Solidarity 387, 9 December 2015

Syria: “Just a few more jets”, but civilians die

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:59

Simon Nelson

Hours after MPs voted for air strikes in Syria on 2 December, RAF jets carried out their first raids. The strikes are said to have targeted Daesh-controlled oil fields and military installations.

Russia, which has been bombing in Syria since 30 September, has made strikes in the biggest Daesh-controlled city, Raqqa, which may have killed up to 30 civilians in a single raid. There is little evidence that Russia’s targets were well chosen.

The Guardian has quoted a spokesperson for the anti-Assad “Free Syria Army” (which Cameron touts as a coherent and “moderate” anti-Assad force to defeat

Industrial round up 9 December

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:56


Fight redundancies in HMRC

By Gerry Noble*

HMRC management have announced mass closures to offices throughout the country.
170 offices are scheduled to close being replaced with only 13 Regional Centres and 4 Specialist Sites by 2020.

These closures will inevitably lead to redundancies for thousands of staff and cause further poverty to many of our already inadequately paid members forced to accept an increase in travel costs. (The short term compensation outweighed by reductions in Working Tax Credits in most cases)
Local economies will see a devastating effect and communities built upon a

Class struggle in school

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:52


Win at Alfreton school

By Liam Conway

Teachers at Alfreton Grange school have won a huge victory in their dispute over the imposition of a nine period day.

Teachers at the Alfreton Grange Arts College campaigned for six weeks, and struck for eight days. When the NUT leadership engages in empty talk of social movement trade unionism, they should be looking at Alfreton Grange for a living example!

The strikers demanded that the college should return to a five period day, the standard across most secondary schools. The academy trust brought in to ″raise standards″, Torch Gateway, tried to tough

Unison full-timers caught cheating

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:48

Unison member

As the ballot closed for Unison’s general secretary election on 4 December, 23 minutes of audio recording were leaked revealing a covert campaign by Unison’s full-time staff to favour incumbent Dave Prentis in clear breach of Unison rules.

Left-wing challenger John Burgess has called for an independent enquiry led by respected labour movement representatives and for any result that secures Prentis’ victory to be declared null and void.
Burgess is right. Although this mess is probably illegal, the labour movement should hold its own to account and mete out its own justice.

This leaked file is

Daesh is not just “blowback”

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:45

Gemma Short

The response from much of the left to parliament’s vote to commence air strikes in Syria has been characterised less by their usual collapse into the “anti-imperialism” of supporting your enemy’s enemy, than by an absence of commentary.

It is good that most of the left have shifted from an (at best) implicit backing of reactionary regimes as long as they clash with UK-US imperialism, or feel that such a position is no longer popular. Yet in most of the left, what has replaced this is either a lack of commentary on Daesh, or at worst an ill-explained ″blowback″ argument.

Socialist Worker

A story that is not told but felt

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:43

Dave Kirk

In 1952 Patricia Highsmith was so fed up with depictions of gay women in fiction who were either punished or pitied, that she decided to write a novel about love between two women that actually reflected her life as well as the crushing hypocrisy of straight society.

That novel, The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym went on to be a million seller.
63 years later this novel has been filmed, and yet this is no mere filmed novel. Too often Hollywood provides solid, stagey but cinematically inert period movies that clutter up the acting award categories at the Oscars. This transcends its

Whose revolution

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:41

Kelly Rogers

What kind of revolution takes place in the Hunger Games trilogy? The answer is not particularly clear, because the films are marked by a notable absence of politics.

As Daisy Thomas writes in her review (Solidarity 386), the key themes sweeping through the film are the powerless vs. the powerful, and the mobilising force that comes from hope, but at no point do the uprising dissidents express any kind of political vision for a world after President Snow.

There is a class component to the revolution. Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist, comes from the poorest of the districts of Panem, District

Syria, US-UK bombing, and the Kurdish struggle

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:39


Kurdish campaign activists Choulia Mola and Alican Ercol spoke to Solidarity

Some prominent Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Unit (YPG) fighters from the UK seem to have welcomed the bombing because of US air strikes supporting the battle for Kobane. How has the UK joining bombing raids in Syria been taken more widely by Kurdish organisations and people in the UK?

CH & AE: We need to be very careful. Bombs, no matter how smart they are, cannot distinguish between civilians and jihadists. Bombs have resulted in creating many more enemies than those they have eliminated. We learned this lesson from

Far right gains in France

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 20:34

Gemma Short

The Front National (FN) has won 27-30% of the vote in the first round of France’s regional elections.

This vote share is the highest the far-right party has ever gained, and they came top of the poll in half of the regions. The FN has never before had control of any region, in the 2010 regional elections they got 11% of the national vote.

The FN did particularly well in the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, where Marine le Pen is standing. This is a working-class area and traditionally a stronghold for the left; it includes Calais. Le Pen made the issue of the “jungle” migrant

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