Join the youth climate protests 24 September

The 24 September global youth climate strike has the potential to help reboot the climate movement. It has been called by “Fridays for Future”, the international organisation most closely associated with the wave of youth climate strikes initiated by Greta Thunberg in Sweden in 2018.

Dubbed #UprootTheSystem, the call-out for this climate strike is openly left-wing and internationalist. #FridaysForFuture (FFF) are not deeply democratic, and assessing the turnout later this month is difficult.

Social care: tax the rich!

Social care needs a transformation comparable to the transformation of UK healthcare seven decades ago through the NHS. It seems likely such a policy, for a public care and support system, would be popular, if strong enough voices argued for it. At the moment the forces campaigning for anything like it are weak, but the issue is centre-stage as never before.

Why the Greens are drifting right

With the climate emergency rising in public consciousness across the world and a shift towards anti-capitalist politics among younger people, we might think the Green Parties would be presenting themselves as radical anti-capitalist forces to win people from Labour or Social Democratic parties which have become wedded to neoliberalism and dwindled into bureaucratic husks. However, in practice the opposite is happening.

PR it not a shortcut round class struggle

In my Constituency Labour Party (CLP), when we discussed which motion to prioritise for Labour Party conference, much of the left argued that a motion calling for Proportional Representation (PR) was the most important, more important than my class-struggle “Build Back Fairer” motion.

The PR proposal was, so they argued, the door which opened the way to everything advocated in the other motions.

Trade unions break silence over the Police Bill. Will they mobilise?

Back in the weeks after the murder of Sarah Everard by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, militant protests against the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill swept the Labour Party into voting against the Tories’ plans in Parliament, which Keir Starmer’s leadership had not intended to do. They also swept trade unions into making public statements and so on against the Bill.

Tax the rich for social care, pensions, benefits

Care and Support Workers Organise protest in Manchester on their day of action, 4 September

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady is right to respond to the talk of National Insurance increases by arguing that “it’s time to raise taxes on wealth to fund social care properly”.

A section of the right is are using phrases like “intergenerational fairness” to justify removing the triple lock which guarantees substantial increases in the basic state pension (by average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is higher).

Chile, 11 September 1973

By Rosalind Robson

On 11 September 1973 a bloody military coup in Chile ousted the Popular Unity government of President Salvador Allende. Allende was killed defending the Presidential Palace during the coup. Workers in the factories attempted to defend themselves against the military attacks - but they were not sufficiently organised or sufficiently armed. They went down to defeat.

Solidarity with Paul Holmes

Around 100 people joined a solidarity rally for Unison Branch Secretary and national President Paul Holmes on Monday 6 September as his disciplinary hearing began. Holmes was suspended by Kirklees Council in November 2019. The council is not holding the hearing at council offices as would be usual, instead paying for a four-star hotel on the outskirts of Huddersfield.

Take the climate rebellion into workplaces

From 23 August, environmental activists from across the UK descended upon London for thirteen days of bold and creative direct action against climate change and its financing, XR’s “Impossible Rebellion”. It was smaller than previous pre-Covid rebellions, but still numbered thousands every day. And not just for a single march, then a coach home: for marching, actions, and confrontation with the police all day long, day after day.

Disaster in Afghanistan: why the Taliban won

The peoples of Afghanistan are being overrun. Those who can, will flee; some will submit to a new regime extinguishing women's rights and personal liberties, as well as collective civil rights; some will be massacred.

The Afghan army, nominally over 300,000 strong, equipped, funded, and trained by the USA over 20 years, offered almost no resistance to the Taliban advance, even though the Taliban is still mostly a scrappy militia of young men with Kalashnikovs on motorbikes or pick-up trucks.

Labour offers little on welfare changes

The Labour Party’s work and pensions spokesperson Jonathan Reynolds has attacked the government’s 1 September £20pw cut to Universal Credit (UC), and called the UC system “fatally flawed” — but said vanishingly little about would what Labour would do differently.

Reynolds refused to pledge that Labour would reverse the cut, let alone indicate a higher level of Universal Credit. His defence of not being able to set a figure so far from an election is an absurd evasion.

Where "incel" backlash comes from

The Plymouth shooting of 12 August which left five people plus the perpetrator dead is the latest in a series of incel-related mass shootings that have occurred since 2014 in the US, Canada, Germany and now the UK.

Some have called for the killing to be described explicitly as misogynistic terrorism. That is certainly understandable. The murderer had had a history of posting misogynistic and homophobic comments online.

Step up the fight against Police Bill

The Tories’ Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has not, so far, been substantially amended in Parliament. It still constitutes an assault on the right to protest, on workers’ rights to strike and picket, on migrants and on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords has been set for 14 September. Yet the latest round of protests against the Bill, on 21 August, was small and weak, with hundreds rather than thousands in London.

