Solidarity 521, 16 October 2019

Make Labour stop Brexit!

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 11:23


Boris Johnson’s new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, declares her intention to end free movement “for once and for all”.

For once and for all! From now to eternity, she wants to see higher and higher barriers between peoples, more and more national rivalry and strife, more and more closed-mindedness and narrowness.

Labour can stop Johnson’s gang from getting away with it.

Boris Johnson is floundering in the Brexit swamp he made for himself. It will be a scandal if Labour, or Labour “Brexit” rebels, allow him to scramble out onto dry ground this week.

If he is allowed to pose as “The Man Who Won

Hong Kong: more repression, more defiance

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 11:18

Chen Ying

Hong Kong has witnessed a further week of protests in defiance of the passing of the emergency regulation to ban masks.

The Government’s attempts to split the radical activists away from the mainstream have so far failed, because once again they have totally underestimated people’s angry reaction to the use of emergency powers.

The use of such powers has touched on a raw nerve – the thin end of the wedge that is perceived by many as leading to curfews, the use of detention without trial and even the transporting of detainees across the border.

The government’s concerted efforts to accuse the

Solidarity with Yasmin Ricci-Yahav

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 11:13

Sacha Ismail

A week ago, on 7 October, 18 year-old Yasmin Ricci-Yahav visited a military induction centre in Israel and declared for the third time her refusal to serve in the Israeli army.

We will let Yasmin speak for herself: “To date I have spent 30 days in military prison, and I expect to be sentenced for a third prison term…

“I continue to refuse to enlist in protest of the IDF’s role in the occupation and with the hope that my choice will contribute to a more open and honest conversation surrounding alternatives regarding Israel’s future”.

Over the decades thousands of Jewish-background Israelis have

GRA reforms face delays

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 11:02

Misha Zubrowski

Crucial reforms to facilitate basic trans rights have been kicked into the long grass by the Conservatives.

Amendments to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) would have simplified the process for trans people to legally change gender. The current process is long, difficult, expensive, degrading, and excessively medicalised.

Transphobic attacks — almost half of which were physically violent — have trebled in the last half-a-decade. The amendments would not stop these, but are a necessary part of unambiguously standing up for trans rights. Trans people also face horrifically high rates of mental

Don’t water down “Green New Deal”

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:54

Misha Zubrowski

Labour’s leadership has announced pledges to build 37 new wind farms, quintupling UK’s wind capacity and creating 70,000 jobs.

• to ban sale of new non-electric cars by 2030
• to invest billions in the technology and production of electric cars, hastening the transition with a 30,000-strong community of car clubs
• to delist from the Stock Exchange companies that fail to meet environmental criteria.

Environmentalists need to fight for Labour to win in an impending general election, and to implement these policies if they win. To step up to the scale of the needed transformation, we must

Turkey: the poverty of “anti-imperialism”

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:48

Jim Denham

In a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson leading figures from 13 UK unions have urged the UK government to condemn outright the Turkish aggression against the Kurds, triggered by Trump’s precipitate decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria.

They describe Trump’s move as “a green-light to a Turkish military invasion of North and East Syria, which, as we have already seen in Afrin, will undoubtedly lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kurds as well as a resurgence of ISIS.

“We therefore call on the UK government to immediately condemn Turkey’s threats of invasion and to work with


Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:39

Kelly Rogers’ interview on the Labour conference in Solidarity 520, and article in 519, sketches an impressive intervention, replete with important lessons.

One is that sticking resolutely to our politics, not selling out on the hope of a favourable compromise, can “work”, as well as being more principled. Another is that even an — unfortunately — tiny group of revolutionaries within a much larger, reformist, Labour party can have influence well beyond its size. That is, if you have clear, bold political ideas, and good, open organising.

I want to add two points.

First, the division of the

Green triumph in power generation? Not really

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:34

Misha Zubrowski

A report by Carbon Brief on Monday 14 October headlines that “UK renewables generate more electricity than fossil fuels for first time” — an exciting prospect. Digging deeper, the picture is more complex.

The report concerns the third quarter of 2019, and it shows “renewables” a hairline over fossil fuels in generation, each contributing roughly two fifths, and nuclear the final fifth.

But generation is not the same as consumption. The UK is a net importer of electricity, with fossil fuels providing a greater share in the imports.

And counted in the renewables is biomass, which is not “low

Smear campaign against McDonnell

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:27

Keith Road and Sacha Ismail

The Skwawkbox, a blog that frequently voices the opinions of the Labour leader’s most senior office staff, has started an attack on John McDonnell.

The start seems to have been a now-deleted post which included the entire letter of resignation from the Leader’s Office of Andrew Fisher, a former worker in McDonnell’s MP’s office.

The charge against McDonnell is that he is now attempting a coup, alongside the Labour right or so-called “centrists”, against Corbyn.

Fisher, in resigning, seemed obliquely to suggest hostility to the “four Ms” — Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Andrew Murray and Len

Getting organised on campus

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:20

Maisie Sanders

Workers’ Liberty students have been at Freshers’ Fairs across the country this month.

At many we met students involved in the Hong Kong protests with whom we will be organising campus meetings to discuss the democracy movement and organise solidarity actions.

Lots of new students were impressed with the role we played in passing policy in support of free movement and migrants’ rights at Labour conference. Lots wanted to check we were against Brexit before signing up.

We are organising weekly public meetings, reading groups and paper sales at Greenwich, Birkbeck, UCL, Cambridge, Sheffield and

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