Solidarity 376, 16 September 2015

Hundreds march to defend libraries

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 12:47

Gemma Short

On Saturday 12 September over 600 people marched through the London borough of Barnet to protest against the council’s proposed privatisation and shutting down of libraries.

The “kids’ march for libraries” protest marched from East Finchley Library, to Finchley Church End Library before continuing on to North Finchley Library, where a rally was held in a nearby pub.

Actors and authors, including actress Rebecca Front and author Alan Gibbons, joined the protest, as well as over 600 local residents, activists and many children. The march was also supported by Lesbian and Gays support the Miners

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 12:28

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

United Voices of the World (UVW) union continues its protests in support of sacked union members Barbara and Percy.

Barbara and Percy were sacked from Sotheby’s auction house, where they worked as porters and cleaners, after they helped organise a protest to demand sick pay and for trade union rights.

On Monday 7 September UVW organised a protest at a car auction Sotheby’s was holding in Battersea park.

Two of the four UVW activists originally sacked by Sotheby’s have got their jobs back, but Sotheby’s continues to victimise Percy and Barbara.

• Find out more here

Gallery strikes continue


New ex-Syriza party seeks to rally opposition

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 11:58

Theodora Polenta

I stood on a hill and I saw the Old approaching,

but it came as the New.

It hobbled up on new crutches which no one had ever seen before

and stank of new smells of decay which no one had ever smelt before.

Bertolt Brecht, “Parade of the Old New,” 1939.

Bertolt Brecht’s words leave us with a bitter sweet aftertaste when we read Syriza’s central slogan for Greece’s parliamentary election on 20 September: “Getting rid of the old; winning the future; looking only forward”.

The call for new parliamentary elections was a desperate attempt by the presidential team of Syriza to survive the growing

Trauma on the Greek left

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 11:50

Daniel Cooper

I spent four days in the sultry heat of Athens at the beginning of September. I did seven interviews with activists from across the Greek left, and met many others. Below is the first interview. I shall publish others.

It was striking that many of the activists described the passing of the new memorandum in July 2015 — which will represent a further colossal decline in the living standards of the Greek people — as a form of trauma. Most regular people I came across would describe the deep disappointment they feel. The leftists foresee this disillusionment translating into a crisis of

Organise Labour's newcomers! Remake the party!

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 11:42

Sean Matgamna

The trade unions and the working class have re-taken the Labour Party! An enormous beginning has been made to regain the working-class representation in Parliament that in the years since the Blairite coup in 1994 has been more or less absent.

That is the fundamental meaning of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader on 12 September. The influx of 150,000 new members — including individual members politically activated by the trade unions — has the same meaning, as well as being a tremendous expression of the hunger for a radical alternative to both the Tories and the Blairite Labour

Democratise the party

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 11:34

Pete Willsman, secretary of the Campaign for Labour Democracy and member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee, spoke to Solidarity.

What are the next steps for the left after the Corbyn victory?

We’re talking about all the various groupings on the left coming together. We need to get all the new members that have joined, all the supporters – and get them involved! Get some excitement going on, build at the base to keep the whole thing going.

We’ve got the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance, which won four out of six places at Labour’s last National Executive elections. That is a very

The Iranian regime has murdered our comrade

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 11:30

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity network

Shahrokh Zamani, the well-known labour activist imprisoned in Iran’s Rajai Shahr prison, has died “suddenly”.

According to the Human Right Activists News Agency, his cell-mates found Shahrokh dead on Sunday 13 September, when they tried to wake him for his morning walk in the prison yard.

Although the Iranian authorities claim that Shahrokh has died of a stroke, his cell-mates have said that he had “black and bruised” areas on his body.

His body has now been transferred to the coroner’s officer for a post-mortem examination. We demand that the results of the autopsy are made available to

Oppose drone attacks

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 11:18

Simon Nelson

Cameron’s original justification for drone strikes in Syria, killing two British nationals, was that the “targets” were an “imminent threat” to UK security. He needed to explain contravention of a 2013 House of Commons vote outlawing military action in Syria.

Cameron said he had seen intelligence that both Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin were in touch with others in the UK who planned to launch attacks to coincide with the VE Day anniversary, 8 May 2015. But the drone strikes which killed them did not occur until 21 August 2015...

Then a letter from the British ambassador to the UN Security Council

Open Europe's borders!

Published on: Wed, 16/09/2015 - 11:10

Vicki Morris

Germany is back-pedalling on its earlier stated open borders policy and has suspended freedom of movement, as EU governments fail to deal with the migrant crisis.

Germany re-introduced border controls on Sunday 13 September, and stopped train traffic from Austria. This is the route by which as many as 450,000 refugees, most fleeing the war in Syria, have come into Germany via the Balkans this year.

The German Interior minister Thomas de Maizière said the public resources of the southern German states were exhausted by the scale of the current migrant flows.

Germany has been relatively

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