Solidarity 427, 18 January 2017

Labour: vote against Article 50!

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 13:54

Martin Thomas

Theresa May has at last (on 17 January) made one thing about her Brexit: she plans to pull Britain out of the European single market, because staying in requires freedom of movement for workers.

The “single market” (and Margaret Thatcher was one of the main figures in pushing it through) means that the same regulations about safety, labelling, and standards apply across the whole market. Factories anywhere in it producing in line with local rules know they can sell everywhere in it without further checking or paperwork. May was not clear on whether she also wants to pull Britain out of the EU

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 13:44

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter, Michael Elms and Gemma Short

Tube workers’ union RMT has announced its members on stations will strike again from 6 February unless London Underground bosses meet its demands for an increased staffing level. The company’s latest proposal is to reinstate 250 of the jobs it cut under the “Fit for the Future” programme, but RMT has rejected the offer as insufficient.

An RMT rep told Solidarity: “There’s no way we’d settle for winning back only a quarter of the jobs lost. We want all cuts reversed. Most of the company’s proposed 250 jobs will come back at the CSA2 grade, which we’re fighting to abolish.

“It’s not fair for

Help Labour in Copeland

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 13:08

Dave Pannett

The resignation of MPs Jamie Reed (Copeland) and Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central) will have not caused Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party any sorrow. Constant critics of the democratically-elected leader who have decided to leave their jobs for much better-paid positions at the Sellafield nuclear plant and the Victoria and Albert Museum will not get much of a send-off. However, it is now vital that the we mobilise to get Labour victories in both seats.

Labour last lost the Copeland constituency in 1931, the year Ramsay MacDonald led a right wing split from the party. The seat that

Yes, a maximum wage!

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 12:59

Gerry Bates

Jeremy Corbyn’s recent call for a maximum wage is a good move, even though he has now faded it out.

Around midday on Wednesday 4 January, after just two and a half days of the new work year, Britain’s top bosses passed the UK average salary of £28,200. They had passed workers on the minimum wage, and others like the present writer, after a single day or so. A few days later Oxfam reported that just eight individuals own as much wealth as the poorer 50% of the world’s population added together. It is hard for most of us to understand why millionaires are not content, and strive so hard to

From 2008 to fighting capitalism

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 12:55

Caroline Jeffries

When the housing bubble burst and a full-blown financial crisis developed in 2008 I was ten years old. I lived in an upper-class neighbourhood, so very few people around me were greatly affected by the crisis. 2008, however, would come to bother me for years after the recession ended.

At the time I didn’t know any socialists or truly understand what socialism meant. However, when the newly elected president, one who promised “hope” and “change”, bailed out the very same businesses that caused millions around the world to lose their jobs, something felt wrong. By the time I entered high

John Berger and seeing politically

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 12:50

Hugh Daniels

Since the death of John Berger on 2 January the bourgeois press has squirmed over the task of commemorating a major public figure who was also a lifelong Marxist. Some have responded by simply attacking him.

In the Sunday Times (8 January 2017) Waldemar Januszczack made snide jokes about Berger’s speech impediment, deliberately misunderstood his refusal to fetishise art objects and pretended that his decision to give significant screen time to female commentators in a TV episode on art and gender was somehow a sign of his own chauvinism. Others have generally been milder in their criticisms,

Socialist ideas can beat Trump

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 12:43


Donald Trump, who becomes US president on 20 January, threatens to push the USA, and maybe more of the world, back decades on women’s rights, ethnic minority rights, migrant rights, and civil liberties. He threatens to batter and marginalise the long-beleaguered US trade-union movement.

With his swagger and desire to throw the USA’s weight around, he threatens to set off a surge of trade wars and maybe shooting wars. Even the most moderate liberals are horrified. But a bland, moderate, liberal defence of the status quo will not defeat Trump and the other politicians of his type, Le Pen and

A discussion with Pakistani socialists

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 12:36

Martin Thomas

In December, Farooq Tariq, a leader of the Awami Workers’ Party in Pakistan, visited London, and during his visit talked with activists from Workers’ Liberty. Martin Thomas reports.

We started by saying we appreciated the strong socialist line he had taken against Islamic-fundamentalist politics in his speeches during his visit, but questioning the uncritical praise for Fidel Castro in AWP statements after Castro’s death on 25 November. Farooq replied straightforwardly that it was an AWP decision to be uncritical of Castro and Cuba. For that decision, he gave two reasons.

One, that politics

A trip to Israel and Palestine

Published on: Wed, 18/01/2017 - 12:29

Omar Raii, NUS Executive, personal capacity

Last year I visited two countries — Israel and Palestine — about which I had discussed so much and yet seen so little. On a four-day trip organised by the Union of Jewish Students we visited different parts of Israel, including the Golan Heights, and made a short sojourn to Palestine, mainly Ramallah.

It was a trip that was primarily organised to discuss the political issues around the Middle East. To many it will have been disgraceful that I even visited Israel. Had I gone on a visit to my country of birth, a country that punishes homosexuality by execution, and hangs any Muslim who becomes

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