Solidarity 430, 15 February 2017

Solidarity 430

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Build solidarity with Picturehouse workers

The largest cinema workers’ strike in British history happened on Saturday 11 February. Workers at four Picturehouse sites in London struck, including Picturehouse′s flagship cinema near Piccadilly Circus. Workers at the Ritzy in Brixton, Picturehouse Central, Hackney and Crouch End walked out at 2 p.m. Workers at all four sites were greeted when they walked out by supporters and staff who had not been working in the morning. This was the first strike for workers at Crouch End and Picturehouse Central, who joined those at the Ritzy and Hackney when workers were re-balloted earlier this month...

Industrial news in brief

Ten employees of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) were sacked with immediate effect on Thursday 9 February by email — whilst they were on strike! They were told to come into work the next day to clear their desks. PCS and Unite members were taking part in the first of five days of strikes in the latest round of action against compulsory redundancies. The stated reason for their dismissals was redundancy — despite the availability of 30 vacancies in the EHRC. In the civil service and government agencies it is unprecedented for employees under notice of redundancy to be dismissed...

How to fight the Labour right

The Labour Party has 600,000 members and Momentum has 20,000. That should be good news for the activist left in the party. Certainly, if the left organises on the scale it did for the two leadership elections that delivered majorities for Corbyn, then it should be capable of making real progress in other Labour internal elections, in getting through positive rule changes which would strengthen and democratise the Party. However it would be foolish to discount the organisational strength of the Labour right and its ability mobilise. That’s particularly a problem because the fall-out and...

Brexit: nightmare for bosses? Or for us?

Despite evidence of rising racism, as well as the likelihood of severe cuts to working class standards of living, the two main left groups in the UK continue to peddle much the same nonsense about Brexit as they did during the referendum. The Socialist Party editorial of 1 February focuses on the Brexit “nightmare for the capitalist establishment in Britain”. It is as if the pending dismantling of rights and current rise in xenophobia did not exist. The Socialist Party interpret a YouGov poll showing 57% support for leaving the EU single market and 56% support for leaving the European Customs...

100 years of jazz on record

It was fortunate for both jazz and the phonograph industry that their emergence co-incided: the improvisational music that is jazz was caught in its early days by the phonograph, and jazz repaid the industry a million times over in sales of music that owed its existence to early jazz. It is generally accepted that the first jazz records were made in New York on 26 February, 1917. The band was the Original Dixieland Jazz (or “Jass”) Band from New Orleans, and the records were Livery Stable Blues and Dixie Jass Band One-Step, which were released as the two sides of a 78 rpm record on 7 March...

A debate about Momentum: Martin Thomas answers Jon Lansman

This explanation by Jon Lansman of recent events in Momentum was circulated in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. Since it contains nothing confidential, and is the only political explanation available from the Momentum leadership other than the article by Christine Shawcroft in Labour Briefing (Feb 2017), which we replied to last week, we reprint it here. Maintaining the centre-left coalition I wanted also to counter the lies and misinformation which are widely repeated by sectarian elements on the Left who wish to turn Momentum from a broad alliance it was intended to be, seeking to...

The opening days of the Russian Revolution

23 February marks the hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Russian revolution of 1917. This extract from Paul Vernadsky’s forthcoming book on the revolution describes the background and opening events — the democratic revolution, ousting the Tsar, which would eventual lead to a workers’ revolution. In October 1917 the Russian working class, led by the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP, Bolshevik party), took power through their mass, democratic soviets (councils). The workers constituted their own state based on the collective and democratically-organised armed force of...

The 1905 prologue

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. Here Trotsky explains how the 1905 revolution — a popular revolt against the Tsar — was a “dress rehearsal” for the events of 1917. Read the rest of the series The events of 1905 were a prologue to the two revolutions of 1917, that of February and that of October. In the prologue all the elements of the drama were included, but not carried through. The Russo-Japanese war had made Tsarism totter. Against the background of a mass movement the liberal bourgeoisie had frightened the monarchy with its opposition...

A world with no place for children

On 8 February 2017, the Government said it will transfer just 350 more unaccompanied children from refugee camps in France, Greece and Italy to live in the UK. This is only 10% of the number that they had previously committed to. This announcement represents a hardening of attitudes against immigration in the wake of the Brexit referendum vote, setting up a disturbing trajectory which could end with the virtual exclusion of all refugees even unaccompanied children, some of the most vulnerable. In May 2016, then Prime Minister David Cameron had agreed to Lord Dubs’ amendment to the Immigration...

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