Solidarity 392, 3 February 2016

Support junior doctors

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 12:49

Junior doctors will be striking on Wednesday 10 February after talks between the British Medical Association (BMA), the government and NHS employers at ACAS broke down on Monday 1 February.

The government has made it very clear that it is looking for a show-down with the BMA, and it seems very little progress was made in negotiations. The BMA says that the consideration of Saturday as a normal working-day is a sticking point. Given that talks have broken down it is likely that the government will now stop negotiations about the contract and start trying to impose the contract without an

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 12:37
Author

Patrick Murphy, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Teachers at Small Heath School in Birmingham have won significant successes in their campaign against academy status and in defence of the suspended NUT rep, Simon O’Hara. In fact they appear to have defeated the academy proposal entirely and can now focus on lifting Simon’s suspension.

On 28 January school unions the NUT, ATL and NASUWT received a letter from Birmingham City council informing them that the proposed academy sponsor, The King Edward Foundation “has confirmed in writing …that the Foundation is not in a position to take on sponsorship of Small Heath School”. The letter went on

Tottenham CLP backs victimised councillor

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 12:24
Author

Michéal MacEoin

A long-serving Tottenham Labour councillor has had the whip withdrawn for three months after speaking out against cuts to adult care services.

As a result of the budget of £70m cuts over three years passed by Labour-run Haringey Council in 2014, the Haringey cabinet meeting on 10 November 2015 voted to close day centres for adults with dementia and disabilities. Birkbeck Road Day Centre in Hornsey, Always Day Centre near Muswell Hill, the Roundway Centre, the Grange Day Centre and the Haven Day Centre are all set to close.

At the meeting, Tottenham councillor Gideon Bull was reported to have

Yesterday’s Guillaume Conqueror, today’s migrants?

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 12:17
Author

Daniel Randall

The Wake is an extraordinary literary undertaking, rooting its narrative in early medieval England by writing in what its author, Paul Kingsnorth, calls a “shadow tongue”: a pastiche of Old English based on its grammar and syntax but comprehensible to modern English speakers.

It draws on recognisable tropes of post-apocalyptic fiction to tell a story of Saxons in 1067, the immediate aftermath of the Norman conquest, a suddenly scattered people scrabbling around in the ashes of a world that has been razed to the ground. The book is skillfully written. Although he has clearly done vast

The life and politics of Red Rosa

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 12:00
Author

Gemma Short

“I have no special place in my heart for the ghetto. I feel at home wherever there are clouds and birds and human tears.”

In her graphic biography of Rosa Luxemburg, Kate Evans skillfully portrays not only the woman of great intellect and fighting spirit, but one of great emotion. Heavily drawing on Luxemburg’s letters as source material, Evans gives us insight into the personal thoughts and struggles that lay behind Rosa Luxemburg′s theories, books and speeches.

Yet Evans does not leave the politics out; it is carefully woven into the biographical content. We see the evolution of Luxemburg

Carl Hornsey, 1977-2015

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 11:57
Author

Camila Bassi

I knew Carl during our student activist days. I can still recollect our intense political conversation in a noisy upstairs room of a London pub that led to him joining the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty in 1997, of which he was a member for around two to three years.

His politics remained firmly on the left throughout his life. He would later define as a social democrat. He vehemently opposed religion and US hegemony, and he thought deeply about capitalism, alienation, and the struggle to live an enriched life in a society laden with oppression. Carl was an internationalist who valued his

Ranting, Rhyming, Revolting

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 11:52
Author

Richard Driver

At the launch of Janine’s new book she reassured those worried about it not containing enough hating of Tories that their concerns were unfounded. And I want to reassure readers that the polemical potency of the poetry is not poorly presented.

Janine’s on-stage delivery is what first made her poetry for me. A lot of her poems use repetition, or rhyming structures that make them fun to listen to, often building up to a joke at the end. Poems like ‘Being normal’, ‘Beach body’ and ‘Once upon a Tory time’ stand in a tradition of poking fun at authority and social norms. They’re popular with

Les Forster, 1919-2016

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 11:32
Author

Ann Field

The veteran Glasgow socialist Les Forster died last week, aged 96. Forster was the last survivor of a generation of socialist activists in the West of Scotland who broke with the Communist Party in the early 1950s and struck out to build a non-Stalinist and anti-Stalinist socialist tradition.

That generation — which included Harry McShane and the lesser known (outside of Glasgow) Hugh Savage and Ned Donaldson — was a “bridge” between Glasgow’s “Red Clydeside” political traditions of the 1920s and 1930s and the New Left of the 1950s and 1960s. Born in Maryhill in the north of Glasgow in 1920,

“Unite the workers and bury the religious hatreds”

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 11:24
Author

Michael Johnson

At Workers’ Liberty 2015 summer school, Ideas For Freedom, Michael Johnson summarised on the history of the far left in Northern Ireland. Here we publish his presentation. Marc Mulholland’s speech in the same session was published in Solidarity 386.


There are two main approaches that Trotskyists have taken to Ireland since partition in 1921. Both approaches are wrong in different ways. The main problem with both of them is that they ignore the democratic programme to overcome an unresolved national problem which is dividing the working-class movement in Ireland.

The first approach I want

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