Solidarity 415, 7 September 2016

Organise to stop the purge!

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 14:09

Sacha Ismail

The Labour Party’s full-time office machine, much of it inherited from the Blair-Brown era, is running its own campaign to neutralise, indeed if possible to change, the Labour leadership contest.

Large numbers — no-one knows how many — have been summarily expelled or suspended in recent months, including Bakers’ Union general secretary Ronnie Draper. In addition, something like 100,000 members (again, no-one knows) have yet to get ballot papers or how-to-vote emails: this is explained as “administrative difficulties”. The full-time office machine did the same during the 2015 leadership

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 14:05

Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

Campaigners have targeted Sports Direct ahead of the Annual General Meeting of the company due to be held on 7 September.

The company AGM will consider a trade union sponsored resolution which calls for an independent investigation into the use of zero-hours contracts in Sports Direct. Campaigners protested at Sports Direct stores in Grimsby, Manchester, Liverpool, Eastbourne and south London on Saturday 3 September holding banners reading #SportsDirectShame and ″stand with migrant workers″.

On Tuesday 6 September it was announced by Sports Direct that they will be offering guaranteed hours

Doctors' strikes resume

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 13:59

Gerry Bates

Junior doctors are to strike on 5-7 October, 10-11 October, 14-18 November, and 5-9 December to stop the government imposing its new contract. The contract, says junior doctors’ committee chair Ellen McCourt, “discriminates against carers, parents, doctors with disabilities and women”; it “devalues our time” and undercuts the specialties with most difficulties. It is linked to the government’s drive for a so-called “seven-day NHS”, i.e. with routine as well as emergency activities at weekends.

Yet on 22 August the Guardian and Channel 4 News revealed leaked Department of Health documents in

For a national rail strike

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 13:53

Ollie Moore

Recent and ongoing disputes across several train companies represent the most significant levels of workers’ struggle in the railway industry for some time.


As Solidarity goes to press, guards in the RMT are preparing to strike again, on 7-8 September, to defend the safety-critical nature of their role, in a long-running dispute that has already seen several strikes.

They were due to be joined by station staff, who have separate dispute over attempts by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Southern’s parent company, to restructure their role by collapsing distinct station roles into a

Connolly and the Easter Rising

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 13:47

Michael Johnson

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

The date of the Rising was set for Easter Sunday. However, crisis struck the rebels’ plans when the arms shipment from Germany was intercepted. When the more moderate Volunteer leadership around Eoin McNeill became aware of the IRB’s plans, the orders for manoeuvres on Easter Sunday were called off at the eleventh hour, with an ad placed in the Sunday Independent just to make sure that the message was relayed.

McNeill’s actions were, to Tom Clarke, “the blackest

Bring back industrial correspondents

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 13:34

Daniel Randall

“It is that time again — when bickering between Tube bosses and union kingpins bring the London Underground to a juddering halt, and the streets of the city resemble a termite mound that has been poked with a big stick.”

So began a BBC online article, by Ed Davey, which promised readers the “facts to know” about strikes on London Underground in the summer of 2015. These facts included such things as: “New York’s subway has run all night since it opened... in 1904”, and “Tube drivers are happy and wealthy, statistics suggest”.

There was hardly even a pretence of impartiality, and almost no

Ernst Nolte and right-wing anti-Zionism

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 11:54

Micheál MacEoin

Right-wing German historian Ernst Nolte died on 18 August at the age of 93.

Nolte was born to a Catholic family in Witten, in western Germany, in 1923. He studied with phenomenologist philosopher and Nazi sympathiser Martin Heidegger, who would be a major influence. Nolte first came to prominence with his 1963 study Der Faschismus in seiner Epoche (Fascism in Its Epoch, which was translated into English two years later as The Three Faces of Fascism).

This work downgraded social or class-based explanations of fascism, in favour of an idealist and philosophical approach, in which ideas in the

Changing attitudes, changing the world

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 11:43

Peter Tatchell

The 1967 Sexual Offences Act (which partially decriminalised sex between men in private) was a very partial limited reform but nevertheless progress all the same. However, many Labour MPs opposed that legislation and as far as I know no trade unions supported it.

Many other social groups did support law reform in 1967, but no trade union, and even the Society of Socialist Lawyers took a hostile view. Socialist lawyers did begrudgingly accept that there should be some sort of decriminalisation but they also advocated increased policing and repression of the LGBT community to ensure that this

Tax the billionaires!

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 11:26


The EU, after a long investigation, found on 30 August that Apple has evaded $13 billion (£10 billion) in taxes. That’s just Apple. The EU has also ordered Starbucks to pay €30 million to the Netherlands, and is likely to order Amazon to pay €400 million to Luxemburg.

And then there’s Google. And all the other tax-dodging billionaire corporations and their tax-dodging billionaire owners. The worst-off households pay a bigger percentage of income in tax (including VAT and such) than the best-off. In 2011-2, the worst-off 20% were paying 36.6% in tax, the best-of 20% were paying 35.5%, and the

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