Solidarity 491, 16 January 2019

Universal Credit: still hurting

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:52

Luke Hardy

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

Amber Rudd, the new Tory Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has scrapped the plans to extend the two-child limit on Universal Credit for those with children born before April 2017. She has also postponed the next stage of Universal Credit roll-out, due to hit three million in-work tax-credit claimants within the next few weeks was postponed.

Just 10,000 will be moved to UC over the summer of 2019. Universal Credit payments will now

Students should fight Brexit

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:44

Justine Canady

Justine Canady is running as the left candidate for NUS President, challenging current President Shakira Martin’s move to suspend all NUS officer elections this year and shut down NUS democracy and campaigning, on the pretext of a financial crisis.

NUS official policy is anti¬Brexit, but the NUS leadership has made no campaign on campuses on the issue. Brexit means higher borders, more xenophobia and racism in public life, and a victory for the far right around Europe. It is bad news for our movement, and all the oppressed: just look at the spike in hate crimes against women, disabled

Reading about Rosa Luxemburg

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:33

As we go to press on 15 January 2019, it is exactly the 100th anniversary of the murder of the Polish¬German revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg. She was killed by a right-wing militia operating under the Social¬Democratic government which was heading off the German workers’ revolution.

We have a pamphlet in production on Luxemburg and the German revolution. Readers can also find a good summary of Luxemburg’s political work in two articles, from 1935 and 1938, by Max Shachtman.

The 1938 article is in print as an item in our book In Defence of Bolshevism. Much more on Rosa Luxemburg on

Leeds socialists attacked

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:28

Luke Hardy

On Monday 7 January, a group calling itself “Justice for Women and Girls”, led by Lee Scheres (aka Lee Baylan), who runs the “Antifa Public Watch” Facebook site, invaded a Leeds Socialist Party closed meeting.

A drunken and wired Lee Scheres and his pals tried to disrupt the meeting, intimidating people, filming them, squaring up to them, seizing papers off them etc. Leeds Socialist Party report: “Bar staff assisted to escort them out of the venue. No one was hurt during the incident.

“During their interruption of our meeting they accused us of campaigning against women and child

Katowice and catastrophe

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:22

Mike Zubrowski

The outcome of the latest international climate negotiations, COP24, in Katowice, Poland, in December, has been widely condemned as completely insufficient by environmental organisations. Some early proposals would have aimed for a 30% reduction, but then reduction was made voluntary.

There were no collective commitments made to increase emissioncutting actions or ambitions. Commitments did not even align with the goals of the Paris Agreements of 2015, themselves widely recognised to be woefully insufficient.

Commitments and reductions are to be monitored, but there is no serious

Right danger in Gilets Jaunes

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:05

Michael Elms

On Saturday 12 January, an estimated 84,000 people joined “Act IX”, the latest round of Gilets Jaunes demonstrations around France. Down from 300,000 back in November, but up from 50,000 on 5 January.

The Gilets Jaunes demonstrators are calling for action against inequality and for renewal of democracy. The demands of the movement are vague but currently centre on restoring the recently¬scrapped “ISF” wealth tax on the richest. Many Gilets Jaunes also demand the introduction of referendums on the Swiss model — a system which socialists have long described as inadequate tinkering, and too

Stop “no recourse” scandal

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 11:55

David Pendletone

Lewisham NEU (National Education Union) has voted to send a motion entitled “No child should go hungry in our schools” (motion 109) to our union’s national conference this year, and is seeking support to prioritise it for debate. At present, some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in our schools are denied meals under the government’s invidious No Recourse to Public Funding (NRPF) designation.

NRPF is a label the government puts on certain migrants, meaning they have no access to benefits. The aim is to leave them at the mercy of hyper¬exploitative employers, or drive them out

Trump and the McCarthyites

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 11:48

Barrie Hardy

When faced with criticism it’s common these days for right wing politicians to scream “McCarthyism”. Trump regularly does this in angry and irrational tweets to ward off criminal charges arising from the Mueller investigation. The Trump strategy is to accuse his opponents of crimes he’s culpable of himself and to establishing himself as a victim of political persecution. Such behaviour has spread across the far right like fish rotting from the head.

Bringing up the rear is the pound shop Breitbart that is, which has screamed “McCarthyism” when people have dared criticise it

Venezuela, the Morning Star, and the facts

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 11:38

Jim Denham

“Despite being elected with over two thirds of the vote last May in an election given a clean bill of health by hundreds of international observers…” began the Morning Star’s editorial on 12 January, under the headline: “Venezuela is under siege – it needs our solidarity.”

Working on the principle that getting basic facts straight, and not telling downright lies, is a good place to start, let’s deal with that opening statement. The May election that (unsurprisingly) returned Nicolás Maduro as president was marked by low turnout and lack of serious options (the main opposition groups all

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