Solidarity 522, 23 October 2019

Democracy vs Johnson

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:39


As we go to press on Tuesday 22 October, the Tory government has been voted down, 308 to 322, on its plan to bounce its Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament at panic speed.

MPs have insisted on the right to debate amendments. These may include amendments which will make the government drop its deal, or make the deal conditional on a new public vote.

Boris Johnson responded by saying that he would “pause” discussion on the Withdrawal Agreement he was so keen to rush through. In defiance of the “Benn Act”, he will seek to persuade the EU to deny a Brexit extension to allow debate.


Bernie Sanders: The road to Iowa

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:35

Eric Lee

Bernie Sanders has 100 days to change American politics forever.

In a little more than 14 weeks, the voters of the small, largely rural, state of Iowa will choose who they want to be the Democratic Party’s candidate to run against Donald Trump in November 2020.

This is the first of a series of primary elections to choose delegates for the Democratic National Convention which will be held in Milwaukee in July.

While the mainstream media has divided up the candidates into “moderates” and “progressives”, there is actually only one candidate running on the issue of class, and that is Sanders.


Free Catalan political prisoners!

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:32

Phil Grimm

A wave of unrest has swept through Catalonia following the harsh sentencing of pro-independence leaders by the Spanish Supreme Court.

Twelve politicians and civil society leaders were found guilty of crime including sedition, misuse of public funds and disobedience following their involvement in the 2017 referendum on and subsequent declaration of Catalan independence from Spain.

That referendum had been declared illegal. The Spanish constitution contains undemocratic vetoes on any region declaring independence without the consent of Spain as a whole. Defendants were sentenced to hefty fines,

Groundbreaking ground-breaking

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:29

Misha Zubrowski

In Cornwall, the deepest well yet drilled in Britain now penetrates 5.1km into the earth’s crust, burrowing into fiery depths where the temperatures can reach 195C.

This – literally – groundbreaking well will soon be the UK’s first genuine functional geothermal power station.

Water will be pumped down into the Porthtowan fault, a geological formation through which it can be circulated, flowing in a continuous cycle. This water is heated up by the hot rocks, and pumped back to the surface where – as steam – it powers turbines.

The final power station will be small, discreet, produce no

Climate rebellion: time to discuss next steps

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:26

Misha Zubrowski

Extinction Rebellion’s latest International Rebellion against climate inaction has drawn to a close after two intense weeks starting 7 October.

Protests and actions took place across Europe, India and Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia, Gambia and South Africa, Hong Kong, the West Bank in Palestine, and many more places.

In the UK protests focussed on London, targetting government buildings and departments, and various sites around Westminster. They faced increasing police repression, with over 1640 arrests – likely over half the world-wide total — and an authoritarian attempt to ban the

Home Office plans to trick the worst-off

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:13

Misha Zubrowski

The Home Office is holding “immigration surgeries” at charities and places of worship.

They tell homeless migrants that attending will help them get financial support, and may help them regularise their immigration status. They are assured the sessions are not part of “an enforcement approach” to immigration status.

Lies – as was revealed on October 15.

The surgeries are run by the Home Office’s immigration enforcement unit. Officials may decide that attendees have no right to be in the UK, asking these individuals — who came seeking and promised support — to their agree to “voluntary removal”

Eddie Dempsey and the misogynistic warlord

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:07

There is more to add to the crucial points Becky Crocker made about Eddie Dempsey in Solidarity 519.

The picture featured is Dempsey visiting Alexander Mozgovoy, an uber-nationalist, uber-misogynistic paramilitary leader in the pro-Russian militias during the war in eastern Ukraine. When Mozgovoy was killed a week after they met, Dempsey wrote a glowing obituary of his comrade, which I’ll quote below.

If you want to get a grip on Mozgovoy, this is what he declared about women in the territory he controlled as a warlord, and of course by implication more generally:

“If I see even just one girl

Organising the left on the 19 October march

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:02

Cathy Nugent

The “Let Us Be Heard” demonstration on Saturday 19 October felt bigger than the previous march against Brexit in July.

In face of Johnson’s shocking disregard for democracy, Remainers felt obliged to turn out. Organisers claimed one million, and there were certainly many hundreds of thousands on the streets.

We had an anxious wait for the vote from Parliament’s Saturday sitting, followed by cheers for the Letwin amendment.

Socialists don’t normally celebrate Tory-sponsored amendments, but this one meant we were still “in the game”: Johnson had failed in his first attempt to bounce Parliament

Haringey: losing momentum?

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 10:56

Simon Nelson

In 2017, a grassroots rebellion against a right-wing Labour Council led to the election of the first so-called “Momentum Council”.

The new councillors were often supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, but most of all opposed to Haringey Council’s proposals for a public-private partnership with Lendlease to deliver the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) — a gentrification scheme that was set to socially cleanse large areas of working-class Haringey, hand in hand with a known blacklisting developer.

A concerted campaign by the local Momentum group, the wider local Labour left, and the anti-HDV campaign

The Handke controversy

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 10:49

Matt Kinsella

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2019 has been awarded to Peter Handke “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.”

Born in 1942, Handke is an Austrian novelist and playwright, best known for works including Offending the Audience and The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick. He is also known for his film scripts, one of which, The Left-Handed Woman, an adaptation of his own novel, was nominated for a Golden Palm Award in 1978.

The awarding of the Nobel Prize to Handke has caused controversy, owing to his shameful

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