Solidarity 445, 26 July 2017

Unions must fight pension age increase!

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 09:18

Dave Pannett

If like me you’re between 39 and 47 years old then the recent government announcement that you will have to work 18 months longer before you can retire will have angered and depressed you. Yet again as the government has moved the goalposts for workers. An increase in the retirement age to 68 was due to apply to people born after April 1978. The government now says the new standard of 68 will be introduced in 2039, which will affect those born between April 1971 and April 1978.

This is business as usual — making working-class people pay for the bosses crisis and it will affect six million

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 09:14

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

July has seen a number of interesting and potentially important developments in the ongoing dispute between rail unions and the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and the government over Driver Only Operation (DOO).

Since RMT strike action on July 8th (Northern, Southern and Merseyrail), 9th (Northern only) and 10th (Northern and Merseyrail), the union has moved closer to a dispute on the issue with South West Trains and has declared a dispute with Greater Anglia. It now seems increasingly likely that we will see co-ordinated action by RMT members across huge portions of the national rail

Labour: left making gains

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 08:54

Keith Road

Voting has opened in the Conference Arrangements Committee elections where left wing challengers Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes received four times as many nominations as their incumbents.

There is a good chance that with the strong campaign being pushed by Momentum and others on the labour left that they will win. Their victory would make it far more likely that rule changes including those backed by Stop the Purge and Campaign for Labour Party Democracy will make it through and be up for debate in 2018. This would be just the start for activists who want to shape and change Labour Party

Learning lessons from the Bolshevik feminists

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 08:49

Katie Turton

Katie Turton reviews Women’s Liberation and the Russian Revolution in When Workers Took Power by Paul Vernadsky

This is a wide-ranging chapter which highlights the significant role women played in the historic events of 1917 in Russia. It explores the development of a Bolshevik women’s movement, in the wider context of liberal and socialist campaigns for women’s rights. It offers a detailed discussion of Kollontai’s views and activities as one of the leading lights among Bolsheviks campaigning for women’s emancipation, taking account of not only her social policies but also her beliefs on

“1917 was progressive... yet reactionary”!

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 08:45

Paul Hampton

Steve Smith, professor of history at Oxford University has published what is likely to be one of the most widely read books on the Russian revolution this centenary year — Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928.

The book is impeccably referenced and in places, informative. Smith has all the credentials to produce a great history. His book Red Petrograd (1983) was a pioneer “history from below”, examining the factory committees and workers’ control during 1917-18. He also wrote The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (2002), along with other valuable works. Yet

Support ex-Muslim LGBT peoples’ right to protest

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 08:40

Simon Nelson

The presence of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) on London Pride has caused a politically awful backlash by the left and others. Counterfire commented “Islamophobic placards have no place at Pride”. Socialist Worker state, “a small group of around ten racists also joined the parade with placards attacking Muslims.” This was followed by an official complaint against them by the East London Mosque.

Counterfire compared some of the placards carried by the CEMB as “something the EDL or a Nazi would carry... so how were they even allowed on the parade?” What did the placards say?

I need to make your clothes, shine your boots and drive your motorcycle

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 08:28

Colin Applebaum

Even those outside the tech space would struggle to have missed the recent hype around automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Fuelled by rapid developments in technological innovation hyped in the last two years, although mostly developed over the last two decades, many cerebral types suggest we may be at the start of be some significant changes in capitalist production. They even gave it a grandiose name: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

Socialists, marxists, progressives have a history of taking technology and advocating its use for more than just the most efficient exploitation.

Back workers’ rights to move freely

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 07:50


Jeremy Corbyn has restated a view expressed to ITV in May that Brexit means leaving the single market and an end to freedom of movement across the UK.

In his own words, he told BBC journalist Andrew Marr that, “There would be Europeans workers working in Britain and British workers working in Europe as there are at the moment. What there wouldn’t be is the wholesale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry.”

He went on to say that jobs should be advertised locally and not recruited through agencies who

A fair referendum for Kurdistan

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 07:42

Worker-Communist Party of Kurdistan

A referendum is going to be held on 25 September within the Kurdish region of Iraq and the Kurdish populated areas outside the administrative authority of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Conducting a referendum for the “right of nations to self-determination” is one of the Articles of the UN 1948 Treaty. Thus, every group of people facing social injustice, discrimination, national oppression have the right to organise and hold a referendum to politically solve these problems. The people of Kurdistan in Iraq have confronted persecution, discrimination, war instability, oppression,

Letter: PYD democracy lacking

Published on: Wed, 26/07/2017 - 07:36

Dan Katz

Riki Lane writes about PYD rule in Rojava (Solidarity 444), “Overall this is essentially standard bourgeois democracy, but with a strong emphasis on bottom-up democratic development of a social economy.”

I think Riki is the victim of a PKK public relations operation. The PYD is an off-shoot of the Turkish Kurdish PKK, which remains a militarised Stalinist-nationalist party. The PKK/PYD is dissembling for an international audience because they want support against Turkey and currently they are listed as a banned, terrorist group. They aim to present themselves as unthreatening.

A better

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