Solidarity 436, 26 April 2017

Against racism, xenophobia and nationalism Solidarity with migrants!

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 12:42

Rosalind Robson

Immediately after the June 2016 EU referendum, reports of racist and xenophobic attacks, many on recent migrant populations, increased by 60%. Levels of reported attacks have since dropped, but are still 14% higher than in 2015.

Brexit has fundamentally changed the social as well as the political climate, for the worse. Yet politicians continue to make spurious claims about the “dangers” of immigration. EU migrants are now increasingly vulnerable: the Tories opposed guaranteeing the rights of all EU nationals currently resident in the UK after Britain leaves the European Union.

Theresa May

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 12:36

Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

On Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 April, National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) members at Forest Hill school in Lewisham struck for the fifth time in their on-going dispute against a management proposed restructuring to deal with a £1.3 million deficit. The management’s proposal sheds 15 teaching jobs, significantly increases teachers’ workload, radically reduces the depth of the creative aspects of the curriculum, ends any specialist English as an Additional Language (EAL) support, and massively diminishes the support for students with Special Educational Needs.

In addition to the strikes, there

Letter: Courts not answer to undemocratic unions

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 12:18

Daniel Randall

Anyone who has had to confront the bureaucratic officialdom of any trade union will have some sympathy with the GMB activist who wrote in Solidarity of "unelected, barely elected and crookedly elected bureaucrats".

Their letter promotes the new "GMB Grassroots Left" network; prominently involved is Keith Henderson, a former GMB official who has twice taken his former union, and employer to court.

Keith Henderson clearly rubbed the GMB bureaucracy up the wrong way; and probably for the right reasons. Keith is a socialist, a support for the Labour left group LRC, and close to John McDonnell.

McCluskey only just re-elected

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 12:14

Ann Field

Gerard Coyne — the candidate of the right, backed not just by the right-wing media but also by the most right-wing elements of the Labour Party — came within 5,500 votes of being elected the new General Secretary of Unite the Union.

McCluskey got 59,000 votes (45.5%); Coyne 53,500 (41.5%); and rank-and-file candidate Ian Allinson 17,000 (13%). McCluskey was re-elected, but in every other respect the election result was a major setback for McCluskey and the trade union politics which he represents.

The turnout was pitifully low: just 12.2%, even lower than in the 2013 general secretary

Russian lessons for today’s workers

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 12:06

Vicki Morris

It is 100 years since the Russian Revolution, the most important event in working class history, when the workers of a country, Russia, took their country over. Albeit briefly they ran that country in their interests, and extended support to workers in other countries who wanted to do the same.

This is our chance to look at that event again, celebrate it, and think what lessons it can teach us today. Paul Vernadsky’s book The Russian Revolution: when workers took power is a useful way to do all of those things. The book includes a narrative of the revolution, a study of the Bolsheviks who

Darcus Howe on Black Power

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 11:53

A new TV drama — Guerilla — tells the story of the British Black Panthers. Long-time black and left activist Darcus Howe, who recently died, was a founder member of the group and consultant for the show. In this interview from 1995 Howe discussed the politics of “black power” with Dan Katz.

DH: The Panthers have been grossly misrepresented in political circles. They were an intensely revolutionary organisation, the largest non-establishment political party ever to exist in America — larger than the Communist Party or any left-wing group.

There were thousands of them all over the United States

No “Progressive Alliances”!

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 11:36

Simon Nelson

The snap election and Labour’s position in the polls has once again raised the idea of a Progressive Alliance and coordinated tactical voting.

Compass, the “centre left” think tank, Tony Blair, and investment manager Gina Miller have all proposed some kind of organisation aimed at stopping hard Brexit. Gina Miller, who brought the court case that forced a vote on Article 50, was able to crowdfund almost £300,0000 in 48 hours to support such an initiative.

Their argument: the majority of the population did not vote for a hard Brexit. The traditional opposition to the Tories, the Labour

Reverse the rise in inequality!

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 11:19

Martin Thomas

The Resolution Foundation, a statistical think-tank, reported in March on the economic prospects if the Tories win on 8 June.

"If nothing is done to change [the] outlook... [2015-20] will go down as being the worst [period] on record for income growth in the bottom half of the income distribution.

"It will also represent the biggest rise in inequality since the end of the 1980s".

The toxic mix comes from low wage growth — which the government's own Office for Budgetary Responsibility predicts — and a great wave of pre-programmed cuts in working-age welfare benefits.

The percentage of

The SNP reality

Published on: Wed, 26/04/2017 - 10:57

Dale Street

In the 2015 general election, the Scottish National Party lied, lied and lied again. They helped the Tories win the election. They cannot be allowed to get away with doing the same in 2017.

“The only way to lock the Tories out of 10 Downing Street is to vote SNP on 7 May,” said the SNP. The reality: while the SNP won 56 seats, a Tory-Lib-Dem coalition was replaced by a Tory government with an absolute majority.

“The only way to force Labour back to its roots is to vote SNP,” claimed an SNP election leaflet. The reality: while Labour moved left and elected Corbyn as its leader — without any

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