Phillips: argue it out, not suspend behind closed doors

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 08:17

Mohan Sen

The issues involved in the suspension of former Equality and Human Rights Commission chair Trevor Phillips from the Labour Party on charges of Islamophobia are somewhat murky.

Listening to Phillips talk about them does not clarify a great deal, and the party itself seems to be avoiding comment.

Phillips is a longstanding Blairite, but until this row burst I had no idea that he held controversial views on anything to do with Muslims or Islam. Looking around to catch up now, my reading is firstly that Phillips is unpopular for saying some things, for instance about the failures of

A hard-hitting fable

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 07:46

Barrie Hardy

When I started watching the new BBC drama Noughts & Crosses I was pretty sure I’d seen something like it before.

A society where racial oppression holds sway in much the same way as it did in apartheid South Africa except the twist is that the roles are flipped, black African-heritage people are the oppressors and the white population of a fictitious England the oppressed?

Then I remembered my cockney working-class father being more than a little outraged at the self-same premise of another play by the BBC. It was called Fable, written by John Hopkins for the groundbreaking Wednesday Play

Build unions, not borders

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 12:20


The Tories have threatened to abandon talks with the European Union in June and spend the second half of the year preparing for a No Deal Brexit.

No expert thought it would be easy to get a UK-EU trade agreement even by the end of the year, when the transition period is due to end and Brexit really kicks in. Getting an agreement largely sorted by June will be that much more difficult. It looks like the Tories are trying to bluff the EU into concessions by a game of brinkmanship which could easily end in No Deal anyway.

The Tories have abandoned their earlier promises to maintain a “level

Letters: HS2, Democrats' history

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 11:18

No strong case for HS2

There is a lot to agree with in Mark Catterall’s letter in Solidarity 536 - but I am less optimistic about the capacity argument for HS2.

High speed direct rail services between major cities could help to free up congestion, but at this rate the second stage of HS2 could be completed somewhere between 2035 and 2040, far too late to have significant impact on carbon emissions and reduce the amount of freight and commuters moved by road.

And where will capacity will be freed up? As I read it HS2’s congestion relief to the WCML is compromised by the failure to provide

Fight and a "bit of banter"

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 09:24

Emma Rickman

In a previous entry I wrote about K, an industrial cleaner who was poisoned by ingesting lime. In the meantime a senior operator retired, leaving space for an assistant to step up, and a vacancy on the assistant’s team. K interviewed for the assistant’s job and (finally) got it. This left room for A, a new recruit, on the cleaning team.

A is loud, cheerful, hard-working, and has autism and ADHD. He takes to hoovering the plant and doing sandwich runs energetically. The problem, as well as the sighs and the stupid comments from some, is that his Dad works in the control room. This is a source

Being “minimally civil”

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:32

Cathy Nugent

Keith Kahn-Harris, in his book Strange Hate: Antisemitism, racism and the limits of diversity, argues that selective anti-racism and selective racism have become dominant modes.

Certain minorities, and certain sub-sections of minorities, are approved when they express a political or social orientation that is a close fit to another group. In other words, there is a process of political selecting out going on.

For Kahn-Harris, Jews have precipitated the development of selective anti-racism, and in his book how Jewish people are treated forms a “case study”. Unfortunately he does not make any

250 million strike in India

Published on: Wed, 29/01/2020 - 11:41

Matt Cooper

The Hindu-chauvinist BJP Indian government is meeting serious resistance.

Trade unions have been taking action. The Modi government was forced to back off a series of economic reforms including privatisation and attacks on workers’ rights after strikes in 2015, 2016 and 2019. Those issues have not gone away. Ten India trade union federations called a one-day general strike on 8 January against the government’s economic policies (the eleventh federation is affiliated with the Hindu chauvinist movement and did not strike).

The workers were joined by farmers in their action. It brought out

Other motions not passed - AWL conference 2019

Published on: Tue, 21/01/2020 - 14:28

Angela Driver, David Pendletone, Simon Nelson, Luke Hardy

Motions on left antisemitism, the Hijab in schools, and social security and Labour's policy, were all submitted to AWL conference 2019. The conference decided that the first of these motions - on left antisemitism - should not be voted on, after a debate; the second, on the Hijab in schools, fell; the third - on social security - were not voted on, as decided before any debate.

Oppose Modi's anti-Muslim drive!

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 12:42

Matt Cooper

Since winning power India in 2014, Nahendra Modi and the BJP have pursued a Hindu-chauvinist agenda.

On 12 December the Modi regime passed its Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), building on the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in attempting to remove the rights of many Muslim Indians.

Since the CAA passed last month there have been protests across India, not only from Muslims but also from the left and other defenders of India’s secular constitution. Following a ban on all protests in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh (ruled by the BJP but with a 40% Muslim minority), continued

When the Morning Star justified racism

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 12:44

Sean Matgamna

Picture: Georges Marchais, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of France

On 15 January, 1981, the Morning Star, the daily paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain, once called the Daily Worker, had a fine front page article denouncing a proposed Tory anti-immigration law.

Straight to target: the “Nationality Bill”, it told its readers, is a racist Bill. That is why immigrant groups are vigorously opposing it, and why the broad labour movement must fight it too.

But now turn to page 2 of the same issue of the Star. There, you will find a report on the policy of the French

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