Solidarity 395, 24 February 2016

Trident: take the fight into unions and Labour


Gerry Bates

On Saturday 27 February, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be among the speakers at the demonstration calling Britain's Trident nuclear weapon system to be scrapped and not replaced.

This demonstration should be the biggest nuclear disarmament protest for many years. The Tory government will try to get a definite decision through Parliament this year to start construction of the hugely expensive Trident replacement programme. But the Labour Party now has a leader, and hundreds of thousands of new members, committed to nuclear disarmament.

How do we build a mass movement? Build real local Young Labour groups!

Rida Vaquas, West Midlands rep on the newly elected Young Labour national committee, spoke to Solidarity in the run-up to the Young Labour conference on 27-28 February.

We shouldn’t understate the victory of the left slate. Previously we had a minority of regional representatives who regularly organised with the left. We now have won every position.

"Scrap the Compliance Unit", says John McDonnell

“I’d like to scrap the Compliance Unit completely”, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told a 300-strong Momentum meeting in Barnet on 22 February, “and I want people automatically accepted into membership when they first join”.

He wants a fair and democratic process for membership disputes, and he’s right. Two weeks ago it looked as if expulsions by an unelected body with no place in the rulebook, the Compliance Unit, had come to an end, with none since November.

Industrial news in brief


Ruth Cashman, Lambeth Unison (personal capacity), Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

As the returning officer report about the Unison general secretary election is published, more leaks have shown the level of corruption inside Unison.

Prentis was re-elected general secretary of Unison on a tiny turn-out of 9.8%, an incredibly diminished vote, and with allegations of union staff campaigning for him against the rules of the union. A report by the returning officer report was due out on 10 January, but was published five weeks late.

The patriotic traitor


Eric Lee

The title of Jonathan Lynn’s new play The Patriotic Traitor could refer to either of the play’s two protagonists.

One, Marshall Philippe Pétain, betrayed France to the Germans in 1940, while believing all the time that he was doing so in order to save the country. The other, his disciple and close friend Charles de Gaulle, was branded a traitor by the Vichy regime and sentenced to death when he fled the country for exile, to take on leadership of the Free French forces.

On est tous des sauvages?


Daniel Randall

The Italian futurist Filippo Marinetti, who, like many of his contemporaries, became a fascist, wrote that “any work of art that lacks a sense of aggression can never be a masterpiece.”

Returning to the sources


Andrew Coates

Andrew Coates reviews The Two Trotskyisms confront Stalinism, edited by Sean Matgamna. Part one of the review was printed in Solidarity 394.

The debates in this volume are about the armed foreign policy of the USSR. But behind this is the issue of the nature of that regime.

Yes to Europe. Yes to socialism!



David Cameron’s negotiations with the EU and the 23 June referendum were designed to woo UKIP voters back to the Conservative Party. However the concessions he has won are relatively minor; instead he has infuriated large numbers of Tory MPs and deepened the division in his own party.

As the Financial Times put it: “Eurosceptics would have preferred the prime minister to be ‘battling hard’ over the repatriation of EU employment law, scrapping the Common Agricultural Policy or asserting British supremacy over EU law, not child benefit payments for Polish plasterers.”

The metamorphosis of Andrew Gilligan


David Osland

Andrew Gilligan, it should not be forgotten, once saw better days. Thirteen years ago, the BBC reporter’s role in making clear that the Blair administration purposely sexed up the first of the two dossiers advanced in fraudulent justification for the invasion of Iraq should rightly have won him every journalistic prize going, not to mention the plaudits of the entire left.

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