Solidarity 450, 11 October 2017

Picturehouse strikers defy threats

Published on: Wed, 11/10/2017 - 12:27

On Wednesday 4 October, workers from five Picturehouse sites walked out on strike, in the face of intimidation and threats of dismissal from Picturehouse management.

We walked out and converged on Leicester Square where the opening gala for the London Film Festival, organised by the British Film Institute (BFI), had a red carpet of big names from the film industry. Whilst most of the great and the good at the gala tried to ignore the angry cinema workers inconveniently blocking their path from the champagne reception to the red carpet, some supported us. Actor and director Andrew Garfield

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/10/2017 - 11:55

Martin Thomas, Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens, Ralph Peters and Peggy Carter

Workers’ Liberty school workers met on 7 October 2017 to discuss our plans in our workplaces and in the new National Education Union, formed on 1 September by the merger of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. The new union is making a recruitment drive, offering membership free to trainees and students, for £1 to newly qualified teachers, and for £10 for the first year to all teachers and all school support staff. The response has been good, with twice as many new recruits to the NEU in September 2017 as there were to the NUT and ATL in September 2016.

Scottish Labour lags behind

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

Dale Street

Anas Sarwar, candidate of the right wing in the Scottish Labour Party leadership contest, has been getting a bad press. And deservedly so.

The focus of the bad news was United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd., the Sarwar ″family firm″ (in the sense that the only shareholders in it are the Sarwar family). The lowest paid employees in the company are paid the legal minimum: the National Living Wage of £7.50 a week. This is well short of the Scottish Living Wage of £8.45 an hour, and even further away from Labour Party policy of a minimum wage of £10 an hour. The family firm could easily afford to pay

Catalonia: right to choose yes, new borders no!

Published on: Wed, 11/10/2017 - 11:13

Martin Thomas and Tony Holmes

As Solidarity goes to press on 10 October, Carles Puigdemont, the president of Catalonia, has announced his response to the referendum on independence in Catalonia his government called on 1 October.

The Spanish government declared the referendum illegal, and deployed heavy Spanish police force to try to stop it, but it largely went ahead. 92% voted yes, on a 43% turnout. A series of opinion polls carried out by the Catalan government since 2011 has in recent years shown a slight majority against independence, most recently 49%-41% in July this year.

Puigdemont asked the Catalan parliament,

How to get the Tories out

Published on: Wed, 11/10/2017 - 11:06


After May’s woeful Party conference speech, the Tories are more divided than ever. But their conference has also left them in an impasse. They can’t easily sack Theresa May because she was the unity candidate for Leader and the Tories who supported her don’t yet have a plan B. There is no sign of an acceptable alternative to May.

The underlying struggle for dominance between soft and hard Tory Brexiteers has not resolved itself. At some point, most likely now in the medium term, those divisions will come to head, and May will be ousted. As the Tory internecine struggle becomes more infected


Published on: Wed, 11/10/2017 - 10:48

Colin Waugh’s review of The Russian Revolution: When Workers Took Power is right that Marxists must learn from the experience of workers’ struggles: revolutionary socialism certainly is dialogic. The Bolsheviks followed those principles and this helps explain their success in 1917. However I disagree with Colin’s critique of Kautsky and Lenin about the relationship between socialism and the working class.

Colin claims Kautsky asserted that “Marx and Engels created their conception of socialism in isolation from workers” and that Kautsky assumed “the essentials of modern socialism were

Daesh driven out of Raqqa

Published on: Wed, 11/10/2017 - 10:38

Ralph Peters

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have scored remarkable victories over the last three years against Daesh in northern Syria.

The YPG was created five years ago. Assad withdrew from Kurdish areas in north west Syria to concentrate his offensive in more central areas. The YPG became the army of the cantons formed in what Kurds call Rojava, “the West” of Kurdish territory. It made its female units (YPJ) every bit as prominent and effective as the male units. It rejected religious sectarianism and nationalism. It armed those it liberated like the Yazidis, and helped them organise in

Domino’s at large, socialism popular too

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

Ruaridh Anderson

Stalls handing out free Domino’s pizza remain by far the most popular on campus during university students’ union welcome fairs. They have also been a fuel for socialist activity, proving a reliable source of free food for Workers’ Liberty students as we spent the last three weeks at fairs around the country.

Following the general election, many more students and young people are engaged by left-wing ideas. This was reflected partly by the popularity of our stalls. We spent days in long conversations about current political issues, selling literature and advertising our meetings. We raised

NZ schools go gender-neutral

Published on: Wed, 11/10/2017 - 10:05

Colin Foster

New Zealand’s secondary school teachers’ union has called on all schools to offer gender-neutral uniform, toilet and changing-room options. All students should be able to “choose from a range of shorts, trousers, skirts of different lengths and styles, with both tailored and non-tailored interchangeable shirts... access to specific uniform items [should not be] not limited on the basis of biological sex or perceived gender identity”.

The union also calls on schools to provide “individual toilet and shower units with lockable doors and floor-to-ceiling divisions” and “options for students to

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