Solidarity 514, 14 August 2019

Debate: definitions and focus

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 12:06

Mike Zubrowski

People who worry more about climate change, correspondingly putting more effort into “being green”, are likely to live lifestyles with higher associated emissions.

In advanced capitalist countries, middle-class people tend to think more about climate change. They are simultaneously living in less densely-packed areas, further from where they might travel to, and with more disposable income: more carbon-intensive lifestyles.

Martin’s article (Solidarity 513) and mine (Solidarity 512) are in broad agreement, areas of disagreement being a question of subtly different emphases or slight tweaks.


Labour: stop Brexit, reverse cuts, scrap anti-strike laws, prepare for a snap election

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:40

On the streets and in the workplaces is where we must defeat the plans of Boris Johnson and his “special adviser” Dominic Cummings to force through a “no deal” Brexit by overriding Parliament. And that’s the best way to prepare for a likely snap election.

Cummings's latest plan (3 August) is to respond to Parliament voting no confidence in Johnson – which it may well do on 4 September – by delaying the subsequent general election to after Brexit has become accomplished fact on 31 October.

This is a revised version of Johnson's earlier speculation about "proroguing" (suspending) Parliament to

Workers' Liberty summer camp 2019

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:36

Fifty friends and supporters of Workers’ Liberty gathered in the hills of West Yorkshire for our annual summer camp on 8-11 August.

Although storms were forecast, socialists of all ages enjoyed wild swimming in a nearby waterfall, hiking, trips on the canals and steam railways of the surrounding valleys, football, and our annual pub quiz and talent show.

Longtime socialist Bruce Robinson ran a presentation on African Jazz; we learned about the history of Esperanto in the European workers’ movement; and we enjoyed talks from Deliveroo strikers, Nama’a al-Mahdi the Sudanese revolutionary

The split in the Socialist Party

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:29

Pete Boggs

The Socialist Party (the group publishing The Socialist, and previously known as Militant) has split after a special congress on 21 July. So has the CWI, the international network of groups of which the SP was the pivot.

SP delegates voted 173-35-0 to “refound” the Committee for a Workers’ International by calling an international conference in 2020. The congress also declared that people continuing to support the existing CWI would place themselves outside of Socialist Party membership, effectively expelling the minority in Britain who support the (apparent) majority internationally within

Take action on 20 September

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:15

Mike Zubrowski

School students globally have called on workers to join their “Climate Strike” on Friday 20 September, and trade unionists, socialists, environmentalists are mobilising hard to make the most of it. This will kick off a week of action – everyone based in a workplace or active in a trade union should build for it.

Youth climate strikes so far have helped propel climate change, and the urgency of tackling it, back into public consciousness again. The politics and demands of the movement in the UK is, unsurprisingly, very mixed, but it has strong left-wing currents, including or especially among

Hallelujah for Boris Johnson?

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:10

Jim Denham

The Morning Star and their political masters the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), have a problem with Boris Johnson: when it comes to Brexit, they agree with him.

This is obviously embarrassing for people who call themselves socialists. The Morning Star does its best to avoid making it too obvious. But the strain tells.

In its editorial of 23 July, the Morning Star suggested that “Where his [Johnson’s] coronation both poses a risk and presents an opportunity to the left is in his greater distance from the Establishment ‘mainstream’ and the already evident breach between him and parts of the


Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:05

Defining away impairment

My exchange with Janine Booth (Solidarity 513 and previous) started with a comment by me, in an interview with Judy Singer previewing the neurodiversity session at Ideas from Freedom.

Some neuroatypicalities, I suggested, are just “differences”; others are also “impairments”. (There’s a big grey area, as with physical atypicalities).

I cited examples from my experience as a maths teacher. Some autistic students are “just different”. Others, maybe impaired.

Example: “student B” spent most of his school time in the Special Education Unit. The SEU asked him to go to my

Disaster capitalism needs drastic answers

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 10:55


Twelve years ago, Naomi Klein wrote a book about “Disaster Capitalism”, describing how plunderers and capitalist social-justice-warriors had picked up on catastrophes, throwing society off-balance, in order to slam through their plans.

The New Orleans flood of 2005 was one example. Another was the slump which started in Britain around the same time Thatcher took office in 1979 and – pushed in the first place by world oil price rises – had taken industrial production down 15% by early 1981.

Boris Johnson’s drive for “no deal” is an exercise in disaster capitalism. For him, there are advantages

“After Johnson’s Brexit, us”

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 10:46

Sacha Ismail

Reprinted from Labour for a Socialist Europe (

A new “left-wing” campaign for Brexit, “Leave – Fight – Transform” (LeFT), has been launched with great fanfare from the Morning Star.

The initial signatories, too, confirm that this is an initiative of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and other bits of British Stalinism. More on that below.

What is striking about the content of the statement is not just that it indulges in an extravagant version of the Lexit fantasy – the idea that some form of Brexit is necessary to and can help bring about working-class and

The rise of the DSA: hopes and limits

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 10:09

Simon Nelson

The DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) – a group founded in 1973 as a left social-democratic splinter from the then-decaying “Shachtmanite” Heterodox Trotskyist tradition, and long with little profile - has recently grown to over 50,000 members.

The DSA convention this year (2-4 August) had over 1,000 delegates, an increase from 700 in 2017. Admirably, the conference was livestreamed. It may have seemed overly procedural at points, but it reflects well on the DSA that their conference is accessible to the membership and a wider audience.

The rise of the DSA offers some hope for revival on

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