Solidarity 425, 9 December 2016

Momentum: for unity!

Published on: Mon, 09/01/2017 - 13:59

Simon Nelson

After the Momentum national committee on Saturday 3 December voted that Momentum should have a decision-making delegate conference — the big controversial decision! — figures on the fringes of Momentum, and some within it, have launched a social-media and mass-media outcry against Workers’ Liberty and Solidarity.

This outcry should be resisted with an insistence on unity, a focus on positive campaigning, and a refusal to let the mass media or the Labour machine’s notorious Compliance Unit split us.

Although we were only a small part of the 3 December meeting, the whole majority is being

Can Labour resist the anti-migrant pressure?

Published on: Mon, 12/12/2016 - 13:54

Sacha Ismail

How will the left-wing leadership of the Labour Party respond to the growth of right-wing, anti-immigrant populism in many countries and to increasingly vocal calls for Labour to concede to an anti-migrant agenda? The picture is confused.

Jeremy Corbyn has made several statements which imply standing firm in defence of migrants. His 3 December speech to Socialist International leaders in Prague rejected “abandon[ing] socialist principles because we are told this is the only way to win power… I have every confidence that the principles of solidarity, internationalism and socialism… can [win in

Aleppo doomsday

Published on: Fri, 09/12/2016 - 14:14

Simon Nelson

With the aid of Russian military jets and intelligence units, Syrian armed forces tightened their grip over eastern Aleppo in early December. The fall of the whole city to Assad’s regime is now increasingly likely. Many more civilians are dying, and thousands are fleeing the city.

Since the latest offensive began last month, the territory under the control of Syrian rebels has fallen by 50%. The combined forces of the Syrian army, Shia militias from Iraq, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah have made significant and probably irreversible gains. 30,000 people have already been displaced by the

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Fri, 09/12/2016 - 14:09

Ollie Moore, Gerry Bates, Dale Street, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

Members of the train drivers’ union Aslef on Southern began an overtime ban on 6 December, and are preparing to strike alongside RMT guards later in the month. The guards’ latest strikes began on 6 December and will continue until 8 December, with Aslef due to participate in further strikes on 13-14 and 16 December.

RMT guards will strike again on 19-20 December and 31 December-2 January, and both guards and drivers will strike on 9-14 January. Southern bosses, who succeeded in having an earlier Aslef ballot declared illegal by the High Court, have again sought an injunction against the

When we reassessed the Stalinist states

Published on: Fri, 09/12/2016 - 13:59

Simon Nelson

In 1988, the Socialist Organiser Alliance, a forerunner of Workers’ Liberty, at its annual conference, officially dropped the “degenerated and deformed workers’ states” description of the USSR and similar systems which we had inherited from “Orthodox Trotskyism”. It categorised these states as exploitative class systems not superior to capitalism.

There was a lengthy discussion before and after the conference about more detailed descriptions. The debate encompassed discussion on a number of different theories as to the class nature of these states. Probably a majority thought that the USSR

Remembering those Stalinism killed

Published on: Fri, 09/12/2016 - 13:53

Dale Street

The Russian human rights organisation “Memorial” has published an online database of 39,950 members of the special police force (NKVD) which carried out Stalin’s mass purges of the late 1930s at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

The database does not cover the entire NKVD workforce, which included not just the security services who played the leading role in the purges (the GUGB and UGB) but also border troops, internal troops, the police, and sections responsible for the prevention of economic crime. Reflecting the contents of the archives used to compile the database, the latter is

Dare to hope and fight

Published on: Fri, 09/12/2016 - 13:47

Sean Matgamna

Are we nothing higher than a modern commercially-conducted and regulated rendition of animals, amongst them primitive humankind, spending an entire lifetime browsing and grubbing for food?

That is the “shop until you drop” ethos which this society glorifies and depends on for dynamism. Leavened maybe with a bit of religious uplift, a half-tongue-in-cheek consultation with a horoscope to see what “the stars” are going to do to you? The small bacchanalia of a pop festival once a year or so?

If you are a worker, are you content to spend most of your work doing work you don’t care about — or do

Swimming against the stream

Published on: Fri, 09/12/2016 - 13:34

Todd Hamer

“One of the most outstanding features of Bolshevism has been its severe, exacting, even quarrelsome attitude towards the question of doctrine.” — Leon Trotsky

According to the common sense, the far left is a place where rows over obscure points of dogma lead to endless arguments, fractures and splits. How else to explain the dozens of tiny grouplets claiming to hold the holy grail of revolutionary wisdom? But seen from close quarters, the opposite is the case.

Generally the different organisations on the left keep to themselves. When they do meet they rarely argue about politics. They

Justice for Seeta

Published on: Fri, 09/12/2016 - 10:49

On 31 March 2015, whilst on a family trip to India, Seeta (Saini) Kaur – a 33 year old British national of Indian origin and the mother of four young children – died in highly suspicious circumstances at the home of her husband and in-laws.

It is suspected that Seeta was the victim of an honour killing, but the UK police have failed to investigate. Southall Black Sisters launched a campaign for justice for the victims of such suspected honour killings on 7 December. The campaign has been named after Seeta.

Southall Black Sisters said ″Seeta’s family is desperate for justice: the response

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