Solidarity 411, 8 July 2016

Fight for migrants' rights and workers' unity

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 16:55

Jill Mountford, Momentum Steering Committee, personal capacity

There are strong voices in the Labour Party, in the trade unions and even on the Labour left arguing that, after the Brexit vote, the labour movement should support further restrictions on freedom of movement and migrants’ rights.

Paul Mason, Len McCluskey, even some in Momentum have taken such a position. On 1 July, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was reported in the press as saying that with exit from the EU, the limited freedom of movement that exists would come to an end. McDonnell has since said that he was misrepresented — that he was talking about the legal situation, that he and

Teachers and lecturers strike and protest on 5 July

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 16:52

Peggy Carter and Ben Tausz

Teachers struck on Tuesday 5 July in a well supported national strike for guaranteed terms and conditions across all schools, increased funding to schools, and the resumption of negotiations on teacher workload.

The strike saw large protests. The march in London was overwhelmingly young, and many young teachers told Solidarity sellers that they had joined the Labour Party in the past year.

The government claims two thirds of schools remained open. However that figure masks a whole range of partial closures, and the increasing use of cover supervisors and support staff to keep schools open.

We can do better than this

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 16:44

Esther Townsend

I was always interested in fairness and justice, and aware that these weren’t always so easy to come by.

I had family who were trade unionists and described themselves as socialists and I thought this “socialism” I read about in history books sounded like a great idea, but it was all a bit vague. I had no clue that there were still people out there organising and arguing for it. When I say that now I feel daft, but the left (and to some extent the labour movement) has been pretty invisible to most people for the last 30 or so years.

Some people describe learning about socialist ideas as a

Fossil fuels and the rise of capitalism

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 16:33

Neil Laker

“The millowners told the workers to bow down to the steam idol or starve”

Fossil Capital by Andreas Malm explores the crisis posed by climate change by looking at the origins of capital’s dependence on fossil fuels. It is a significant contribution and a sound introduction to Marxist ecological thought. Above all the book demonstrates how capital accumulation and the global climate have a deep and inseparable relationship, and in particular that the history of the working class is an environmental one.

The question of why capitalism is still overwhelmingly wedded to fossil fuel consumption

Corbyn: their criticism and ours

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 16:25

Colin Foster

Some of the Labour coup-makers say they have no disagreement with Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, and value his kindliness and his personal qualities. But, they say, with a sigh elaborately staged for the audience, somehow Corbyn doesn’t have what it takes to lead, to unite, to win an election. So they’ve resigned, and try to hold the Labour Party hostage in order to force Corbyn to quit.

It’s all a fake. If they really had a better leader to propose, then they’d choose a better time, nominate that better leader, and let the Labour Party and trade union membership vote on the candidates. Instead

Letter: Free movement for all!

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 15:56

Todd Hamer

Martin Thomas argues (Solidarity 409) that immigration bans are not always a means for the capitalist class to micromanage labour supply. He cites Australia in 1901 as an example of a capitalist government who reluctantly introduced immigration bans to appease racists.

But in 2016 in Britain, most non-EU migrants have to a. have a job offer with a salary exceeding £20,800 (preferably in a sector where there is a shortage of British workers) b. be able to financially support themselves c. pass a medical test at their own expense d. pass an English test . Brexit Tories want to impose this or

Chakrabarti emphasises free speech

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 15:51

Ira Berkovic

The inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party, headed by lawyer and civil rights advocate Shami Chakrabarti, has concluded that, while Labour is not “overrun” with any form of racism, “an occasionally toxic atmosphere is in danger of shutting down free speech in the party”.

The report makes a number of recommendations as to how to detoxify that atmosphere. Many are around the use of language. Chakrabarti condemns the use of the epithet “Zio”, an abbreviation of “Zionist” pioneered by the far right but disgracefully embraced by some on the far left. She counsels caution with the term

Chilcot and Labour democracy

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 15:42

Gerry Bates

Jeremy Corbyn was right in his response to the Chilcot report on the 2003 invasion of Iraq, published on 6 July.

The invasion was “an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext... [which] led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions of refugees. It devastated Iraq’s infrastructure and society. The occupation fostered a lethal sectarianism... that turned into a civil war...

“While the governing class got it so horrifically wrong — many of our people actually got it right.

“It wasn’t that we those of us who opposed the war underestimated

The Tories and Brexit: where ignorant armies clash by night

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 15:23

Martin Thomas

At the end of June US secretary of state John Kerry said, with a bluntness unusual in a professional diplomat, that David Cameron “has no idea how he would do it [negotiate British exit from the EU]. And by the way nor do most of the people who voted to do it”.

The leaders of the Leave campaign surely have no idea. They sold the electorate a vague grab-bag of promises, most of them never expecting to have to deliver, and many (it seems) not even wanting to. So now the meaning of the Leave vote is being decided via confused and murky battle between candidates for the Tory leadership, all of

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