Solidarity 488, 5 December 2018

General election and a new vote

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 14:26


Labour is inching back towards the “Remain [in the EU] and Reform” stance it took in the June 2016 referendum, but only inching. The deep discredit of the Tories’ Brexit formula makes it urgent for Labour to switch back fully — and in the meantime for anti¬Brexit Labour people to organise to develop a pro¬Labour, anti-Brexit public profile.

John McDonnell, on Newsnight 21 November, said bluntly that even if the Tories were to let Labour form a minority government now, in terms of the 585¬page withdrawal formula, the subject of the vote on 11 December, “we’re talking about finalising a

Planning a Labour voice against Brexit

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 13:58


The following statement has been endorsed by a number of labour movement activists including Andrew Coates, Sacha Ismail, Kelly Rogers, Julie Ward MEP, Catherine West MP, and Zoe Williams, and includes a proposal to be put to the conference of Another Europe Is Possible on 8 December.

With Theresa May’s deal likely to be defeated in parliament [on 11 December], and a number of key parliamentary blocs losing confidence in the Tory government, we are facing a period of political crisis and upheaval, and a general election looks increasingly possible. As Labour members and supporters, we

“Democracy Brigades” in Brazil

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 13:52

Luiza Xavier

Since the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the second round of Brazil’s presidential election on 28 October — he takes office in January — the resistance has been limited to small initiatives focused on self¬defence of LGBT individuals, or legal representation of activists. Large demonstrations such as those seen after Trump’s election in the US have not happened.

The Workers’ Party (PT) and the PSOL (Socialism and Liberty Party, left split from the PT) have both called meetings of their national leaderships to make plans for the months ahead, and the MTST (movement of homeless

Our conference

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 13:45

Arthur Bunting

Workers’ Liberty opened our annual conference on 24-25 November with a session on the case for building a revolutionary organisation on the lines developed by the Bolsheviks in the period up to and during the revolution they led in 1917.

There is no short-cut to mass support. We have to build up, as the Bolsheviks did, from the basic tasks of developing our press, recruiting people one by one, doing “singlejack” agitation, striving to make our activities more accessible and outwardfacing.

We adopted a long document on Brexit. An amendment about using the policy adopted by Labour

Free Bakhshi and Ghalian

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 13:21

Gerry Bates

Esmail Bakhshi, the jailed union rep of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers in south-west Iran, and Sepideh Ghalian, an activist who has supported the workers, have been badly beaten in prison. After visiting them, their families have reported that both have been tortured and are in serious distress.

Four of the striking Haft Tappeh sugar cane workers in south-west Iran were arrested on 18 November. Three were then released, but Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Ghalian are still locked up. On 27 November, the Haft Tappeh workers gathered in front of Shush County Hall demanding the release of

AEIP conference, issues and debates

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 13:14

Sam Lloyd

After opening itself out so that people can join as members, rather than just being an office with initiatives which activists on the ground can support, Another Europe is Possible is calling a conference on 8 December in London. Members will be able to debate and vote on structures and strategy.

Workers’ Liberty will be attending the conference, and we encourage all socialists to attend and join the campaign to stop Brexit. We will be supporting a number of proposals and amendments. One, also backed by some leading AEIP figures, calls for a specifically Labour anti¬Brexit campaign,

Cuts, calamity and councils

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 12:48

Peter Kenway is director of the New Policy Institute, and author of much research on local government. He talked with Martin Thomas.

Philip Alston’s recent report on “social calamity” in the UK focused on cuts in benefits. There have also been huge cuts in local government. What is their impact?

Local government delivers about 200 distinct services. The best-known is social care for adults and children, which takes over a third of the money. There’s the bins, and an increasingly residual role in education. And then a bunch of mundane but essential stuff: school crossing patrols,

Brexit and fighting the far right

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 12:35

Stopping Brexit isn’t anti-fascism

Callum Cant takes issue over the 9 December counter¬demo

The Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) are obsessed with trade unions. When their march was blocked in October, their leadership couldn’t stop themselves from fantasising about beating up organised workers. For many of their supporters, the organisation’s high point was when a DFLA group launched a serious physical attack on RMT members in a pub in Whitehall. The essence of their politics is a hatred of the organised working class.

This is not a new dynamic – indeed, Clara Zetkin wrote

Morning Star denounces “experts”, glorifies Ignorance

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 12:24

Jim Denham

“The age of experts is over” proclaimed the Morning Star’s front page headline, in huge capitals, on Monday 26 November. It turns out that the headline was a reference to something that shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon had said during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the previous day: Marr had argued that Labour’s demand for an election was highly unlikely to succeed, given that to do so would require the support of 100 Tory MPs, to which Burgon replied by pointing out that “experts” have got a lot of predictions wrong in recent political history. Which is fair enough as

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