Solidarity 451, 18 October 2017

Catalonia: no to Madrid clampdown!

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 13:25

Tony Holmes

The Spanish government in Madrid says that it will suspend regional autonomy and impose direct rule on Catalonia from Thursday 19 October unless president Carles Puigdemont abandons his push for independence for the territory.

A Madrid clampdown would, soon if not immediately, lead to violent clashes such as happened when the Spanish government tried to stop Catalonia’s 1 October referendum. The Catalan police might well side with the Catalan government against Spanish government forces.

On 10 October Catalan president Carles Puigdemont fell short of a full-scale declaration of independence,

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 13:13

Patrick Murphy and Ollie Moore

On Wednesday the 11, October Jeremy Hunt told the House of Commons that the 1% pay cap will be lifted for NHS staff. After the government buckled under pressure and lifted the public sector pay cap for police and prison officers, the government had shown it was weak and it was only a matter of time before it was forced into lifting the cap for other workers.

Hunt has failed to say if the pay rise will be funded, or whether NHS employers will have to find the money within existing, too tight, budgets. So will NHS employers be left with the ″choice″ of making cuts elsewhere in order to fund pay

Left debates at Young Labour

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 13:08

Around 200 delegates attended the 2017 Young Labour Policy Conference at Warwick University over the weekend of 15-15 October. In a marked change from previous years the mood of the conference was left-wing. The conference voted for free education, shrugging off the attempts of the much-reduced Blairite faction to garner support for their graduate tax policy. Likewise, the conference voted to leave NATO — a clear break from the foreign policy of recent years.

The conference revealed three political tendencies: a Blairite right wing organised around activists from Labour Students, now very

Open up the democracy review

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 13:00

Keith Road

The left-wing former MP Katy Clark will be leading on the Labour Party democracy review but the terms of the review are not yet clear. Rule change motions that were remitted by conference will all be left on the table. Similar promises of a democratic review were made in 2010 ,with bad results. However with the Corbyn leadership firmly at the helm, there is hope for more thoroughgoing and democratic reform.

As selection procedures will not form part of the review, there will be no discussion of mandatory re-selection or reform of the trigger ballot procedures. It is unclear if CLPs will be

Experience and revolutionary politics

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 12:48

Louise O’Shea

This article by Louise O’Shea from the Australian fortnightly paper Red Flag outlines the important but unstable role of experience in revolutionary politics. Abridged and reprinted here to promote discussion.

The label “identity politics” is applied to a range of positions and practices, the key unifying features of which are sectional approaches to challenging oppression and the prioritisation of subjective experience. These can be highly theorised or simply reflect a common sense based on what seem like readily observable truths: that the world is divided between people who suffer

1980s ozone layer to return by... 2050

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 12:35

Les Hearn

Good news! The ozone hole is shrinking at last, a rare success for collective action in response to scientific evidence.1 Unfortunately, it will take until 2050 to return to its 1980 levels.

This is because the chemicals largely responsible for its depletion are very stable and those already released will persist in the atmosphere until then, even if no more emissions take place. It’s 30 years since the signing of the Montreal Protocol which aimed to tackle the problem of the accelerating destruction of the ozone layer by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs most of

Vote Richard Leonard for Scottish Labour Leader

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 12:17

Dale Street

Supporting nominations from Constituency Labour Parties in the Scottish Labour Party leadership contest closed on 13 October. Richard Leonard had 42, compared with 16 for Anas Sarwar. The right-wing Community trade union backed Sarwar. All other unions which submitted a supporting nomination backed Leonard.

Leonard also has a narrow majority of nominations from the seven Scottish Labour MPs, while Sarwar enjoys a majority of nominations from MSPs and councillors. Leonard is the left-wing candidate in the contest. Although not a member of the Campaign for Socialism (which doubles up as the

The October revolution: taking power and holding on

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 11:51

Paul Vernadsky

In the early hours of 24 October the soviet seizure of power began. This was not a response to the government’s ill-conceived decision to launch punitive action against the Bolsheviks. The blueprint had already been drawn up by the Military Revolutionary Committee; insurrectionary forces were to seize the Marinskii Palace and disperse the pre-parliament. Then the Winter Palace was to be surrounded, ministers arrested and the Provisional Government overthrown.

Red Guards and pro-soviet soldiers were mobilised to control the bridges over the river and key buildings such as railway stations were

The Revolution Betrayed

Published on: Wed, 18/10/2017 - 11:38

Max Shachtman

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 opened up a new epoch for humanity. What no other social upheaval before it had ever dared to hope for, the Russian Revolution proclaimed boldly and confidently. Not the great French revolution, not even the Paris Commune of 1871, not even the rehearsal of the Russian Revolution in 1905, dreamed that it was the immediate forerunner of international socialism.

The Russian revolutionists of 1917, from their leaders down to the most obscure militant, did believe that they had only made the magnificent beginning, and that the flame they lighted would burn until it

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