Solidarity 489, 12 December 2018

Tories out, Brexit out!

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:41


Solidarity goes to press soon after Tory prime minister Theresa May decided to delay the parliamentary vote on her EU withdrawal deal, maybe until January, and to seek “reassurances” from the EU to sweeten the deal. The deal would have been heavily defeated if put to the House of Commons as scheduled on 11 December.

This impasse makes great openings for the labour movement. We can bring down the Tory government, force an early general election, stop Brexit, and save free movement within Europe. That requires Labour shifting to a clearer, sharper version of the “Remain and Reform” policy it

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:28

Ann Field and Ollie Moore

Station staff on London Underground’s Bakerloo Line South Group, which includes Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Lambeth North, and Elephant and Castle, have voted by 88% for strikes against short-staffing. Tube union RMT has announced strikes for 26 December and 14 January.

RMT has also declared victory in the “battle of Baker Street”, after London Underground reinstated an unjustly sacked station worker, and trumped-up disciplinary charges against another were dropped. Tube bosses were forced to back down after 41 out of 61 workers balloted at the station voted for strikes

The anxieties of Brexit Britain

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:18

Matt Kinsella

Jonathan Coe’s latest volume Middle England has been widely described as the best “state of the nation” novel of the last decade, and deservedly so. Whilst Ali Smith’s Autumn was an impressionistic take on the immediate aftermath of the referendum – the first post-Brexit novel – Coe’s book manages to balance the coverage of political events in the run up to June 2016 with an intimate look at how it all unfolds in the lives of characters last seen in Coe’s two Rotters’ Club novels, as well as introducing many new ones.

The story starts in 2010, taking in Gordon Brown’s encounter with “some

Revolution + 100

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:07

2019 is the centenary of the year in which British workers had probably their greatest opportunity to make a revolution.

Inspired by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, British workers struck more than ever before, servicemen and police mutinied, and Labour took big strides electorally. But communists in Britain had still not formed a united party, Labour’s representation in Parliament was unfairly small and politically rubbish, and the trade unions were still dominated by bureaucrats.

There were similar workers’ mobilisations around Europe, rebellions in the British and other empires’

Rooting out the conspiracy theories

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:55

Omar Raii

I used to think that conspiracy theorists were just silly. I must have made countless jokes about people who think the moon landings were faked, that Prince Philip ordered Diana’s death or that, despite NASA’s protestations, the Earth is in fact flat. But it’s become clear for some time now that conspiracy theories have reached a whole new level of influence.

9/11 was an inside job, Mossad created ISIS, George Soros is controlling the news — this kind of stuff is getting more and more mainstream. Just recently right-wing conspiracists sent bombs to George Soros and anti-Trump Democrats, and

The most important years in human history

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:46

Todd Hamer

“Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. ” (Chapter 10 Capital, Marx)

Debra Roberts, one of the authors of the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said that: “the next few years are the most important in our history” (by “our” she is referring to all humanity).

“Pathways limiting global warming to 1. 5°C with no or limited overshoot [which is what we need to avoid ‘snowballing’ climate change] would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and

Dishonouring Harry Leslie Smith’s memory

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:31

Jim Denham

Readers will probably remember Harry Leslie Smith, who died in the early hours of 28 November aged 95: his moving speech to the 2014 Labour conference made a lasting impression on all who heard it.

He’d first attracted attention in 2013 when he wrote an article for the Guardian declaring that he’d no longer wear a Remembrance Day poppy. He was a World War Two veteran who described voting Labour in 1945 and the subsequent creation of the NHS, as the proudest and most exciting time of his life. Until the day he died, he remained a passionate defender of the NHS (his passion derived, in part,

Universal Credit: a positive alternative

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:26

Will Sefton

For other articles in the debate in Solidarity and in Workers' Liberty on Universal Credit, see here. The article below is the fourth article.

Luke Hardy (Solidarity 488) accuses me of trying to separate out the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) from the cuts to benefit that the Tories have introduced since the coalition government of 2010. In 2015 the government announced £12 billion of welfare cuts, but only a quarter of these were directly related to Universal Credit, and specifically to the in-work allowance, the total amount you could earn before the amount of benefit paid is reduced.

Unite members protest for free movement

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:15

Dozens of activists in the Unite union — from a wide range of its industrial sectors — have protested against general secretary Len McCluskey’s reported comments against immigration.

According to the Guardian (5 December), McCluskey warned Labour leaders against their hesitant moves towards favouring a new public vote which could stop Brexit. He “spoke about tackling people’s concerns about immigration and the exploitation of immigrant labour. He said there would be a sense of betrayal among the members if we went for a second referendum”.

The activists respond: “The idea that free movement

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