Solidarity 520, 9 October 2019

An open letter on Brexit to Irish people in Britain

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:40
Author

Sean Matgamna

Brexit means the xenophobic and reactionary unravelling of the European unity that has taken many decades to knit together.

And for Ireland, Brexit threatens nothing less than the catastrophe of a new partition.

Isn’t it time that the Irish population of Britain raised a collective voice against Brexit?

There are 430,000 Irish immigrants in Britain, and millions of people of recent Irish descent. Yet there has been no outcry from this potential power in British politics against the wrong being done to Ireland by Britain.

In Britain Brexit has led to the creation of a government under a buffoon

Activists query "fast-track" selections

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2019 - 18:26
Author

Colin Foster

Online only

According to Labour List (8 October), "a new, fast-tracked parliamentary selection process has been agreed by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC)…

"The NEC [will] draw up long-lists of potential parliamentary candidates... mixed panels – comprised of NEC, regional board and local party representatives – [will] establish shortlists… the final… decision [to be at] selection meetings of Constituency Labour Parties.

"The entire process is intended to be conducted over just seven days".

Many activists are angry that existing selection processes - sometimes for seats vacant since

Make Labour abolish academies!

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2019 - 18:21
Author

Colin Foster

Online only

Labour Party conference in Brighton (21-25 September) voted to: "Ensure Local Authorities establish reformed, democratically accountable local education committees… Ensure all publicly funded schools be brought back under the control of these new local education committees".

Sharper wording had been lost in the compositing, but the clear intention is: bring back all academies and free schools under local authorities.

As with some other left-wing policies, however, it looks like the leadership deliberately avoided argument on conference floor so as not to draw attention to it, let

Uprising sweeps Iraq

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2019 - 10:06
Author

From Muayad Ahmed in Iraq

A joint report by the Iraqi interior and defence ministries has confirmed that 104 people are dead and 4000 injured; but according to other sources more than 150 people have been shot dead in the recent protests, and 6000 injured. Hundreds are in jail.

It's a very brutal response to the peaceful protests of the people in the cities of Iraq, and it was executed according to a plan.

The government and the militia forces associated with it know that they face a very explosive situation. They want to use force to suppress the people. It's a fascist way of reacting to demonstrations.

Some of the

Williamson the book

Published on: Mon, 07/10/2019 - 11:03
Author

Stan Crooke

In February of this year Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, complained about the Labour Party’s response to criticisms of antisemitism:

“I’ve got to say I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion we’ve backed off far too much, we’ve given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic. What have we got to apologise for?”

*Bad News for Labour – Antisemitism, The Party and Public Belief* (by Greg Philo and others, Pluto Press) is the literary version of Williamson’s claim.

Less rabble-rousing and less rhetorical. More nuanced and more refined.

northern

Northern guards: put the action back on!

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 22:39

Word has it that Northern Rail management have come up with a spiffing new idea for undermining the role of guard, and seem to think that we may be daft enough not to see through it.

It goes like this. The train pulls in to the station. The driver opens the doors. The guards steps onto the platform. When the PTI is clear, the guard presses the buzzer to tell the driver that it is safe to close the doors. The driver closes the doors.

Of course, there is the small matter that the buzzer is not live while the doors are open. But in case they get a technical fix for that, the bigger question is: If the guard can press a buzzer to communicate with the driver, then why can't the guard press a button to close the doors?

The answer, of course, is that they can. So why would the company get the guard to press something to tell the driver to close the doors when they can just as easily have them press something to close the doors themselves? The only answer to that question is that their longer-term aim is to scrap the guard.

First, it will be the guard pressing a buzzer to tell the driver. Then it'll be in-cab CCTV meaning that no guard is needed. We can see where this is going, amd this plan is not acceptable.

We say 'Word is ...' because it has been hard to find out for certain what is going on. Discussions are taking place behind closed doors and above the heads even of our company council reps. RMT promised its guard members in July that it would give us an update by the end of September. That was frustrating enough, but it is now October and we still have no definite news.

If the union keeps on keeping us in the dark, it will find that our patience runs out. We have been fighting this dispute for a long time and we won't allow all the momentum to drain out of it.

It is high time for us to go back on strike, and not stop our action again until we have secured the future of the guard.

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