Solidarity 402, 27 April 2016

Justice for the Hillsborough 96

Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 11:51

Rosalind Robson

On Tuesday 26 April, the jury returned their verdicts in the inquest into the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster in which 96 football spectators, all except one Liverpool fans, were killed.

Among other things the jury found that the police officer in charge of policing the event in which fans were crushed to death, and 400 others were injured in an overcrowded pen — Chief Superintendant David Duckenfield — was guilty of “manslaughter by gross negligence”. This is a tremendous victory for justice, but it has been, for the families and friends of the people who died on 15 April just over 27

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 11:44

Dale Street, Ollie Moore, Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and David Ball

CCTV workers employed by Glasgow Community Safety – a Glasgow City Council Arms Length External Organisation (ALEO) – are back at work having won a 24% pay rise after twelve strike days over six weeks. The 19 workers, all Unison members, struck to achieve equal pay, i.e. parity of shift allowance payments, with other employees who work the same pattern of 12 hour shifts in a round-the-clock service. A campaign by Glasgow school janitors, also Unison members, in primary, nursery and Additional Support for Learning schools continues, with another three-day strike in late April following on from

Labour right moving fast

Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 11:24

Martin Thomas

For probably the first time, the right wing slate for the six constituency places on Labour’s National Executive Committee, put together by Progress and Labour First, is getting far more nominations from Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) than almost all the nominees on the Centre-left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) slate.

This is not because CLPs have shifted to the right. All the evidence is of the hundreds of thousands of new members being predominantly left-wing. But the Labour right, with its millionaire funding, is organising with more energy than the left. And there is other evidence on

Challenging the nationalist narrative

Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 11:22

Janine Booth

From its declaration of war in 1914, Britain’s ruling class appealed to patriotism to boost its support and its military recruitment. By 1916 both were flagging. On the pages of socialist newspaper The Herald, poets used verse to question both nationalism and the war’s aims. When the government asked men to fight for King and Country, was it shielding its true motives?

Harcourt Williams prefaced his poem “England Fights” (published in The Herald on 16 December 1916) with a quote from Shakespeare’s Richard III: “To reap the harvest of Perpetual Peace By this one bloody trial of sharp war!”


Workers’ democracy is the bottom line

Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:59

Gemma Short

Steve Bloom has written an interesting and thoughtful review of The Two Trotskyisms confront Stalinism (Solidarity 400 and 401). It is interesting to hear from someone who identifies with the Cannon tradition where they feel that tradition went wrong.

There is one point in Bloom’s review which is not expanded upon much. Bloom describes it as “obvious”. When posing the question “if nationalisations carried out in eastern Europe had a socialist content”, Bloom says in hindsight the answer is “obviously both ‘yes’ and ‘no’”. The question of whether nationalisations are per se progressive

How Connolly became a socialist

Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:51

Michael Johnson

James Connolly was born in poverty in the Edinburgh slum of Cowgate in 1868 to Irish parents. His father, John, was a manure carter for the Edinburgh Corporation and his mother, Mary, a domestic servant.

Cowgate was part of a “little Ireland” ghetto in Edinburgh, politically dominated by the Irish National League (linked to the pro-Home Rule Irish Parliamentary Party) and the influence of the local clergy. Some Irish workers found a niche in the local garment trade, and their relative advantage over poorer Scottish labourers generated a cross-class national solidarity with the Irish middle

Vote Labour, turn against the cuts

Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:39


A 12 April opinion poll put Labour ahead of the Tories, 34/31, for only the second time since the 2015 general election. Among people aged 18 to 24, it showed a Labour lead of 51/20.

The Tories have been battered by Ian Duncan Smith’s resignation, by their splits over Europe, by their forced retreat on disabled benefits, and by the Panama Papers. Labour can get ahead. It will be hard on 5 May.

Sadiq Khan should win London mayor for Labour. But an SNP landslide in Scotland is almost certain. In polls for the Welsh Assembly, Labour is still ahead of the Tories and Plaid Cymru, but less than it


Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:22

The referendum on UK membership of the European Union on 23rd June has major implications and unique divisions across the political spectrum.

For staying in EU are Cameron’s wing of the Tories, LibDems, most of the Labour Party for a “social Europe”, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens, plus US instructions. For leaving EU are UKIP (who called the referendum), Tory Eurosceptics, the far-right and, for different reasons, most of the British left groupings, eg, CPB, SWP, SP, Counterfire and Respect. Socialist Resistance calls for a critical “in” vote to resist the xenophobia/racism of the mainstreams

Right question, wrong answer

Published on: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 09:31

Ben Tausz

In response to recent controversies around “no platforming” and censorship in the student movement, the Right2Debate campaign has sprung up. It opposes the growing practice of denying controversial, bigoted and “extremist” speakers platforms on campuses, and instead proposes that student unions adopt its model policy for dealing with these situations, focussed on ensuring that these speakers are countered in debate.

Right2Debate’s starting principle — that in general, it is better to counter reactionary and bigoted views through debate, rather than “no platform” tactics — is a good one

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