Solidarity 443, 30 June 2017

Hillsborough: police to be prosecuted at last

Last year, an inquest jury found that David Duckenfield was guilty of “manslaughter by gross negligence” Duckenfield was the police officer in charge of policing the fateful football match at Hillsborough, the ground of Sheffield Wednesday, in 1989. 96 people were crushed to death, and 400 others injured in an overcrowded pen. Now the Crown Prosecution Service has decided to charge Duckenfield and five other people with criminal offences. The families and friends of those who were killed will finally get to hold at least some in the establishment to account — charges have been brought against...

Industrial news in brief

As Solidarity goes to press, the annual general meeting of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers (RMT) is debating a series of motions at its annual general meeting on its relationship with the Labour Party. The RMT, whose predecessor union helped found Labour, effectively had its affiliation cancelled by the New Labour leadership in 2004, after the RMT leadership refused to censure Scottish branches which wanted to back candidates of the Scottish Socialist Party, then an active and growing force. Since then, RMT has backed a number of electoral efforts against Labour,...

Labour responds to election result

Labour’s election result has been rightly celebrated by the Labour left. It was also cautiously welcomed by the Labour right. So what will now be the political mood inside Labour? Although there are still vocal opponents of Corbyn, like Chris Leslie and Neil Coyle, the vast majority of the 172 MPs who no-confidenced Corbyn 12 months ago have stayed quiet. Some have even admitted they were wrong. The short-lived effort to get back into the Shadow Cabinet from these people did not really come to fruition. Only defeated Corbyn challenger Owen Smith was handed a post – as Shadow Northern Ireland...

Grenfell

Bring help Bring fire engines Bring water Bring air Bring stretchers Bring ambulances Bring us round from sleep and out to safety Bring food Bring clothes Bring blankets Bring camp beds Bring phone chargers so we can find our friends and family And tell them that we made it Bring shoulders to cry on Bring arms to embrace Bring ears to listen Bring hands to hold Bring the strength to go on Bring news Bring hope Bring solidarity Bring community Bring what you can Bring yourself Bring questions Demand answers Bring the letters written and the warnings given And bring the inadequate replies Bring...

A political journey that doesn’t end

I have been a person of cause and rebellion for a long time. As an autistic young man growing up under capitalism, alienation has always been something I feel strongly. My parents are trade unionists and far-left socialists, and they brought me to the ideas of anti-oppression and solidarity. My mum did not know she was also autistic until the age of 45. Before then it was a struggle for my family and everyone around me — including at school — to grasp what was actually stressing me and how to fully help me. The journey of growing up therefore brought me to rebellion, emancipation and socialism...

Guevara is not our hero

Che Guevara is lionised as a revolutionary icon by wide sections of the global left. Even those claiming some Trotskyist heritage, from the various “Fourth Internationals” to the British SWP, publish mostly uncritical appreciations of the individual and his politics. Yet Guevara was never a working class socialist nor even a revolutionary democrat. He helped overthrow the hated dictator Batista in Cuba, but only to replace it with a Stalinist regime. Clearing away false messiahs and Stalinist blind alleys is a central task if the Marxist left is to revive. Samuel Farber is the most outstanding...

From dictatorship to liberal capitalism

A bourgeois republic, led by Mustafa Kemal, was established in Turkey in 1923, and this was an historical turning point pertaining to the development of capitalism in Turkey. However the Turkish bourgeoisie did not totally abolish the old despotic, Asiatic state traditions of the Ottoman Empire. The social and political reforms necessary for modern capitalism to develop in Turkey were carried out from above, with Bismarckian methods, and this was the pattern until the 1960s. The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) was founded in 1920 as a section of the Comintern, under the direct influence of the...

Why we need more Bolsheviks today

Few except the most conservative deny the emancipatory grandeur of mass action in the October 1917 Russian revolution. Common, however, is the claim that there was too much “party” in the revolution — the Bolsheviks were too organised, too ruthless, too pushy, and that led to Stalinism. This article seeks to refute that claim. October 1917 is often described as a “Bolshevik coup”, suggesting that the Bolsheviks took advantage of momentary excitement and disorder to seize an existing machine of power. In fact, in the weeks after 25 October 1917, the Bolshevik (and then Bolshevik/ Left SR...

Claw back the wealth!

Under pressure to do a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, the Tories have found £1 billion extra for public services in Northern Ireland, the equivalent pro rata to £29 billion in England. They have also sneaked through a huge pay rise for the Queen, from £43 million in 2016 to £82 million in 2019. On 28 June they voted down Labour’s proposal to lift the public sector pay limit. More pressure — strikes, demonstrations, rallies — can make them budge on that, too. Many Tory MPs openly call for the limit to be raised, and, before reaffirming that the limit “has not changed”,...

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