Solidarity 396, 2 March 2016

Junior doctors ready for battle

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 13:41

Yannis Gourtsoyannis is a junior doctor in London who is a member of the BMA Junior Doctors' Committee and active in Momentum NHS and the People’s Assembly. He spoke to Solidarity on 23 February.

How do you think the dispute has gone so far?

There’s one recent development which I should highlight. It may sound obscure but it’s actually very significant. The Junior Doctors Committee recently voted to repudiate the concept of “cost neutrality”. The concept of a “cost neutral” basis for negotiations has always served as ideological cover for de facto government attacks to wages and conditions .

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 13:35

Peggy Carter, Patrick Murphy, NUT executive, personal capacity, Charlotte Zalens and Ollie Moore

National Union of Teachers members in sixth form colleges will be striking on Tuesday 15 March after a ballot over funding which returned 86% in favour of strikes on a 44% turnout. NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “This strong ballot result shows the strength of feeling amongst sixth-form college teachers. Sixth-form colleges provide a vital service to over 150,000 young people, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Funding has already been cut in real terms by 14 per cent and further real-terms cuts of 8 per cent are now planned. Colleges are dropping courses

Young Labour: gains for the left

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 13:26

Brendan Menezes and Tim Jones

After three hectic days in Scarborough (26-28 February), the dust is yet to settle from the events of the annual Labour Students and Young Labour conference.

The Momentum slate was initially a resounding success in every region, getting an enormous number of Corbyn-supporting delegates elected. However the left ran into early difficulties with finances, as there was no assistance available from Labour with the costs of transport or accommodation. There was a compulsory £30/40 registration fee, an the conference was held in a part of the country hard to get to for the majority of members.


Verses from the First World War: conscription

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 13:04

Janine Booth

One hundred years ago this week, conscription came into force in Britain. The Military Service Act placed men between 18 and 41 years of age into the army reserve unless they were married (this exemption was removed later in 1916), widowed with children, serving in the Royal Navy, a minister of religion, or working in a “reserved occupation”. The initial rush of volunteers had dried up by this time, and while poverty continued to make signing up as a soldier an attractive option for some men, recruits were being killed at a faster rate than they could be replaced. These three poems were

Trapped: The village against nature

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 12:56

Les Hearn

Followers of Nordic noir will have been enjoying this new treat on BBC4. It has the typical features of the flawed policeman confronted with gruesome murders; but a dominant character in the drama, sometimes it seems the dominant character, is nature.

It is set in a remote Icelandic fishing village, Seyðisfjörður, at the end of a fjord and surrounded by mountains. Shot in a similar fishing village, Siglufjörður, it is in Icelandic with English subtitles. The Icelandic language is a very soft sounding tongue, somehow reminiscent of Welsh, and not at all how one would imagine descendants of

Many interruptions, one struggle

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 12:47

Jill Mountford, a member of the Momentum Steering Committee, spoke to Solidarity about fighting her expulsion from the Labour Party. This version is a bit longer than in the printed paper.

What is your history with the Labour Party?

I joined Labour in 1983, because I got involved with class politics. Before that I was more involved with women’s politics. I’d spent time at Greenham Common. In 1983 I was a student, I went with students from my poly to picket lines in Warrington, for the NGA printers’ dispute, against Eddie Shah. After that things speeded up, and with the miners’ strike

Migrants flee bulldozers and tear gas at Calais “Jungle”

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 12:33

Phil Grimm

French authorities have set about dismantling a large section of the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais.

Demolition teams, protected by French riot police to disperse protesters, have been forcefully destroying hundreds of temporary shelters. Migrants and solidarity activists protested in the lead-up to the bulldozers moving in, and after, and were met with repression from riot police who fired tear gas and used a water cannon.

The camp is home to 651 children, of whom 423 are unaccompanied. It is unclear what accommodation and facilities will be made available to them. Video footage taken by

6500 people waiting at the border

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 12:25

Nikos Anastasiadis of DEA, the Workers’ International Left in Greece, spoke to Solidarity.

Greece has accepted tens of thousands of refugees. Refugees came to Greece. Then they travel to Europe. But now the borders have closed and so most of the refugees are going to remain in Greece. There are now 6500 people waiting at the borders, which have been closed for a little more than a week. They were closed because central European countries do not want to accept more refugees.

This drive is led by Austria. They would like Greece to accept all the refugees. Most of the refugees come from Syria,

Bring down the borders!

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 12:20

Colin Foster

The EU is bureaucratic, capitalist, mean-spirited towards refugees, a mess. Surely Brexit would be better?

As if Britain is less capitalist! In any case, none of the Brexiters - not Ukip, not even the fantasists talking about a "left exit" - really believes in a Britain cut off from the naughty world by high barriers and doing its own idyllic thing on its own as if the world ended at Dover. Oh? So what do they want?

In practice, they want a Britain tied into the capitalist world by a equally bureaucratic, equally capitalist, but messier set of treaties and agreements, and with a even more

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