Solidarity 431, 1 March 2017

The NHS is at breaking point

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 12:31

Claudia Raven

The NHS is at breaking point. The planned destruction of the service, through cuts, closures, privatisation and poor treatment of staff is coming to a head.

The UK has one of the lowest provisions of beds per head in Europe, and it is falling. BMA figures have shown that from 2010 to 2016 we lost 13,681 beds, a fall of 9.5%, comparable to 24 hospitals being closed. Mental health bed provision has fallen 44% since 2001. This has meant doctors struggle to admit patients, and that more and more patients are stuck in A&E for long periods — more than 700 people stay in A&E more than 12 hours

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 12:26

Ralph Peters, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Teaching assistants in Derby struck again from 27 February to 3 March in their fight against contract changes leading to pay cuts by Derby′s Labour council. There has been 62 strike days so far in the dispute.

The previous strikes have been up to two days at a time, and this latest week was an escalation. Support for the strikes among the 600 organised school support workers remains as strong as ever. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has openly supported them and this is used to some effect by the strikers.

An icon of Jeremy Corbyn is usually carried at the front of their marches: primarily to

Scottish Labour Party: mixed picture

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 12:16

Dale Street

Scottish Labour Party conference on 25-26 February unanimously passed policy in favour of “a progressive federal structure for the UK” and the convening of a “People’s Constitutional Convention” by the Labour Party at UK level in order to “deliberate on these issues”.

The conference also agreed to launch a campaign against a second referendum on Scottish independence. What was meant by “a progressive federal structure” or “People’s Constitutional Convention” was not spelled out. And the campaign against a second referendum is an online petition rather than a “proper” campaign. Even so these

Momentum vote: only 42% pro-coup

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 12:07

Simon Nelson

Last month’s elections to Momentum National Co-ordinating Group saw 75% of the 12 seats elected by Momentum members (out of 32 NCG places) go to candidates endorsing the constitution imposed in January.

In the North and Scotland region, the pro-constitution slate won all four seats. In the Midlands, Wales, East and West region they took three, and in the South East Region two. Yet only 42% voted for pro-coup people. Their over-representation was due to this being a first-past-the-post election, so the biggest minority could sweep the board.

The total vote for the candidates explicitly

Trump and neoliberalism

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 11:50

Martin Thomas

“Neoliberalism as a set of principles rules undivided across the globe: the most successful ideology in world history”, declared the left-wing historian Perry Anderson in 2000.

With Trump, we see both a strand of neoliberalism, pushed on a scale which threatens to break up neoliberalism “from the inside”, but in a reactionary way; and a strand of real revolt against neoliberalism, expressed again in a reactionary way.

Large sections of the neoliberal bourgeoisie are genuinely alarmed by Trump. Yet we have already seen many orthodox neoliberals adapt to Trump’s power. Theresa May is only one

On the eve of revolution: Trotsky in New York

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 11:37

Paul Hampton

In October 1917 Leon Trotsky was a principal leader of the Russian revolution, leading workers to power and the establishment of their own state. Trotsky would become the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, responsible for taking Russia out of the First World War. Yet his year had begun in very different circumstances.

For ten weeks Trotsky lived in exile in New York. His time there is retold by Kenneth Ackerman.

Although the book is flawed in its political assessments and littered with silly mistakes, it nevertheless manages to capture more clearly than previous accounts the historical context

The revolution begins

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 11:23

Leon Trotsky

Continuing a series of extracts from Leon Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. Here Trotsky describes how the revolution begins.

Read the rest of the series

The 23rd of February was International Woman’s Day. The social-democratic circles had intended to mark this day in a general manner: by meetings, speeches, leaflets. It had not occurred to anyone that it might become the first day of the revolution. Not a single organisation called for strikes on that day. What is more, even a Bolshevik organisation, and a most militant one — the Vyborg borough committee, all workers — was opposing

A socialist Labour Party can win!

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 09:04


What does victory for Labour in the Stoke by-election mean for the Party’s strategy after Brexit? Is defeat in the Copeland by-election down to Corbyn’s “weak” leadership and he should consider standing down? Those are the discussions dominating the media and occupying Labour’s right wing.

They should also, in a different way, be our concerns. In the first place we should resist the idea that Labour’s fortunes, respectable (as in Stoke) or poor (as in Copeland), are down to Corbyn’s personality. Such views do not deal with the political situation.

Sadiq Khan has probably articulated the

Letter: Nuclear holds back renewables

Published on: Wed, 01/03/2017 - 08:58

Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski

Martin Thomas (Solidarity 230) is right to contribute further nuance to our thinking on the nuclear question. Yet he seems to miss our basic point: we are unconvinced that the left should positively advocate a “solution” which is known to cause further problems through its radioactive byproduct, carries unique risks, and still contributes to carbon emissions.

Yes, as Luke Hardy states, risks can be minimised — but they are still risks which we could choose to avoid altogether. We are not in favour of blanket opposition; we are in favour of testing and developing a diversity of technologies.

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