Solidarity 590, 28 April 2021

Socialism vs sleaze

More and more leaks and side-channels from the pump of plutocracy are becoming visible. Tories are falling out among themselves. Dominic Cummings has denounced Boris Johnson’s behaviour as “mad and totally unethical”. 50% of those polled say there is a “culture of sleaze” in the government. Socialists work to switch off the pump as well as fixing the leaks. The core process of capitalist plutocracy is the transaction in which, though economic compulsion, we sell our labour-power to a capitalist, endowed with riches and control of the means of production. They pay out as meagre a “living wage”...

Our online archive

A page on our website workersliberty.org/wl-archive has links to archives of our publications right back to 1966-7. A recent addition is a file (with some gaps) of the Internal Bulletin of Workers’ Fight (a forerunner of Workers’ Liberty) from 1972-5. We appeal to older readers to help (from their own archives, or by asking round) with the missing bulletins, and with other items we can’t trace (like some issues of industrial bulletins produced in the 1970s, The Hook, Real Steel News, etc.) or have only damaged copies of (Socialist Organiser 326 and 327).

Myanmar campaign to target brands

Activists in the UK labour movement are getting organised to provide solidarity to the workers of Myanmar who are on strike against the Tatmadaw military regime, which did away with elected government and democratic freedoms in a coup on 1 February this year. On 10 April, Momentum Internationalists (MI) and other Labour activists held a meeting with Khaing Zar Aung of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), Kyaw Ni of the All-Burma Federation of Trade Unions (ABFTU), and Htuu Lou Rae of the Anti-Junta Mass Movement (AJMM), as well as Andrew Tillett-Saks, an American labour...

Workers' Liberty meets in conference

On 24 and 25 April Workers’ Liberty held its first conference since the start of the pandemic. Normally we have a conference once a year. We last met, physically, in January 2020, and hope to do so again 27-28 November 2021. During the pandemic many labour movement organisations have cancelled their conferences. Others have held online events but made them much less democratic than they could be. Last year Labour held an online “conference” which was just a series of speakers. The conference days were shorter — six hours, with more breaks — and much of the normal informal discussion and...

Why is the Morning Star so quiet about the Unite election?

The race is on to replace Len McCluskey as general secretary of the Unite union. This is the second most powerful position within the British labour movement, after leader of the Labour Party, and the outcome will have massive repercussions not just for the Unite, but for the movement as a whole and the Labour Party. The four declared candidates, Steve Turner, Howard Beckett, Sharon Graham and Gerard Coyne, will be seeking sufficient branch nominations between now and 7 June. The election runs from 5 July to 23 August. You would expect the Morning Star — a publication largely aimed at, and...

Letters: Good climate content, dubious wrapping; Better lockdowns

Good content, dubious wrapping Todd Hamer (Solidarity 589) argues well that climate change is not just a threat for the future. It is happening now. A lot of further adverse change will come soon even if we can cut carbon emissions very fast. We must address climate adaptation: “climate-resilient infrastructure”, “solutions to the food and fresh water crises”, “the capacity for mass resettlement of displaced people”. And mitigation measures such as “the drawdown and storage of atmospheric carbon”. To do that requires huge economic mobilisation, achievable only if social priorities can...

Women's Fightback: A Promising Young Woman

In A Promising Young Woman, Cassie (Carey Mulligan) is still living with her parents, and works at a coffee shop though once she was the most promising student in medical school. She has no partner, and only one friend: her manager at the coffee shop who thinks she’s wasting her life. Once a week she gets dressed up, goes to a club, and preys on creeps who believe she is drunk and vulnerable. Each reacts with terror as her calm sobriety is revealed at the point he initiates sex with his “victim”. As the film and Cassie’s mission of vengeance develop, we meet a series of archetypes. The...

Salford Unison pushes care workers' charter

Salford’s local government Unison branch was the first to win the right to full isolation pay for all care workers in their council area, a victory that triggered others in the North West. Now they have put a series of care workers’ demands to candidates in their local elections: 1. The Foundation Living Wage (currently £9.50/hour) for all Salford care workers. 2. Holiday pay based on normal wages. 3. Sleep-in pay at the Foundation Living Wage rate. 4. Occupational sick pay for all Salford care workers. 5. Publicly delivered social care. 6. A strong voice for workers, those in receipt of care...

Activist agenda: Safe and Equal calls protest

In the week 1-7 May, Safe and Equal and the PCS civil service workers’ union are jointly calling for protests demanding full sick pay for all. This is a central demand for controlling the spread of Covid by supporting workers to self-isolate when they should. They want people to use a poster at work places, in union meetings, with their friends and family, to show support, and to share pictures online of gatherings with the poster. Other actions proposed are raising the issue in your union branch, or helping another workplace or group of workers if yours already has full sick pay. The Uyghur...

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