Solidarity 395, 24 February 2016

Trident: take the fight into unions and Labour

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 11:14
Author

Gerry Bates

On Saturday 27 February, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be among the speakers at the demonstration calling Britain's Trident nuclear weapon system to be scrapped and not replaced.

This demonstration should be the biggest nuclear disarmament protest for many years. The Tory government will try to get a definite decision through Parliament this year to start construction of the hugely expensive Trident replacement programme. But the Labour Party now has a leader, and hundreds of thousands of new members, committed to nuclear disarmament.

The PCS civil service workers' union is calling on its

How do we build a mass movement? Build real local Young Labour groups!

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 11:08

Rida Vaquas, West Midlands rep on the newly elected Young Labour national committee, spoke to Solidarity in the run-up to the Young Labour conference on 27-28 February.


We shouldn’t understate the victory of the left slate. Previously we had a minority of regional representatives who regularly organised with the left. We now have won every position.

I think my campaign, on a firmly socialist and democratic basis, went well (I won!), but out of 3,000 young members in my region only 141 votes were cast. How does the left develop a truly mass democratic movement?

If the left wins at the

"Scrap the Compliance Unit", says John McDonnell

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 11:02

“I’d like to scrap the Compliance Unit completely”, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told a 300-strong Momentum meeting in Barnet on 22 February, “and I want people automatically accepted into membership when they first join”.

He wants a fair and democratic process for membership disputes, and he’s right. Two weeks ago it looked as if expulsions by an unelected body with no place in the rulebook, the Compliance Unit, had come to an end, with none since November.

Now there are new expulsions and threats of expulsions. That includes two friends of Workers’ Liberty in Lewisham, Jill Mountford

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 10:58
Author

Ruth Cashman, Lambeth Unison (personal capacity), Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

As the returning officer report about the Unison general secretary election is published, more leaks have shown the level of corruption inside Unison.

Prentis was re-elected general secretary of Unison on a tiny turn-out of 9.8%, an incredibly diminished vote, and with allegations of union staff campaigning for him against the rules of the union. A report by the returning officer report was due out on 10 January, but was published five weeks late.

It makes very dull reading. Although some of the very many allegations were upheld, no decision was made on the allegation that London Regional

The patriotic traitor

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 10:46
Author

Eric Lee

The title of Jonathan Lynn’s new play The Patriotic Traitor could refer to either of the play’s two protagonists.

One, Marshall Philippe Pétain, betrayed France to the Germans in 1940, while believing all the time that he was doing so in order to save the country. The other, his disciple and close friend Charles de Gaulle, was branded a traitor by the Vichy regime and sentenced to death when he fled the country for exile, to take on leadership of the Free French forces.

The play, which just opened at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, is a tour de force. The venerable Tom Conti is so good

On est tous des sauvages?

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 10:41
Author

Daniel Randall

The Italian futurist Filippo Marinetti, who, like many of his contemporaries, became a fascist, wrote that “any work of art that lacks a sense of aggression can never be a masterpiece.”

Although a film set in the American wilderness in the 1820s might seem a world away from the hyper-modern, industrial preoccupations of that movement, something of that idea is suggested by The Revenant. It is a difficult film to watch, and not only in its bloodier, flesh-tearingly violent moments: it is frequently disorienting, the shots jumping from close ups of snails’ shells, plant stalks, or the eyes of

Returning to the sources

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 10:34
Author

Andrew Coates

Andrew Coates reviews The Two Trotskyisms confront Stalinism, edited by Sean Matgamna. Part one of the review was printed in Solidarity 394.


The debates in this volume are about the armed foreign policy of the USSR. But behind this is the issue of the nature of that regime.

Some might consider that arguments about the character of the former Soviet Union — whether it was a workers’ state, a degenerated workers’ state, state capitalist, bureaucratic collectivist, a “new class society” — resemble discussion on the Trinity. If some Trotskyists have sunk into religious veneration for Trotsky a

Yes to Europe. Yes to socialism!

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 10:16
Author

Editorial

David Cameron’s negotiations with the EU and the 23 June referendum were designed to woo UKIP voters back to the Conservative Party. However the concessions he has won are relatively minor; instead he has infuriated large numbers of Tory MPs and deepened the division in his own party.

As the Financial Times put it: “Eurosceptics would have preferred the prime minister to be ‘battling hard’ over the repatriation of EU employment law, scrapping the Common Agricultural Policy or asserting British supremacy over EU law, not child benefit payments for Polish plasterers.”

“Repatriation of EU

The metamorphosis of Andrew Gilligan

Published on: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 09:30
Author

David Osland

Andrew Gilligan, it should not be forgotten, once saw better days. Thirteen years ago, the BBC reporter’s role in making clear that the Blair administration purposely sexed up the first of the two dossiers advanced in fraudulent justification for the invasion of Iraq should rightly have won him every journalistic prize going, not to mention the plaudits of the entire left.

Predictably, the New Labour machine responded with all the brutal fury it alone could muster. ‘Scuse French if I quote verbatim the party’s then director of communications Alastair Campbell, a thuggish adversary with rather

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