Solidarity 386, 2 December 2015

Junior doctors: battle is not over

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 12:39

Gemma Short

A strike by junior doctors planned for Tuesday 1 December was called off at the last minute when the British Medical Association (BMA), NHS bosses and Department for Health ministers came to an agreement at the end of talks.

New contracts for junior doctors will not now be imposed and negotiations will be reopened. Crucially, the danger of the BMA needing to reballot if new negotiations are not satisfactory has been averted.

The agreement allows the BMA to take action up to 13 January using their current ballot mandate. NHS bosses and government ministers have effectively agreed to ignore

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 12:20

Gemma Short, Ollie Moore, Ben Tausz, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Lancashire County Council is on the verge of making sweeping cuts.

The cuts include over 2,500 job losses (compulsory and voluntary). Around 40 of the 75 libraries in Lancashire will close, as will 5 out of the 10 council run museums, all subsidised bus routes, and numerous other front line services will be cut.

Since 2008 local Lancashire services have been repeatedly cut. Between January 2014 and October 2015 1,100 jobs have gone. In February cuts of £152 million over three years were announced. In November the council revised up the level of cuts as the Tory government announced the

Feminism is for sex workers too!

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 11:58

Kelly Rogers

London’s annual radical feminist-led demonstration against sexual and domestic violence, Reclaim the Night, which took place in London on 28 November, is under fire for its sex worker-exclusive approach to feminism.

Reclaim the Night have a long history of making sex workers who continue to work in the industry and sex worker blocs very unwelcome. This year, the coalition which organised London RTN publicly condemned Amnesty International’s decision to support the full decriminalisation of all aspects of prostitution.

They argue that prostitution is a form of violence against women and call

Our weapon? Human connection

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 11:51

Daisy Thomas

In the age old tale of good versus evil, the final instalment of The Hunger Games trilogy (Mockingjay, part two) doesn’t disappoint. This story is rife with revolution and revolt, power returning to the previously powerless, the oppressed rising up against their cruel oppressors, and the uniting and restorative power of hope.

These are familiar tales and themes from our history books, our fairy tales, from our current events. What distinguishes this film and makes it so damn compelling is the representation of the uprising.

What some may call a “slow burn” actually makes for a plausible

Equality makes us live longer

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 11:45

Les Hearn

Someone (possibly Stalin) once said “When one man dies, it’s a tragedy. When a million die, it’s a statistic.” But, to Professor Sir Michael Marmot, a million deaths is not just a statistic.

A million people have died prematurely in just the last five years in Britain, according to the renowned epidemiologist Michael Marmot, author of The Health Gap, who has spent a lifetime trying to counteract such cynicism. For him, the deaths of millions worldwide from same cause, inequality, are millions of tragedies which could and should be prevented.

Marmot was a medical student in the 60s when he

The far left in Northern Ireland

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 11:31

Marc Mulholland

Marc Mulholland is a historian working at Oxford University, and the author of books including “Northern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction”. He spoke at the Workers’ Liberty 2015 summer school, Ideas For Freedom, on the history of the far left in Northern Ireland.

Trotskyism in the early 1960s in Northern Ireland is interesting and unusual, in that it was most prominent amongst the Protestant working-class.

The Socialist Labour League, which became the WRP, got together a group of people around Jackie Vance, who came from working-class East Belfast. They had a group in the Draughtsman and

Time to discuss the R-word

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 11:14

Dave Osland

For the past three months, the very word “reselection” has been unmentionable in Labour left circles, for fear that even talking about it would represent an unwarranted provocation of the Labour right.

But as recent events clearly underline, it’s time to break the taboo. At the very least, Corbyn supporters now have to — how can I put this gently? — engage in measured debate on how we approach the next round of trigger ballots for sitting MPs.

Jeremy famously won’t push the nuke button, but do we want to drop the D-bomb? And if we do, how should we best go about it?

I am, of course, going

The mass psychology of Islamo-fascism

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 11:04

Eric Lee

This is a regular guest column by Eric Lee of LabourStart.

There can be little doubt that the murderous ideology of Islamic State is a form of fascism. In discussing how the left should react to it, it is therefore necessary to return to our sources, to learn how earlier generations of socialists understood — and fought — fascism.

In that fight, Trotsky was of course an inspiring and authoritative figure. As opposed to the Stalinists, who saw no difference between the Nazis and the Social Democrats (and indeed sometimes preferred the Nazis), Trotsky understood fascism to be a mortal danger

Stop the Labour purge!

Published on: Wed, 02/12/2015 - 10:55

Since the last issue of Solidarity, there have been a number of successes for the campaign to stop the witch-hunt against the left in the Labour Party.

Andrew Fisher, Jeremy Corbyn’s chief policy adviser, has been reinstated to membership after a month of suspension. Two socialists expelled from the Labour Party, Liam Cooper in Lambeth and Gerry Downing in Brent, have been reinstated follow appeals and protests locally.

One of the six comrades expelled because of their association with Workers’ Liberty has received confirmation that they will have an appeal hearing. The other comrades are

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