Solidarity 481, 10 October 2018

Save the planet, stop fracking!

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 12:39

Mike Zubrowski

On 8 October, a scientists’ panel convened by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, after surveying more than 6,000 scientific studies, reported that the world is on course for catastrophic warming by the end of the century, due to carbon emissions.

And this same week the first UK site for “horizontal fracking” looks set to start in Lancashire.

“Fracking” pumps pressurised liquid deep underground to fracture rock, releasing natural gas. “Horizontal fracking” also drills sideways, accessing larger underground areas.

Globally, fracking puts more fossil fuels into circulation; is

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 12:25

Sacha Ismail, Anne Field, Claudia Raven and Ollie Moore

Last week we reported the wildcat strike by workers at the “community owned” Ivy House pub in South London, members of the Bakers’ Union.

In this case “community owned” meant more “Big Society” than “workers’ control”.

Shortly after the last Solidarity went to press on Tuesday 2 October, the Ivy House workers, who had kept the pub shut down completely for three days, won completely. The union is recognised, zero hours contracts will be replaced by fixed hours ones, and the four sacked workers are reinstated with back pay until a disciplinary process has ended.

The nature of the Ivy House and

Unite: Coyne’s appeal to Certification Officer fails

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 12:21

Gerard Coyne, the narrowly-defeated right wing candidate in last year’s Unite General Secretary election, has lost his appeal to the Certification Officer on all counts.

The decision is not unexpected, following his previous failure to overturn the result of the election by appealing first to the Certification Officer and then to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). It is a welcome knock-back for the right wing within the union.

There can be no justification for Coyne’s attempt to seek revenge on Unite after losing the election by dragging the union through the courts, costing valuable time

Ten times the price, but…

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:58

Martin Thomas

The history of the old Labour left weekly Tribune was not a glorious one. In its early years, which were also the time of the Moscow Trials, it supported Stalin’s regime in the USSR uncritically.

Between 1947 and 1950 it was firmly on the side of the USA and NATO in the Cold War.

From the mid-1980s, under Nigel Williamson and then Phil Kelly as editors, its politics dissolved into soft-leftist alignment with Labour’s establishment, and its last 30 years were a slow but dismal slide into extinction.

But in its best years, with Michael Foot in the 1950s, and to some degree even in its not-so

Under the Banner of Marxism

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:45

Paul Vernadsky

The AWL’s new book, In Defence of Bolshevism, will upset many people on the left – and is warmly welcomed for doing so.

The bulk of the book consists of texts by the foremost Heterodox Trotskyist, Max Shachtman. In 1949, Shachtman published Under the Banner of Marxism, originally written as an answer to Ernest Erber, a former Third Camp comrade who had just deserted.

In this review, however, I want to pay attention to the book’s introduction by Sean Matgamna, tying in the texts with today.

The introduction spares no left tendency from withering criticism. The book is an indictment of

Satanic Verses, thirty years on

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:31

Matt Cooper

Last month saw the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

Rushdie’s sprawling novel defies summary: interlinking stories meld scurrilous fantasies, dark humour and cutting political satire directed not only at Islam, but British racism and Indian immigrants’ attempts to adapt. It is an honest attempt to deal with the warping pressures of racism, religion and cultural dislocation.

When it was published in September 1988 there was no spontaneous grassroots opposition. According to Kenan Malik in From Fatwa to Jihad, one early move against the book was

The Tory Scissors

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:13


Theresa May suggests an “end to austerity” if she gets a workable Brexit deal. First get your deal.

Then even the deftest negotiation is going to do no better than limit the damage from Brexit. And by decisions already made by the Tory government, large further cuts in benefits and social spending are pre-programmed for the coming years.

A new survey has just shown 60% of people in favour of higher taxes (in general, not just higher taxes on the rich, as Solidarity would advocate) to get more money for schools and the NHS. It’s the highest percentage saying that for a long time. In 2010 only

Being a revolutionary, not a sceptic

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:08

Eduardo Tovar

One of the most positively transformative events in my life was joining the AWL in January 2016. Although I had long considered myself a socialist of some form or other, when I first encountered the AWL in the autumn of 2015, my politics were very ill-defined.

Years of seeing Labour under Blair, Brown, and Miliband had made me view the left as a lost cause in British politics, to the point that I was sceptical of even attempting activism. This is why, to my shame, I distanced myself at age 18 from the then-ongoing 2010 student protests. I had simply become so resigned to the fact that

Jumbling up History

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:46

Martin Thomas

The letter which this article replies to is here, towards the bottom, entitled "All states are racist endeavours".

Mike Zubrowski (Solidarity 480) is right that to go from saying “all nation states are intrinsically racist” or “all states are racist endeavours” to saying that *Israel*, in particular, is “a racist endeavour”, and therefore should be suppressed (by another state, in fact by a conquering state) is illogical and antisemitic in its implications.

It should also be said that claims that “all nation states are intrinsically racist” or “all states are racist endeavours” are an

Biggest ever turnout for “troublemakers”

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:35

Cliff Offerdahl

On Saturday 29 September 2018, Labor Notes, an organisation of US-based trade union activists held its annual Troublemakers’ School in New York City.

Established in 1979, Labor Notes is famous for its publications and workshops on rank-and-file activism. In their own words, they are “the voice of union activists who want to put the movement back in the labor movement”.

With over 350 attendees, this year’s school was the largest yet. The opening plenary, featuring Alexandra Bradbury of Labor Notes, Mark Cohen of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, and Jia Lee of the Movement of Rank-and-File

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