Solidarity 458, 10 January 2018

March for the NHS on 3 February!

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 13:36

A junior doctor

The health service has hit its annual winter crisis.

16,900 people had to wait in ambulances for hospital care in Christmas week. 4,700 of those had to wait in an ambulance for more than hour to be seen. Media images of five, ten, fifteen ambulances queueing outside A&E departments have become common.

An 81 year old woman in Essex was found dead in her home when an ambulance arrived four hours after her initial 999 call. In Portsmouth an 88 year old woman died after five hours in an ambulance and two hours on a trolley waiting for a hospital bed.

On 15 December the Independent reported that

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 13:22

Gemma Short, Peggy Carter and Charlotte Zalens

On 2 January a notice appeared on the staff noticeboards of some McDonald’s stores announcing a significant pay rise for workers.

Pay for under 18s will now go up to a minimum of £5.75, under 21s to a minimum of £6.75, under 25s to a minimum of £7.95, and over 25s to a minimum of £8 in London. All workers will get an above inflation pay rise of between 5.4 and 6.3%. It is the biggest pay rise McDonald’s workers have had in 10 years.

A Bakers’, Food and Allied workers’ Union (BFAWU) organiser told Solidarity: “There is no doubt that this is a direct result of McDonald’s employment practices and

Momentum Youth shut down

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 13:18

Michael Elms

After Momentum’s internal democratic structures were shut down in January 2017, its nascent youth wing was taken over by a small friendship group.

Momentum Youth and Students became obsessed with factionalism, lauding trade union leaderships (in the hope of gaining employment in their offices), and weird Stalinist iconography. It was mainly active on social media.

But the group’s cringeworthy over-use of emojis, paranoid factional gossip and pictures of Stalin has clearly embarrassed Momentum chair, Jon Lansman. On 8 January Lansman asked MYS to shut down all its online accounts.

It was sad

Corbyn is right on BDS

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 12:52

Ira Berkovic

In response to a tweet from Labour MP Kate Osamor supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn clarified his own position on Israel/Palestine.

He made clear, again, that he supports an end to Israeli occupation and a genuine two-states settlement; an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. He also reiterated that while he supports targeted boycotts of settlement produce, he does not support a blanket boycott of Israel.

There is much to criticise in Corbyn’s international politics, particularly in his politics on the Middle

Taking on the “zombie” academies

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 12:41

Pat Murphy, National Education Union Executive, personal capacity

The Tories’ flagship education policy, the drive to make all schools academies, is floundering. As an explicit goal enshrined in legislation “forced academisation” was defeated before it developed any real momentum.

The proposal for an Education White Paper which would force all schools to become academies by 2020 were announced by George Osborn in his March 2016 budget. The response was a relentless, nationwide campaign of opposition which exploited opposition within the Tory Party. The proposals were withdrawn within a few months. When the idea was ditched the government insisted that their

“The working class is the key”

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 12:19

Moran Shirin of the Iranian Revolutionary Marxist Tendency spoke to Solidarity.

There were many workers’ protests on Sunday-Monday, 7-8 January.

Mostly they’ve been about unpaid wages. These include: Haft Tapeh sugar cane workers; Khalij-e Fars Transport (2-4 months of unpaid wages); Phases 22 and 24 of the South Pars gas field development in Asaluyeh (temporary contract workers have not been paid for six months). Zar Shooran gold miners have not been paid since November. Tabas council has not paid its workers for three months. Ghaemshahr Textiles workers have just had some of their three

Trump in America and the world

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 11:55

Ira Berkovic

On 22 December, US President Donald Trump passed the most significant piece of domestic legislation of his term thus far, the so-called “Tax Cuts and Job Act”.

This tax reform, one of the most sweeping in decades, will cut corporate tax by 15%. The package also includes measures such as lowering taxes on overseas profits.

The BBC’s summary of the act was to the point: “The tax reform is good news for businesses, particularly multinational corporations and the commercial property industry. The extremely wealthy and parents sending their children to private schools are set to benefit.”


Iranian workers push for regime change

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 11:33

Editorial from Solidarity 458

Beginning on Thursday 28 December around 80 Iranian cities and towns saw a wave of demonstrations, amounting to the biggest protest against Iran’s authoritarian Islamist political system since the 2009 "Green" reform movement.

This has been a tremendous revolt with the issue of working-class livelihood at the centre. A revolt against years of super-exploitation and a vicious regime which exists to enrich itself and boost its own power.

According to official figures, at least 1,000 people have been arrested and 25 people have been killed (including, three

Deeper questions behind the Worboys case

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 11:25

Charlotte Zalens

The news that the so-called “black cab rapist” John Worboys is to be released after just under 10 years in jail has put the criminal justice system and the way it deals with rape cases under scrutiny.

Worboys was convicted of one count of rape, five of sexual assault, and 10 of drugging. However police believe as many as 100 women may have been assaulted by Worboys. 85 women contacted police after Worboys’ conviction but no further charges were brought against him.

Worboys was given an “imprisonment for public protection” sentence (IPP). IPPs were introduced in 2003 in order to put, and keep,

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