Solidarity 524, 6 November 2019

The police and cuts

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:00

Local Labour Parties are still distributing leaflets which make Labour’s prime play the call for more police.

The call should be instead for cutting the social roots of crime. Stop school exclusions. End the “exam factory” culture and tinpot authoritarianism which make schools inhospitable for many students, and worsen the mental-illness epidemic among teenagers.

Give social services the resources and funding so that they can actually do family support work, and not just crisis control.

Develop enough clean, safe social housing that everyone has a decent home. Make benefits adequate. Restore

Why public ownership?

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:57

Labour has pledged to bring energy, rail, water, and mail into public ownership and to “put democratic management at the heart of how those industries are run”.

These are some reasons for doing this:

• Those industries are central to economic life. To make a real socialist Green New Deal, to reshape economic life to cut carbon emissions adequately, requires public control of those industries rather than just nudging and coaxing their private owners.
• They are, to one degree, or another, monopolies or semi-monopolies. Private-profit companies running such industries acquire big chances to make

Support Hong Kong and the Uyghurs!

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:53

At Labour Party conference, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry made a speech denouncing tyrants all across the world, Putin, Bolsonaro, Duterte, Trump, and the rest.

All good. But one notable omission: the biggest. Xi Jinping, ruler of China.

As the election campaign happens, Xi Jinping is repressing the democratic revolt in Hong Kong, and locking up something like one million Uyghurs in “re-education” camps in north-west China.

Labour Party conference passed an emergency motion in solidarity with the Uyghurs.

We want Labour to stand for self-determination for the people of Hong Kong

Why not tactical voting?

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:49

Unity and pluralism are important. Labour needs to be a coalition rather than seek to make coalitions with non-socialist parties.

It needs more member control, more trade unions affiliating. It needs to readmit the unjustly expelled socialists, many hundreds of whom were purged without a hearing or even precise charges in 2015 and 2016. It needs to recruit, involve and represent working-class people in all our diversity.

But that is different from tactical voting, or agreements to stand down, of the type which Sinn Fein and SDLP have made in Northern Ireland. (Sinn Féin will stand down in

The general election in Scotland

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:44

Dale Street

Speaking at last Saturday’s #indyref2020 rally in Glasgow, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon pledged that there would be another referendum on Scottish independence in 2020.

This was the first pro-independence rally to have been addressed by Sturgeon since the run-up to the 2014 referendum. But it was not the first time that she has promised another referendum.

Sturgeon first promised a second referendum immediately after losing the 2014 one. She has been promising one ever since.

In the 2017 general election campaign, for example, she initially called for a second referendum “in the autumn of 2018

Labour and antisemitism

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:40

The August 2019 Labour Party leaflet entitled “No Place for Antisemitism” condemns conspiracy theories which portray “capitalism and imperialism as the product of plots by a small shadowy elite”.

These are “just one step away from myths about Jewish bankers and a secret Jewish plot for world domination”.

Some of those conspiracy theories “substitute Israel or Zionists for Jews, presenting Israel as controlling the world’s media and finances” and “ascribe to Israel an influence on world events far beyond any objective analysis”.

Jewish people, the leaflet states, “have the same right to self

The Berlin Wall and socialism

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:36

Thirty years ago, on 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.

It was a wall built through Berlin by the rulers of East Germany, which called itself socialist, to prevent people escaping to West Berlin, which was capitalist and linked to West Germany.

Over its 28 years, about 5,000 people managed to escape over the Wall, and somewhere between 100 and 200 were killed by East German border guards while trying to escape.

In 1991, less than two years later, the old USSR broke up. The system created by Stalin’s counter-revolution, which had been the model for states which called themselves

The first Remembrance Day

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:32

Janine Booth

One hundred years ago, on the very first Remembrance Day, 11 November 1919, the Daily Herald, a socialist newspaper, published this article on its front page.

It was one year after the Armistice, and Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s promise of a “land fit for heroes” rang bitterly around a country in which many conscripted soldiers had still not been demobilised, and many of those who had lived in poverty. These were the days before poppies, when there were different ex-services organisations for rank-and-file soldiers and top officers because they had very different class interests.


Don't fall off!

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:27

Emma Rickman

I’m in the Control Room with two older operators, ‘N’ and ‘V’, an electrical engineer ‘M’, an older mechanical fitter ‘I’, and an ops assistant, ‘MC’. N is a generally serious and capable shift leader who rides motorbikes. V is a high-voltage electrical engineer sometimes called “Colonel” because his beard is very like the KFC logo. V begins:

“When I was an apprentice, I used to get punched all the time! But you can’t do that now — you’re not allowed to.”

“No, you can’t.” I reply “And that’s a good thing.”

“Look I used to work in a massive steelworks — yeah?” V looks me in the eye the way he

Vote Bev Laidlaw for PCS General Secretary

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:21

PCS has been run by a “broad left” alliance, made up of the Left Unity grouping working with some more right-wing elements, for over 15 years. In that time, after an initial increase, membership has haemorrhaged. In all major government departments, membership has fallen by between 10-50%.

The “broad left” narrative is essentially that, if you elect a “left-wing” leadership, you can simply put your trust in them and everything else will fall into place. The dominance of this narrative has led to a decline in workplace activism and militancy, and a decline in density across all bargaining units

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