Solidarity 486, 14 November 2018

Labour can stop Brexit

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 07:57

On 9 November Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that “we can’t stop Brexit”. But Labour can.

The Tories and the DUP are divided about May’s sketched-out soft-ish Brexit deal. If Labour MPs vote solidly against May’s deal, it probably can’t get through Parliament.

That reflects the fact that May’s proposals are unpopular — in surveys, 73% of the think the negations are going badly. The “hard” Brexit formulas favoured by the Tory right are unpopular. A “no deal” Brexit is more unpopular still.

Although a lot of people are still shrugging and saying that

Changing culture

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 07:50


The left-Labour website The Clarion is promoting a statement put out by a wide range of left-wing activists to condemn the increasingly reactionary, vicious and out-of-control group of Stalinist-nationalists organised around the Red London Facebook page.

The statement explains why the left needs to “strongly oppose the politics of Red London… and the wider culture of lying and harassment it has promoted and contributed to, poisoning the environment of the left”. It calls for “a democratic left and labour movement in which differences, even sharp ones, are debated honestly and in a comradely

NUS: open the books!

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 07:39

By Maisie Sanders

What the NUS (National Union of Students) leaders say about its financial crisis makes no sense.

The leaders says that NUS needs to cut back on its democracy in order to survive. But the few financial figures available suggest that the financial crisis, such as it is, has nothing to do with high spending on democratic procedures, let alone on campaigning.

NUS has not yet submitted its accounts for the year ending June 2018. But we can get some picture from previous years’ accounts. Income from membership and expenditure on wages seem stable.

There is no indication that expenditure on

Left challenge to PCS leaders

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 07:34

By Mike Chester

The leadership faction in the PCS civil service union, “PCS Left Unity”, are in a civil war over whose turn it is to stand for Assistant General Secretary when it comes up for election in 2019 (nominations open 17 January, balloting 16 April to 9 May).

Rogue SP member and current lay President of the union Janice Godrich is challenging incumbent SP loyalist Chris Baugh for the nomination. LU holds its final meeting to decide its nomination later in November. Whether the loser will accept the result and not stand against the LU nominee remains to be seen.

Currently we don’t believe there will

Brazil: time to regroup

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 07:18

Interview: Andressa Alegre

Andressa Alegre is a Brazilian socialist. She talked with Solidarity from the city of Salvador in north-east Brazil.

I kind of expected that when Bolsonaro won, we would have a reaction similar to Trump’s victory in the USA. That wasn’t what happened.

In Salvador, we went to see the election results in the place where the left usually meets up for that. It was all very sad. People were crying. But there were no demonstrations or protests on the days following. None in other cities too, that I’ve heard of.

The left is not organised. It is left to individuals. For example, LGBT people are trying

Putin’s Thiefdom

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 07:08

By Barrie Hardy

Russian president Vladimir Putin's personal fortune is estimated at $40 billion, making him one of the richest men in Europe.

He owns vast holdings in three Russian oil companies which are concealed behind a vast network of offshore companies. The level of corruption over which he presides accounts for an enormous amount of Russia's GDP - putting half of the economy in the hands of various shades of criminal enterprise.

In the early 1990s, advocates of free market capitalism promised bright futures for 150 million Russians, who would supposedly share the spoils of mass privatisation. Instead,

Building a left movement against Brexit

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 06:46

Interview: Michael Chessum

Michael Chessum is the organiser of Another Europe Is Possible. He talked with Martin Thomas from Solidarity ahead of AEIP's conference on 8 December

Martin Thomas (Solidarity): In the June 2016 referendum, Labour was for “reform and remain”, but unenergetically. Straight after the referendum, Labour said it now agreed Brexit must go ahead; and then in November 2016 Labour dropped its support for free movement within Europe. That position has remained fixed ever since, except that over 2018 the Labour leadership has edged towards saying that a new referendum may become an option. We need to

Where they linger

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 06:33

Matt Kinsella

In Wayétu Moore’s debut novel She Would Be King, set in the 1840s, three characters find their lives intertwining with each other, and with the future of the newly created Liberia.

All are fleeing persecution: Gbessa, accused of witchcraft, is driven from the West African village of Lai; June Dey escapes from a Virginia tobacco plantation, headed for freedom in New York; and Norman Aragon, child of a Jamaican Maroon and a British colonist, longs to escape his father’s cruel experiments. The three seek sanctuary, and find themselves in Monrovia.

As well as a retelling of the important history

Peterloo: inside the movement

Published on: Wed, 14/11/2018 - 06:09

Ruaraidh Anderson

Mike Leigh’s new film ‘Peterloo’ follows the democratic reform movement in Britain in the run up to the St. Peter’s Field massacre in 1819.

After a long build-up we are shown the attack itself, when the yeomanry (a local armed volunteer force) are ordered to march on the tens-of-thousands strong protest, killing 15, and then left to reflect during a sombre final scene: the burial of a murdered protestor.

The film has grown on me since I saw it two weeks ago. Mike Leigh said in the Q&A I attended that he had brought in outside historians to help with the film’s depiction of the time — something

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