Solidarity 484, 31 October 2018

The spikes of austerity

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 11:58

Matt Cooper

Pay volatility is much greater than has previously been assumed, with the vast majority of workers in stable jobs experiencing significant month-to-month changes in pay.

Low pay comes with spikes.

A recent report by the Resolution Foundation looks at month-to-month changes for workers in stable employment. Previous research has only looked at how workers’ pay varies year-to-year.

The better paid (those earning more that £35,000 take home) see their pay fluctuating month-to-month, but for them it’s mostly a matter of months where they get something extra (a bonus, commission or overtime). The

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 11:34

Two train drivers

Two train drivers talked with Solidarity about the latest in the long-running Driver Only Operation dispute, where the RMT union is taking action against threats to guards’ jobs.

As far as we know, the Merseyrail offer is not final. We’re not even sure why it’s been publicly released.

Negotiations are still ongoing. The ACAS process was supposed to be confidential, and this breaches that.

I wouldn’t vote for the offer. It accepts a three-year pay freeze for guards, and makes cleaners redundant (though it promises no compulsory redundancies), in order to finance retaining the guard as a safety

How to be pro-Palestinian without being “anti-Zionist”

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 11:17

Martin Thomas

A French translation of this article can be found here.

The term “anti-Zionist” was rare in political discourse when real debates with Zionists were a lively part of the broadly-defined left, in the early 20th century.

Its use quadrupled in the 1930s, when the Stalinist movement took an overt “anti-Zionist” and antisemitic turn. It multiplied by three again, to twelve times the level of the early 1930s, in the 1970s, when the term “Zionist” had lost meaning in general circulation other than as a catch-all curse-word. So Google Ngram’s statistics show.

Studies such as Dave Rich’s The Left’s

Climate resistance must be built from below

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 11:04

Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski

In his new book Burning Up, A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (Pluto Press), Simon Pirani notes that the world economy tripled in size between 1945 and 1973. And the world began to burn as much fossil fuel, every three years, as in the whole of the nineteenth century.

That depended on cheap oil, which averaged at around $1.80 per barrel during the 1960s. In Simon Pirani’s view, this period of “transition to an oil- and electricity-dominated system... was not directed at providing electricity access or improving lives; if we can speak of an aim or direction, it was to do with capital

Brazil: rising of the women

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 10:59

Hector Lopez

Three weeks before the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections now won by the fascistic Jair Bolsonaro, some 150,000 people, the majority women, took to the streets in Brazil to declare their opposition.

In London protests against Bolsonaro have also been mainly women. They rebel against Bolsonaro’s aggressive sexism and his disregard for democracy.

Advance estimates of the second round poll on 28 October were that although Bolsonaro would win (as he did), he would be in a clear minority among women.

The anti-Bolsonaro women’s movement now needs our solidarity in its efforts to win

Don’t define away antisemitism

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 10:52

Keith Road

Hornsey and Wood Green Labour Party affiliated to Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) at its meeting on 25 October 2018.

Sadly, that cannot be seen as a prefigurative act of solidarity with Jewish communities facing such things as the gun attack on a Pittsburgh (USA) synagogue on 27 October as well as more everyday suspicion and abuse.

The problem is with the politics of JVL, especially some of its committee. At the launch meeting of Labour Against Racism and Fascism on 15 October, JVL secretary Glyn Secker spoke against a proposal to include antisemitism (alongside Afrophobia and Islamophobia) in

Morning Star picks up from Trump

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 10:45

Jim Denham

On 24 October a number of crude but potentially lethal pipe-bombs were sent to prominent Americans known for their opposition to Donald Trump.

On 26 October one Cesar Sayoc, a Trump supporter and petty criminal, was arrested in connection with the bombs. Mr Sayoc’s van was decorated with numerous stickers backing Trump, a “CNN sucks” sign and images of prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, in crosshairs.

Prior to Sayoc’s arrest a bizarre conspiracy theory was circulating among the more fanatical of Trump’s supporters: that in the run-up to the mid-term elections, the Democrats were

Launching a new student left

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 10:33

Bradley Allsop, from Lincoln Labour Students, A K Gurung, co-chair of Surrey Labour Students, and Steff Farley, Loughborough People and Planet and UCU Rank and File, spoke to Maisie Sanders about the Student Left Network and the Socialist Feminist Campus Collective, which will be launched on 17-18 November.

Bradley: At the Student Activist Weekender [on 8-9 September, sponsored by a number of groups] we decided we wanted to explore setting up a more permanent organisation. There is a meeting on 18 November to flesh out what our main focus will be, how we’ll be constituted and how we’ll operate

8,000 homes up for demolition

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 10:19

Cathy Nugent

Under pressure from housing campaigns, in July London Mayor Sadiq Khan agreed that residents of estates threatened with demolition should have a democratic vote on the future of those estates.

However there is a lot of devil in the detail. The residents ballot requirement only applies to schemes that have GLA funding — although the GLA could have used its powers to ensure all estates under redevelopment could have a ballot.

On 3 November residents from 34 estates that are threatened with demolition, but fall outside the rules for ballots, will protest outside London City Hall.

The background

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