Solidarity 418, 5 October 2016

Polish women take to streets to protest against anti-abortion law

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 12:38

Mags, a Birmingham-based activist with the left-wing Polish group Razem, spoke to Solidarity about the Polish women's strike against restrictions on abortion rights.

In April this year a legal institute in Poland called Ordo Iuris put forward draft legislation for a ban on abortion.

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 12:28 Author: Ollie Moore, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

Rail workers on Southern Rail will strike for 14 days across three months, with strikes planned for 11-13 and 18-20 October, 3-5 and 22-23 November, and 6-8 December.

The workers, who are members of the RMT union, are fighting to defend the safety-critical role of the guard. Southern, which is owned by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR, which also operates the Gatwick Express franchise), wants to de-skill the guard's role to make it non-safety-critical, meaning that only the driver would have responsibility for tasks such as opening and closing doors.

The origins of racism in Britain

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 12:03 Author: Camila Bassi

The second of two articles by Camila Bassi on racism and hate crime in Britain today. You can read the first article online here.

It was by the close of the nineteenth century that the political economic domination of the global capitalist system by Britain came under threat from sources inside and beyond Europe, and as such, by the final quarter of the nineteenth century:

Belligerent but beautiful songs

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 11:48 Author: Janine Booth

When I grew into adulthood in the 1980s, the Tory government's onslaught saw us staring into a bleak future unless we fought back. So we did, and our fightback had a soundtrack.

The better-known voices of that soundtrack — the Paul Wellers and Billy Braggs — are still playing to this day. But one of the less known, and to me one of the best, died last month at the too-young age of 60.

Russia strengthens Assad but not decisively

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 11:41 Author: Simon Nelson

It is five years since the birth of the oppostion to Assad's regime in Syria. There are now 4.8 million refugees. Of these a mere 10% have gone to Europe.

An additional 6.5 million Syrians have been “internally displaced”. 13.5 million rely on humanitarian aid. This is a country, and a population that has changed beyond all recognition.

Progress sense of entitlement

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 11:27 Author: Todd Hamer

Todd Hamer attended the rally organised by the right-wing Labour faction Progress on Sunday 25 September at Labour Party Conference.

“I say to the people who voted for Owen Smith. This party belongs to you.” Hilary Benn addressing the Progress rally at Labour Party conference.

And seeing those people in their sharp suits, smelling the expensive perfumes, and hearing the posh accents, I realised that the Labour right are actually from a different class.

"Parliamentary socialism" and "progressive alliances": clarification needed on the Labour left

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 11:16 Author: Martin Thomas

Two sessions in the Momentum fringe event — The World Transformed — at Labour Party conference (24-28 September) discussed major strategic questions.

In a debate on “parliamentary socialism”, Leo Panitch gave a polished exposition of Ralph Miliband's theory on the question.

Jackie Walker, Momentum, and antisemitism

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 11:03 Author: Martin Thomas

On 3 October, the Steering Committee of the Labour left group Momentum voted by a majority (which included Solidarity supporter Jill Mountford) to remove Jackie Walker as the group’s vice-chair.

The grounds were her “ill-informed, ill-judged, and offensive” statements at a Jewish Labour Movement fringe event at Labour conference, and her “irresponsible” behaviour in continuing to promote herself and the content of those statements to the media.

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