Solidarity 434, 29 March 2017

India: Modi’s mask is lifted

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 13:06

Charlotte Zalens

India’s ruling party, the Hindu-nationalist BJP, has made significant gains in regional elections in every state other than Goa and won in Uttar Pradesh.

With 200 million people, Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state. In Uttar Pradesh the BJP did not identify ahead of the election who would lead the government there should they win and the campaign was led by Modi. After the election the BJP chose Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister. Adityanath has been linked to a number of anti-Muslim incidents.

For example, in 2015 Adityanath appeared on a platform alongside a speaker who called for

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 13:02

Maria O’Toole, Paul Abbot and Gemma Short

The Durham teaching assistants and Derby school support staff disputes have been the most significant in local government over the last year. Similar pay cuts of approximately 25%; threats of, or in Derby’s case the actual, imposition of new contracts; Labour councils doing the dirty work for the Tories and spearheading these acts; but on the workers side a strong determination to resist.

In Derby, the workers have struck for over 60 days. In Durham, fewer strike days but a concerted campaign that has drawn national attention. The last Derby strike of 15 consecutive days was called off on 17

Momentum conference found lacking

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 12:46

Keith Road

About 500 people attended Momentum’s “Building to win” event in Birmingham on 25 March. As expected there was no chance to have a debate about the way forward for Momentum, just 15 sessions ranging from “Nice people finish first” to “Community organising at the grassroots” and “Momentum Trade Union Solidarity”.

Empowerment was the theme ,but this did not mean giving people any power, just making people feel good about campaigning or their own importance to the movement. Similarly a lot of the talk about how to engage and debate was aimed at lessening sharp debate, rounding the edges of any

Re-elect Len McCluskey!

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 12:42

Ann Field

Ballot papers for Unite the Union’s General Secretary and national Executive Council elections have been sent out to the union’s 1.4 million members. Voting runs to 19 April, and the result will be out on 28 April.

West Midlands Unite full-timer Gerard Coyne is the right-wing challenger to Len McCluskey, the incumbent General Secretary seeking re-election for a third time. Ian Allinson is also standing as the candidate of rank-and-file democracy.

Coyne’s campaign has made right-wing appeals to disengaged members of Unite. Apart from a promise to freeze union dues for two years, Coyne is

Challenging the “lost cause” myth

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 12:36

Bas Hardy

The American Civil War casts a long shadow over America history. Anyone doubting its pernicious legacy need only note that all of the states of the former Confederacy except Virginia voted for Trump. However it would be a mistake to believe that the white population of this region have alway acted en bloc as rabid racists.

Recently released on DVD, Free State of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughy, tells us that even during the Civil War sections of the white population in the south sided with the Union. The film deals with what was essentially an insurrection against the Confederacy in Jones

Writing out anti-bourgeois art

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 12:31

Hugh Daniels

Hugh Daniels reviews Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932, at the Royal Academy until 17 April.

The first room in this exhibition is dedicated to images of leaders. While one side is dominated by pictures of Lenin, the other largely has images of Stalin. This opening seems designed to confirm a pre-assumption which many visitors are likely to hold ― that the art of the Soviet Union was designed to glorify its leaders and normalise their rule. Yet, in the wake of Lenin’s death in 1924, there was actually considerable debate among artists over how he should be commemorated and how his image should

Fight Brexit all the way

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 11:40

Vicki Morris

On 29 March, Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, starting the clock on the UK leaving the EU. Unless the UK and all the EU states agree to a special extension on negotiations, the UK will quit the EU in or before March 2019.

Already, the Brexit vote is leading to stresses on migrant workers, and an increase in nationalism and xenophobia in the UK; and strengthens the worst, most right-wing elements in the ruling class and their political party, the Tories. The labour movement needs to carve out a pro-worker, pro-migrant vision of the future, with ties as close

Young people and mental health – a political issue

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 11:28

Joe Booth

Statistics show that help for young people with mental health issues is dramatically decreasing. A 2016 investigation by the Guardian and 38 Degrees showed that trusts around England were “drawing up plans for hospital closures and cutbacks” in an attempt to avoid a £20 billion shortfall by 2020. This means that young people aren’t getting the help they need or deserve.

Some 75% of mental health issues begin before the age of 18. The charity, MQ, estimates that on average, there are three children in every classroom with a diagnosable mental illness or unrecognised mental health problems. In

Stop giving money to private health providers

Published on: Wed, 29/03/2017 - 10:58

Charlotte Zalens

The crisis in the NHS cannot be solved by increasing funding alone. Some funding needs to be reallocated. According to research by the Health Foundation, half of last year’s nearly £2 billion government cash injection for the NHS was given to private providers. That practice has to end!

The Health Foundation’s report also says £1 out of every £8 of the budgets allocated by local commissioners in England is now spent on care provided by private providers. Health campaigners say this is the result of a toxic mix of long-term chronic underfunding to the NHS resulting in the NHS not being able to

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