Solidarity 404, 11 May 2016

Forced Academies U-turn: only half a victory

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 15:59

Patrick Murphy

Nicky Morgan's announcement that she was withdrawing proposals to legislate to force all schools to become academies was both a real success and a major danger to the campaign against forced academies.

On 6 May, Nicky Morgan announced that, as a result of listening to MPs, teachers, school leaders and parents, she has decided that, while reaffirming our continued determination to see all schools become academies in the next 6 years, that it is not necessary to bring legislation to bring about blanket conversion of all schools to achieve this goal.

The speed and breadth of the campaign to

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 15:48

Gemma Short, Ruth Cashman, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

UCU at the University of Nottingham is balloting for industrial action against threatened compulsory redundancies in the Faculty of Arts.

The University that claims to be Britain's global university wants to reduce its offer in archaeology, and theology and religious studies, and close language courses including Dutch. 11.5 FTE posts are at risk. The student body is up in arms over the threat. They have organised several protests, a petition and a Facebook group: Resist Restructuring Nottingham.

The proposed cuts come against a background of changes to the way students access student

Nominate Rhea Wolfson

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 15:32

Alongside Ann Black, Christine Shawcroft, Claudia Webbe, Darren Williams, and Peter Willsman, the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance is now supporting Rhea Wolfson for the constituency section of Labour's National Executive Committee.

Rhea is former President of Oxford University Jewish Society; former Secretary of London Young Labour; current Women's Officer for Scottish Young Labour; current Co-op Party rep on UK Young Labour National Committee; and a full-time branch secretary for GMB Scotland. Please urge your CLP to nominate Rhea by 24 June.

Rhea writes: Britain needs a Labour Party that

Due process for Jackie Walker!

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 15:30

Momentum condemns the suspension of Jackie Walker, Vice Chair of our Steering Committee, from the Labour Party on 4 May.

Jackie, a black activist of Jewish heritage and lifelong anti-racist campaigner and trainer, was suspended by the party for alleged antisemitism following an article that appeared in the Jewish Chronicle, which quotes statements she made on Facebook discussing her family history.

We are extremely concerned by the lack of due process in this case, and the failure to apply the principles of natural justice. Journalists were briefed about Jackie's suspension by party staff

Brazil: the plans of the right

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 15:24

On 10 May the acting speaker of the lower house of Brazil's parliament, appointed after the previous speaker was forced out on charges of corruption and money-laundering, declared the 17 April impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff invalid. The chief of the upper house, the Senate, however, declared that a Senate vote to confirm the impeachment and force out Rousseff would go ahead.

On 4 May, Alfredo Saad Filho, a Brazilian Marxist economist working in London, spoke to Solidarity about the political turmoil in Brazil.

At the level of the institutions of the state, and from the point of

James Connolly: Home Rule and the Gaelic Revival

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 15:15

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

Connolly's period in Dublin coincided with the period of the Gaelic Revival, and the rediscovery (and re-invention) of Ireland's historical, literary and cultural past. It also led to a deepening of Connolly's understanding of Irish history and the Irish national question, establishing some themes which, in various form, would be present throughout his political life.

The Gaelic Revival was in full-swing when Connolly moved to Dublin in 1896, as sections of the Irish middle class, many of them Protestant, were

How to wipe out left-anti-Semitism

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 15:06

Sean Matgamna

Jackie Walker, a woman of mixed African-Jewish background, and vice-chair of the Labour Party's left-wing group, Momentum, has been suspended by the Labour Party on grounds of anti-semitism. The charge of anti-semitism is based on a fragment of a Facebook conversation from some months ago. Her anti-semitism consisted in the statement that Africa too had experienced a Holocaust.

The Labour Party now has a regime of capricious and arbitrary instant exclusions. This paper and its predecessor Socialist Organiser have argued that anti-semitism in the labour movement needs to be rooted out. But

It is time to stand up for socialism!

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 14:51


All in all, Labour didn't do too badly in the 5 May elections.

Everything was weighted against them. The media had its own anti-Labour agenda and tried to force events into its own pre-set patterns. It spent much of its time discussing Jeremy Corbyn and who liked him and didn't like him.

A big chunk of Labour's Blairite right wing behaved as if they were trying to whip up an electoral catastrophe for the party. Some who claim to be on the left, notably Ken Livingstone, behaved in the same way. Labour's Compliance Unit continued to behave like the Red Queen in Alice: Off with their heads! To

Left gains in Northern Ireland elections

Published on: Wed, 11/05/2016 - 14:33

Michael Johnson

On 5 May, Northern Ireland went to the polls for the first Stormont elections since 2011.

Once again we see an Executive dominated by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein (SF), but with the exciting breakthrough for the far-left People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA) and an increased vote for the non-sectarian Green Party. 102 of the 108 seats have gone to the five parties who comprised the last Executive, with the main two parties, the DUP and SF, taking 66 seats between them. Both now have a mandate to continue with the so-called Fresh Start agreement, involving welfare cuts and

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