Solidarity 515, 5 September 2019

PCS says: join coup protests

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 11:13

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

PCS nationally has made a clear statement against Johnson’s coup, and is encouraging members to join protests.

Our National Executive Committee (NEC) meets this week [starting 2 Sep], and will discuss the unfolding situation in more detail. Our conference policy on Brexit is to remain neutral on the question itself, which the NEC can’t overturn, but obviously we will need to think about how we respond, particularly as it’s PCS members’ labour that will be relied upon to a large extent to “deliver Brexit”.

It may be during the NEC meeting itself that a general election is announced. We would

Hong Kong moves to student boycott

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 11:01

Chen Ying

As Hong Kong citizens seek to recover from a horrific weekend of escalated police violence against tenacious protesters, 2 September marked the start of the academic year, with a two-week boycott of lectures declared by student unions in all major universities, widely supported by secondary students boycotting lessons in dozens of schools.

Organisers of the successful city-wide strike on 5 August are planning their next strike to link up with the students.

31 August is the fifth anniversary of the Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s decision to deny Hong Kong the right to

Heathrow and the toy-drone plan

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:57

Mike Zubrowski

Heathrow Pause, an independent splinter from — and loudly distanced by — Extinction Rebellion, is planning an attempted shut-down of Heathrow airport using toy drones on 13 September.

They demand “that the Government places an immediate moratorium upon all aviation expansion”, as well as chiming in with XR’s three general demands.

Aeroplanes are extremely polluting, and every serious environmentalist supports a moratorium on aviation expansion and opposes Heathrow’s third runway.

We call for a rapid expansion of affordable, efficient and high-speed electrically-powered trains to substitute

Amazon fires threaten the Earth

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:54

Mike Zubrowski

Fires are sweeping the Amazon rainforest. They are facilitated by global warming to date and also fuel future climatic catastrophe.

They have been driven by deforestation and sparked further deforestation. Brazil’s president Bolsonaro and politicians internationally have responded with empty words and little action.

August saw a spike in fires across the world’s largest rainforest. In 2019 so far Brazil’s space agency has recorded over 40,000.

There are fires in the Amazon all year round, and August is generally the beginning of “fire season”, but this year’s rate of fires is nonetheless

A premier for all seasons

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:49

Hugh Edwards

The former provincial lawyer, Giuseppe Conte is once again premier-designate of another Italian government. He has already set out his rhetorical stall for his second term of office.

Without a blush he describes himself as “The Premier of the New”, while a little over a year ago, as he assumed the same role in the Lega Nationale — 5 Star government, he presented himself as the “Minister of Change”.

Up to a week ago he would have happily continued to serve La Lega of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Witness his ready signature to the Minister’s draconian security laws licensing the mass

The coup: not Johnson’s fault?

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:45

Jim Denham

Johnson’s coup is all the fault of the anti-Brexit MPs, according to the Morning Star’s editorial on 29 August:

“It comes in circumstances that have been created by anti-Brexit MPs and the House of Commons. They have had three years to agree a way to honour the people’s vote to leave the EU. Moreover, the vast majority of those MPs were elected on pledges to do just that.

“Instead, they have tried every parliamentary trick in the book – in this case Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice – to block and delay any kind of exit from the EU. Moreover, the vast majority of those MP’s were elected on


Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:39

I was catching up on a backlog of reading material, and I was genuinely shocked to read in Sean Matgamna’s piece The Willsman Affair (Solidarity 509) that the Morning Star daily newspaper “actively foments antisemitism”.

This is a completely disgraceful comment and, as any reader or the Star will know fine well, is completely untrue. Sean should ether provide some examples of “antisemitism” in the Star, “actively fomented” or otherwise, or withdraw that comment completely.

Even Jim Denham, who seems to have a weekly column dedicated to sarcastic sniping at the Star, admits in Solidarity 503

Make Labour fight Brexit

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:34


So far, so good! — as we go to press, on Wednesday 4 September. Britain’s poundshop Mussolini, the lying public-school bully-boy prime minister Boris Johnson, has been decisively beaten in two House of Commons votes.

There will be almost surely a request to the European Union for an extension of the leaving date to 31 January 2020. Johnson does not have enough support in the House of Commons to carry out his threat to get round the decision by calling an instant general election.

Johnson tried to override parliamentary democracy by shutting down Parliament, hoping that would give him space to

Going on the streets has changed things

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:16

Paul Mason, Laura Parker and Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP

A lot of people have been mesmerised by the speed and decisiveness of the Johnson regime — and of course there’s a legitimate worry that by resisting his moves we’re playing into his hands in an election.

But what that misses is the total blindness of elite technocrats like Cummings and Johnson to mass action.

By going on the street we’ve changed the situation. A few of us decided to call people onto the streets at a few hours notice and we got something like five or ten thousand people. By doing that we created a radical moment. We gave confidence to people who have up to now been mainly

Battle for democracy

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:08

Colin Foster

Parliament does not decide when it does or doesn’t sit. The Queen, on the advice of the Prime Minister, does that.

Parliament does not decide what Bills can or cannot be debated. The government largely does that, with some small rights of input from the official Opposition.

Only in situations where the government does not have a majority, and where the governing party is in the process of splitting, like now, does that open up more.

It looks like the Johnson government will not dare go through with it, but it is possible for a government simply to refuse to recognise a law passed through

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