Solidarity 410, 29 June 2016

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Fri, 08/07/2016 - 14:21

Gerry Bates, Simon Nelson and Ollie Moore

On 7 July the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) called a one-hour world-wide strike, from 8 a.m. local time.

Under the slogan “Defend Dockers Rights,” the Global Day of Union Action was organised to call for: Improved health and safety in the workplace, an end to job deregulation, respect for bargaining rights and collective agreements, the need for universal labor standards in GNTs, the concerns over automation processes in terminals, and social justice.

IDC coordinator Jordi

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 15:47

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens and Daniel Randall

Workers at Southern struck again on 21 June in their dispute against “Driver Only Operation” (DOO). One of the strikers spoke to rank-and-file railworkers’ bulletin Off The Rails.

The strike is about keeping the role of the guard (conductor) on the train. People think conductors just sell tickets, but we have safety responsibilities. For example, when a train is in a platform, it’s up to us to close the doors and make sure people don’t get trapped. If I close the doors and give the driver the “tip” to go and the signal is red and the train moves, then the responsibility is on the guard.


Momentum debates anti-semitism

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 15:31

Sacha Ismail

There were 65 people at the Lewisham Momentum debate on anti-semitism, Israel-Palestine and the left on 20 June, including a fair smattering from outside Lewisham. I think the most positive thing about the meeting was that it took place.

Despite the world pushing this question on us quite dramatically, there is a distinct lack of genuine discussion about it. There have been relatively few meetings organised about it, and very few indeed – if any – which involve speakers from different points of view.

In the run up to the 20 June event, a number of people on opposite sides of the debate

Work, time, and the working class

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 15:07

Moishe Postone, a Marxist writer based at the University of Chicago and author of Time, Labour, and Social Domination, and Critique du fétiche-capital: Le capitalisme, l’antisémitisme et la gauche, was in London in May, and discussed capital and labour with Martin Thomas from Solidarity.

MT: Your book Time, Labour, and Social Domination proposes a Marxist theory focused on the critique of labour (as labour is defined in capitalist society), and you contrast that to a critique of capitalist society from the point of view of labour. Logically, therefore, you discuss chapter 15 of Capital, where

Why is Moazzam Begg speaking at Marxism?

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 14:38

Michael Elms

The Socialist Workers’ Party organise an annual festival, “Marxism”. Although somewhat reduced in size after the SWP split in 2013 over an alleged cover-up of sexual assault committed by a leading member, the Marxism festival is still one of the largest regular events of the UK far left.

Unfortunately, the event showcases everything that is wrong, un-Marxist, and self-defeating about the politics of much of the far left in the UK.

This year’s opening rally for Marxism festival is entitled “The fight against racism, austerity and war”. Some may baulk at being lectured on anti-racism by a

Students: new openings, new dangers

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 14:10

Michael Elms

The election of Malia Bouattia — the left candidate for President of the National Union of Students (NUS) — earlier this year has created opportunities for the student left. But also dangers. This article spells out those dangers.

For many years, politics in the NUS has been defined by a ruling Blairite right wing, which negotiates minor concessions from Vice Chancellors and government, while accepting defeat in advance on the big issues: fees, soaring rents, marketisation.

The main body of the soft left in the NUS leadership has tended to organise itself as a clique within various

Connolly and the Dublin lockout

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 14:03

Michael Johnson

Part eight of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.

While the Home Rule crisis raged in Ulster, the southern Irish labour movement was about to engage in a class battle of unprecedented militancy.

Connolly, along with Jim Larkin, would be at the centre of events during the 1913 Dublin Lock-Out. In the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War, Great Britain was convulsed by an unprecedented wave of syndicalist-inspired strike action known as the “Great Unrest”.

Dockers and railway workers took prolonged

Sanders: Primary is over, now the real work begins

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 13:55

Eric Lee

Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was the largest mobilisation of the American Left in history. He won more than twenty states and over ten million votes.

His vote total was more than triple that achieved by Ralph Nader in 2000, and five thousand times larger than the votes won by the last Socialist Party candidate for president back in 1956.

And he came incredibly close to defeating Hillary Clinton and capturing the Democratic nomination.

No one expected this kind of success, least of all Sanders himself. And yet certain factors such as the post-2008 economic crisis and the growing

Labour movement unity, not nationalist separatism!

Published on: Wed, 29/06/2016 - 13:46

Dale Street

Will there be another referendum on independence for Scotland after the EU referendum? That is now a central focus of mainstream political debate in Scotland. And that spells bad news for socialists and the broader Labour and trade union movement.

At a UK level the EU referendum saw a 51.9% majority in favour of “Leave” on a 72% turnout. In England 53.4% backed “Leave” on a 73% turnout. But in Scotland 62% backed “Remain” on a 67% turnout.

The day after the referendum former SNP leader Alex Salmond responded to the different voting patterns in England and Scotland by touring television

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