Solidarity 367, 10 June 2015

UK poverty worst in western Europe

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 11:29

Gerry Bates

A new study has found that poor people in Britain have it worse than anywhere else in western Europe.

The report, published by the High Pay Centre, finds that the poorest 20% of households have some of the smallest disposable incomes in the whole continent, and are much poorer than their equivalents in developed western European countries.

The study also demonstrates that Britain is a deeply unequal society. The wealthiest fifth of the population are doing very nicely by European standards. Only in Germany and France have the top 20% got more disposable income than in Britain. But the UK’s

Saudi war crimes in Yemen

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 11:24

Dan Katz

The anti-democratic and sectarian bigots who run Saudi Arabia are engaged in a war on Yemen that — given its careless, arrogant, brutal attitude towards Yemen’s civilian population — amounts to a war crime.

The Saudis have been bombing Yemen since 25 March, the day the Saudi-backed President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, fled the country.

Hadi left quickly as a renewed offensive by an alliance of Houthi fighters from north Yemen and supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh overran government held towns and military units. There is no central state and there are now multiple battle fronts,

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 11:17

Following a one-day strike at Lewisham and Southwark College on 4 June, union members report a different atmosphere in the college.

The dispute has now broken out of the world of committee meetings and into the classrooms and corridors, canteens and staff rooms. Everybody now has to have a position on the strike, everybody has to think about taking a side.

For many staff and students, this is a further political education and a first direct experience of trade union struggle.

Managers walk around smiling, trying to convince themselves things are back to normal, that is, closing sites,

Greece: any deal must be opposed

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 10:27

Theodora Polenta

As we go to press, the Greek government and its EU lenders are still crossing swords over the terms on which Greece will get further bailout funds from its IMF-EU lenders.

The details of the reform wanted by the lenders and what the Greek government is saying it will concede are more-or-less clear. Whatever version of reform is agreed, the character of previous memorandums between Greece and its lenders, with strict commitments to deficit reduction etc., will remain intact.

The EU lenders want the following: higher government budget surpluses; cuts in public spending; watering-down or

Solidarity for all

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 10:22

On a recent trip to Athens, Solidarity visited a “solidarity health clinic” run by volunteers to provide healthcare for those unable to access it. We spoke to Constantine Kokossis who volunteers at the clinic in Omonia, central Athens.

Solidarity for All, a fund set up five years ago using the money from Syriza MPs, helped set up clinics like this one. This clinic has been working for three years, providing primary care to everyone in need.

Our clinic is a community — everybody is providing services for free. The idea of solidarity is our inspiration. We have a staff of about 80. There is a

No withdrawal from EU

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 10:13


As the second reading of the EU referendum bill went through Parliament on 9 June, the right-wing campaign to exit Europe began in earnest. Unfortunately it is likely to be mirrored on the left.

More than fifty Tory MPs have formed “Conservatives for Britain”, ostensibly to support Cameron’s push for large changes to the UK’s relationship to the EU, in current negotiations with Brussels. It is clearly poised to lead the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, whatever reforms are achieved as these are unlikely to satisfy the Tories Eurosceptics. The campaign has apparently met twice since the

Lewisham academies victory stings Morgan

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 10:08

Charlotte Zalens

Education Secertary, Nicky Morgan, has vowed to “sweep away bureaucratic and legal loopholes exploited by those who put ideological objections above the best interests of children” in order to force through the rapid academisation of local authority schools.

In other words, Morgan wants to clear away even the limited say that parents, teachers, students and the local community have in the conversion of schools to academies. Morgan, clearly stung by the recent victory against the academisation of three schools in Lewisham, wants to ensure that trade union and community campaigns against

Turkey: defeat for Erdoğan

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 10:05

Cagatay Cengiz

The parliamentary election in Turkey on 7 June was a victory for the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) that passed the 10% election threshold which was imposed after the 1980 coup.

According to preliminary results, the party more than doubled its votes from 2.8 million (6.5%) in the 2011 elections to slightly more than 6 million (13%) in the 2015 elections.

The AKP’s votes decreased from nearly 50% in 2011 to 40.9% in 2015, even though the party still came first. No party has the mandate to form the government alone.

Several factors played a role in this victory. First, the HDP leadership

Back Corbyn for Labour Leader!

Published on: Wed, 10/06/2015 - 09:25

Jeremy Corbyn

On Tuesday 9 June the week-long nomination period in the election for the next leader of the Labour Party opens.

After a month of pre-election election campaigning, four candidates declaring and all promising to make Labour a pale shadow of the Tory Party, Jeremy Corbyn has said he will try to get the required 35 nominations from Labour MPs.

Corbyn is the left candidate the competition needs and he deserves to get on the ballot paper. While Solidarity has political differences with Corbyn on many international issues (where he is close to the Morning Star, CPB), he has always been solid on

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