at Labour conference, the setup for debates is at best strange and at worst actively unhelpful. The session on “International issues and Security” covered discussion on the Brexit motion, a motion on Windrush and a motion that dominated the debate on Israel/Palestine.

Prior to the debate Workers’ Liberty activists ran a stall outside the conference centre and The World Transformed to highlight the issues. We argued to back Corbyn’s position for two states in Israel-Palestine, against Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaigning, for direct links and

Why the Labour right praises McDonnell

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 11:03

Chris Reynolds

The social-democratic worthy Will Hutton, in his heyday the chief advocate that Britain can come good by adopting “Rhenish capitalism” on the German model, is happy about Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell's plan for a bit of worker shareownership, as announced at (but not put for debate to) Labour Party conference.

Hutton's praise is sincere, but double-edged if read by socialists.

“Today John McDonnell has crossed a line: by wanting workers as shareholders and represented on boards, he signals that capitalism can be made to work for the common good. His comrades from the 1970s would

Democracy: now dry out the damp squib!

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 10:41

Martin Thomas

Sadly, Luke Akehurst, honcho of the right-wing in the Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), is right about what happened at Labour Party conference on the Democracy Review.

“The Democracy Review was a total damp squib... All the key decisions around youth, student structures and local government have been postponed for a year”.

Some positive changes were made by the shreds which got to conference floor from the Democracy Review or by rule-changes submitted by CLPs. But, three years on from the Corbyn shock, none of the basic structural changes made by Blair's coup in 1994-7 have been reversed

Tories scapegoat migrants

Published on: Wed, 03/10/2018 - 10:33


Despite being castigated and forced into retreat over the “hostile environment” and the Windrush scandal on immigration the Tories are now, as Brexit looms, preparing to betray EU migrants present and future.

They plan a new White Paper on immigration policy. We don't yet know exact details but we do know for certain that it will put the rights of business first and not human need. There will be restrictions on immigration based on skills and wealth.

Currently, any EU national, skilled or “unskilled” can move around Europe to work or to look for work. Under new proposals, visas will only be

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