Solidarity 442, 21 June 2017

Finsbury Park attack: defend Muslim communities

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 13:44

Keith Road

We condemn the murderous attack on people outside the Muslim Welfare Centre in Finsbury Park, London, on 19 June.

As it is Ramadan, worshippers had just finished their prayers after breaking the daily fast. One man was killed and nine people were taken to hospital.

We do not yet know the details. It seems the killer, Darren Osborne, had no direct links to the far right, but that picture may change. The government and press are calling it an act of terrorism. It is certainly a hate crime; an extreme example of the racism — harassment and violence — suffered by many UK Muslim communities all

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 13:30

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

On 16 June over 100 people attended a short-notice demonstration called at Brixton’s Ritzy cinema, in protest at the sacking of three trade union reps. Three reps for the Bectu union at the Ritzy were sacked for failing to report to management the contents of an email sent from a Bectu branch email address to members’ private emails, which mentioned actions that community supporters of cinema workers’ strikes planned to undertake. One other rep remains suspended and awaiting disciplinary.

The implication is chillingly feudal: that workers should be compelled to report everything to their

Labour to blame in Scotland?

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 12:50

Scottish Labour and/or its leader Kezia Dugdale bear the blame for the re-election of a Tory government on 8 June. That’s the line currently being systematically promoted by cybernats. And it’s not confined to the fringe elements of cybernattery.

SNP MP Angus McNeil and SNP MSP and Scottish Government minister Mike Russell have both tweeted about how Scottish Labour supposedly backed a vote for Tory candidates in the general election. The cybernat argument runs as follows: • If the Tories had not won 12 new seats in Scotland, then Tory MPs plus DUP MPs would be a minority in Westminster. •

How the far right are gaining influence

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:59

Simon Nelson

The British far right will find themselves under media and political scrutiny after the Finsbury Park terror attack. This will bring to more light the fact that, though relatively small in numbers, they are, sadly, growing in influence.

Compared to their peak of 2010-11, street fighting groups like the EDL are comparatively weak. Their recent 1,000 strong Manchester demonstration should however remind anti-fascists that when mobilising around an issue like the Manchester bombing they can still turn out large numbers. The far right’s involvement in electoral politics has been all but wiped out

Why we need explicit socialist organisation

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:50

Martin Thomas

The assessment by Ben Selwyn, an English correspondent for the Canadian socialist e-letter The Bullet, is typical: Labour’s great mobilisation on 8 June “placed socialist ideas firmly back on the political agenda... let the proverbial genie of class politics out of the bottle”. Even conservative commentators interpret the Grenfell Tower fire as showing how working-class people are abused in an unequal society. The word “socialism” comes up more in workplace discussions.

Paradoxically, Labour’s 8 June manifesto nowhere uses the words “socialism”, or “socialist”, or equivalents. It nowhere uses

Grenfell: Capitalism kills

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:35

Gemma Short

Around 1am on Wednesday 13 June a fire tore through 24-storey Grenfell Tower in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, killing a currently unknown number of people. Firefighters have told people the number will be in triple figures.

Many hundreds of people have had family members, friends, neighbours, and homes taken from them. Survivors and local residents are angry. ″This symbolises the divide between rich and poor in this area″. ″They don′t care″. ″They put human beings in pigeon holes. Just because you can′t afford anything doesn′t mean you should be dumped in somewhere like that″.

How to go forward from 8 June

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:12


The 8 June election result has re-energised Labour’s activist base and helped put basic working-class demands back on the agenda. The increase in turnout among young voters, and the huge Labour lead among young voters, signal a major shift in British politics. All of this opens up a new period of Labour revival and recomposition.

That gives us many opportunity to argue for socialist ideas among people attracted to the Labour Party, and to work to rebuild the labour movement. At least 25,000 people have joined Labour since the election. It is reasonable to assume that a majority of these new

The curious incident of the left that didn’t bark

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:07

Colin Foster

Instructing a stolid and unimaginative official detective, Sherlock Holmes drew his attention to “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. His stooge, or feed, responded: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

The curious incident of the left in the Corbyn time is something like that. Not that the left has done nothing. But so many groups on the left have failed to do so many things. Almost all have failed to get involved, or to try to get involved, in the reviving local Labour Parties, or in the efforts to build a live Young Labour

Trump freezes US-Cuba relations

Published on: Wed, 21/06/2017 - 10:59

Cathy Nugent

Donald Trump has introduced new restrictions on travel to Cuba and on US companies trading with Cuban businesses owned by the state’s military and intelligence services (which includes most of the tourist sector). Trump has revised, but not as he originally threatened reversed Obama’s policy on Cuba.

At the end of 2014 Obama reopened diplomatic relations with the island’s government, a one-party dictatorship overseen by Raul Castro. This began a period of “normalisation”, largely ending the economic blockade. Although a ban on US tourism remained in place, US tourists were able to get around

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