Solidarity 405, 18 May 2016

Tories threaten human rights

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 13:11
Author

Colin Foster

The Queen’s Speech — the government’s announcement of its plans for new laws — on 18 May is likely to include the Tories’ implementation of their Education White Paper and replacing the Human Rights Act.

The Tories stated their thinking on the Human Rights Act as far back as 2005: “to liberate the nation from the... politically correct regime ushered in by Labour’s enthusiastic adoption of human rights legislation”. The Human Rights Act, legislated in 1998 by the Labour government, wrote the European Convention on Human Rights into British law. It enabled people to bring cases citing that

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 13:04
Author

Kelly Rogers, Dale Street, Darren Bedford, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

On Saturday 14 May the BMA held a junior doctors′ conference, followed by a meeting of the junior doctors′ committee on the next day. It was hoped that these meetings would have heard the outcome of renewed negotiations held between the government and the BMA between 9-13 May. However a last minute agreement (brokered by Brendan Barber of all people!) to extend the talks for another week meant that junior doctors did not get a chance to give judgement on any proposed deal.

An announcement from the negotiations is expected on Wednesday 18 May; at the moment it is impossible to tell what the

FBU conference votes to remain in EU

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 12:51
Author

Jack Horner

FBU conference in Blackpool last week witnessed sharp debate over the European Union, with delegates eventually voting for a remain vote after much wrangling.

FBU’s executive council proposed a statement to the conference calling for a vote to remain. This argued that the consequences of leaving would be detrimental to firefighters: the working time directive is built into firefighters’ national pay and conditions, while retained firefighters have won gains as part-time workers in the EU, such as pensions, sick leave, holiday pay and other leave.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said it was

Give power back to the members

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 12:46

Rhea Wolfson, who has replaced Ken Livingstone on the Centre-left Alliance slate for Labour’s National Executive (NEC), spoke to Solidarity.


I think the campaign is now going very well. It started off with an unexpected torrent of abuse from fascists, which was very difficult emotionally, for me and my family. But that has calmed down, and we have seen huge amounts of support from my union, which helped. But apart from that and an attempted smear of me as someone not interested in winning elections, it has gone well.

I’m coming to the game late. I don’t have as many CLP nominations as most

James Connolly, Irish nationalism and the socialist republic

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 12:26
Author

Michael Johnson

Building on the ideas of John Leslie (of the Social Democratic Federation) in his 1897 pamphlet Erin’s Hope, Connolly claimed that the essence of the national question in Ireland was a battle over “fundamentally different ideas on the vital question of property in land”. Between, on the one hand, a supposed Irish “primitive communism” and, on the other, an “alien social system” of private ownership.

Drawing on the contemporary anthropological works of Lewis Morgan, which had also influenced Friedrich Engels, Connolly argued that a form of “primitive communism” had survived in Ireland much

Removing barriers for autistic workers

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 12:09
Author

Cathy Nugent

Cathy Nugent reviews Autism Equality in the Workplace: Removing barriers and challenging discrimination by Janine Booth.
Available to buy online here.


This is not a book of advice for autistic people on how to adapt to work or how to socialise with colleagues. There are other books and resource that do that.

This is a book, based on many interviews with people with autism, as well as the author’s own experiences, which says employers should remove barriers that autistic people face at work. As Janine argues, “if we wait for employers to make their workplaces autism friendly voluntarily we

The attacks on disabled people are not over

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 11:57
Author

Paula Peters, Disabled People Against Cuts (personal capacity)

The government may have backed down over cuts to Personal Independence Payments [PIP, non-means tested benefit], but the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Stephen Crabb, has already said more cuts are in the pipeline.

There are now attacks on the rights and living conditions of disabled people from almost every direction:

• The cuts in benefit for new claimants on Employment Support Allowance (ESA), who are in the work-related activity group (WRAG) will be going ahead. This will be a £30 a week cut. From April 2017 nearly 500,000 will be hit by the ESA-WRAG cut. People who are

What is German Bolshevism?

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 11:41
Author

Rosa Luxemburg

The revolution that has just begun can have but one outcome: the realisation of socialism!

The working class, in order to accomplish its purpose, must, first of all, secure entire political control of the state. But to the socialist, political power is only a means to an end. It is the instrument with which labour will achieve the complete, fundamental reconstruction of our entire industrial system.

Today all wealth, the largest and most fruitful tracts of land, the mines, the mills and the factories belong to a small group of Junkers and private capitalists. From them the great masses of

Can socialism make sense?

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 11:31
Author

Paul Hampton

This is a review of the new book by Workers' Liberty Can socialism make sense?

The last period has been tough for the working class, arduous for the labour movement and a nightmare for socialists. We’ve had decades of accelerated capitalist globalisation, the US hyper-power bestriding the world and the mass belief in markets as the regulator of all social affairs. But the tremendous mystique world capitalism built in the two decades after the collapse of Russian and European Stalinism fractured during the economic crisis of 2008 and its aftershocks.

The need for socialism has never been

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