Solidarity 439, 24 May 2017

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 12:56

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Cinema workers at East Dulwich Picturehouse in south London will strike on Saturday 27 May to coincide with the opening of the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. Workers at the other cinemas involved in the dispute have just voted for further strikes, and will be on strike on 3-4 June to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival, which Picturehouse hosts.

Cineworld held its Annual General Meeting on 18 May and Picturehouse strikers bought some shares in order to go along and embarrass Cineworld bosses. Three Picturehouse workers asked company chair Tony Bloom for Cineworld to start paying the

Scots nationalism can be pushed back

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 12:40

Anne Field

The SNP performed so well in the 2015 general election that it wants to make 2017 a repeat performance, albeit with a few changes to the roles to be played by the different characters.

Exploiting the boost given to nationalism and national-identity politics by the 2014 referendum, the SNP succeeded in persuading Scottish voters in the 2015 election that they key question was not which political party should form the next government, but which political party would best represent Scotland.

Unsurprisingly, the SNP’s answer to its own question was: the SNP. The SNP was “stronger for Scotland”.

Isolating the Russian revolution

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 12:35

Morgan Philips Price

The following abridged article is by Morgan Philips Price, the Russian correspondent for the Manchester Guardian. First published in the US magazine Class Struggle in May 1919, it describes the foreign policy of all the ruling classes in Europe towards Russia after the October revolution.

One of the most deadly weapons wielded by the ruling classes of all countries is their power to censor the press; for thereby they are able to create under the pretext of military necessity an artificial public opinion with the object of hiding their foul designs. Never was this fact more clearly demonstrated

The limits of Labour’s multilateralism

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 12:06

Clive Bradley

There has been some recent media attention on Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged past links to the IRA and the claim that he is a “pacifist” — meaning, he is opposed to any and every kind of military intervention, even around “humanitarian” issues.

Corbyn does have a record of support for the Republican movement in Ireland (that is, not the IRA as such, but the nationalists fighting for a united Ireland), and he was long involved with the Stop the War Coalition, which did indeed oppose — sometimes, in Workers’ Liberty’s view, with terrible arguments — the major military interventions involving Britain

Labour: rebuild the welfare state

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 11:53

Gemma Short

The welfare state created by the 1945 Labour government was a little bit of the “political economy of the working class” carved out of a still capitalist economy (a phrase Karl Marx first used to describe the victory of the fight for a ten-hour working day).

To some extent the ruling class has been forced to accept a minimal level of state provision. There is a constant battle over what proportion of profits is redirected, over who should receive support, and what sort of support is given. The ruling class has been winning that battle for some time.

The space carved out of capitalism by the

Grow old? Fall sick? Vote Labour!

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 11:33


The Tories used their general election manifesto to reveal their true callousness. They decided to squeeze more money out of elderly people to pay for social care, and hit less well pensioners by cutting winter fuel payments and ditching the “triple lock” on pensions (introduced in 2011 the triple lock guarantees that the basic state pension will rise by 2.5%, the rate of inflation, or average earnings growth, whichever is largest).

Initial proposed changes to social care had the appearance of something worked out on the back of an envelope, were uncosted, and immediately provoked a huge

Letter: Taking them down a peg

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 11:12

Martin Thomas

Andrew Northall (Letters, Solidarity 438) asks important questions about taxing the ultra-rich and the merely well-off. No socialist strategy, I believe, can escape the risk of a “counter-revolutionary reaction” from the rich.

That is not just because of our challenge to their income. It is because of our challenge to their wealth and their power. No socialism is possible without taking the top 1% down a peg, and they will resist that ferociously. At certain times they will shrug and pay more tax.

Labour’s plans are modest. In 1944-5 (under a Tory-led government), Britain had a top income

Macron’s government of “civil society”

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 10:34

The French socialist newsletter Arguments pour la lutte sociale reports on Emmanuel Macron’s government appointments.

Emmanuel Macron has nominated a relative unknown for his Prime Minister, but Édouard Philippe is a perfect representative of the Deep State of the 5th Republic.

He was Human Resources Director… of the UMP [Sarkozy’s centre-right party] at its foundation, appointing full-time staff for Alain Juppé, until he was sidelined by Sarkozy; after which he worked as a lobbyist for Areva, the company linked to the state which deals in uranium from Niger. That underpins the French

The waning of Chavismo?

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 10:21

Pablo Velasco

For the last seven weeks Venezuela has experienced violent opposition protests intent on toppling the elected Maduro government. Since the beginning of April, over 50 people have been killed during demonstrations orchestrated by the right-wing Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD – Democratic Unity Table).

In the worst case, these events may precipitate the overthrow of the government by rightist neoliberal forces or pave the way for a military coup. Even if they fail, the events are a further stage in the demise of so-called Bolivarian 21st century “socialism” launched by Hugo Chávez and much

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