Solidarity 159, 24 September 2009

When Stalin invaded Poland, September 1939

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 21:38

Many socialists today consider themselves to follow the ideas of Leon Trotsky — both a leader of the Russian workers’ revolution of 1917, and the leader of the working-class resistance to the subsequent counter-revolution under Josef Stalin.

Among those “Trotskyists”, the received wisdom is that in September 1939 Trotsky “defended” Stalin’s USSR in its invasion of eastern Poland.

The article below, Trotsky’s response to the invasion, shows that not to be true.

It is true that in the following months, along with further articles denouncing Stalin’s invasion, and his further invasion of Finland

Third camp politics: America, Iran and our solidarity

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 21:35

Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Monthly Review

Barack Obama’s decision to cancel US plans to build a missile defence base in the Czech Republic and Poland has raised again the issue of America’s attitude to the Iranian regime. Part of the aim of the missile cancellation was to enlist Russia’s co-operation in stopping Iran’s nuclear programme.

After the June protests in Iran, members of the US Campaign for Peace and Democracy wrote about the America-Iran conflict and how the US left perceive it. What they say about the American left could also be said about the British left, who, on many issues, under the cover of opposing big power

Unravelling Scottish history

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 21:30

Elaine Jones

This pamphlet explains how Scottish nationalism came into being, how it was shaped by economic and political developments and how it has, unfortunately, shaped the workers movement.

Most of the left in Scotland present a distorted view of Scottish history tailored to support arguments in favour of independence.

“The pro-independence Scottish left has gutted the history of post-Union Scotland of its real historical content and replaced it with a mixture of recycled leftovers of Jacobite anti-Union propaganda and contemporary ‘anti-imperialist’ verbiage.” It serves as an ideological

An example to be proud of

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 21:09

As all the main parties agree there is no alternative to cutting back services, Janine Booth’s timely history of the struggle of Poplar’s Labour Council reminds us there is and has always been an alternative — struggle. Poplar’s revolt is generally known of on the left but speaking for myself I didn’t have had a real understanding of the significance of the struggle until reading this book.

Janine is a long-standing member of the Alliance Workers Liberty and many of the themes she draws out will be familiar from her contributions to Solidarity: the focus on community based activity, the need

Trevor Griffiths: A share in revolutions

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 21:08

Playwright and screen-writer Trevor Griffiths uses his art to intervene politically in the events of our time. Born in Manchester in 1935 of Irish and Welsh descent, Griffiths is perhaps best-known for writing the original screenplay for Reds, Warren Beattie’s 1981 film about John Reed and the Bolshevik Revolution.

His politically-acute work has stretched over more than four decades. During this time he has been concerned not only to explore moments of history which he sees as especially significant for the working-class, but also to render these “usable”. That is, to remind the class-audience

Don’t be fooled by the Lib Dems!

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 21:05

By Ed Maltby

The Liberal Democrats are preparing to ditch their policy of abolishing tuition fees. Nick Clegg told the first day of the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth that, while he opposes tuition fees, it is necessary to be “realistic”.

“But I can make this pledge — at the next election we will have the best, most progressive package for students of any mainstream party.”

Given that both the Labour government and the Tories are committed to a deregulated system of fees in higher education, that is not claiming very much!

Many students are attracted to the Lib Dems; in a number of cities, Cardiff,

Fight to end low pay, debt and unemployment among young people

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 21:03

By Daniel Randall

The Confederation of British Industry, the principal organisation of bosses in the UK, has added its voice to a growing clamour for the “cap” on top-up higher education fees to be raised, saying students should view higher fees as “inevitable”. The CBI is also calling for the government to scrap its target of getting 50% of young people into higher education.

Wendy Piatt, the head of the Russell Group of the country’s most “prestigious” universities (which will be first in line to raise fees) welcomed the CBI’s “call for an exploration of new sources of funding.”

With top-up fees for students

Mind the gap: We need a movement for working-class women

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 21:01

By Jordan Savage

On Saturday 12 September around 60 people (nearly all female) attended the student feminist group Mind The Gap’s “activist day” at London’s School of African and Oriental Studies. It was a day of contradictions.

The speech given by Judith Orr of the Socialist Workers Party — attacking the “glass ceiling” — set the tone for the open debate.

Orr began by identifying capitalism as the overarching reason for much of the inequality in our society; she said that the glass ceiling that women face in high-level business is “the work of capitalist bosses”… “the higher you go [in business] the less

Israeli Arabs: Temporary victory against discrimination

Published on: Thu, 24/09/2009 - 20:58

By Ira Berkovic

Israeli railway workers struck a blow against exploitation and discrimination when on 10 September a Tel Aviv Labour Court issued an interim injunction against the dismissal of Arab workers by Israel Railways.

The struggle began in March 2009 when the state-owned company introduced a policy stipulating that railroad crossing guards had to have a license to carry weapons, a move the company said was based on “practical and security considerations” even though the job of railroad guard has never entailed the carrying of weaponry. Given that most people obtain such a license through military

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