Solidarity 406, 25 May 2016

Two cheers for neo-liberalism?

Published on: Tue, 31/05/2016 - 09:26

Martin Thomas

Jonathan Ostry, an IMF economist with a long record of arguing that extreme income inequality harms capitalist growth, has published a new article on the theme with two IMF colleagues, Prakash Loungani and Davide Furceri.

Capitalist crises generally come through sudden shutdowns of investment and luxury spending by the rich which then snowball through the economy. The poor are less apt to go in for sudden bouts of holding on to our cash. The greater the proportion of spending controlled by the rich, the more unstable.

That is the basic idea behind Ostry's argument ( Extremely

Workers have nothing to gain from Brexit

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 13:00

Matt Wrack, General Secretary, Fire Brigades Union

This debate is between one set of people who want to exploit us in Europe, and one who want to exploit us out of Europe.

It is about two people battling for the leadership of the Tory Party. If there is a big vote to leave the most likely outcome is that Boris Johnson will replace Cameron as Prime Minister. There is absolutely nothing to gain for working people from a vote to leave.

The FBU argues that the trade union movement needs a completely independent position. We should have nothing to do with any of the official campaigns. I was appalled to read the joint letter by Brendan Barber and

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 12:49

Neil Laker, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Darren Bedford and Charlotte Zalens

In March, the University of Manchester announced plans to restructure its subsidiary company, UMC, making 46 redundancies in catering while moving the remaining staff on to “term-time only” contracts.

This latter move would have meant cuts of about one third to their total pay. But now, as a result of solid negotiating by Unison, and agitation, occupations and disruption by students, management have backed down. There will be no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours and no pay cuts.

These victories in the fight against the university’s contemptuous treatment of its workers should embolden

Labour’s “Workplace 2020”

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 12:22

Ira Berkovic

The Labour Party has launched a new initiative, entitled “Workplace2020”, aimed at developing policies for workers’ and trade union rights.

The scheme is part consultation, part policy platform, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announcing that the approach would be “based on full employment, a high-skilled workforce with decent pay, rights of the self-employed and the employed, and a voice that works for a collective bargain.” Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has welcomed the initiative, and says Unite will be encouraging its members to take part in the consultation.

“Workplace 2020” is a

Momentum votes “remain”

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 12:19

Jill Mountford

On Saturday 21 May a meeting of Momentum’s National Committee voted by 27 votes to 6, with 4 abstentions, for a left “in” position on Europe.

The motion from Northern (north-east and Cumbria) and London regions, reflects a lot of discussion among local groups.

Here is the text of the motion:

Britain leaving the EU would be a victory for the nationalist right and their campaign against migrants, almost certainly reshaping the British political and social landscape for the worse.
The EU promotes neoliberal policies in the interests of capitalism – but so does the UK. The British ruling class and

Varoufakis’ plan to change Europe

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 12:08

John Cunningham

During the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, the Athenians captured the small island of Melia, considered to be friendly to their rival city state.

The Melians, powerless before the might of Athens, pleaded for mercy but to no avail. The Athenians stated that justice belonged to the strong, they would do as they pleased “and the weak suffer what they must” (note that the original quote is a statement, not a question — a subtle but important difference).

And so it turned out. The Athenians put much of the population to the sword and enslaved the survivors. However, the story doesn

The problem with Ken Livingstone’s “evidence”

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 11:59

Gerry Ben-Noah

Ken Livingstone states he gets his evidence and ideas for his comments on Hitler and Zionism from Lenni Brenner’s books. This review of two of Brenner’s books, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators and The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, was published in Socialist Organiser on 4 October 1984.

Denial of the holocaust has become the stock-in-trade of the far right in Europe and the USA, from Richard Harewood’s Did Six Million Really Die? to Arthur Butz’s The Hoax of the Century.
That pro-Nazis should seek to excuse their heroes of one of the greatest crimes in history

Connolly, Millerand, and De Leon

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 11:48

In 1900, the Irish Socialist Republican Party (ISRP) scored a victory when the Paris Congress of the Second International recognised its delegates, E.W. Stewart and Tom Lyng, as representing a separate national group from the British socialist organisations.

Amongst the delegates supporting this stance — against the British SDF — were those from Daniel De Leon’s American Socialist Labour Party (SLP), whose struggle against reformism and opportunism in the socialist movement was admired by the Irish socialists.

One major issue of controversy at the 1900 conference was the decision in 1899 by

“Cost-neutral” clause poisons ACAS formula for junior doctors

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 11:34

Dr Pete Campbell

During the past year junior doctors have learnt a lot. From how to organise a picket and deal with the media, to contract law and equality impact assessments.

On Wednesday 18 May, the Government taught us a lesson in media management.

News of the deal at the government arbitration service ACAS broke, and the Government was able to shape the story. “The war is over”, “the deal is done”, “BMA agrees terms with NHS Employers”.
It left a lot of junior doctors scratching their heads. Was that it? Had we just lost?

Jeremy Hunt appeared on the news, and we thought, how could the BMA have done a deal

Cuts are undermining NHS

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 11:24


NHS trusts in England trusts ran up a record deficit of £2.45 billion in the year 2014-15, according to figures released on 20 May.

And the deficits are rising. The Government’s projections admit that health care costs will rise: from a little over £100 billion in 2015, they reckon, by a further £30 billion.
But funding will rise only £10 billion. The other £20 billion is supposed to come from “productivity savings.”

The tariff paid by the CCGs (groups of GPs) to NHS Trusts for each medical procedure is being arbitrarily cut by 2-3% each year. NHS Trusts can’t magic up “productivity” from

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