Solidarity 479, 19 September 2018

Build a new student activism!

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 13:51

By Christie Neary, NUS Trans Committee (p.c.)

Over 70 student activists attended the Student Activist Weekender on 7-9 September, coming from campuses across the country to London for a weekend of education, organisation and establishing collaboration.

The event, a Student Feminist Campaign Day (7th) and the Student Activist Weekender (8th-9th),. was co-hosted by a range of student activist groups and campaigns including the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, People and Planet, Rent Strike, UCU Rank and File, Young Greens, Surrey Labour Students and Bristol Student-Staff Solidarity. 

On the Friday a series of workshops were held

Eurostar workers

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 13:43

Ollie Moore

RMT members working for Eurostar at its St. Pancras terminal will strike again on 30 September, following a previous strike on 28 July. 
Workers are angry at having to bear the brunt of service disruptions and staffing shortages over the summer, which the union says has reduced St. Pancras to “chaos”.

The strike will demand improvements to the timetable and staffing levels to ensure passenger and staff safety. 

Tube strikes back on

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 13:36

Ollie Moore

Drivers on London Underground’s Piccadilly Line will strike from 26-28 September. Drivers on the Piccadilly Line “Night Tube” service, which runs on Friday and Saturday nights, will also strike on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 September. 

The strikes were called after Piccadilly Line bosses reneged on agreements made in July, for which the RMT union suspended a strike planned for 11-14 July. The agreements included commitments around maintaining staffing levels at Piccadilly Line train depots, which the union says bosses have failed to uphold. 

Train drivers’ union Aslef is balloting its members

Home care workers rally

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 13:31

Charlotte Zalens

Hundreds of Home Care workers and their supporters rallied in Birmingham city centre on Saturday 15 September, on the 21st day of strikes in a dispute over job losses, pay cuts and unworkable shift patterns.

As reported previously in Solidarity,Labour-run Birmingham council is imposing £2m of cuts in social care. When the strike started in January, workers were trying to save 40% of jobs. Unfortunately the council has managed to impose those job cuts, but are seeking to make even more cuts. New cuts would see 55 jobs go and all workers forced onto part-time contracts whilst simultaneously

Wetherspoons workers ballot

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 13:09
Gemma Short

Workers at The Bright Helm and The Post & Telegraph Wetherspoon’s pubs in Brighton are being balloted for strikes for union recognition and a £10 an hour wage by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers′ Union (BFAWU).

On Monday 17 September, shortly after the ballot was announced, Wetherspoon’s announced it would be bringing forward an annual pay rise due in April next year to this November. The pay rise will see wages for under 18s increase by 50p to £5.95, the a lower rate of pay for 18-20 year olds will be abolished — raising the starting rate to £8:25 an hour, and Wetherspoon’s has agreed to

“He was also for something. He was for socialism”

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 13:03

Michael Johnson

Shaun Harkin has produced a timely and useful addition to the profuse and growing literature on James Connolly, the Irish revolutionary Marxist and socialist republican leader.

Published in May 2018 to mark the 150th anniversary of Connolly’s birth in dire poverty to working-class Irish parents in Edinburgh, the book begins with a long introduction by Harkin, which sets out the context in which Connolly operated, how his politics were shaped by both his lifelong attachment to his class and his serious commitment to Marxist ideas. 

Harkin highlights how Connolly, as a ceaseless fighter against

In defence of Bolshevism

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 12:57

Martin Thomas

Shachtman’s polemic against Ernest Erber, which Workers’ Liberty have reprinted, is one of the Marxist movement, like Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy or Engels’ Anti-Dühring.

Erber considered himself a socialist of sorts until his death, quite recently, at the age of 96. Mostly he gave his energies to the career he made after quitting, as a town planner, and to domestic life. He wrote occasionally for the reform-socialist journal Dissent.

There were lots of people slipping away from the revolutionary socialist movement around that time. In fact, in the USA the process had started with a

The professor and the helicopter

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 12:44

Colin Foster

People tried to construct flying machines for thousands of years before the first planes were built in the early 20th century, and the first regularly-produced helicopters from the 1930s.

Suppose a historian were to study all the documents she or he could find about that effort, prior to say 1900, but without registering that the purpose was to find a flying machine.

Maybe the historian would imagine that the purpose was just to find some way of getting from place to place, and would comment: why didn’t they just walk?

John Kelly, an academic at Birkbeck University, structures his account of

The roots of antisemitism in Hungary

Published on: Wed, 19/09/2018 - 12:31

John Cunningham

For part one click here

In the last part of this article I looked at how Bibó analysed the historical background of antisemitism in Hungary. But on a more general level what makes an anti-semite “tick”? Bibó begins by considering the personal experiences of anti-semites,
“[…] anyone who knows anti-semites even a little, knows that they base their claims about Jews on very personal experiences, presented in honest and passionate form. It would be incorrect to claim that they invent their experiences because of their shared prejudices, interests and ideologies; there are indications that the

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