Solidarity 487, 23 November 2018

Labour Against Brexit

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 12:10


Theresa May’s Brexit mess shows that the whole Brexit business is a nonsense. Labour should say that.

Labour should campaign for an immediate putting-back of the Brexit date, an early general election, and an incoming Labour government to hold a “people’s vote” to abandon Brexit.

Whatever the hopes in June 2016 made a slight majority of a rigged electorate (excluding EU citizens settled here, who vote in local government elections, and 16-17 year olds) opt for Brexit, the reality is different.

Few people like what May has negotiated: a 69%-17% majority, in a poll taken on 19-20 November,

Georgi Plekhanov

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 12:00

John Cunningham

Before the year 2018 reaches its end, the 100th anniversary of the death of Georgi Plekhanov should be noted and remembered. He is sometimes referred to as the “father” of Russian Marxism, and for good reason.

Plekhanov was the most important figure in the early Russian Marxist movement, a major theorist and voice in the Second International; and, as a member of the editorial board of Iskra, a collaborator with Lenin in the first years of the twentieth century.

Plekhanov and Lenin were to go their separate ways. By the time of the October Revolution in 1917 Plekhanov had moved considerably to

The lessons from Genoa, Climate Camp and Vestas

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 11:50

Todd Hamer

The emergence of Extinction Rebellion is a good thing. After a long period where there has been very little mass environmental activism, it is good to see someone doing something.

However, if this new movement is going to develop into something worthwhile, it will need to confront the problems faced by similar movements that have gone before.

In 1999, after the J18 Global Day of Action (where anticapitalists protested in the City of London), a series of articles were published on the state of the anticapitalist movement. One article, “Give Up Activism”, generated a great deal of discussion at

Letter: One king or another

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 11:35

Daniel Randall

Like Dale Street, Solidarity 486, I rather wonder whether the “pro-independence fundamentalists” who have described David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King as a “clarion call for Scottish independence” can possibly have been watching the same film I saw.

The entire endeavour, both in terms of the actual film itself and the story it’s telling, end up feeling a little... well, pointless. Chris Pine gives a measured, reserved performance as Robert the Bruce, but with the effect that his reasons for risking everything to undertake a dangerous war against the English crown seem rather inscrutable, a mystery

Rejoicing in nonsense

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 11:20

Jim Denham

“E-Useless: Corbyn Hits Out At ‘One Way’ Brexit – We can do better than this, Labour leader says” was the front page headline in the 19 November Morning Star.

Predictably, the pro-hard Brexit (sorry, “Lexit”) paper liked Corbyn’s interview on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday (18 November), in which he’d opined “We’ll vote against (May’s) deal because it doesn’t meet our tests.”

For those who lack a photographic memory, Labour’s tests include obtaining the “exact same benefits” as EU membership — a comment once made by David (“thick as mince, lazy as a toad”) Davis when he was Brexit minister.

Bolsonaro's threat to Brazil

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 10:55

Alessa Alegre

Shortly before he was elected president of Brazil on the second round (28 October), Jair Bolsonaro made clear the extent of his intolerance to political opposition, saying of his political opponents “either they go overseas, or they go to jail”.

He plans vastly to increase the powers of the militarised police, which will have a significant impact on working-class, predominantly black, communities.

A few days after his election, one of his political allies in the chamber of deputies proposed amendments to anti-terrorism, and stated openly they want to criminalise social and political movements

Sickening jokes

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 10:47

On 13 November, the left Labour website The Clarion put out an appeal against the “culture of lying and harassment... poisoning the environment of the left” promoted by the anonymous “Red London” Facebook page.

New signatories to that statement in the last week include Sean Hoyle, national president of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), and other RMT activists: Marie Harrington, London Transport Women’s Officer; John Leach, London Transport Regional Organiser, etc.

Also Lily Madigan, a well-known activist in Lewisham Deptford CLP; Michael Chessum, known for his work in Another

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 10:33

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Train drivers on London Underground’s Central Line will strike again over 21-22 December, to demand the reinstatement of unjustly sacked colleague Paul Bailey.

Paul was sacked after passing a random drugs test. Although he registered for the presence of cannabinoid substances, due to taking hemp supplements, he was within the “cut off limit” of 50ng/ml. The RMT union says Paul’s sacking “undermines the integrity of London Underground’s entire drugs and alcohol testing regime”.

Company management seems to be worried the union might be right; they recently issued guidance to staff not to take

How to beat the threshold

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 10:23

Now that the Public and Commercial Services union is on course for another national ballot in March 2019, a key question is what we need to do to beat the 50% turnout threshold this time. One option might be a disaggregated ballot.

The civil service is the largest ballot constituency in the trade union movement. Whilst other unions are larger than PCS, their membership is spread across a great many employers in the public and private sector. No other union is likely to need to take such a large number of members into a dispute at once as PCS, and certainly not on any kind of regular basis.


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