Solidarity 419, 12 October 2016

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 14:26

Gemma Short, Ollie Moore,Simon Nelson and Peggy Carter

Workers at the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema in Brixton struck on Friday 7 October, and will strike again on Saturday 15 October. The Ritzy cinema was completely shut down by the strike, and films due to be shown as part of the London Film Festival moved to other venues.

Workers picketed the Ritzy after they walked out at 1pm, they then protested outside the BFI South Bank cinema (the BFI gives large grants to Picturehouse cinemas and Picturehouses in London are part of the London Film Festival going on at the moment), before proceeding to Leicester Square to protest outside a London Film

Corbyn under fire

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 14:14

Martin Thomas

Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from both right and left for speaking at a “Stand Up to Racism” conference on 8 October.

The complaint is that the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) plays a big part in SUTR. Its co-convenor is Weyman Bennett, a central committee member of the SWP. For the right-wingers, this is bad because the SWP is a far-left group critical of Labour.

For the left-wingers, this is bad because of the taint of the “Comrade Delta” scandal of 2010-3, when the SWP office covered up and then dealt bureaucratically with charges of sexual assault and rape by an SWP leader.

We have

End the silence on Russia

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 14:10

Simon Nelson

A group of Syrian solidarity activists disrupted a speech by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at Stop the War’s Conference on 8 October.

They wanted to highlight the ongoing and murderous bombing of Aleppo by Russian forces and the continuing crimes of the Assad regime. Disgracefully, they were removed by the Stop the War organisers as a chant of “No more war” by the audience was used to drown them out. Whilst we do not share the optimism of some of the Syria solidarity activists for the prospects and dominant politics of the Syrian opposition, we fully support their protest in exposing the

The world of neoliberalism, three years on

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 13:56

Colin Foster

Three years ago, we surveyed “the world of neoliberalism” as it had emerged from the 2008 financial crash and the acute phase in 2010-12 of the eurozone government-debt crisis.

Many patterns have continued since 2013. Overall economic growth has been slow by historical standards, even slower by comparison with the rates expected in recovery from a big slump. Of the global growth, the bulk, 63% in 2015-6, has been in China and India, and the Chinese growth figures are dubious.

Output per worker-hour in the USA has stagnated, rising at only 0.4% a year between late 2010 and 2016. Real median

The puzzle of the 20th century

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 13:48

Martin Thomas

For anyone who denies that capitalism is the end of history, Stalinism is the great theoretical puzzle of the 20th century.

As Marcel van der Linden notes in his heroically erudite survey — the English edition is revised and expanded from earlier Dutch and German editions — attempts to solve the puzzle have been almost exclusively from the radical left, and mostly from in and about the Trotskyist archipelago. As the historian E P Thompson, in his day, sought to “rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the ‘obsolete’ hand-loom weaver, the ‘utopian’ artisan, and even the deluded

"A clear break with the old politics": interview with Peter Frase of Jacobin

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 12:51

Peter Frase of the US socialist magazine Jacobin visited the UK from 23 September to 7 October and took part in a tour of Momentum groups and student Labour Clubs to speak about his book Four Futures: Life After Capitalism. He spoke to Martin Thomas and Sacha Ismail.

What did you think of the tour?

It was interesting to go to so many different places and see a movement which is struggling with the same sort of issues that US socialists are wrestling with after the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The difference, of course, is that here you have the Labour Party already as a framework.


Becoming a “Trot”

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 12:35

Simon Nelson

When I was little my Dad would tell me stories with monsters he called “Lamonts” and do an impression of Douglas Hurd’s voice. I didn’t know who Norman Lamont or Douglas Hurd were, but I knew my Dad thought they were stupid or bad. That was my first introduction to politics.

We discussed politics as a family and I was always keen to find out more. I remember the 2001 election and seeing Socialist Alliance leaflets being handed out somewhere, but I was most interested in environmental initiatives — recycling, protecting endangered species and saving the rainforest. My dad told me that

Brexit: Tories’ difficulties are our opportunities

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 12:28


Jeremy Corbyn has defended freedom of movement for workers between the EU and Britain even after the Brexit vote. Sections of the Labour Party machine, and even of the Labour left, are however pushing a different line.

While the Tories were still on their soon-to-be-abandoned plan to compel employers to list non-British workers, the Labour Party press office responded only by complaining that the Tories have not stuck to their 2010 manifesto promise to reduce net immigration to “tens of thousands a year”. (It is currently 336,000, only 0.5% of population, per year). Then newly-appointed

Morning Star witch-hunts “Zionists” and Trotskyists

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 12:18

Sacha Ismail

The Communist Party of Britain newspaper Morning Star used the controversy in Momentum about Jackie Walker to launch an attack against the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

The CP implausibly called the decision to remove Jackie Walker as Vice Chair of Momentum a witch-hunt — she remains on the National Momentum Steering Committee which originally appointed her as its Vice Chair — while simultaneously trying to boost the actual witch-hunt by the Labour Party bureaucracy against us: “The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, which has renounced its status as a political party in order to facilitate its

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