Solidarity 407, 1 June 2016

Scapegoating Jews for the slave trade?

Published on: Sun, 11/09/2016 - 08:54

Dan Katz

There was a lot of Jewish support for the US Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

Martin Luther King spoke out against anti-Semitism:

“How could there be anti- Semitism among Negroes when our Jewish friends have demonstrated their commitment to the principle of tolerance and brotherhood…

“It would be impossible to record the contribution that the Jewish people have made toward the Negro’s struggle for freedom — it has been so great.” (1965)

That Black-Jewish unity broke down, partly because of the emergence of radical Black Nationalist organisations which identified with the Palestinians,

France: strike movement grows

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 14:01

Olivier Delbeke

Over the last week, the balance of forces has shifted in favour of the working class. This was a surprise for its enemies, who responded with howls of anger, and a powerful and growing cause for confidence and unity within the ranks of the social layers in the battle — but also for those who haven't yet joined in, but who are watching, listening and learning. But you wouldn't hear this by watching or reading the national media, who, for just this reason, have taken up a shrill tone of outrage, which is becoming fouler and more ridiculous by the day.

There were more demonstrators on 26 May

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 13:55

Cath Fletcher, John Moloney and Ollie Moore

Catering staff at the University of Manchester have won a deal for no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours, and no pay cuts. Their employer, UMC, a subsidiary company wholly owned by University of Manchester, had said in March that it would sack 46 of its 280-odd catering workers and move the rest to term-time only contracts — meaning a pay cut of about one third. Hannah McCarthy, the student union Campaigns and Citizenship Officer and vice-chair of Manchester Momentum, spoke to Solidarity.

This is far from a complete victory. There will still be restructuring. But there will be no

Organise a youth movement

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 13:42

Michael Johnson

This weekend, two important events are taking place in Manchester for young members of the labour movement: an extraordinary national conference of Labour Students, and the first democratic conference of Momentum Youth and Students.

The Labour Students extraordinary conference on Saturday 4 June is ostensibly organised to introduce a new voting system of One Member One Vote (OMOV). However, the proposed constitution, presented as “take it or leave it” with no opportunity for parts and amendments, represents a pre-emptive attempt by the Blairite incumbents to shore up their position in the

An inspiring dialogue

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 13:11

Jill Mountford

There is now a renewed interest in socialist ideas, an appetite to better understand how the world works and why it works in the interests of such a small minority. There’s a craving among a much bigger layer of people for ideas about what we do about the preposterous injustices of capitalism. These appetites and cravings need to be fed and satiated with ideas and arguments about what socialism is and importantly, what it is not (i.e. the 57 varities of the Stalinism of the twentieth century).

Sean Matgamna’s book, Can socialism make sense? An unfriendly dialogue, is, as he writes in the

Alessandro: The Black Prince of Florence

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 13:07

Cathy Nugent

Cath Fletcher's book about Alessandro de' Medici, the bastard son of a Duke and a servant, or possibly slave, of a black African background, is a work of historical detection. The text weighs up the often contradictory, dishonest and sparse accounts of Alessandro's life.

Sometimes the only information about moments in his life comes from household inventories, lists of fine clothes, or letters of thanks for elaborate gifts. But such are the records that must be used to track Alessandro's installation as the Duke of Florence in 1532, only to be assassinated less than five years later by a

Anti-semitism and reactionary anti-capitalism

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 12:51

Moishe Postone, a Marxist writer based at the University of Chicago and author of Time, Labour, and Social Domination, and Critique du fétiche-capital: Le capitalisme, l'antisémitisme et la gauche, was in London in May, and spoke to Martin Thomas from Solidarity about anti-semitism on the left and reactionary anti-capitalism.

I don't feel as if I know the ins and outs of the situation in the Labour Party, so part of what I say may not be completely accurate. First of all, there is an extremely unfortunate polarisation with regard to the relationship of anti-Zionism and anti-semitism. It is a

Letter: Meanings of Zionism

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 11:12

Jason Schulman

The difference the AWL has with me may simply be a continental difference, so to speak. Among Jews I know, in the US, if you call yourself a Zionist, then that means that you’re inclined to agree with whatever the Israeli government does. If you don’t, then you’re non-Zionist or anti-Zionist.

Of course, the most awful Zionists in the US are Christians United For Israel (CUFI) and similar groups. (Jews are wonderful, you see, as long as they’re Over There for when Jesus comes back and tells them they must convert or they’ll be left behind after The Rapture...) In any case I don’t have a

Challenge trans-exclusion through debate

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 11:07

Elizabeth Butterworth

The Morning Star has come under fire for publishing two articles written by “trans-critical” / trans-exclusionary feminists.

The first, by Rebecca Riley-Cooper, addresses the issue of women as a class, and the consequences of self-identification in defining gender. She argues that, “…The logical conclusion of shifting our definitions of gender from objective characteristics to inherently subjective and personal ones is that the categories of “man” and “woman” effectively become meaningless. This is not a satisfactory outcome, especially for those who strongly feel that they identify as one

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