Solidarity 520, 9 October 2019

Marx and the environment

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:12
Author

Paul Vernadsky

Over the past two decades, John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett have made outstanding contributions to the resurgence of Marxist ecological politics.

In particular their emphasis on Marx’s political economy contained in Capital and their careful dissection of other texts, notes and letters have shown how environmental concerns lie at the core of historical materialism. Their latest book, Marx and the Earth (Haymarket 2017) is a robust defence of Marx and Engels on ecology in the face of a range of green critics.

Marxism has a sophisticated view of the relationship between human society and

Free school meals for migrant children

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:03
Author

Gerry Bates

On 2 October, the Labour council in Lewisham, south London, agreed that no child in its schools would be denied a free school meal because of their parents’ immigration status.

“No Recourse to Public Funds” (NRPF) policies deny many migrants access to a social safety net, including means-tested school meals.

The Labour Party is now committed to abolishing NRPF outright, after last week’s Labour conference voted near-unanimously last week for a migrants’ rights motion proposed by LCFM [the Labour Campaign for Free Movement]. NELMA (North East London Migrant Action) and LCFM (Labour Campaign for

The sixties turning dark

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 09:27
Author

Duncan Morrison

Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is his first one not distributed by Harvey Weinstein.

It is a semi-fictionalisation of events around Charles Manson’s Family’s murder of Sharon Tate and her associates in 1969.

The film is well worth seeing and seems to capture the feel of late 60s Los Angeles very well. But it is hard not to consider the film in the light of the numerous allegations of sexual assault and rape made against Weinstein and Tarantino’s failure to act on reports, both from his then partner and from actors in his films, about Weinstein’s behaviour

Lukács and “tailism”

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 09:19
Author

Martin Thomas

John Cunningham, in Solidarity 519, gives a generous assessment of my comments on Gyorgy Lukács.

I want to come back on three points.

I would guess, if only from his alignment with the reforming Nagy administration in 1956, that Lukács always had inner reservations about Stalinism.

So did many of the Bolsheviks who capitulated to Stalinism. Through most of the 1930s the exile Mensheviks and Trotskyists had sporadic contacts with people who were deeply embedded in the Stalinist machine and yet talked in confidence of their horror at Stalin’s course.

The combination is what made them — and

Trump’s shift puts Rojava at risk

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

Pete Boggs

Donald Trump has announced the withdrawal of American troops from Northern Syria, and given effective consent to President Erdoğan’s plan to invade.

This marks a slight shift from Trump’s previous stated position. Back in December he announced that American troops would leave Northern Syria within the medium-term future, but that it was conditional on guarantees from Turkey regarding the safety of the Kurds.

Those guarantees have now ceased to be a consideration, and the United States is perfectly content to leave Rojava to the mercy, or lack thereof, of the Turkish army.

This new announcement

Left split in Ireland

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 09:10
Author

Micheál MacEoin

At the end of September, the Socialist Party of Ireland’s TD (member of parliament) Paul Murphy announced that he was leaving the SP to establish a new political organisation, RISE.

RISE stands for Radical, Internationalist, Socialist, Environmentalist. It will not register as a political party, and its candidates will stand in elections under the Solidarity-People Before Profit banner.

The move comes after a year-long debate inside the Irish SP about how the party should relate to wider movements, such as the environmentalist movement, which was part of a wider dispute within the SP’s

A Labour government without voting Labour?

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 09:06

The leadership of the civil service union PCS, the NEC [National Executive Committee] has decided that in the looming general election the union should call on members in England and Wales to vote Labour, on the grounds that a Labour government under the leadership and policies of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell is in the interests of PCS members.

In a different tack worthy of separate membership discussion, the NEC has also decided that in Scotland it should instead urge members “to vote to Get the Tories Out” while emphasising the necessity of a Corbyn-led UK government.

The decision to

NEU support staff call for wage fight

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:53
Author

Bill Davies

The first support staff conference of the National Education Union (NEU) since the NUT and ATL officially and fully merged has voted to send a radical, bold motion on pay for school support staff to the NEU’s annual conference next April.

The motion (5 October) calls for the union:

• to pursue standard national pay, terms and conditions for support staff
• to launch a campaign for support staff to get an across-the-board £3 per hour pay rise (equivalent to about a £5000 per year increase full-time)
• and to initiate a specific Living Wage campaign to win the Living Wage Foundation rates (£9/hr

“Twenty additional colleagues”?

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:50
Author

Ollie Moore

London Underground’s response to the successful ballot for action on the East End of the District Line over workplace violence has been to announce “20 additional colleagues”.

Good news, you might think. An acknowledgement that lone working and understaffing are the fundamental problems. But alas, the reality is not so encouraging.

These “colleagues” aren’t additional tube staff, but staff drafted in from Transport for London’s (TfL) Surface Transport department – workers who deal with taxi enforcement and revenue issues on buses. They are not trained or licensed to work on tube stations. They

Victory at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:46
Author

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

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have won a hugely significant victory.

Their sustained campaign of strikes, which has included an all-out, indefinite strike, has forced Aramark, one of the outsourced contractors, to concede the London Living Wage of £10.55. The dispute with ISS, the other contractor at BEIS, continues, but following the win with Aramark we are hopeful for a win over ISS as well.

Now the task is to consolidate these gains by pushing for union recognition, not just at BEIS but across the civil service.

PCS has written to

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