Solidarity 594, 26 May 2021

Right to protest, right to strike

The campaign to stop the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is relaunching on 29 May with a fourth national Kill the Bill day of action: information here. Labour movement activists should get out on the streets with trade union, Labour Party and campaign delegations and banners. Socialists need to push harder in the labour movement, both trade unions and Labour Party, to mobilise it in support of the struggle against the Police Bill. We need to widen discussion, in the labour movement and among Kill the Bill activists, about the right to protest. If the Police Bill passes, it will...

"New plan" for immigration? Same racist policies

On 24 May Home Secretary Priti Patel was the keynote speaker of the “What’s next for immigration?” online conference hosted by Bright Blue, a “liberal conservative” think tank. The “new plan for immigration”, she claimed, is simply a “fair but firm” expression of the democratic rights of the people of the UK first in the EU referendum and again in 2019. She lambasted anyone who had the guts to stand up against her government as sowing dissent whilst she is, of course, in line with the opinion of the silent majority of UK citizens with “legitimate concerns”. Emily Kenway, in her interview with...

New forced Uyghur labour revelations hit Apple, Tesla, Amazon

Seven more companies in corporate tech giants’ supply chains have been linked to the Chinese state’s forced labour schemes conscripting Uyghurs. Solidarity has reported on previous revelations about these schemes. This month, an investigation by tech journalists and human rights groups identified yet more businesses that received thousands of workers, manufacturing and assembling components for dozens of international brands. These include Apple, Amazon, IBM, Dell, Samsung, and Elon Musk’s Tesla. Beijing claims that these are voluntary “poverty alleviation” programmes for the Uyghurs, Kazakhs...

Tooting protests against police raids

In the week ending 22 May, local residents in Tooting, south London were outraged when the police used a “road safety policing operation” to check delivery drivers’ immigration statuses. Two people were arrested for immigration offences. Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan responded: “Today in Tooting, a Met Police Team were stopping fast food delivery drivers and checking immigration status under the guise of ‘Covid compliance’. “Covid compliance is crucial to stop the spread, but it doesn’t explain why Immigration Enforcement were in attendance. “I don’t think there’s been full transparency with...

Open letter from a "quitter"

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now: Chelley Ryan has resigned from the Labour Party! Naturally, this news has come as a crushing blow to the entire UK labour movement and warranted nearly a thousand words, in the form of an open letter to the Socialist Campaign Group, in the Morning Star of 18 May (“Leaving Labour is a legitimate choice”). Mind you, it wasn’t an easy decision for poor Chelley, who’s “wrestled with this decision for 13 months”. And she’s “sorry if I’m disappointing you.” But Chelley, you see, is speaking for a lot of “distressed people who have fought tirelessly for...

Industries and socialist priorities

In his Solidarity 592 article on union organising in the USA, Traven Leyshon backed moves within the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to encourage young socialists to get jobs in the logistics industry. The priority for young socialists to integrate themselves into workplace and union organising applies across different countries. How does that priority work out in the UK? Socialists should go for jobs which will give them good chances of building a base for intervening in working-class struggles from “the inside”. Workers’ Liberty has long argued for a priority to sectors like the...

Trotsky and “switching the points”

I agree with Eric Lee’s substantive argument (Solidarity 593) that socialists must aim to reconstruct mass politics, not just hope for better “leaders”. But I think he gives a skewed picture of Trotsky’s 1938 declaration about “the crisis of the leadership of the proletariat”. Trotsky’s argument was not one about poor leadership in politics in general, for example in bourgeois governments, but a specific one about the labour movements at that time. The previous 50 years or so of educational and organising work by socialists of different sorts; of industrialisation and urbanisation; and of the...

A victory at Pimlico Academy

Staff and students at Pimlico Academy in London have already seen a first victory. On 18 May, the day before a National Education Union (NEU) ballot for strike action closed, head teacher Daniel Smith announced he would leave on 31 May. Student protest and the threat of workers’ action has seen off the ultimate school bully. Staff have been organising over bullying management; failure to address accusations of racism; lack of adequate safeguarding and unreasonable workload. The NEU strike ballot, which closed last week, came back with a resounding yes vote, and staff are due to hold their...

Women's Fightback: Lockdown-easing sharpens lockdown danger

Five women were killed in Spain in the week from 17 May by their partners or ex-partners. In Asturias, Maria Teresa Aladro was found dead in her home with two shotgun wounds in her back. Her husband, whom she was in the process of divorcing, was arrested on suspicion of murder. A 42-year-old woman in Barcelona was stabbed to death by her husband, who then killed himself. In Mallorca a pregnant Moroccan woman and her young son were killed by her partner, who called police to confess. Their deaths bring to 14 the number of women killed in Spain so far this year by their partner or former partner...

Climate change, shocks and growth

We don’t know how climate shocks will impact on capitalism. (See Todd Hamer, Solidarity 593, response to my letter in Solidarity 590.) We do know that capitalism is adept at making phases of destruction (wars, natural disasters) into prompts for booms, and that its chief trigger of crisis is periods of exceptional construction (booms). Capitalism’s great period of (relatively, and only very relatively) smooth growth was the 1950s and 60s. The last 40 years have brought slower growth (except in some countries, like China) and more and sharper crises. Triumphalism is increasingly shouldered...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.