Solidarity 514, 14 August 2019

New Tory “Brexit coup” plan: make Labour fight!

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 10:01

Pete Broxas

Paul Mason, one of the most influential journalists and writers in the pro-Corbyn left, has called for “a progressive pact with Greens and Lib Dems” as Labour’s “only option” against Boris Johnson and his rush for Brexit.

In Parliament, as against Johnson’s government as against other Tory governments in the past, Labour MPs will of course walk through the same lobbies as Lib Dems and the SNP and rebel Tories.

They will even coordinate parliamentary tactics with them.

What is ruled out is a tactic which buries politics under the tactic, rather than having the tactic serve politics. Which makes

Scottish Labour right is wrong to attack McDonnell

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 09:24

Ann Field

In 2014, the Scottish Labour right wing virtually destroyed Labour in Scotland by allying with the Tories in “Better Together”. Now, in 2019, they’re back for a repeat performance.

The 2014 class collaboration with the Tories resulted in: the loss of 40 out of 41 Westminster seats in 2015; the loss of 13 Holyrood seats in 2016, leaving Labour a poor third behind the Tories; and the loss of a raft of council seats and control of Glasgow City Council in 2017.

The fact that it now turns out that a majority of Tory Party members are happy to see the break-up of Britain in order to achieve Brexit

Dissident voices of the international left

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 09:10

In Dissidents of the International Left, Andy Heintz’s first book, he interviews 77 figures from across the international left - many of them, especially those from the global South, notable “dissidents” from what is taken in the USA and Europe to be left “orthodoxy”.

Many of them have not had much hearing in English language publications, though several have been interviewed by or spoken to Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty: Yanar Mohammed, Maryam Namazie, Houzan Mahmoud, Pragna Patel, Marieme Helie Lucas...

Andy Heintz talked with Stephen Wood from Solidarity about his book. Heintz is a

Self-determination for Kashmir!

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 09:04

Taken from The Clarion

By revoking Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution that provide special autonomous status and residency rules for Jammu and Kashmir, and preparing to break up the state, Narenda Modi’s far-right, Hindu-supremacist government has effectively declared war on the Kashmiri people.

It has virtually declared a literal war too, with tens of thousands of troops invading the state, mainstream political leaders under house arrest, a total communications blackout, and reports of widespread human rights abuses. An already bad situation has got much worse, fast.

This attack

Why the lights went out on 9 August

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 08:58

Luke Hardy

On 9 August a series of blackouts affected more than one million homes, the rail and tube networks, hospitals, and traffic lights.

The long term issues that affect energy security are being made much worse by the fragmented, privatised and profit-hungry mess of the UK energy sector.

The buffer between supply on the network and demand has been squeezed. This squeeze is mainly down to how the energy market works.

The National Grid pays for energy in a virtual auction. They shell out more per unit to the generator companies when they need to meet peak demand. So generators can make money while

Economics and learning from the facts

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 08:24

Natalia Cassidy

Martin Thomas’s book Crisis and Sequels: Capitalism and the New Economic Turmoil since 2007 is constructed around 32 interviews, discussions, and debates with left wing economists and other thinkers.

It takes the reader; mostly chronologically, along the timeline from the immediate aftermath of the crash itself in 2007-8 across the next decade, up to 2016.

Thomas offers a substantial introduction, with overviews of the debates that take place across the book between the various contributors and himself.

Issues in debate centre around Marx’s “tendency of the rate of profit to fall”, US hegemony

Diary of an engineer: The Outage

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 08:16

Emma Rickman

Emma Rickman is an engineering apprentice at Sheffield combined heat and power plant

Every summer, our plant shuts down for annual maintenance; fourteen days of 24-hour work on essential systems that can’t be carried out while the plant is running.

Because the plant generates energy, this shutdown is called “the Outage”.

Hundreds of workers from contracted companies set up on site to erect scaffolding, drain chemical silos, replace pipes, grind debris off tubes, weld metal sheets over holes, calibrate instruments, replace machines and clean as much as possible before the plant comes back

PCS in rash of strikes

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 07:40

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

Our members working as cleaners and catering staff at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are continuing an all-out, indefinite strike to win living wages.

Other outsourced workers at BEIS, including security guards and mailroom staff, have also struck, and they are discussing escalating the dispute by joining the indefinite strike.

Cleaners at HMRC offices in Bootle and Liverpool are also striking for living wages, and are striking from 11-13 August.

On 13 August, workers from BEIS visited Liverpool for a joint rally. Outsourced workers at the Foreign and

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 07:32

Ollie Moore

Harland and Wolff

A hundred and thirty workers at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast face the loss of their jobs, after the employer went into administration. Workers have occupied the shipyard, demanding it be taken into public ownership. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visited workers there on Monday 5 August. The Unite union has argued the yard’s productive capacity could be used to manufacture renewable energy infrastructure.

EMT out again on 17 August

Guards on East Midlands Trains, soon to be East Midlands Railway, struck for a third successive Saturday on 3 August.


Self determination for Hong Kong!

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 07:21

Chen Ying

It is now two months since 12 June, when the Hong Kong police fired 150 canisters of tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

That caused a city-wide outrage against the excessive use of force, which forced the Chief Executive on 14 June to “indefinitely delay” introducing the proposed extradition law.

The conflict has now escalated further, with a protesters’ occupation shutting down the airport today (12 August), after a horrific series of street battles over the weekend.

After their initial victory on 14 June, the protesters continued to press for their five demands:

• full withdrawal of

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