Solidarity 385, 20 November 2015

Students: get ready to strike!

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 13:49

Kelly Rogers

In early November, students from 110 college campuses across the United States rallied, protested and walked-out over rising student debt.

They demanded free education, debt cancellation, and a $15 per hour minimum wage for workers on their campuses. They pointed to Obama’s recent comments, that the $80 billion bill for the US prison system, would more than cover eliminating tuition fees and student debt for all public colleges and universities.

This month also marks five years since Millbank, when thousands of students marched on and occupied Conservative Party HQ, in protest of the tuition

Campaign to stop expulsions of Corbyn supporters

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 13:39

Sacha Ismail

As we campaign against the expulsion of five Workers’ Liberty supporters from the Labour Party, we are coming into contact with other left-wingers expelled or barred from joining.

The specific “charges” against these comrades vary widely, but all the exclusions come down to politically motivated acts against left-wingers because they are left-wingers. They also have in common a lack of proper democratic procedure – or possibly even proper legal procedure. They are all carried out by the “Compliance Unit”, a shadowy body with no status in the Labour Party constitution.

We will work with other

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 13:00

Gemma Short, Darren Bedford and Peggy Carter

Tim Roache has been elected General Secretary of the GMB, Britain’s third largest trade union. He succeeds Paul Kenny, who has stepped down after 10 years in the position, and who courted controversy recently by accepting a knighthood.

Roache won with 57% of the vote to his opponent Paul McCarthy’s 43%. Both men are former Regional Secretaries, powerful positions in the GMB which are appointed, rather than elected. Other candidates initially put themselves forward but later dropped out. Neither candidate would have represented any profound change of direction for the union, although Roache is

Vote Burgess for Unison General Secretary

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 12:45

John Burgess is standing for Unison General Secretary. He spoke to Solidarity about why.

I decided to run for Unison General Secretary for a mixture of reasons. Mainly due to the frustration and disappointment that after five years of austerity our union appears to have no strategy fight back.

It is clear that the Tories sense a weak trade union opposition and want to finish us off. I am not someone who stands at the back complaining, but adding nothing.

The General Secretary role is clearly a leadership one, but it should be a role that inspires members and reps to organise and fight back

Workers stage unofficial walkout to save libraries

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 12:40

On Wednesday 18 November, ninety library workers across Lambeth in South London walked out of work to protest the Council’s refusal to listen to concerns over libraries closures, including controversial plans to turn three libraries into fee-charging gyms run by Greenwich Leisure Limited.

The strike was unofficial. No formal ballot or notification of strike had been held. Library workers in Lambeth have criticised their national union, Unison, for delaying their request for a ballot. However even without bureaucratic delays the hoops that unions are required to jump through to get legal

Germaine Greer, student politics and the left

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 12:31

Louise O’Shea

To a casual observer, it might seem incongruous that a campaign to prevent a prominent second wave feminist speaking on a university campus would be led by the women’s officer of the student union. But this is typical of the world we live in, and of student politics in the English-speaking world in particular.

The second wave feminist concerned is Germaine Greer, who was invited by the University of Cardiff in the UK to speak on the topic of “Women and power: the lessons of the 20th century”. The campus women’s officer, Rachael Melhuish, initiated a petition calling for the university to

The horror of ″the lump″

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 12:22

Hugh Edwards

On Saturday 14 November, more than 100 people squeezed into the Three Minute Theatre in Manchester for a very rare showing of “The Lump”.

″The Lump″ is a film made for TV in 1967 by socialist Jim Allen, and produced for the BBC by Tony Garnett. It is an exposure of the corrupt building industry and the conditions of brutal exploitation and oppression of the workforce, especially of those trapped within the openly criminal, cynically violent, unregulated system of “the lump” — a government policy where workers were considered to be self-employed and therefore responsible for their own tax and

Rights for disabled people

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 12:16

Jasmine Bryant

This document on disability and struggles by disabled people was prepared for discussion at Workers’ Liberty’s annual conference on 21-22 November.

The Tory-led governments since 2010 have launched a sustained and vicious assault on the living standards and rights of disabled people.

Some of the ground for this — for example, the introduction of Work Capability Assessments — was laid by the previous “New Labour” government, but the Tories have cranked it up to an unprecedented degree of cruelty.

These attacks have been backed up by media hysteria and portrayal of disabled people as idlers

False flag and “soft” conspiracy theories

Published on: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 12:10

Andrew Francis

In the aftermath of the devastation in Paris it took no time at all for new conspiracy theories to emerge.

The “false flag” theory is a popular one, and has been wheeled out increasingly in response to acts of terror since it first gained popularity within the 9/11 conspiracy movement. “False flag” refers to the idea that terrorist attacks are actually covertly orchestrated by the government or axis of power which claims to be the victim of them.

The alleged motive is often to provide a pretext for going to war or curtailing civil liberties. Unlike most conspiracy theories, “false flag”

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