Solidarity 449, 4 October 2017

Royal Mail workers to strike

Published on: Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:33

Gemma Short

Workers at Royal Mail have voted by 89.1% for strikes.

The dispute has four main demands: an end to the two-tier pension system, and for a decent pension for all; a shorter full-time working week of 35 hours with no loss of pay to mitigate the effects of automation on work; union agreements extended past 2018; no two-tiered workforce in order to achieve Royal Mail′s plan to have 9-5 delivery; a decent pay rise and no introduction of future pay awards linked to the company′s success and efficiency savings that year.

Royal Mail made £712 million in operating profit alone in the last year alone,

Picturehouse strikers threatened with sack

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 16:34

Gemma Short

Workers at Picturehouse cinemas will strike again on 4 October at the start of the London Film Festival which is being held at two of the London Picturehouse cinemas.

Workers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, Hackney Picturehouse, East Dulwich Picturehouse, and Picturehouse Central will all strike from 3.30pm on 4 October. Workers at Hackney and Central will then strike from 5-7pm on 6-8, and 11-15 October with walk-outs timed to disrupt premieres and big London Film Festival events at those cinemas. On 15 October all sites will strike again to disrupt the closing gala at Hackney Picturehouse.


Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 12:28

Gemma Short, Mark Kent and Ollie Moore

On Saturday 30 September, workers and supporters protested outside the HR Owen car showrooms in London.

HR Owen sells a number of luxury sports cars, including Maserati and Ferrari, some of which sell for over £250,000 each. Last year it made a profit of £400m. Yet it only pays the minimum wage (through an outsourcing company) to its cleaners for the last five years. The inequality between rich and poor could not be clearer.

Workers have been balloted by their union, United Voices of the World (UVW), to strike for the London Living Wage (£9.75 an hour). After the ballot Freddy Lopez and

Uber: workers’ loss?

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 12:20

James Farrar, chair of the United Private Hire Drivers’ branch of the IWGB union, spoke to Solidarity about working for Uber and the cancellation of their licence.

I am a founder as well as the chair of the United Private Hire Drivers’ (UPHD) branch of the IWGB union.

We came into being because there was no dedicated organisation for minicab drivers in London. All the other trade unions also represent taxi drivers and operators. Some refuse membership to private hire drivers. The industry has been rife with labour abuse for decades. Uber has taken that to an industrial scale.

For our members

A slice of Palestinian life

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 11:56

Cathy Nugent reviews “In Between”

Maysaloun Hamoud’s film portrayal of three Palestinian women who share a flat in Tel Aviv shows the difficulties of finding personal freedom and breaking from a patriarchal background.

Hamoud does not foreground Israeli society yet it is always present. While the modernity of Tel Aviv nurtures the women and helps them find their way, the anti-Arab racism of the wider society impinges on the choices they can ultimately make.

Laila is a lawyer and a bold and confident character who is determined (at all costs) to break free of conventions. Salma is part-time DJ,

1917 was a revolution, not a coup

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 11:43

Paul Hampton

The British Trotskyist group Socialist Resistance has published a book, October 1917 — Workers in Power (Merlin 2016), which defends the key decisions of the Bolsheviks, while making some reasonable criticisms of the regime created after the civil war. The collection of essays is useful in many respects, but feels somewhat stale and has a number of notable gaps.

A centre-piece of the book is Ernest Mandel’s essay, October 1917: Coup d’etat or social revolution? Mandel, who died in 1995, did a good job explaining why the Bolsheviks had won majority support among workers (and indeed wide

Kautsky and ideas “from outside”

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 11:35

Colin Waugh

In Chapter 3 of The Russian Revolution: When workers took power, Paul Vernadsky discusses Lenin’s 1901/1902 document What Is To Be Done?, referring among other things to Lars T. Lih’s 2005 book, Lenin Rediscovered.

Later (pp163-169) Paul demolishes Lih’s claim that in 1921 Lenin was still a disciple of Karl Kautsky. In Chapter 3, however, he broadly accepts Lih’s approach to What Is To Be Done?, which is that it’s primarily about urging revolutionaries in Russia to model their activity on methods used by the SPD in Germany. He discusses the 1902 passage by Kautsky which Lenin both paraphrased

Oh Jeremy Corbyn?

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 11:20

A pernicious and probably controversial issue is the unstoppable adulation and hero worship of Jeremy Corbyn.

Not all of the adulation is the fault of the enthusiastic delegates in the room. The Labour machine now appears to be cashing in on Corbynmania with a range of Corbyn-themed items.

It is very impressive that a whole crowd at the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury are so enthused they chant his name, but do we really need a seven minute delay in his conference speech to chant, or the chanting of his name when other Shadow Ministers speak? Or delegates taking valuable time to ask pointless

Planning Labour’s “war games”

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 11:14

Richard Barbrook, named as John McDonnell’s adviser on “war-gaming” for a future Labour government, spoke to Solidarity

I’m in the process of doing the bureaucracy to go part-time in my university job and work part-time in the Labour leader’s office on role-plays for likely problems were we get into government.

The media have picked up on the phrase “war games” because it sounds more sexy, but really it’s role-plays.

John McDonnell in Brighton talked about a run on the pound as the thing we should role-play for. But it might not be that. With the mess the Tories are making, the pound might

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