Solidarity 381, 21 October 2015

Oppose tax credit cuts!

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 13:58
Author

Lizzie Brooks

George Osborne has announced a new wave of cuts to tax credits, to be implemented in April 2016.

The income threshold for Working Tax Credits, currently £6,420, will be cut to £3,850 per year. Those earning over £3,850 will see their payments considerably reduced.

The income threshold for those claiming Child Tax Credits will go down from £16,105 to £12,125. Tax credits will also taper at a much faster rate. For every £1 over the income threshold individuals earn, they will lose 48p of their tax credits, up from 41p.

In addition, Child Tax Credits will be limited to two children; tax credits

Far right surge in Swiss election

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 13:56
Author

Sebastian Osthoff

On 18 October Swiss voters elected new representatives for the two chambers of the Swiss parliament.

Though there has to be a second round of elections for the smaller chamber of parliament, the Council of States, the results are clear. As was generally predicted the right wing nationalist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) won the most votes, increasing its share of votes to 29.4%.

The SVP now has 65 representatives in the National Council. Of the major left parties, the Social Democratic Party was unable to win territory and stagnated, increasing the share of its vote by 0.1% but losing two

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 13:52
Author

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens and Gemma Short

Rank-and-file London Underground workers’ bulletin Tubeworker is calling for Tube unions to reinstate industrial action in disputes over jobs, pay, and Night Tube.

Tube bosses derailed negotiations by restating a pay offer unions had already rejected.

The RMT’s pay claim is for a four-day, 32-hour week for all grades and a pay rise that keeps pace with increases in the cost of living.

Unions previously suspended strikes after 24-hour running (“Night Tube”) was deferred, but with talks faltering, many activists are calling for a return to action.

Agency workers continue quest for justice

Agenc

FE strikes on 10 November

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 13:08
Author

Gemma Short

Workers in Further Education colleges will strike on Tuesday 10 November as bosses impose a pay freeze.

UCU members in Further Education voted 74% in favour of strikes after the Association of Colleges rejected the union′s claim for a £1 per hour pay rise. Unison members also voted to reject the pay freeze, voting by 95% in favour of strikes.

The college bosses’ association instead recommended that all colleges impose a pay freeze. In the last six years FE lecturers have seen their pay decrease in real terms as employers have offered a series of below-inflation pay rises — totaling less than 3

The Rosa Luxemburg I met as a student

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 13:04
Author

Antoinette Konikow

Antoinette Konikow was a Ukrainian-born American socialist, and a founding member of the Communist Party USA. She was expelled from the Communist Party in 1928 for being a Trotskyist, and remained active as such until her death in 1946. In this article, Konikow describes Rosa Luxemburg, with whom she studied in Zurich.


Physically she was small, slender. A neglected hip disease in childhood left her with a limp. On her arrival to address large gatherings, committees meeting her for the first time would become crestfallen. How could such a frail being make an impression on the speaker’s platform

Árpád Göncz: 1922 – 2015

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 13:01
Author

John Cunningham

Sometimes being worthy, decent and honest isn’t enough.

Although at the time I moved in slightly more elevated circles than I do now, in the nine years I lived in Hungary I never met Árpád Göncz, Hungarian President for ten years in the nineties, who died on 6 October.

Yet in those early days after the so-called “regime change” in 1989 his name, words and image were everywhere. For many Hungarians he epitomised the new start after the collapse of Hungary’s soft version of Stalinism, a voice of reason amongst what was often utter chaos. Like a number of other East European Presidents in this

Physical force feminism

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 12:57
Author

Cathy Nugent

Suffragette retells the story of the early 20th century movement for women’s suffrage from the point of view of East London laundry worker Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan).

Maud is gradually drawn into the movement, as she tries to make sense of childhood trauma and overcome the grim restrictions of wage slavery. The film shows a selection of historical events in the year or so leading up to Emily Wilding Davison’s “sacrificial act”, stepping in front of King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby in June 1913.

In school history lessons we are told that the suffragettes were feisty but also

Six lessons from Greece

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 12:48

Greece has been one of the countries worst affected by the economic slump since 2008. It has also been where left-wing responses to the slump have been strongest.

Lesson one: industrial action alone does not provide an adequate working-class answer to capitalist crisis. Greece has had over twenty general strikes since 2009. They have been important as gestures, as rallying calls, as signals, and in galvanising social forces which Syriza later benefited from. But they have not won anything.

The problem is not just that they have been 24 or 48 hour actions rather than indefinite general strikes.

We need to make our unions effective

Published on: Wed, 21/10/2015 - 12:42

Rachel Mullen, a young activist in the Bakers Food and Allied Workers’ Union and a delegate to Labour Party conference, spoke to Solidarity.


I work for Greggs, in one of their shops, in Gateshead. I became a shop steward five years ago, when I was 20. I work in the same branch as my mum, and she helped me get involved in the union.

I was involved in taking a proposal to our national conference for a dedicated youth rep on our National Executive. That could have been a double-edged sword. They could have said, okay, we should just have this one position for young people. But in fact it’s had a

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