Solidarity 359, 8th April 2015

Left, but not a let-down

Published on: Wed, 08/04/2015 - 11:27

Beth Redmond

I am standing as part of a National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts slate. We stand candidates in NUS elections to make the hard-left visible in what is otherwise a politically vacuous space.

For many students, NUS conference [21-23 April, when the elections take place] is the first political event they take part in. Leaving them to believe that that is the be-all-and-end-all of the student movement is irresponsible. We hope to draw them towards the free education campaign and get them involved in left-wing activism outside NUS.

When we stand candidates who are also grass-roots activists, and

Occupying for free education

Published on: Wed, 08/04/2015 - 11:22

Andy Warren

Inspired by and in solidarity with occupations at LSE and UAL [University of the Arts London], we, an autonomous group of students at Kings College London, have been occupying the Council Room since Wednesday 25 March in protest at the undemocratic marketisation of our institution.

KCL is run in line with the neo-liberal consensus on education, that it is a commodity to be quantified and organised according to market fundamentalist principles. We believe in free education accessible to all and demand greater accountability and democratic involvement by students and workers.

Other key demands

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 08/04/2015 - 11:07

Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

Seventy Unison members who work with the homeless in Glasgow Council started an indefinite strike on Tuesday 31 March.

The strike is to win recognition of their work reflected in their pay grading. Unison says workers doing similar jobs are paid a pay grade higher than the homeless support workers.

Workers have been taking action short of strike action since January. Send messages of support to: Glasgow City Unison

Lewisham academies fight wins extension

Two school reps involved in the fight against academies in Lewisham attended NUT conference this weekend and spoke at the Lanac organised

Syriza left can be decisive

Published on: Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:48

Antonis Davanellos

The weaknesses of the Syriza-led government’s position are weaker still if viewed in terms of the international balance of power.

The brazen blackmail of the European “institutions” and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is designed to force the government to choose between direct subordination to the lenders or rapid collapse.

To paraphrase a famous saying from the time of the Russian Revolution — one that we can appreciate today: Without a transformed policy in Europe, without the outbreak of a political resistance movement led by the left in Spain or Ireland or France or Italy, we will

Eurozone leaders demand new coalition in Greece

Published on: Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:43

Rhodri Evans

On 8 April Greece’s prime minister, and leader of the left-wing Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, visits Moscow.

Officially he is talking only about Greek fruit exports to Russia, but rumour is that he will explore whether Russia might lend the Greek government money if the eurozone and the IMF won’t.

For 9 April the Greek government has promised that it will in fact make a debt repayment due to the IMF. On 24 April eurozone finance ministers meet, and Greece hopes to get a deal for more credit.

The Syriza leaders are still trying to break the bonds of neo-liberalism, but... by clever negotiation

Civil war in Yemen

Published on: Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:35

Dan Katz

On 26 March a broad Saudi-led Sunni-Arab coalition began bombing opposition bases in Yemen.

The Saudi operation, named Decisive Storm, also involved moving 150,000 troops, plus tanks and heavy weapons, up to their border with Yemen. Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have threatened to invade to prop up their favoured regime, led by Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and against Hadi’s Shia opponents, the Houthi militia.

They won’t be eager to put troops on the ground. Their main target, the Houthi fighters in northern Yemen are formidable opponents; the Houthis were not beaten by Saudi bombing — supporting a

Stop Netanyahu closing the options!

Published on: Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:31

Ruben Lomas

Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election is a blow for the Palestinians, and for workers and the internationalist left inside Israel.

That he was apparently able to galvanise votes by appeals to racist, anti-Arab nationalism indicates how much work there is to do to build an internationalist class consciousness within the Israeli working class.

In the run-up to the election, Netanyahu made a clear statement of opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state. In a radio interview, he said: “I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands, is giving

Iran: the deal and the prospects

Published on: Wed, 08/04/2015 - 10:28

Colin Foster

On 2 April, in Lausanne, the USA, the EU, other diplomats, and Iran announced a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear programme and in return to lift economic sanctions against Iran.

In Iran, people took to the streets to celebrate. Business moguls worldwide celebrated more quietly about the prospect of new access to Iran’s oil and gas wealth and its markets.

The deal is said to include severe cuts in Iran’s nuclear programme but to open the door for sanctions, which have boosted increasing economic chaos in Iran, to end within six months or a year.

US leaders are also anxious to solidify collaboration

Basic Income: a get-rich-quick scheme?

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2015 - 18:13

Kieran Miles

The Universal Basic Income, or UBI, has become a popular demand on the left, but even among some right-wingers as well.

UBI is a proposal for the state to give everyone a set amount of money, irrespective of where you live and your employment status.

The practical specifics of the proposal varies e.g. from what age it is paid, and how it would be funded. And its propoponents differ over what kind of payment it is: is it in place of waged work, is it a wage supplement, is it a new kind of benefit? And over what is its social purpose: is it a useful reform in capitalist society, designed tackle

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