Solidarity 397, 9 March 2016

Support the junior doctors, save the NHS!

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 14:08

Aislinn Macklin-Doherty, an NHS doctor and BMA rep, spoke to Solidarity.

It would be fair to say that before this past year I was essentially a campaigning novice. I had strong political opinions. I remember being on my father’s shoulders at marches against Maggie Thatcher’s public sector cuts. I marched against the Iraq war. I signed petitions and attended occasional protests about NHS privatisation. But, like many in the UK, I didn’t feel really connected to a wider voice or a movement. I certainly did not feel represented by any of the mainstream political parties.

Over the last year three

Calais: police have attacked 73%

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 13:23

Phil Grimm and Gemma Short

Research by the charity Help Refugees and the Refugee Rights Data project has revealed the shocking extent of the police brutality, racist attacks and poor living conditions faced by migrants at a the Calais “Jungle” camp.

According to the research, three-quarters of refugees in the “Jungle” camp near the French port have been the victim of violence at the hands of police. The charity also says it believes nearly half of the Calais’s refugees have also suffered violence directed at them by citizens, mostly carried out by far-right groups.

The survey, which interviewed 800 inhabitants of the

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 13:01

Ruth Cashman, Gemma Short and Janine Booth

Local writers Jay Rayner and Will Self joined library workers, local readers and residents marching on 5 March against Lambeth Council’s plans to close half the borough’s libraries.

Campaigners at the “Don’t Steal Our Libraries” march, vowed to fight on with speakers mentioning plans for legal challenges, occupations of library buildings, and escalating strike action. On the eve of the protest, Lambeth Council announced a partial U-turn, agreeing to save one of the five threatened libraries, South Lambeth. The Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library announced at a rally following the march that

Why Corbyn is right on decriminalisation of sex work

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 12:43

Speaking at a recent meeting at Goldsmiths University Jeremy Corbyn was asked for his opinion on whether sex work should be decriminalised. His reply was: “I am in favour of decriminalising the sex industry. I don’t want people to be criminalised. I want to be [in] a society where we don’t automatically criminalise people. Let’s do things a bit differently and in a bit more civilised way.”

That remark has brought him a lot of criticism in the Labour Party. The following statement (abridged) from anti-capitalist feminist group Feminist Fightback explains the why Corbyn was right.

As anti

Compliance Unit expels Wrack

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 12:36

Gerry Bates

Following the recent expulsions of Jill Mountford and Cathy Nugent, members of the Lewisham Labour Parties, on grounds of association with Workers’ Liberty, Nick Wrack has been expelled from Camberwell and Peckham Labour Party, also in south London.

All these expulsions have been carried out by the shadowy “Compliance Unit”, an (unelected) subsection of Labour Party head office given no authority by the Labour Party rulebook which nonetheless has declared itself to have powers to decree “automatic” expulsion.

The Compliance Unit wrote to Nick to say that the CLP had been given extended time

Verses from the First World War: Conscientious Objectors

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 12:31

Janine Booth

Once the Military Service Act come into force in 1916, men aged 18-41 had to apply to a Military Tribunal if they believed that they had a reason not to be drafted. The majority had health, work or family reasons, but 2% were Conscientious Objectors (COs): men who objected to military service because they objected to war.

Around 16,000 men were recorded as conscientious objectors: some were ordered to do “work of national importance” (e.g. farming), some were given non-combatant duties, but 6,000 were forced into the army. Many then refused orders and were imprisoned, as were those who

Stalinists as victims (review of Trumbo)

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 12:11

Eric Lee

Trumbo is a the latest in a series of Hollywood films that looks back nostalgically at the McCarthy era. This was, according to Hollywood, a time when the good guys were blacklisted writers accused of membership in the Communist Party, and the bad guys were the US government, studio bosses, and right-wing media.

The first of those films was probably The Way We Were (1973) starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Made only a few years after blacklisting had ended, when the Cold War was still raging, it became a template for future films on the subject. The film takes place over several

Junior doctors set for a long battle

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 11:55

Pete Campbell

On 9-11 March thousands of junior doctors will take to the picket lines again. The first of three 48 hour periods of "emergency care only" provision marks a serious turning point in the dispute. The stakes are high.

The government has been clear it plans to impose this contract regardless of complaints from doctors, dismay from hospital trusts, and objections from general public opinion. This is no longer just about junior doctors. In truth it never has been. From the beginning the government has failed to distinguish between this contractual dispute and wider NHS issues. Using false

Affordable, available, assured: Homes for all!

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2016 - 11:46


Already, on average, in England, rent takes 43% of the income of households renting privately. (That’s 43% of average gross income of the main householder and partner including housing benefit, it’s 52% of income excluding HB).

Tenants in London pay 60% of income (including HB: 72% without). And on current trends, in nine years’ time there will be more households renting privately than households in their own home with a mortgage. (Figures from PriceWaterhouse Cooper). Private tenants have no security, and small and difficult redress if their landlord neglects repairs or offers only poor

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