Solidarity 461, 7 February 2018

Afrin: Erdogan cracks down on Turkish dissent

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 15:44

Gemma Short

Eleven members of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) were arrested on 30 January following the publication of a statement by the TMA condemning Turkey′s military action in Afrin, Syria. The statement called for an end to all hostilities and warned that war posed a threat to public health. The Turkish government, along with Syrian rebels, launched an assault on Kurdish-controlled Afrin in Syria on 21 January.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are the dominant force there. Turkey insists the YPG are terrorist. Terrorist regime In fact Erdogan’s government have long been

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 15:25

Eduardo Tovar, Gemma Short, Ollie Moore, Peggy Carter and Charlotte Zalens

On 22-23 February, campuses across the country will see the first of 14 days of strikes announced by the University and College Union (UCU).

These strikes follow the industrial action ballots results of 22 January, which saw an 88% vote for strike action, based on a turnout of 59% of eligible UCU members. These strikes will hit 61 universities, perhaps even more, with UCU members at seven institutions that failed to meet the 50% turnout requirement now being re-balloted. The strikes are over proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the main pension scheme for “pre-92

London Young Labour shows dangers for the left

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 15:10

On Saturday 3 February, the AGM of London Young Labour took place at University College London. The conference was attended by about 350 young Labour members from across London, and passed good policy about defending free movement and working with the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, on social housing, and on creating the role of a trans officer on the committee.

The conference also discussed a motion relating to a recent anonymous claim of sexual assault on an ex-member of Workers′ Liberty by another ex-member which took place in 2005 when the victim was 16. This is an issue which Workers’

Stories of transition: the 2017 Booker novels

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 15:02

Matt Kinsella

The 2017 shortlist for the Booker literary prize for novels contained three debut novels: Fiona Mozley’s Elmet, Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves, and the eventual Booker winner, Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders.

Elmet, History of Wolves, and Paul Auster’s hefty 4321 are bildungsromane (coming-of-age stories). Auster, Fridlund, and Saunders deal with quintessentially American themes in the various mythologies around 60s counter-culture, the rugged terrain of the Midwest, and the life of Abraham Lincoln respectively. Also on the shortlist were Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid, author of The

Top 5% own 60% of financial wealth

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 14:52

Editorial from Solidarity 461

The top 5% in Britain own 60% of all financial wealth, that is, of the wealth that brings power. Wealth inequality has been increasing since the Thatcher years, and has jumped again in the last ten years.

The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality which ranges from 0 for complete equality to 1 for one person having the whole amount and the rest nothing. For financial wealth in Britain, the Gini figure was 81% between 2006 and 2010; between 2010 and 2016 (which is when the latest official figures, published on 1 February, go up to), the Gini went up to 91%.

Letter: Young girls and the hijab

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 14:47

Mark Sandell

I am writing in support of the original policy of St Stephen’s School in Newham to stop girls under eight wearing the hijab at school. (The school reversed the policy after a petition campaign). The head, Neena Lall, has received death threats.

Muslim organisations and local councillors have protested, and the chair of the Board of Governors who supported her was been forced to resign. I suspect most of the British left are on the wrong side in this argument. Desperate to prove themselves politically correct, they are abandoning young girls to reactionary restrictions. Yet, in an article in

Who are the US “alt-right”?

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 14:35

Ira Berkovic

Much has been written about the so-called “alt-right”. The term has been used to describe quite different phenomena.

Depending on whose analysis you support, the alt-right could be disaffected young white men resurrecting fascist politics on a foundation of social media meme-culture irony. Or a PR ploy by classical fascists of various stripes pitching both for edginess and a mainstream platform. Or a meaningless epithet slapped, with little explanatory value, onto a scurrying cluster of various far-right fringe groups suddenly given prominence by a presidential regime which has seemingly

NUS: Unite the student left

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 14:30

Ruaridh Anderson

NUS Conference 2018 will be marked by a showdown between the left and the right.

The left wing of conference will be made up of students whose politics centre on the Corbyn surge: supporters of the Labour left and socialism, however defined. The rightwing president Shakira Martin has distanced herself from this left, instead organising a high-profile review of Further Education with Vince Cable, the Lib-Dem bigwig whose party oversaw the tripling of tuition fees when it was last in government in 2009.

The urgent necessity is to unite the left to beat the resurgent right wing and create a

HDV: death of a sell-off

Published on: Wed, 07/02/2018 - 14:25

Simon Nelson

The resignation of Claire Kober, the Blairite leader of Haringey Council, has left the Haringey Development Vehicle, the scheme her leadership had championed, in tatters. It was a victory for the Stop HDV campaign and the Labour activists who had systematically worked to select candidates for the May council election who opposed the sell-off of £2 billion of public land, the destruction of social housing, and a partnership with the blacklisting giant Lendlease.

The intervention of Labour’s National Executive on this issue has led to thousands of column inches and multiple TV appearances for

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