Solidarity 163, 19 November 2009

Workers' Liberty winter school 2009

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 15:45

Friends, sympathisers, members of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, and many other leftists interested in exploring ways to rearm the labour movement, will be meeting in London on 28-29 November for the AWL’s winter school.

Unlike many other weekend gatherings of the left this month and next, this event will be about serious debate and study. It aims to be a focal point from which thought-through, collectively-understood ideas and strategies — and people inspired by those ideas and strategies — can radiate out into the labour movement.

Lenin once summed up the job of socialists as “study,

The Socialist Workers Party and the BNP: misunderstanding the united front

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 15:18

Sacha Ismail

Martin's Smith article on "How do we stop the BNP?" in the last issue of the SWP's International Socialism journal is worth a read - for good and bad reasons. Good reasons? Facts. Bad reasons? Politics.

The good reasons are mainly related to the wealth of factual information Smith has gathered together - particularly on the class composition of the BNP's membership (primarily petty bourgeois, despite the press hype about the white working class; which is not to deny that they have built a base of working-class votes and support).

However, the article expresses in a peculiar way the basic

Italy: Berlusconi and his 'Bonapartist' plan

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 15:09

Hugh Edwards

While Cath Fletcher (Solidarity 3/162) is absolutely correct to point out how any evaluation of an individual or a political situation requires rounded, balanced assessment in order to form as concrete a picture as possible, the evidence she offers in her article “Berlusconi: some further questions” do little to convince me that her image of Berlusconi and of contemporary Italy come anywhere near the reality I sought to convey (in Solidarity 3/161).

Taking her points in reverse order. Cath says that the idea of an Italy “deep in the throes of economic decline” (a major point in my article) “is

Anti-fascism: we need a left political alternative

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 14:57

John Tummon

The British anti-fascist movement is at a crossroads. Holding the growth of the BNP is getting harder every year and the post-war strategy of “No Platform” plus “Exposure” is being by-passed by significant changes taking place.

The BNP has achieved a national resonance that cannot be fought any more by us simply targeting their target areas. They have Strasserite anti-capitalist policies that equip them to compete for the huge part of the political territory vacated by New Labour. Exposing them as Nazis is no longer preventing people from wanting to find out about these policies. We already

Labour Representation Committee: 'beacons in the darkness'

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 14:52

Martin Thomas

In his keynote speech to the Labour Representation Committee conference on 14 November, John McDonnell’s general assessment was that we are in a “difficult period”. We have “got to keep the Tories out”, but we know how bad New Labour is. “Our job is to act as beacons in the darkness”.

In the coming general election, he urged LRC supporters to focus all their efforts on getting left Labour MPs re-elected. It is “not about alternative manifestos, or getting expelled”, he said, but “the same as every other grouping in the Labour Party, we will be setting out our programme, a platform for change”.

John McDonnell says “I’ll stand for Labour leader when Brown goes"

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 14:35

John McDonnell MP spoke to Solidarity at the Labour Representation Committee conference on 14 November after he had announced that he will contest the Labour Party leadership again when Gordon Brown goes.

The Labour Party conference this year was the smallest Labour conference since the Second World War. The number of constituency delegates was significantly down, and even trade union delegations were smaller this year. That’s the sad reality.

But there were victories on the floor of the conference, for example, over the election of the National Policy Forum. That happened for a number of

How can the Climate Camp progress?

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 14:17

An activist with the Camp for Climate Action (Climate Camp) spoke to Solidarity about some shortcomings in its current politics.

For me I would note two weaknesses of the Camp’s ability to be successful, i.e., to challenge the power structures and fantastical economics that have lead the world towards ecological collapse.

Firstly, its model. The Camp has created a physical space where thousands of people’s feelings about climate change (resistance and renewal) can be manifested. The space also brings together people of different politics to debate and educate each other around climate justice,

Climate change and the unions: thinking through the slogans

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 14:13

The Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) coalition aims to mobilise 40,000 people for the largest ever climate demos in the UK on 5 December. In London, the demo is assembling at 12 noon in Grosvenor Square. It plans to climax at 3pm by encircling Parliament with a sea of people wearing blue. The details for Glasgow are not yet finalised.

The platform of “The Wave” is for the UK government to:

• Quit Dirty Coal

• Protect the Poorest and

• Act Fair & Fast.

The demand to “Quit Dirty Coal” means that the government should withhold permission for new coal power stations that cannot capture their carbon

Copenhagen climate change talks: we need working-class answers

Published on: Thu, 19/11/2009 - 13:59

Paul Vernadsky

The climate talks in Copenhagen in December had been billed as the most important international meeting since the Second World War. Instead, they are likely to be the greatest let-down since global warming was first debated internationally two decades ago.

World leaders are already talking down expectations of the UN Climate Change Conference 2009, which takes place between 7 and 18 December in Copenhagen. Over the last month it became clear that the US Senate would not pass its climate change bill before the meeting. After talks in Barcelona in early November, most commentators agreed that no

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