Solidarity 441, 14 June 2017

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 14:04

Gemma Short and Peggy Carter

Cleaners at the London School of Economics are celebrating a victory. They will be brought in-house and become employees of LSE from Spring 2018.

The victory comes after a series of strikes and protests over 10 months. Three more strikes had been planned for LSE′s July graduation days. LSE became increasingly embarrassed by the strikes and protests, and lashed out at workers, issuing legal threats and trying to intimidate workers into not striking. As a result of being brought in-house from infamous contractor Noonan, the cleaners will get 41 days annual leave, six months full-pay sick pay

Build solidarity with the Picturehouse strike

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 13:16

Joe Booth

Joe Booth, a young socialist, writes his thoughts about the importance of linking the Picturehouse workers’ struggle to the struggle in the Labour Party.

Since October 2016 Workers′ Liberty has been helping the dispute of Picturehouse workers for the Living Wage, sick pay, and maternity/paternity pay. People should support the Picturehouse workers in their fight for a Living Wage and use the momentum of the Labour election gains to build solidarity.

If Labour had won the general election the minimum wage would have increased to £10 per hour. But we still want to push the social democracy under

A tale that is close to home

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 13:06

Rosalind Robson

When the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985, its author, Margaret Atwood, was concerned about the growing strength of Christian fundamentalism in US politics. Unfortunately her story is still very relevant, in fact more relevant, thirty years later.

In 1985 Ronald Reagan was in the White House. His attitude to the Christian right (which in fact has a long tradition in US politics) was one of containment. Yes, Reagan campaigned to reverse a ban on school prayers, and he himself was a nasty anti-abortionist. However, concerned about keeping a broad base of Republican

The DUP: the really nasty party

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 12:57

Micheál MacEoin

The Conservative Party’s loss of their parliamentary majority has left Theresa May reliant on Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a hard-right organisation which has 10 MPs in the House of Commons. So who are the Tories’ new unionist bedfellows?

The DUP has its roots in a politicised form of evangelical Protestantism which arose again in the 1950s and 60s, but has a long tradition in the Protestant areas of Ulster. In these years, the future DUP leader Ian Paisley was involved in a myriad of fringe loyalist organisations, which existed to protect Protestant supremacy in

Letters: Socialism is not just 99% versus 1%; Women need equality in law!

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 12:44

Andrew Northall and Cathy Nugent

I am grateful to Martin Thomas for his response to my letter (Solidarity 439).Rather than seeking to avoid measures which would invite “a counter revolutionary reaction”, I was attempting to point out the very tight limits of social-democratic reformism, i.e. if you try and raise really serious amounts of revenue from the rich to pay for your reform programme, such a government will very quickly run into serious trouble. I wasn’t suggesting we reduce our ambitions for governmental power, but that these need to be much more radical and make at minimum very deep inroads into the wealth and the

Labour is wrong on press freedom

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 11:40

Gerry Bates

Labour’s manifesto committed the party to implement the recommendations in part one of the Leveson enquiry.That would mean supporting Section 40 of the current Crime and Court Act. Under this law newspapers (including Solidarity) have to pay their opponents’ legal costs in libel and privacy cases, even if they win!

Publishers can avoid these charges by signing up with Impress, the recognised regulator financed by Max Mosley.Both the Society of Editors and the National Union of Journalists are against all of Leveson’s recommendations. They said:

“Section 40 would have a seriously chilling

More police no answer to terrorists

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 11:28

Simon Nelson

The London Bridge terror attack was a stark reminder of the ease with which Daesh-inspired Islamists can kill and maim people when there is very little that the police or security services can do to stop them.Yet the focus on how to stop these attacks has been on increased policing on the streets, clampdowns on civil liberties and increased monitoring of the internet.

Theresa May has even said that she will not let human rights get in the way of her drive to stamp out terrorism.May says she wants “to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online”. As Amber Rudd has previously argued the

Prosperity for the few, stagnation for the many

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 11:18

Martin Thomas

Right-wingers are trumpeting the claimed prosperity of the US economy since Trump’s election, and of the British economy after Brexit. A closer look shows the prosperity as very partial.

Stock market prices in the USA have risen strongly since November 2016, though no more than their general rising trend since they hit bottom in March 2009. The slice of corporate profits in total US income is as high as it was at its pre-2008 peak, which in turn was the highest since 1965.

Unemployment in the USA continues to fall towards 4% from its 10% peak in 2009.Its workforce participation has also been

Macron: a landslide with 15%?

Published on: Wed, 14/06/2017 - 11:09

The socialist newsletter Arguments pour la Lutte Sociale reports on the first round of France’s legislative elections (11 June).

The dominant feature of the first round is not the triumph of Macron, but the majority [51%] abstention, for the first time in a legislative ballot in France.It looks like the lowest-income groups and the youth have massively abstained.

From the start the newly elected assembly will be one suspended in mid-air.That trait is accentuated by the second main feature, which is the success of [Macron’s] En Marche candidates, even where they were complete unknowns. They

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