Solidarity 401, 20 April 2016

“Now is the time for student unions to be what the government is afraid of”

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 14:00

Sahaya James, a student at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, part-time member of the National Union of Students national executive, and the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts candidate for NUS Vice President Union Development, spoke to Solidarity.

How do you think NUS has done over the last year, since more left-wing NUS officers were elected?

The apparatus of NUS is still tightly controlled by the right, and they have put obstacles in the way of more left-wing officers. NEC right wingers have also continued to act as if they’re a majority, ignoring democratic decisions. At the

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 13:53

Will Stevens, Ruth Cashman, Ollie Moore, Simon Nelson and Cath Fletcher

Thursday 14 April was the third annual #FastFoodGlobal day Of action. Workers in fast food, coffee shops and cafes across the world took part in rallies, stunts, marches and other creative actions for higher pay, better conditions and the right of unions to organise.

The Fast Food Rights blog reports that actions took place in over 40 countries, including France, Japan, Argentina, and the UK, with fast food strikes happening in 300 cities across the US. At many protests workers carried signs in different languages, with strikers in the US organising solidarity pictures with French fast food

Momentum and the EU referendum

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 13:04

Sacha Ismail

With the EU referendum hanging in the balance, the position taken by Momentum could conceivably be important for the result.

Certainly, with the left nationalist “out” camp getting more organised, it will be important for the political health of the left. Of course the Labour left has traditionally favoured Britain leaving the EU: Workers’ Liberty and its predecessor organisations have always swum against the stream on this. Three factors have broken down that stance: the obvious realities of the referendum, the position taken by Jeremy Corbyn (particularly now after his left-wing 14 April

Small target, poor aim

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 12:59

According to the Guardian, the official Labour “in” campaign for the 23 June EU referendum has a budget of £75,000.

To us in the Solidarity office that seems a lot, but in Westminster politics it is twopence. Each individual London MP gets £26,000 a year for office rent and bills, £147,000 for staff wages, plus travel and other expenses, on top of their £74,000 salary. So the Labour “in” campaign has no website of its own, no widely-circulated leaflets and little else besides a tepid Twitter account. It did tweet the letter to the Guardian on 18 April by John McDonnell and other leftish MPs

Singing for the underdog

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 12:43

Gerry Bates

The country and western singer Merle Haggard, who has died, is best known for The Fighting Side of Me, a song in which he expressed the feelings of American patriots against the Americans who opposed US involvement in Vietnam:

I hear people talkin’ bad
About the way we have to live here in this
An’ gripin’ ‘bout the way things oughta be...
An’ I don’t mind ‘em switchin’ sides
An’ standin’ up for things they believe in...
When you’re runnin’ down my country, man
You’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

Thus he expressed the feelings of most US workers at the time in face of what was

The rage of the refugee

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 12:25

Phil Grimm

In the opening scene of Dheepan, beaten soldiers of the Tamil Tigers are burning their war dead. They have been brutally defeated by state forces in the Sri Lankan civil war. As the funeral pyre burns in the jungle clearing, one man quietly changes out of his uniform and into tattered civilian clothes. He has had enough of the killing; it’s time to get out.

The film tells the story of three Tamil refugees. The former soldier meets up with two total strangers at a camp — a woman and a young girl. They have all lost their families in the war, and agree to pretend to be a family themselves in

The press, regulation, and personal privacy

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 12:19

Matt Cooper

Workers’ Liberty draws on and stands in a long tradition of the left standing up for the freedom of the press and free speech.

We believe the attacks the Guardian and its journalists faced over the publication of Edward Snowden’s revelations showed the unequal battle the press often faces when pitted against state power. Much of the privately-owned media has abandoned serious reporting and analysis of the news.

At the same time, there is increasing pressure from within civil society, including from sections of the left, to censor anything that might give offence. We have opposed that

Fight for freedom of protest, organisation and speech on campuses

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 12:01

This is a draft statement put together by activists who are looking to set up a campaign around free speech and the right to organise on university and college campuses. Get in touch if you’re interested or to tell us what you think. Email Monty Shield, Queen Mary University of London left activist.

“Freedom is always freedom for those who dissent. The essence of political freedom depends on all the invigorating, beneficial, and cleansing effects of dissenters.” – Rosa Luxemburg

This campaign will fight to defend and extend free speech and the right to organise on campus, which are

What’s bad for capitalists may not be not good for us

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2016 - 11:53

Dan Katz

Solidarity has not been slow to ridicule the SWP and Socialist Party and their daft position to campaign with the right-wing of the Tory Party and UKIP for a vote to leave the EU. Imagine their members in a union meeting, putting their position. Their “left” words against the “EU capitalist project” will give cover to the most backward and xenophobic views in the labour movement. Anyone who wants tighter immigration rules or who is prejudiced against Eastern Europeans will be supporting this position.

The leaflet of the left leave campaign (#Lexit), in which the SWP are involved, complains

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