Solidarity 526, 27 November 2019

Labour: the manifesto, the movement, and us

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 20:16
Author

Sacha Ismail

What Labour's 2019 manifesto promises is, in itself, moderate. But the rich and owners of capital did not get where they are by being generous and easy. They got there by being the most ruthless in pursuit of greed, exploitation, trampling down and squeezing the working class.

After decades of almost everything their own way, they are in no mood to concede. They will fight, aggressively and effectively.

The resistance of capital to a Labour government with this manifesto, and the risk of capitulation or retreat, can be overcome only by a strong and militant labour movement.

Despite its gaps on

Homeopathy: comments by a far left physician

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:59
Author

Martin H. Goodman

In France, where up to 60% of the population seeks homeopathic treatments, the government has now announced it will no longer reimburse the bills for those treatments through social insurance. In Britain, support from the Royal Family long kept some homeopathic provision within the NHS, but in 2017 the NHS recommended that GPs should stop providing for homeopathic treatments.

First off, let’s be clear: “alternative medicine” (also referred to as “complementary”, “integrative”, and “holistic” medicine) is quackery. At best worthless, often harmful, and at times deadly.

Alternative medicine is

What if a hung parliament?

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:56
Author

Editorial

On 25 November Jeremy Corbyn reiterated his opposition to a coalition with the Lib Dems if the Tories lose the election but Labour does not win a majority.

He did not respond to a question about coalitions versus forming a minority government. Mostly Labour’s leaders have rightly said they oppose a coalition and that, if Labour comes out from 12 December ahead of the Tories but short of a majority, they will go for a minority government. The Lib Dems have gone even further and said they will not vote to make Corbyn prime minister, let alone join a coalition.

However, on 19 November the

Lib Dems: turbo-charged neoliberalism

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:37

Quite a few of the Lib Dems’ manifesto pledges read as quite leftish. Their opposition to Brexit is clear, though revoking Article 50 without a new referendum is misguided. On migrants’ rights and free movement, they stand in many respects to the left of Labour.

Even on public services, they are promising something like £50 billion above the Tories’ spending plans, and in a few areas have outflanked Labour – for instance childcare, where they are pledging more free hours from earlier and specifying it will be almost all year round.

In general, though, what marks out the Lib Dems’ plans is not

Tories pledge new anti-union law

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:37

The Tories, in their manifesto, signal their intention to launch a new assault on trade unions, with a pledge to ban transport workers from all-out strikes by requiring the operation of a “minimum service” during action.

Otherwise the Tory manifesto is very content-light. Despite all the stuff about the Tories junking austerity and spending big on public services, the manifesto pledges barely any new money – about £3 billion, as against tens of billions from Labour and the Lib Dems.

On social care, for instance, it offers virtually nothing beyond an appeal for cross-party consensus.

It pledges

The Rabbi and the real issue

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:37
Author

Daniel Randall

Jewish identity and history is a profoundly important aspect of my life. But I’m not a communalist. I think the idea of a unitary interest for ethnic groups is dangerous, and I think official community leaderships, especially in faith groups, are basically reactionary.

An anti-communalist, secularist, anti-clerical critique of the role in Jewish life, and in social and political life in general, of people like the Chief Rabbi has been developed by Jewish radicals over many years, finding perhaps its most exuberant expression in the work of people like Benjamin Feigenbaum. Equivalent critiques

Push out the Tories, sort out Labour

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:37
Author

Sacha Ismail

To respond to Orthodox chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ attack on Labour over antisemitism by pointing out that it is exaggerated only gets you so far.

The reality is that since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, Seamus Milne took over the Leader’s Office, and some thousands of “returners” from the 1980s became newly vocal, a culture of antisemitism has flourished on the margins of the party and, in somewhat less virulent forms, deeper inside it too.

A significant strand in Labour antisemitism is connected to a particular view of Israel and “Zionism”. While the party’s formal policy on Israel

Landslide election in Hong Kong

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:37
Author

Chen Ying

The pan-democratic camp won control of 17 out of 18 District Councils in Hong Kong’s 24 November elections, almost wiping out the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).

The only council held by the pro-establishment camp was the Islands district, where 8 out of 18 seats were automatically assigned to pro-establishment village heads.

2.94 million (71.2% of eligible voters) voted in the Pan-Democrats and other independent democrats in nearly 400 out of 452 seats, with the DAB winning only 58 seats. Four years ago, the pan-democrats failed to win

Sanders campaign: Impeachment? What impeachment?

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:37
Author

Eric Lee

Something strange is going on with the Democratic presidential candidates and the impeachment of Donald Trump. All the candidates support Trump’s impeachment. But none of them want to talk about it.

At a recent event in Las Vegas, Bernie Sanders said that Trump “will be impeached, and he should be impeached.” But he quickly added that his own campaign is about “more than just defeating” the Republican president.

When California Senator Kamala Harris was asked recently if she was following the impeachment hearings, she replied “not so much”. “I’ve been in Iowa,” she explained. As Politico put

Labour’s climate policy: the fine print

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:16
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The environmental section of Labour’s manifesto is more ambitious than previous policy announcements, but less so than sections of the policy passed at this year’s Labour conference.

It has received much hype but less attention to detail. This article unpicks some of the finer points.

The rhetoric, at least to start, seems refreshingly left-wing, it suggesting a direct working-class approach. “Just 100 companies globally are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions”, they recognise. They thus commit to “work in partnership with the workforce and their trade unions in every sector of

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