Solidarity 382, 28 October 2015

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 12:55

Gemma Short, Patrick Murphy, Ollie Moore and Liam Conway

Workers in Further Education will strike on 10 November after college bosses have imposed a pay freeze. As report in Solidarity 381, both UCU, representing lecturers, and Unison, representing support staff, have voted for strikes as college workers have seen their pay decrease in real terms for six years. The pay freeze comes in the context of ever tightening budgets for FE colleges, with many colleges having already gone through may rounds of course closures and redundancies. The UCU FE executive passed a motion on 17 October which, as well as setting the date for the strike, called for a

SWP snared in Scotland

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 12:37

Anne Field

The SWP in Scotland adopted a distinctly sniffy attitude towards the Corbyn campaign.

According to an SWP leaflet distributed at a Corbyn rally in Glasgow, “while we should wish Jeremy Corbyn well [thanks!], we urgently need a socialist alternative to Labour.”

Corbyn’s victory was dismissed by the SWP as a matter of little account for Scotland: “Scottish Labour has elected an uninspiring new leader in Kezia Dugdale. Corbynmania hasn’t passed it by, but it looks set to suffer another crushing defeat next May.”

The focus, again, had to be on overcoming “divisions on the Scottish left” in

No bans, no proscriptions

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 12:32

Colin Foster

“We oppose the infiltration of the Labour Party by the SWP”, or so “a spokesperson for Momentum” has been quoted by the Huffington Post (16 October) as saying.

Momentum is a new network launched by members of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign team. Actually, the “spokesperson for Momentum” had been asked about the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)’s declared intention to join Momentum, not the Labour Party, and so her or his answer was a non-answer. Worse, a wrong non-answer.

The left should unite. Disagreements with SWP members — and regular readers will know that Solidarity is second

Seumas Milne: ready-made is not best

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 12:25

Martin Thomas

I first met Seumas Milne when he was 21 and we studied economics together in evening classes at Birkbeck College, London, in 1979-81.

He was affable and sparky: Balliol, Winchester, and an upbringing as son of the BBC Director-General do something for you. And unlike most from similar backgrounds, he identified with the left.

Like me, he chose Birkbeck because that was the most left-wing economics department in the country. But he was a Stalinist. A Stalinist of a diehard sort by then rare. He had thrown in his lot with a “left” defined by the USSR and other powers opposed to the USA, not

Commons votes for EVEL

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 12:16

The House of Commons has voted for “English Votes for English Laws” (EVEL).

This means that in Parliamentary votes on matters that only affect England, English MPs will have a veto. It is expected that this will make life difficult for future non-Tory governments, since the Tories tend to do better in England than the other nations. It also places enhanced power in the hands of the Speaker, who will adjudicate which issues are “English” and which aren’t.

Beyond that, the change runs the risk of entrenching the emerging divisions between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

The sham of Osborne’s “Northern Powerhouse”

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 12:12

John Cunningham

It is alarming and deeply disturbing to see that some people, many of whom should know better, have swallowed George “high-vis” Osborne’s fantasy-speak about building a “Northern Powerhouse”.

This is more amazing when you consider that ever since the Industrial Revolution there has always been a “Northern Powerhouse”, and it was the Conservative Party and Thatcher that destroyed it.

Without the coal, iron and steel, shipbuilding, engineering and textiles of northern cities like Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Newcastle (to which Scotland and South Wales must also be added), Britain

After Corbyn: making socialist politics a decisive force

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 11:56

On 21-22 November, Workers’ Liberty will be holding our annual conference.

This document about the Labour Party and the Corbyn surge will be one of those discussed. After decades of capitalist triumphalism and the decay of the left, the movement which carried Jeremy Corbyn to victory brings great openings and opportunities for socialists, potentially very great. But we have not yet emerged from the old period; that is the task to be accomplished.

We need to:

• Organise the newcomers into active CLPs, Young Labour groups, local left caucuses, etc.

• Fight for democracy and for an active

After Syriza’s betrayal, the international road to socialism?

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 11:50

Daniel Lemberger Cooper

I met Panagiotis Morakis on a quiet Sunday afternoon in a cafe near Syntagma Square in Athens shortly before Greece’s September election.

He is 28 years old, was born in Athens and is currently unemployed. He left Syriza in late August to join the new radical left group, Popular Unity. Whilst we discussed for over two hours many of his friends passed by and said hello. This included Mariza, a young feminist comrade from Syriza Youth, who was to stand for Popular Unity in the 20 September elections. Morakis, like thousands of young people in Greece, has been at the sharp end of the crisis. He

Canada: why the NDP crashed

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 11:42

Herman Rosenfeld, Socialist Project, Toronto

The Canadian federal election on 19 October sent the hardline right-wing government of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives packing. They suffered a crushing defeat.

That was the good news. But the big winner was the traditionally ruling-class favourite Liberals, Justin Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister the late Pierre Trudeau, now leads a huge and unexpected majority government. The social democratic New Democrats (NDP), finished a distant third, losing 17% of the seats it formerly held in the previous parliament, where it was the official opposition.

There were a number of factors that

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