Solidarity 417, 21 September 2016

Support the Ritzy cinema strike!

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 13:35

Michael Elms

Workers at the Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton are set to take their first day of strike action on Saturday 24 September, as they embark on a new dispute with Picturehouse and the Cineworld empire of which the arthouse cinema chain is a part.

The Ritzy Picturehouse cinema and its BECTU branch last took on Picturehouse management in 2014, when they struck for the London living wage. 13 days of strike action forced Picturehouse bosses to concede a 26% pay increase, which fell just short of the London Living Wage. Now Picturehouse workers have reorganised and regrouped, and are pushing ahead with

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 13:08

Gemma Short, Darren Bedford, Charlotte Zalens, Dale Street, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

Hundreds of Derby teaching assistants and their supporters protested outside Parliament on Wednesday 14 September. The lobby of Parliament was part of a strike by teaching assistants in their fight to against the council changing their working week, resulting in a 25% loss of pay.

Strikes in August finally brought the council to the negotiating table, but their offers since have been so miserly that workers have rejected them by large majorities. The council has also attempted to make divisive offers that would benefit only a section of the workforce.

Teaching assistants were further angered

Scottish Labour’s fortunes

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 12:55

Ann Field

In the 2015 general election Labour lost 40 of the 41 seats it held in Scotland. In this May’s Holyrood elections it lost 14 of its 38 seats. Four months later, Labour remains in decline.

An opinion poll conducted in early September puts Labour at seven points lower than in May. This decline has been a long-term process. The SNP first won a majority in Holyrood in 2007. But the current collapse in support for Labour dates from the 2014 referendum. The SNP lied throughout the referendum campaign. It lied about a currency union. It lied about a second oil boom. It lied about the state of the

Racial hatred before and after Brexit

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 12:47

Camila Bassi

Britain’s EU referendum cannot simply be regarded at its face value as a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. It was a noxious campaign on immigration, which was preceded by years of political and media discourse that has mainstreamed anti-immigration sentiment.

The Brexit vote legitimised racism: it took the shame out of racial hatred and unleashed waves of its verbal and physical expression. The Economist reports hate crime data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council of 3,076 incidents of harassment or violence between 6-30 June, a rise of 915 on the same period the

The battle now shapes the future

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 12:39

Colin Foster

Peter Frase’s book Four Futures: Life After Capitalism is due to be published on 1 November. He will be explaining its ideas in a speaking tour in Britain from 24 September, and has already written about them on the website of Jacobin, the US socialist magazine he writes for.

He explains, at the end of that preview article, that his argument is dramatically over-simplified. The aim is to jolt us out of the always-common prejudice that society will go on much as it is now, with a nudge this way or that. It won’t.

As Frase starts off by saying “humanity has never before managed to craft an

Digitise? First: organise!

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 12:33

Martin Thomas

Hundreds of thousands of new people, many young people, have joined the Labour Party to repel the anti-Corbyn coup. From being a scattering of individuals across society, grumbling to their workmates, talking with their friends, they have begun to become a political force.

The next step is for them to help each other, and already-established labour-movement activists to help them, to get organised. Five hundred thousand people organised to march together on the streets have much more power than the same five hundred thousand scattered in their homes. The same five hundred thousand organising

The Left’s Jewish Problem — Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-semitism

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 12:11

Dale Street

Dave Rich’s The Left’s Jewish Problem – Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-semitism is not quite what its subtitle suggests it is. But that does not make the book, published a fortnight ago, any the less worth reading.

The focus of the book is not Corbyn. At its core is an attempt to provide an explanation of “how and why antisemitism appears on the left, and an appeal to the left to understand, identify and expel antisemitism from its politics.”

The antisemitism in question is not the ‘traditional’ racist version. It is an antisemitism which is rooted in “ways of thinking about Jews, Zionism

Owen Smith slanders AWL with antisemitism charge

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 11:57

Ross Bradshaw, Yoni Higgsmith, Barry Finger, Eric Lee and Jason Schulman

During a recent televised debate Owen Smith linked the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty to left antisemitism. This claim has gained some currency, despite Workers’ Liberty’s thirty-year record of fighting left (and other forms of) antisemitism.

For instance, when Nottingham Labour activist Pete Radcliff was recently expelled, because Labour’s bureaucracy wanted to make something of Pete’s association with Workers’ Liberty, the local paper covered the expulsion by linking it to the claim of antisemitism. Below Nottingham leftist Ross Bradshaw defends Pete, and three other non-Workers’ Liberty

Socialist policies can beat the Tories

Published on: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 11:44


According to the YouGov polling company, Jeremy Corbyn has a negative rating of minus 29%. It is hardly surprising, given the media-boosted torrent of bad-mouthing of him by people who are supposed to be Labour politicians.

When people are asked what’s bad about Corbyn, the negative most mentioned is “unelectable”. There are, of course, people who dislike Corbyn because they are right-wing and he is left-wing. But lots of those who “dislike” him, do so because the media and Labour politicians have told them that he is “unelectable” (i.e. other people dislike him). They may like his attitudes

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