Solidarity 518, 25 September 2019

For Labour, for Remain, for socialism

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:54


As we go to press on 24 September, the Supreme Court has ruled Boris Johnson's shutdown (“prorogation”) of Parliament unlawful and invalid.

Parliament will reconvene on 25 September. In fact, since the Court decision was the shutdown was “of no effect”, strictly speaking Parliament is resuming a session which was never validly suspended.

Boris Johnson has been pushed back again. But he still says he may shut down Parliament again.

He still “refuses to accept that the Benn Act made a no-deal Brexit on 31 October impossible”, though it does exactly that, no more, no less.

Journalists in the USA

Push back against Netanyahu and Trump!

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:51

Colin Foster

We may have more time to build mobilisation against the plan of the Israeli right to annex part or all of “Area C” (60% of the West Bank) to Israel.

Israel’s election on 17 September gave no majority to outgoing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nor to his main rival, a “softer” right-winger, Benny Gantz. A long period of haggling about possible coalitions now probably lies ahead.

Publication of the new “plan” for the Middle East long announced by Donald Trump as “coming soon” is now likely to be postponed longer.

Trump’s people have indicated the new plan will drop even nominal commitment to

Johnson threatens war on Iran

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:47

Martin Thomas

Boris Johnson, on a visit to the USA, has offered to go in with US Donald Trump in a military attack on Iran.

“The Americans are proposing to do more to help to defend Saudi Arabia, and we will be following that closely.

“And clearly, if we are asked, either by the Saudis or by the Americans, to have a role then we will consider what way we could be useful.”

He was asked whether that meant UK military force. “We will consider in what way we can be useful, if asked, depending on what the exact plan is”.

Johnson has also aligned with Trump on the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, saying he wants “a

Millions protest to save the planet

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:42

Gerry Bates

The numbers on the student climate strike demonstration in central London on 20 September were estimated by organisers at up to 100,000.

Similar huge crowds filled the streets in many cities across the world. In Sydney, Australia, for example, the turnout was also estimated at 100,000.

The protests were made up of school students, university students, people who took or already had days off work on the Friday, plus a significant minority of workers joining the protest, generally with the consent or support of their employers.

In England alone, there were dozens of other protests. We are not

Yes, we need a new Labour Students

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:38

Maisie Sanders

On 17 September, Labour’s National Executive Committee voted to disaffiliate its student wing, Labour Students.

The motion proposed by Momentum founder Jon Lansman said that Labour Students did not meet the requirements set out in Labour’s rulebook for its national student organisation and called for a new one to be set up “urgently”.

Dozens of Labour Clubs disaffiliated from Labour Students after its February national conference, where the leadership gerrymandered the system to block left-dominated clubs attending or voting in internal elections.

Out of Labour’s 20,000 student members, only

Labour blocks democratic selections

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:32

Ralph Peters

It looks as if Labour’s NEC [National Executive Committee] is deliberately rigging the situation so that it can impose the candidates it wants in a dozen or so constituencies across the country.

Selections were only recently started in many of the constituencies where MPs had defected, like Chuka Umunna or Chris Leslie.

The selections were started close to two months ago. Now they have been put on hold in Nottingham East, Ilford North, Enfield North and elsewhere.

An argument has been made that party officials needed to concentrate on the processing of trigger ballots. But there are extensive

Local Labour Party queries Speaker move

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:22

On 19 September the GC (General Committee) of Camberwell and Peckham Labour Party voted to oppose our MP Harriet Harman's bid to become speaker of the House of Commons.

The vote was quite narrow — 26-22 on a card vote, with seven abstentions, after a show of hands was drawn 21-21.

Arguments in favour were that as a deprived inner city constituency we need to be represented by a Labour MP and that Harriet had put herself forward without consulting party members. When asked previously if she had plans to stand she had told us only that there was no vacancy.

There's also a feeling that given her

Living in an illiberal democracy

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:17

A reader reports from Hungary

One of the perks of living in Hungary is not having to ask your grandparents: “What was it like living in a one-party state?” — because you already know.

You see outrageous government propaganda everywhere. You see the posters of the crowds of refugees – excuse me: “migrants” — which would have you believe that they are out for Hungarian blood. You hear the endless droning speeches denouncing the treacherous liberals, and the sinister conspiracies trying to undermine Hungary.

You turn on the TV, switch to the right wing propaganda channel of your choice, and you

Labour Conference: debating a Green New Deal, Brexit and free movement

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 09:24

Alan Gilbert, Chris Reynolds and Martin Thomas

The process of “compositing” (merging a large number of similar local Labour Party motions into a manageably small number of options for debate) at Labour Party conference on the Green New Deal was long drawn out and arduous.

Eventually, however, the delegates agreed to send forward three options. One motion, supported by the GMB union, included some radical bits but, crucially, no target for suppressing carbon emissions.

The second, backed by far more CLPs and with the Fire Brigades Union as the mover, was more radical. It specifically included a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030,

Learning from the rich debates of the past

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 09:18

Paul Hampton

The Communist International (Comintern), founded in the aftermath of the October 1917 Russian revolution, was the greatest forum for Marxist strategic debate so far.

The first five years of the Comintern, between 1919 and 1923 were a school for learning and discussing how revolutionary parties should be built, how to assess the situation and orientate, and how to win a majority of workers to socialism.

The publication of The Communist Movement at a Crossroads: Plenums of the Communist International’s Executive Committee, 1922-1923, edited by Mike Taber, is extremely valuable. This volume is

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