Solidarity 615, 24 November 2021

A good time for strikes

Sometimes workers and unions have to strike at times we would not have chosen. The bosses pick a time when they feel secure and can afford a risk of idling their business to victimise union reps or impose worse conditions. Sometimes we win strikes even when the bosses have done the best of calculations. This is a time when the chances of winning strikes are better than usual. On 5 November the Daily Mirror compiled a list of 39 u-turns by the Tory government since early 2020. It is a government with little solid strategy beyond its December 2019 election slogan, “Get Brexit done”. Brexit is...

Votes on pay action in health and local government

The health unions are carrying out their second round of membership votes on the 2021 NHS pay award of 3%. GMB is holding a formal industrial action ballot which closes on 15 December, Unison’s second informal consultation closes on 5 December, and the RCN’s on 30 November. Across the unions the proportions of members voting in the first rounds were not high enough to meet the legal threshold for industrial action, and so the main objective of the current ballots is to increase the turnout. In some areas the campaign has had more energy this time, and in these last weeks activists should...

Victory for HK strikers

From 13 November 200 food delivery workers in Hong Kong struck for two days against their employer Foodpanda. They took to the streets on 16 November with a 15 point series of demands. The police unfurled blue banners instructing them to disperse or face arrest as an illegal assembly — the charge that has seen many leading Hong Kong trade unionists given prison sentences of up to two years. But the workers did not cease their action. The Foodpanda workers, many of whom are Asian migrants to Hong Kong, were protesting about many of the problems experienced by other delivery workers across the...

Against Fortress Europe and Fortress Britain

At least thirteen people trapped on the Belarus-Poland border have died, the most recent a one-year-old child. Given the magnitude of the barbarism inflicted on these people, it could easily have been many more. Belarus’ noxious regime, which funnelled refugees to the border in order to exert pressure on the European Union over economic sanctions, is undoubtedly in large part responsible for this crisis. But so, equally, are the EU governments (and the UK’s, which has backed them up, including with troops!) This particular confrontation may fizzle out, as Belarus sends many of the migrants...

Sudan: resistance committees reject junta deal

The Sudanese military leadership has released political prisoners and reinstated deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to office. In a sense the junta is retreating. But in another sense they have simply put some window dressing on their coup. Hamdok has declared there will be elections by July 2023 — exactly what the coup-leaders was already saying. He has agreed a technocratic cabinet likely to be highly compliant with the military. And the military still has the control of the country’s governing “sovereignty council” it took after the coup. Moreover Hamdok and his allies have legitimised...

Morning Star’s Nick Wright praises Wagenknecht

In the Morning Star of 18 November, former Straight Left ultra-Stalinist Nick Wright, now rehabilitated into the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and a regular contributor to the paper, had a lengthy article headed “The truth about immigration waits at the Polish border” While rightly condemning Poland and the EU over the plight of the people at the border, Wright glosses over Lukashenko’s cynical manipulation of desperate migrants in his efforts to destabilise the EU (while his master Putin gloats from the sidelines), and reports of Belarusian troops forcibly turning back migrants attempting...

Needing right-wing policies to beat the Tories?

We had a friendly, respectful debate about the way forward at a recent Labour Party branch meeting in York. It was prompted by members asking questions. Why are the Tories still popular despite their incompetence and corruption? Do the Tories have a Trump-like base of support, impervious to evidence and argument? In the tussle between the left and the right within Labour, which side has the answers that can deliver a General Election win? Some people had stayed loyal to Labour throughout the Blair years and said they were tired of being made to feel ashamed of New Labour’s achievements. Unlike...

Glossing over threats to Stock

I had some difficulty following the arguments in Camila Bassi’s article “Academic freedom: we must fight for it” in Solidarity 614. I can only assure Camila that I am not being facetious when I say I simply do not understand what she means by “Academic freedom is contingent upon the epistemologies and politics of the time.” What was clear to me, however, is that Camila is entirely unsympathetic to Kathleen Stock, referring to her complaints of bullying and intimidation by some colleagues, students and campaigners as a “lament that she was a victim” and claiming that her resignation has...

COP26 was no triumph, but the protests were a base to build on

In “COP and the credibility gap” (Solidarity 614) I covered the COP26 outcomes on energy generation. This week I cover other aspects. In transport, the biggest focus was on cars. A pledge of dozens of national and regional governments and automobile corporations committed to end the sale of new cars and vans with internal combustion engines by 2040, globally. This far-too-late deadline does not address cars that have already been bought before that date, or retrofitting. It does not aim to reduce the production and usage of this inefficient and environmentally destructive mode of transport, in...

Stalinism: not so “external”

Urte March, in their review of Corbynism: What Went Wrong? in Solidarity 614 cites their own comrade Tim Nailsea’s review of the Communist Party’s re-issued Britain’s Road to Socialism. This is to hammer their argument that Martin Thomas is wrong to blame Stalinism for many of Corbynism’s weak points when the finger should be pointed at the reformist character of the Labour party itself. But, as Nailsea says in their review: “Britain’s Road to Socialism is, in fact, probably one of the clearest blueprints for reformist socialism one might find on the British left”. Since its publication in...

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.