Solidarity 448, 20 September 2017

Support the Rohingya

Published on: Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:23

Around 400,000 people from the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar have now fled to Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshi government was reluctant to admit them, but has been less hard-faced than Britain or the EU generally towards refugees from Syria and Eritrea. Or at least it has calculated that it lacks the means to be as hard-faced.

Many of the refugees are huddled round Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh. The Bangladesh police say that they “cannot travel from one place to another by roads, railways or waterways”, and that camps will be built to accommodate them.

The Economist magazine in 2015

Unfinished Corbynism

Published on: Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:08

Martin Thomas

Alex Nunns, a journalist on Red Pepper, has based this book on sympathetic interviews with many of the central people in Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 Labour leadership campaign. It’s a well-crafted, well-informed view of the Corbyn surge as it looked from the top.

It’s hard to remember now just how unexpected Corbyn’s 2015 victory was. Before the May election John McDonnell had attempted to assemble a “Left Platform” group. It flopped dismally.

Labour lost the election. Ed Miliband resigned. The main candidates to replace him as leader started to compete for how right-wing they could promote

Rally Labour to oust Tories!

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2017 - 17:02

On Sunday 1 October tens of thousands will protest at the Tory party conference, demanding no more austerity; scrap the pay cap; decent health, homes, jobs and education.

At the TUC congress in Brighton on 10-13 September, Mark Serwotka, leader of the civil service workers’ union PCS, said: “We have a weak government with no mandates to implement further public sector pay restraint. Now is the time for the action required to defeat this government pay cap and put real-terms pay increases in the pockets of our members”.

Other union leaders also said that action was called for, and talked of

We should not no-platform “bad ideas”

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2017 - 16:52


On Wednesday 13 September a meeting billed ″What is Gender? The Gender Recognition Act and beyond″ was cancelled by the venue (New Cross Learning in Lewisham, south London) after a protest was planned outside the meeting and activists called the venue to argue they cancel the booking.

On Thursday 14 September the meeting was rearranged to a secret location, but was still met with a protest. Attendees at the meeting filmed and harassed protesters. One attendee at the meeting had her camera snatched away and smashed, and was repeatedly punched.

We are not pacifists, and do not condemn all

War and climate change causes hunger

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2017 - 16:50

Richard Driver

World hunger rose for the first time this century in 2016.

A UN agencies report found that the number of undernourished people in the world increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. Nearly one in nine people in the world do not get enough food to be healthy.
Almost one-in-four children under five are affected by stunting, or low height for their age. 7.7% of children in the world suffer from wasting, or low weight for their height.

Stunting leads to largely irreversible effects such as delayed motor development and impaired cognitive functioning. Wasting is a strong

Grenfell inquiry begins

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2017 - 16:48

Gemma Short

The inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire opened on Friday 15 September. Those affected have little confidence that it will yield justice.

The inquiry will not examine the wider social and political context of the fire, including social housing, and was criticised by Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack as being a “mighty kick of some really fundamental issues into some very long grass”.

Three months after the fire, only two families have moved into permanent homes. Around 150 are still staying in hotels. Many have, understandably, turned down offers of temporary accommodation to

Korean tensions fuel reaction

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2017 - 16:46

Michael Elms

Renewed UN sanctions have not been able to break the deadlock on North Korea.

As Kim and Trump flirt with war, the tensions on the Korean peninsula are fuelling reactionary politics across the region, and live-fire American-South Korean military exercises and repeated North Korean missile launches and nuclear tests.

On 11 September, the UN rejected a harsher set of sanctions proposals from the US, instead adopting a ban on North Korean textile exports and capping oil sales to the country. While Trump has claimed that the oil cap is producing “long gas lines in North Korea”, commentators point

What should unions do on pay?

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2017 - 16:42

Charlotte Zalens

On Tuesday 12 September the government announced it was going to lift the pay freeze for police and prison officers, though without extra money from the government, but not for anyone else.

The government has signalled that it is weak on public sector pay. It has opened a door that the labour movement now needs to force its way through.

But despite this, and despite much hot air at TUC congress, no serious moves have been made to fight on pay. The Royal College of Nursing held a consultative ballot in May and have had a number of large rallies across the country over the summer, but no strike

Daesh attacks as it is driven back

Published on: Thu, 21/09/2017 - 16:17

Simon Nelson

The bomb on London’s District Line tube thankfully did not kill or seriously maim people travelling to school or work. Its potential to have done so is horrifying.

Once again Daesh have claimed responsibility for the attack. Early indications are that had the bomb detonated it would have been on a similar scale to the one used in the Manchester Arena bombings in May.

The role of tube staff in ensuring there was a safe evacuation of Parsons Green station highlights the potential consequences of further staff cuts and attempts to leave many stations without any staff.

As RMT General Secretary

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