Solidarity 524, 6 November 2019

Taking the illiberal side?

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:20

Jim Denham

Andrew Murray, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s key advisers, gave a “rare interview” to the Guardian on 30 October in which he warned against Labour taking the “liberal side” of the “culture war” around Brexit and “warned that the campaign to stop Brexit has increasingly become a form of identity politics”.

Mr Murray, it should be noted, was until 2016 a senior member of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and has been one of the “four Ms” (together with fellow Stalinist Seumas Milne, plus Karie Murphy, and Len McCluskey) actively promoting pro-Brexit lines in tune with the CPB within the top


Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:16

I wish people would stop talking about “the top 1%” or the “1% v the 99%.” Why should they be regarded as being “the top”?

They are a completely useless parasitic layer on society. Billionaires have not “earned” or “created” their wealth.

It would take someone earning a median wage of £25,000 40,000 years to make £1 billion, assuming they paid no taxes and spent none of their money on essentials such as food, shelter and clothing.

According to the OECD in 2012 the top 0.6% of world population (consisting of adults with more than US$1 million in assets) or the 42 million richest people in the

Democracy, not e-surveys!

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:13

Misha Zubrowski

“Will you help write our manifesto, [[first name]]?”, Jeremy Corbyn inboxed me, on 2 November. “I want to hear your priorities for our manifesto”, he continues, inviting me — and hundreds of thousands of others — to participate in a consultation, open for four days.

Well, if you remember Jezza, we just had a conference to decide just that: Labour’s September national conference.
September’s conference brought together delegates from Labour across the country, and from the affiliated unions, to democratically decide our policies. Thousands of delegates descended upon Brighton, representing

Trump impeachment goes public

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:11

Barrie Hardy

If the dreadful reality TV show that is the Trump Presidency had titled its first series “The Mueller Probe” then series two should be called “Impeachment”. The catchphrase is series one was “No Collusion”, it’s now “No Quid Pro Quo”.

Although it was apparently difficult for Robert Mueller’s investigators to provide direct evidence of collusion between the Trump team and agents of Putin’s secret state in the run up to the 2016 election, evidence Trump has committed crimes in his dealings with Ukraine are in plain sight. Asking for a favour from a foreign government to help his re-election bid

Why free movement?

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:08

No one today disputes that freedom of movement within a country is a boon. Both for the individuals who can move to a place or a job they prefer, and for the places where they arrive, which become livelier.

Problems may arise: for example, shortage of affordable housing in London. The answer is to tax the rich to improve social provision (for example, build more council housing in London), not to exclude those who want to move. The immigrants are often a big part of the workers producing that improved social provision.

The same principle hold across national borders. We want to defend the free

Housing should be a right!

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:24

More than half of the 1,900 ultra-luxury apartments built in London in 2017 failed to sell, so overcrowded London has dozens of “posh ghost towers”.

Meanwhile, some 320,000 people are homeless across Britain (on the streets or in temporary accommodation). On-the-streets homelessness has doubled since 2010. Millions more are stuck sharing with parents or friends because they can find nowhere affordable.

Other millions are in insecure, often expensive, often squalid privately-rented accommodation. The private rented sector has increased from 2.6 million households in 2007 to 4.7 million on the

A socialist Green New Deal

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:17

Global climate change, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, poses the greatest threat to humanity.

The evidence is overwhelming, as are the stark warnings of dire risks if we don’t act urgently to limit it. Yet fossil fuels are being burned at an ever faster rate, accelerating us towards more and even more severe catastrophe.

Capitalism, the system of organising production according to what is most profitable for the business-owners, is the driving force behind environmental catastrophes. Limitless and eternal pursuit of profit cannot respect nature’s boundaries. The bosses seek

Replacing Universal Credit

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:14

Fourteen million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty.

“Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials...”

That was Philip Alston, the United Nation “Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights”, reporting on Britain a year ago.

He added: “Various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40% by 2022...

“Homelessness is up 60% since 2010, rough sleeping is up 134%.... Food bank use is up almost four-fold since 2012, and there are now about 2,000 food banks in the UK, up from just

Johnson’s Trump-Brexit

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:10

According to the most thorough study so far, Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal will reduce average income per head in Britain by 6.4%. It will cost you about £1300 a year if your income is £20,000.

That’s not as bad as “no-deal” (8.1%). It is worse than Theresa May’s deal (4.9%), and of course a lot worse than Remain.

The bad economic impact comes from the barriers to trade and the barriers to immigration. Immigration, which mainly brings in young and energetic workers, boosts economic growth.

That is not the worst of it. Boris Johnson’s prime alternative to the economic integration which Britain

High finance: take back control

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:03

The banks and high finance should be converted into a public banking, mortgage, and pension service, under public ownership and democratic and workers’ control.

Public ownership and democratic control will also provide the means to stop a reforming government being sabotaged by a “strike” or “flight” of capital, as France’s reforming government was in the early 1980s.

Britain’s big four banks made about £22 billion profits in 2018-9. That is more than the total of £19 billion per year required, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies in October 2018, to end the cuts in welfare, schools,

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