Solidarity 270. 16 January 2013

London teachers want plan to fight on pay

Published on: Sun, 20/01/2013 - 07:12

More than 250 people attended the pay briefing organised for London National Union of Teachers reps on a snowy Saturday in the centre of the city (19 January 2013).

The turnout reflects the anger ordinary teachers feel about the government's austerity drive and Michael Gove's all-out assault on the working conditions and living standard of teachers.

The 'briefing' section of the meeting was kept mercifully short; General Secretary Christine Blower made some introductory remarks which implied that 'action', presumably including strike action, was necessary in the face of the latest government

Save Lewisham Hospital, save the NHS!

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2013 - 14:08

Matthew Kershaw, the Special Administrator brought in to reorganise NHS services after South London Healthcare Trust went bust, has made his final recommendations.

There are no surprises. He recommends SLHT be dissolved, with services being taken over by other Trusts, and that Lewisham Hospital’s A & E and maternity units be axed.

He offers no answers on how 125,000 annual patient visits to Lewisham A&E will be accommodated or how the 4,365 births in Lewisham maternity unit will be adequately supported. Three quarters of million people will be left with one A & E. Kershaw’s cuts will cost

One law for the rich...

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2013 - 14:06

The Government has cut future pensions for public sector workers by saying that entitlements will be upgraded for inflation only by the consumer price index (CPI) instead of the retail price index (RPI). The apparently fiddly adjustment will lose some pensioners 20% or more of the value of their pensions.

The same indexing problem applies to £294 billion worth of index-linked government bonds. A regular government bond of £1000 running for, say, ten years, entitles you to £1000 in ten years’ time plus twice-yearly interest payments. An index-linked bond pays back £1000 plus ten years’

DWP jobs saved?

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2013 - 14:03

A strike by workers in the Department for Work and Pensions against job losses, scheduled for 21 January, is unlikely to go ahead.

The ballot, in response to the announcement of 43 compulsory redundancies, returned a vote in favour strikes, but it now looks as though management might back down from that. PCS union leaders say talks with management have been “very positive”.

As we go to presss, the exact detail of the talks is unknown. Members should decide on the future of the dispute.

If the jobs have indeed been saved, that is a significant victory.

Action for jobs and safety on the Tube

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2013 - 14:01

Tube workers employed by the Trainpeople agency demonstrated outside Transport for London headquarters on Tuesday 15 January, demanding jobs and justice.

The workers, some of whom have worked on the Bakerloo Line for five years, found themselves facing the dole queue when 19 new directly-employed staff were taken on to fill roles that the agency staff were already fully trained for and had already been working in.

They set up a soup kitchen outside TfL’s headquarters on Broadway, St. James’s Park, to highlight the poverty they face being thrown into if bosses push ahead with the sackings. RMT

Teachers’ pay: “fight later” won’t do

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2013 - 13:58

The Tory government plans to abolish national pay scales for teachers.

The first thing the unions need to do is to get a proper grip on the gravity of the attack. So far they haven’t done this. The national officers’ report on pay in December talked of militancy being dampened by Heads promising to continue as before. It described the fight to defend national pay as a long-term battle and, tellingly, one of the strategies listed was to develop new action guidelines to persuade schools not to ration pay. There is every sign that, apart from a possible token strike this term, the National Union

How I was expelled from the SWP (IS)

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2013 - 13:53

I was expelled from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP, then called IS) on 4 December 1971. IS then was different from, and more open than, the SWP today. But there are links between then and now.

IS (SWP) had deliberately promoted itself as democratic and open since 1957-8, as a riposte to the bigger and more active, but tightly-controlled, SLL led by Gerry Healy (only tiny shreds from which continue today: it collapsed in 1985).

IS really was more open. There was debate in its press. In December 1968, it accepted a merger with the small Trotskyist group Workers’ Fight, forerunner of the AWL,

What were the Communist Parties?

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2013 - 13:48

Mike Wood has spent some years researching the evolution of the Workers Party, the group formed by Max Shachtman and his comrades after the 1940 split in the US Trotskyist movement.

This is a second article reporting the results of his research, following a first published in Solidarity 267, 5 December 2012.


One area of discussion in the Workers’ Party in the 1940s which ran slightly aslant the other disputes was on the nature of the official “Communist”, i.e. Stalinist, parties outside the USSR.

Most discussion in the Workers’ Party in the 1940s was dominated by the dispute with a minority

Hurrah for Zhukov?

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2013 - 13:45

On 2 February, a lavish “Victory at Stalingrad 70th Anniversary Night” is being organised by Philosophy Football (an enterprise run by former Communist Party activist Mark Perryman) and the Hope Not Hate anti-fascist group.

The keynote speaker will be Seumas Milne, associate editor of the Guardian and former business manager of the Straight Left, a Stalinist splinter publication.

The Battle of Stalingrad, between August 1942 and February 1943, was a turning point of World War Two. So were some British victories in North Africa, and US victories in the Pacific, around the same period.

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