Solidarity 428, 1 February 2017

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 12:58

Ralph Peters, Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

Teaching assistants in Derby held a rally, march and picket of the Derby Council meeting on 25 January. 400 TAs surrounded the Council House prior to the Council meeting. As previously reported in Solidarity, TAs are fighting a pay cut that for some is as high as 30% and a complete rewriting of their contract.

The dispute so far has consisted of 13 strike days after a 9-1 rejection by the workers of the Council's last offer, as well as a number of rallies and lobbies of the council. Stupidly the Labour Council refuses to budge, using claims that its budget will not allow it. But at the same

Momentum conference called

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 12:43

Ed Whitby and Tracy McGuire

This report of Momentum’s National Committee which met on Saturday 28 January is by Ed Whitby and Tracy McGuire, northern regional delegates. More can be found on Ed’s blog.

Approximately 20 committee members attended the 28 January National Committee with a number of apologies. There were also over 30 observers, mostly from London, though also a number from further a field.

With apologies, it seemed that approximately half the the National Committee supported this meeting going ahead including members from FBU, Red Labour and LRC, LGBT+, Disabled, Womens and Black Connexions. The majority

Remembering the Russian revolution

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 12:36

Max Shachtman

Less than three months after the victory of the Bolshevik revolution, Lenin remarked at a meeting that the soviet power of the Russian workers and peasants had already lasted longer than the Paris Commune of 1871 which lived for only 10 weeks.

The statement was made with pride, but no doubt with some wonderment. It reflected the conditions, incredibly complicated and difficult, under which the Russian proletariat took power into its own hands. We live in an age when change is rapid, frequent and profound. The thirty-one years since the Russian Revolution have seen epochal changes. None is so

Shrewsbury 24: how we started a campaign to defend pickets

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 12:30

Keith Road

Our political group has recently celebrated our 50th anniversary. We have been reflecting on some of the movements and disputes that we have played an active role in. One of these was Shrewsbury 24 campaign over the victimisation of building workers in 1972.

1972 saw a major wave of industrial action in Britain. There were more work days lost to strike action in that year than in any other since the 1926 General Strike. States of Emergency were declared during both a miners’ and a dockers’ strike.

The Tories tried to use the 1971 Industrial Relations Act to undermine the position of trade

The left in France’s presidential election

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 12:18

Marianne Davin

In my last letter I wrote about the far right, the right, and the almost right (the Socialist Party), but things have evolved since then. Here I will try to describe the current situation of the far left.

Les Republicans’s candidate, Francois Fillon, has had a bit of a tough time. It has been revealed that his wife, Penelope Fillon, was being paid as an assistant while he was a minister. Not a problem in itself but for about nine years she was paid first €3900 and then €7900 per month, a total of 500,000 euros (£430,000) for a job that sources claim she never actually did.

Causing further

Trump: neoliberalism with a white nationalist face

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 11:57

Arun Gupta (from Jacobin magazine) interviewed Marxist academic Leo Panitch about Trump’s economic agenda, his relationship to transnational elites, and how neoliberalism’s crisis could mean revitalization for the left.

AG: Are there positive outcomes from this election?

LP: Certainly the Trans-Pacific Partnership is over, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is too. That said, I don’t think this spells the end of neoliberal international trade arrangements that allow for the free flow of capital and the protection of that capital when it lands in another state, which is

Stop Trump: On the streets against the “Muslim ban”

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 11:39


Organise, on the streets and in the labour movement! Argue for socialist, democratic, internationalist ideas which offer a real answer both to Trump’s rancid, right-wing, regression, and to the discredited status quo. That is how we can block Trump.

Trump’s “executive order” of 27 January has stirred up protests across the world. Trump’s “Muslim ban” halted the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, and indefinitely banned Syrian refugees fleeing Assad’s butchery and the sectarian Islamist militias. All travellers who have nationality or dual nationality of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia,

Unite: danger of ring-wing swing under Coyne

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 11:30

Dale Street

By the end of January Len McCluskey had secured 180 nominations in his bid to remain Unite General Secretary. Ian Allinson, standing on a platform of rank-and-file democracy, had 19 nominations. Gerard Coyne, the candidate of the right, has not publicised how many nominations he has picked up.

Outside of the Midlands region, where he is the union’s Regional Secretary, he does not seem to be making headway. Nominations close on 17 February. But the number of Coyne’s nominations is not the best guide to how much support he might win when the voting period opens (27 March to 19 April).


Trump: threat to abortion rights worldwide

Published on: Wed, 01/02/2017 - 11:10

Elizabeth Butterworth

One of Trump’s first executive orders after being installed as President was to reintroduce the Mexico City Policy, or “Global Gag Rule”: a technicality in the funding of overseas aid, which was introduced by Reagan, revoked by Clinton, re-introduced by Bush and revoked again by Obama.

The “rule” means that international organisations risk having federal funding pulled if they “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning”. The US does not fund abortions abroad, nor does it give general funds to organisations that provide terminations. The funds it gives are not used

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