Solidarity 499, 20 March 2019

AUDIO: Sol 499, 20 March 2019

Published on: Tue, 26/03/2019 - 16:41

Solidarity 499, available to listen to here. Includes: After Christchurch organise against the far right; debate on Corbyn, Israel and left antisemitism, George Orwell, Spain and revolution, System change, not climate change, Hamas batons Gaza protests + more

Socialists Oppose Brexit: Workers’ unity! Bring down borders!

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 12:10


We don’t know what will happen over Brexit in the next weeks or months. Neither does anyone else.

The ruling class is divided several ways on the issue. That creates an opportunity for the left and the labour movement to change outcomes.

Unlike many issues on which the ruling class divides, this is one where the labour movement and socialists have much to win or lose.

We can win or lose the free movement within Europe which has brought 3.8 million citizens of the EU27 countries to enrich our culture and our labour movement.

We can win or lose the economic integration across outdated borders

After Christchurch, organise against far right

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 11:59

Riki Lane

Friday 15 March was a day of contrast in both Australia and New Zealand – exuberance and militant action by students striking for climate action in both Australia; followed immediately by immense sadness, horror and anger at the mass murder by a fascist at a mosque in Christchurch.

The apparent attacker, an Australian, made it clear in his manifesto that the murders were inspired by white supremacist neo-Nazi ideology. He was on no police or security service list, nor known to socialist or anarchist anti-fascists who monitor the right’s social media and other publicity. Apparently he was

A debate on Corbyn, Israel and left antisemitism

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 11:33

This comment on our debate is from Alan Davies of Socialist Resistance. More debate on the right of return here.

“Defend Corbyn against the AWL”

Just as the latest round of witch hunting antisemitism allegations against Jeremy Corbyn has reached its crescendo something particularly vile has emerged from the woodwork – a 2,400-word open letter to Corbyn from Sean Matgamna of the AWL (Alliance for Workers’ Liberty), an organisation claiming to be on the radical left, arguing that Corbyn is guilty as charged.

The AWL has a proud thirty-year record of supporting Zionism and attacking anti-Zionist

Is political antisemitism a form of racism?

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 11:25

Camila Bassi

In an exchange reprinted in the Workers’ Liberty pamphlet on Left Antisemitism, I debated with Martin Thomas on the question of whether left-wing antisemitism should best be classed as a form of racism.

Central to Thomas’s argument is that by identifying left antisemitism as anti-Jewish racism we curse well-meaning leftists whom we wish to engage in a dialogue.

He consequently draws a distinction (but, he says, no Chinese wall) between a modern political antisemitism and a traditional racial antisemitism. His delineation and understanding of both is flawed.

Thomas gives five reasons to his

George Orwell, Spain, and revolution

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 11:19

George Chance

In his 1947 essay, “Why I Write”, George Orwell explained:

“The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it…”

Homage to Catalonia, in which Orwell bore witness to the murder of the Spanish Revolution, was the product of this defining period of Orwell’s life, at least the literary and political equal of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

In the February 1936 Spanish

Students go for system change, not climate change

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 11:09

The best guess is that one and half million students, in over 120 countries, struck on Friday 15 March to demand that their governments start emergency action on climate change.

In London, the central rally of school students in Parliament Square was 4,000 or more. Everyone we talked with said there was no ongoing organisation in their school for the walkout. They’d found out about it on social media and come with their friends.

There were also sizeable groups of university students at Parliament Square.

The National Union of Students had officially supported the action, but did nothing to

Iran: free jailed worker activists!

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 11:06

Esmail Bakhshi, a leader of the workers at the big Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane complex in south west Iran, has been in jail since 20 January.

His family says he is ill and not getting medical care. They fear for his life.

Sepideh Gholian, an activist and journalist who supported the sugar cane workers in a long-running series of strikes demanding unpaid wages and workers’ control over the enterprise, has also been jailed since 20 January.

Bakhshi and Gholian were jailed previously on 18 November last year, and released on 12 (Bakhshi) and 18 (Gholian) December. Several other Haft Tappeh workers

Fight ban on the “unskilled”

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 10:59

Ben Tausz

The government’s Immigration Bill has emerged from Committee stage without amendments and is set to return to the House of Commons.

We do not yet know when this will be, but the date is likely to be set soon because the Tories want to get their basic Brexit legislation through before 29 March.

The Bill will end free movement for EU citizens and hand over a blank cheque for Ministers to write a new immigration regime themselves – so-called “Henry VIII” powers.

A White Paper in December 2018 indicated their intentions. The Conservatives want to class all migrant workers earning under £30,000 as

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