Solidarity 432, 8 March 2017

Labour should back Derby teaching assistants

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 12:47

Ralph Peters

Derby Teaching Assistant strikers, Unison members, started another ten days on strike from 6 March in response to a recently imposed 25% pay cut. This will bring the number of days they have been on strike to over 70!

Unison have continued to make clear their desire for a moderate and “amicable” settlement. But it was the Labour Council that pulled out of talks in June 2016. The pay cuts makes such a settlement even less likely. Talks with ACAS are currently being held. Council Leader Ranjait Banwait walked out of these, claiming another appointment. The appointment turned out to be an

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 12:39

Peggy Carter, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

Monday 13 March will see the biggest and most widespread action yet in the fight to maintain the job of guard (conductor) in the UK rail industry. As well as another day of action on Southern Rail, the RMT union is calling its guard and driver members out on the Northern and Merseyrail franchises.

This is a very significant in the development of this dispute, as the disruption this is likely to cause at Northern and Merseyrail should be bigger in comparison to that at Southern, where many services already operated under Driver Only Operation (DOO) when the dispute there began. It will become

What’s happening on 11 March?

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 12:10

Simon Nelson and Keith Road

The Momentum Grassroots conference on Saturday 11 March (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Conway Hall, London, WC1R 4RL) presents an important opportunity to shape and coordinate the work of local groups after the 10 January coup in the organisation. We hope for a large turnout, with delegates representing groups from around the country.

Workers’ Liberty have backed this meeting as a means to give local groups, for the first time, an opportunity to get together and discuss the way forward. While we do not want to see a rival organisation to Momentum, the election of a new coordinating group at the

Lukács legacy suppressed

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 12:01

John Cunningham

On 25 January, the Metropolitan Council of Budapest decided (by 19 votes to 3) to remove the statue of the Marxist philosopher Georg Lukács from the 13th District and replace it with a statue of King Stephen, the founder of the Hungarian nation. The proposal was put by a member of the neo-fascist Jobbik Party, Marcell Tokody.

Last year, despite opposition, Lukács’s house, which has served as an open archive since his death in 1971, was closed by the authorities. The fate of the documents in the archive, many of which have yet to be translated in languages other than their original Hungarian

A soundtrack for the movement against Trump

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 11:41

Bas Hardy

Found dead people in the forest Tallahatchie River and lakes
The whole wide world is wonderin’
What’s wrong with the United States

What’s wrong indeed! Lyrics from the Staples Singer’s Freedom Highway recorded twenty five years ago still resonate. It’s now the closing track on the second solo album of Rhiannon Giddens.

Her latest collection of songs lay bare the condition of Afro-Americans from slavery days to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Although the thoroughly reactionary Trump regime trumpets the “threat of terrorism”, the black population of North America has lived in a state of

Real soldiers do feel sad

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 11:30

Carrie Evans

Last week saw the drop of Stormzy’s debut album Gang Signs and Prayer . Whilst the whole album is beautiful, brave and ambitious, it’s a bit of a grower and maybe not what most grime fans were expecting. It deals with themes of black identity, love and spirituality in a way mostly unheard in grime before.

One track, the final one, above all others, has been causing waves. Lay me down is a heartbreaking, complexed ode to depression. The track is not just about Stormzy’s experience with mental illness, but also the underlying pain of being from a working-class background in London; of growing

The Jewish Question and universalism

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 11:22

Dale Street

Dale Street reviews Antisemitism and the Left: On the Return of the Jewish Question by Robert Fine and Philip Spencer.

Central to Antisemitism and the Left is the concept of universalism as “an equivocal principle” which “shows two faces to the world”. There is the “emancipatory face”, which looks to embrace all humankind in a shared civil, political and social inclusiveness. And there is the “repressive face”, which marks out and excludes “the other” who is deemed not to meet the criteria for membership of humanity.

The Jewish experience of universalism has been as equivocal as the principle

What is the “social strike”?

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 11:02

Daniel Randall

Recent strikes by “gig economy” workers (e.g. Deliveroo) are profoundly significant. They explode the myth, peddled by some on both left and right, that so-called precarious workers can’t organise, and that the proliferation of those types of work is in the process of rendering labour organising historically redundant.

Some on the radical left confer a particular significance on these sort of strikes and have coupled them with the notion of “the social strike”. This idea, for instance by the group Plan C, has been put forward as a way to overcome the current weakness of organised labour as a

Defend EU migrants’ right to stay!

Published on: Wed, 08/03/2017 - 10:42


The House of Lords has voted by a large margin of 102 in favour of guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit. With 358 in favour to 256 against, the Lords backed an amendment to the Article 50 bill, the bill giving the Prime Minister the power to trigger the Brexit process.

The amendment said that when the UK leaves the EU, EU citizens should keep all the rights they currently have, regardless of what happens during the Brexit negotiations. The debate on 1 March came down on the correct side, but we can’t and shouldn’t pin our hopes on the unelected second chamber. The

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