Solidarity 312, 5 February 2014

All out to save Tube jobs!

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 12:44

London Underground workers began the first of two strikes this month on Tuesday 4 February, as part of their “Every Job Matters” campaign to stop job cuts and ticket office closures.

Members of the RMT and TSSA will strike from 9pm on Tuesday 4 February until 8.59pm on Thursday 6 February, with the strike expected to cause significant disruption to the Tube.

An overtime ban launched by station staff on 17 January has already begun to bite, with major stations including Finsbury Park forced to close early due to staff shortages.

The 4-6 February strike will be followed by another 48-hour

No victimisation of 3 Cosas workers

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 12:38

On 27, 28 and 29 January, outsourced workers at the University of London took strike action for equal sick pay, holidays and pensions.

They were also demanding that the employer recognise the IWGB and offer protection against job losses at the Garden Halls of residence near King’s Cross.

Despite the University claiming that the action had “minimal impact”, the strike was solid and gained strong support from students and wider activists.

On all three mornings, picket lines caused considerable disruption to deliveries to Senate House. There were reports of directly-employed staff working off

Spanish pro-choice march

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 12:32

Thousands of Spaniards protested on 1 February against a draft law to restrict access to abortion. The law would limit abortion to cases of rape and instances where the health of the mother was at serious risk. The current law, brought in the Socialist government in 2010, gives women the right to abort up to the 14th week of pregnancy.

Managing for the sake of managing

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 12:20

Jack Murrow is a library worker in a large university.

The bulk of what I do is shelving, so it’s essentially a manual job, unlike the work of the library assistants and senior library assistants above me who are more desk- and office-based.

The library was recently restructured and my position was created on Grade 1 of the national payscale — before this the lowest grades at been Grade 2s. I think there has been more of a shift to part-time work; whether this is due to higher education funding cuts I couldn’t say; my university is pretty healthy financially.

I am quite atomised from the rest

No short-term fix for energy crisis

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 11:56

A development worker in the renewable energy industry spoke to Solidarity about renewable technology and energy policy.

Note: this is a longer version of the interview than the one which appeared in the printed paper.

The old ways of thinking can’t last forever. Reliance on fossil fuels, particularly imported coal and gas, leave us exposed to the whims of markets.

There is a need to arrive at a better way to address our energy needs, both on an environmental level and a societal level in terms of dethroning the “Big Six” energy companies. But there’s also a need to refine, develop, and test

Marxist Revival # 1 out now

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 11:44

The first issue of a new journal of international discussion among revolutionary socialists, Marxist Revival, is out now. Click here to download it as pdf, or to get a printed copy, click here to send us £2 plus £1.20 postage.

The journal is produced by the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency. The first issue also includes a long contribution from the Turkish revolutionary socialist group Marksist Tutum, and a survey from Workers’ Liberty Australia of the revolutionary left in Australia.

The journal declares that “it will not be just an open forum.

Hegemony is not in the DNA

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 11:37

The main theses of Leo Panitch’s and Sam Gindin’s book The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire, an important new book which Paul Hampton reviewed recently in Solidarity, are restatements of what the authors have argued in many articles. They are, I think, plain fact and important fact.

The forty-odd years of turbulence since the end in the early 1970s of the 1950s-60s “golden age” of West European, Japanese, and American capitalism have not brought a relative decline of the USA and a rise of inter-imperialist rivalries.

They have brought the extension of

Fighting privatisation, defying the law

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 11:27

Solidarity continues our series of our extracts from Janine Booth’s new book, Plundering London Underground: New Labour, private capital and public transport 1997-2010.

By the beginning of 2001, the government and Tube bosses were pressing ahead with preparations for the Public-Private Partnership, and recently-elected London Mayor Ken Livingstone, elected on a platform of opposing the PPP, was tacking towards compromise. But Tube trade unions, RMT and ASLEF had balloted members for action, and members of both unions voted Yes.

But before the first strike was due to take place, the government

The business of folk

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 11:20

Hollywood has a long history of taking a real person and creating fictionalised versions. ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, and ‘The Godfather’ all did this. The Coen Brothers did it themselves in ‘Barton Fink’ and they have done it again in their new film — ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’.

Llewyn Davis, a former merchant seaman, is a folk singer on the Greenwich Village scene in the New York of the early 60s. Dave Van Ronk was a real folk singer who also used to be a merchant seaman. There are a couple of nods to some other similarities but one of the great strengths of the movie is that Llewyn

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