Solidarity 534, 12 February 2020

Labour Campaign for Trans Rights launch

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:19

Natalia Cassidy

On 10 February, the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights (LCTR) constituted itself as an online presence and released a launch statement and a series of 12 pledges for Labour supporters to sign up to.

This is a campaign launched by trans and non-binary Labour Party supporters with the aim of shifting the terrain within the party on the question on trans rights, educating activists on issues of transphobia and bigotry as well as seeking to shift Labour Party policy on support for trans rights and on issues around trans healthcare in particular.

The campaign only exists in online form as it stands,

Liverpool Mayor says he'll refuse cuts

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:15

Jane Edwards

Liverpool's Labour mayor Joe Anderson has said “I will refuse to make any further cuts to our budget because we are now at the stage where doing so will mean closing down vital services.”

He added: "This means we are entering a crisis point in the city's history and it will put us on a collision course with the government but we aren't prepared to play their games any more.

"I will say this now - I will not close any libraries or children's centres in this city, I will not set a budget that cuts any of these vital services".

The Tories have already cut £436 million from Liverpool’s funding

Protest hits new Ukraine labour law

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:09

This report from the Ukrainian left organisation Social Movement is excerpted from the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign. For the longer version and much more on this struggle, see the USC website.

Twenty cities experienced a wave of anger on 30 January against the government’s antisocial actions, in particular its draft legislation “On Labour”. The decision to carry out a national mobilisation was adopted at the Trade Union Forum on 16 January.

In Kyiv, thousands of protesters filled the road alongside the Cabinet of Ministers building. Trade union activists together with young leftists chanted

Coronavirus and climate change

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:58

Angela Driver

The novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan (2019-nCoV) is a zoonotic disease. It is an infection that has passed from animals to humans.

Humans have not developed immunity to such infections. That in turn means they are often more deadly, and spread rapidly.

According to the World Health Organisation, new zoonotic infections are becoming more frequent because of climate change and other human behaviour.

Zoonotic diseases are more likely to occur when populations of animals and humans that do not normally interact come into contact with each other. Climate change makes this more likely in a

The potentialities of Acorn

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:51

Dan Rawnsley

Since the general election, the "community union" Acorn has been growing.

On 22 December the Guardian reported on Acorn’s “glut of applications” after the 13 December exit poll. Acorn UK national organiser Nick Ballard was quoted saying “We’ve had hundreds of new members join.”

Acorn has branches in Bristol, Sheffield, Manchester, Newcastle, and Brighton, and is best known as a renters’ union. The organisation has been able to turn out pickets of a hundred people to block evictions and has pressured Santander, TSB and NatWest to get rid of rent increase and “no DSS” clauses in buy-to-let

Stop West Bank annexations!

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:37

Dale Street

The Trump Plan, and the announced intentions of both of the biggest political parties in Israel (Netanyahu's Likud and Gantz's Blue and White) to annex big chunks of the West Bank, have had an eerily subdued response in the Middle East.

Action on the streets across the world is needed to block the annexations. Governments are keeping quiet, or blustering, and Boris Johnson's Tory government in Britain is the Plan's strongest supporter in Europe.

The Trump Plan, announced on 28 January, gives Israel’s right wing government everything it wants – annexation of the West Bank settlements and the

Being “minimally civil”

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:32

Cathy Nugent

Keith Kahn-Harris, in his book Strange Hate: Antisemitism, racism and the limits of diversity, argues that selective anti-racism and selective racism have become dominant modes.

Certain minorities, and certain sub-sections of minorities, are approved when they express a political or social orientation that is a close fit to another group. In other words, there is a process of political selecting out going on.

For Kahn-Harris, Jews have precipitated the development of selective anti-racism, and in his book how Jewish people are treated forms a “case study”. Unfortunately he does not make any

How unions should tackle sexism

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:26

Katy Dollar

It’s HeartUnions from 10 to 16 February 2020. I was reminded of the week of activity, highlighting the work of unions, by a parcel from the TUC arriving at my union office announcing the focus this year is on sexual harassment.

It was accompanied by a letter from our co-ordinated industrial leadership, bringing together 48 unions and 5.5 million members, and declaring “a radical yet practical plan” to end sexual harassment.

Over 1/2 women and nearly 7/10 LGBT workers are sexually harassed in the workplace. Subjecting women to fear, shame, and discomfort in a workplace, street or union meeting

Swimming pool

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:20

Emma Rickman

A fortnight ago, there was an especially large leak on the district heating network. A pipe manifold underneath a large planter in the city centre was billowing steam into the bus interchange.

When engineers responded to the call out, they found the man-hole cover was 100 degrees. On my way home I have a look at the screens and fences they’ve used to cordon it off, and wonder why we always spring leaks in the same place, even though new pipes were installed six months ago.

That week I’m working with S in the control room, managing the network remotely. Because of the leak, the system is losing

Sorting out the left in UCU

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:11

As UCU members in higher education prepare to strike — action begins on 20 February — voting is underway in both HE and FE sectors of the union for members of the National Executive Committee and a new Vice-President.

The VP election sees a contest between the two long-standing union factions, UCU Left (dominated by the SWP) and the Independent Broad Left (on the right). Margot Hill, the left candidate, is Branch Secretary at Croydon College and has recently led local strikes over pay and conditions. Janet Farrar, her opponent, has no such track record.

It was a surprise to many activists,

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