Reading and resources on taking the banks and finance into public ownership

• To download / print our petition calling on the trade unions, Labour Party and Green Party to campaign for public ownership and democratic control of the big banks and financial institutions, so their resources can be used to tackle climate change, boost living standards and reduce inequality, instead of funding fossil fuels and increasing the wealth of the rich at our expense - click here. Online version can be signed here.

Afghans in London protest against Taliban

About a thousand protesters, mostly people of Afghan origin or background, took to the streets in London on 28 August to protest against the Taliban.

Placards also called for a more open door for refugees, and support for the rights of the Hazara minority in Afghanistan. Many protesters waved the Afghan flag (dating, with many variants and interruptions, from 1930), which has also been waved on small anti-Taliban protests inside Afghanistan.

Honour and learn from the Grunwick strike!

20 August 2021 was the 45th anniversary of the start of one of the most important struggles in British working-class history, the two-year strike by Grunwick film-processing workers in North West London. Below we republish an overview of the strike and its significance written by Jean Lane in 1998, with a short introduction from 2012. The kind of lessons Jean highlighted in 1998, from the strike's magnificence but also its galling defeat, were still relevant in 2012 and are relevant today.

Marxism and Irish politics: Rayner Lysaght and Sean Matgamna debate and discussion

In November 2018, the longtime Irish-based Trotskyist Rayner Lysaght debated with Sean Matgamna, a founding member of Workers’ Liberty, on Marxist perspectives on Irish history and the Irish revolution. The following day they had an extended discussion on related topics. This has been recorded and released as nine videos.

NatWest privatisation: why is the labour movement silent?

The government still owns a majority of one of the UK’s biggest banks. Instead of using that stake to impose any kind of public accountability or social responsibility on NatWest, the Tories are pushing ahead with the sell-off of the government’s stake – at a massive loss to taxpayers. Yet the labour movement is silent.

Despite a majority of its shares being owned by the government, in the last four years NatWest Group has provided over $13bn of funding for fossil fuel projects, 46th worst of all the many thousands of banks in the world.

Oppose Labour's new wave of purges! Defend due process!

On 13 August the Labour Party started sending out letters threatening people with "Automatic Exclusion from Membership of the Labour Party" under the terms of the "ban" on four groups decided by Labour's National Executive (NEC) on 20 July.

The recipients were given seven days to show they weren't associated with any of the four groups. The well-known film director Ken Loach refused to attempt to show that, and has been expelled.

Debating internationalism in the Democratic Socialists of America

Dan La Botz is a US socialist active in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Solidarity. He is a co-editor of the independent socialist journal New Politics, and a supporter of the Internationalism from Below initiative. He spoke to Daniel Randall of Workers' Liberty about debates in and around the DSA, especially about what approach the organisation should take to international issues.

Michel Husson, 1949-2021

The death on 18 July 2021 of Michel Husson means a large loss of light and sparkle in the world of discussion and debate in Marxist economics.

Unlike almost anyone else today, or maybe even in history, Husson was equally at home in abstruse "Marxist high theory" debates about value and price, in hypothesising about broad epochal shifts in capital's modes of self-regulation, and in detailed everyday statistical investigations (would a cut in the working week reduce unemployment, how much, under what conditions?)

Disaster in Afghanistan

The USA is sending 5,000 troops to Afghanistan, boosting its military presence above anything since late 2020. The UK is sending 600, and the USA has another 4,000 stationed nearby in support.

These troops were not sent to assist the collapsing Afghan army as the Taliban entered Kabul (on 15 August) after sweeping almost all the country's cities since it took Zaranj on 6 August, and a series of rural areas since 4 May. Or to protect the people of Kabul, including the thousands of refugees who have fled there since the Taliban took their home cities.

Push back for asylum rights

“Its main effect will be to add an extra dose of cruelty to the existing arrangements.” That’s the impact the Tories’ Nationality and Borders Bill — just passed by the House of Commons for a second time — will have on asylum-seekers, as summed up by migration writer Daniel Trilling. The arrangements are extremely cruel already.

HSBC profits and bonuses soar while it vandalises society. Expropriate the banks!

UK-based international banking and finance giant HSBC has increased the “bonus pool” for its bankers by 50%, to £650m, after its profits grew more than fourfold in the second quarter of 2021. It says it may increase it further before pay-outs early next year.

Last year HSBC paid 324 of its bankers more than ÂŁ850,000 in salaries and bonuses, while eight received more than ÂŁ4m and one more than ÂŁ8m.

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