Solidarity 535, 19 February 2020

Get Labour on the streets!

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:51


Whenever the Budget emerges, and whatever the details, it won’t keep Boris Johnson’s promise to “end austerity”.

That doesn’t mean we have to wait until 2024. Even under the Thatcher and Major Tory governments, mass protest forced the end of the poll tax and a partial reversal of NHS cuts after 1990.

Solidarity urges Labour and trade union activists to join with us in a campaign to get Labour on the streets to rebuild the NHS and save our schools, and to end austerity.

By “campaign” here we mean not a committee, a website, a grant from this or that foundation, a Twitter account, but a

Nevada: bump in the road?

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:47

Eric Lee

Next Saturday (22 February) voters in Nevada will participate in caucuses to choose their 48 delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Early voting has already begun. According to the latest poll, Sanders has a 7 point lead over Biden, with no other candidates reaching the 15% threshold required to win delegates. This represents a major shift, as Biden had been leading in all the polls in Nevada up until very recently.

A Sanders victory in Nevada would represent more than just a hat trick, following his victories in the popular vote in Iowa and New Hampshire. It would mean that he has

The best medicine

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:44

Colin Foster

The Labour Party machine is hastening to “clean house”. It announced at the end of January that it had expelled 45 members over antisemitism in 2019. Another 104 members voluntarily quit in 2019 while charges of antisemitism were pending.

In 2018, ten people were expelled and in 2017, one.

296 members were suspended over antisemitism complaints in 2019, compared with 98 suspended in 2018. The numbers are still small compared to the many hundreds “auto-excluded” in 2015 and 2016 (without a hearing and often without precise charges), not for antisemitism but for left-wing associations, current

Scottish deputy: a clear choice

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:37

Ann Field

If only Scottish Labour could be as right-wing as it used to be, then people would vote for it again. This pretty much sums up the platform of Jackie Baillie MSP in her bid to be elected Scottish Labour Deputy Leader. But as the hustings in Glasgow on 17 February confirmed, this involves a breathtaking ability to deny reality.

Baillie denied that housing legislation passed by the Labour-Lib-Dem Holyrood government (1999-2007) had extended the “right to buy” to Housing Association tenants. But it did.

Baillie boasted that the same Holyrood coalition government had initiated a massive

From 14 February, build towards COP26

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:31

Cathy Nugent

The latest round of climate strikes, on Friday 14 February, the first of 2020, marked a year since thousands of school students first walked out to protest at political inaction on climate change.

This round of walkouts was smaller, but the underlying political commitment is still strong. As the year progresses and in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow (9-19 November) the movement is likely to expand again.

Around 1000 people, a mix of older school students, parents with younger school students, and a range of other people attended a demonstration in London, marching through Parliament Square.


A strange love letter

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:25

Jim Denham

It was a strange love letter, written in that coy, obscurantist language that Morning Star editorials invariably to adopt when their message is a wee bit embarrassing. But it came on 14 February, and underneath the verbosity the message was clear: Boris Johnson is to be admired:

“The immediate past experience of, first, coalition government with the Lib Dems and then the disarray of the Theresa May administration has convinced the new Tory leadership of the need for Cabinet discipline, parliamentary good order and effective oversight of policy and performance.”

It’s easy to see why all that


Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:19

Leeds East MP and deputy leadership candidate Richard Burgon’s politics are, in general, close to those of the Stalinist Morning Star. So it is ironic that he has made eloquent arguments for Labour Party democracy that virtually no other prominent figure is making.

Interviewed on Novara Media, Burgon argues forcefully that Labour members must make Labour policy – including manifesto policy – through conference. He maintains and develops this argument for about ten minutes, defending it against persistent attempts by Novara interviewers Michael Walker and Aaron Bastani to talk him out of it.

The ballot papers for Labour leader

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:14

Martin Thomas

Many of us are minded to vote for Rebecca Long Bailey for Labour leader when balloting opens on 24 February.

In the nominations stage we backed none of the candidates.

We used that stage to challenge them on a charter of labour movement democracy, and on the need to get Labour on the streets to combat the Tories in the next months and years.

We supported interrogations put to them by groups like Free Our Unions, Labour Campaign for Free Movement, and Labour for a Socialist Europe, to back Labour conference policy for scrapping all anti-union laws and for defending and extending free movement.

How to beat transphobia

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:08

Katy Dollar

• See also this on LabourList by Christie Neary

The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, founded by transgender and non-binary Labour members in order to advance trans liberation through the Labour Party, launched on 11 February with a set of pledges for leadership candidates.

The proposed reforms of the Gender Recognition Act were a step forward against trans oppression, but also began a debate which brought deeply reactionary views into the public discourse, including within the labour movement.

The comrades involved are right that trans liberation should be an aim of the Labour Party and that

A Labour newspaper?

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 11:03

Keith Road

Should the labour movement have its own newspaper? That is the question posed by Richard Burgon, currently running for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

Burgon, speaking to Novara Media, said that a Labour freesheet could mimic the Evening Standard or the Metro. The various editions of the Metro currently have a total circulation of 1.4m, and the ES has about 800,000 around London. That makes them two of the most-read newspapers in the UK.

Burgon was attacked by Ian Murray, the most right-wing of those standing for the deputy leadership: “We are a party aspiring to be in government, not a

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