Unions & politics

"We need to develop workers' capacities"

Henry Chango Lopez (pictured above, centre, before the pandemic) is the new General Secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB). He spoke to Sacha Ismail. In recent years the IWGB has had a high profile in part because it’s grown quite a lot when trade unions in general have stagnated. Why is that? It’s really just about the situation of workers at the moment, the way the economy is, outsourcing, precarious employment – these are problems that many unions have not tackled. Unions do not effectively organise workers in these situations. The problem is so wide...

What's "left" in the NEU?

The NEU [National Education Union] Left was launched as “a membership organisation” on Saturday 13 March. It was “launched” as a brand over two years ago, at the NEU conference.

Over those two years, it has existed as a nebulous bureaucratic lash up between the Socialist Teachers Alliance (STA)...

Stand with Myanmar's workers

“One cannot overstate the heroism of the Myanmar union movement right now in the fight against the military dictatorship, nor the horror of the military’s ongoing crimes against humanity.” So wrote Andrew Tillett-Saks, a US union organiser working in Myanmar, on 19 March. (See Tillett-Saks' Twitter for regular English-language updates.) There is now a steady flow of killings by the regime. Current estimates in the international media, which Burmese activists say are too low, are around 250. 14 March saw almost a hundred killings, two thirds in the Yangon factory suburb of Hlaing Tharyar. The...

"A union General Secretary shouldn’t be like a corporate CEO"

John Leach, a candidate for general secretary of the rail and transport union RMT, spoke to Solidarity. The ballot is underway and closes on 4 May 2021. Why are you running for General Secretary? I stood in this election for two reasons. One, I knew that the union needed a candidate with the qualities I've got. Might sound egotistical but then I am running in this election to win. You need experience, character, and capacity to get things done. And often candidates say this, but I was also asked to run by reps and activists across the union. The RMT is often billed as a “left wing fighting...

Review: The Truth About Modern Slavery

Interview with Emily Kenway here. When I set out to research modern slavery for my master’s thesis in 2019, academic research which sought to understand modern slavery as a part of capitalism was few and far between, and information in the public sphere challenging the mainstream understanding of modern slavery was non-existent. Emily Kenway’s The Truth About Modern Slavery is an incredibly valuable text for that exact reason. It breaks down the way that the narrative of modern slavery is used by politicians in order to further reactionary political goals, for example tightening border...

Myanmar: "We need international solidarity"

Khaing Zar Aung, President of the Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar and a member of the executive of the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar, spoke to us about the situation there.

Shachtman's mistakes are not our model

For more debate on US politics, see here Martin Thomas (Solidarity 569, 28 October 2020) states that in 1954 “the heterodox Trotskyist Independent Socialist League [ISL] decided to back trade-union candidates… in Democratic primaries; and in the general elections if they won the primaries”. He denies that this turn contributed to their political drift to the right. Instead, it was “‘Sanders campaigning’ on a small scale 60-odd years before the fact”. Similarly, Thomas Carolan, (Solidarity 566, 7 October 2020) wrote: “The experience of Max Shachtman moving to the right once in the Democratic...

Genocide denialists at the Morning Star

TheDaily Worker had a shameful record of justifying or denying the Stalinist show trials of the 1930s and the systematic denial of basic human rights in the USSR and Eastern Europe after the war. It had nothing to say against Stalin’s mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars and other peoples during World War 2, or against China’s treatment of the people of Tibet. You could argue, however, that it never sunk so low as to attempt to justify or deny genocide. Its successor, the Morning Star, is doing just that. On Friday 26 February, the Morning Star carried three articles about China. Inevitably...

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