By Maria Exall This discussion document is an attempt to draw out the significant issues that have arisen in the debate within Momentum about its future orientation, decision making and policy making structures. The election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party is the biggest opportunity for making the case for socialism within British politics for a generation. We must make the most of this opportunity and that includes making the right decisions on the structure of Momentum. [continue...]
EU Scrooges Spoil Greeks’ Christmas
By Mick Brooks
The Syriza government in Greece decided recently that they had a little money available to take the sharp edge off never-ending austerity. They decided to:
• Hand out €617m (less than 0.5% of Greek Gross Domestic Product or GDP) to I.6 million pensioners surviving on less than €800 per month.
• Relieve the Aegean islands from VAT. Apart from their remoteness, the eastern islands have borne a terrific burden of supporting thousands of refugees, without support from the EU.
• Promise a grand total of €11.5m on free school meals for poor children. [continue...]
By Martin Wicks Local Government is facing an unprecedented financial crisis resulting from the austerity programme and changes in the funding system. The allocations for funding for 2014-15 and 2015-16 were set on the basis of reductions in 2013-14 funding. The coalition government then abandoned the uprating of grants in line with an annual assessment of local needs. A new assessment is not due until 2020. Although councils will eventually be able to keep all their business rates this will be at the expense of declining government grant. By 2020 many authorities will receive no grant at all. [continue...]
By Barry Ewart Susan Watkins in a piece in the New Left Review (September/October 2016) makes the excellent point that capital seems to want everything for free. If you think about it we pay our taxes for education and health and capital is presented with educated and healthy workers for free! And it is mainly state-led public investment supported R&D that is delivered to capital for free (including the computer) and we even subsidise our employers by paying our own fares to work or in buying cars and paying for petrol to get there, so perhaps a left wing democratic socialist alternative should offer some things for free too such as free public transport (and another member at a branch meeting recently suggested we could have congestion charges to also help to pay for this?). [continue...]
Rail Dispute; what is Peter Wilkinson up to? “Over the next three years we’re going to be having punch ups and we will see industrial action and I want your support,” Peter Wilkinson told residents in Croydon Town Hall last February, people who are also the hapless ‘customers’ of Southern Rail. [continue...]
New Labour dissected Mike Phipps reviews New Labour: Was the Gain Worth the Continuing Pain?, by Dr Gaye Johnston, published on Kindle (ref: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LYD2JK2 ), by Edition Publishing. [continue...]
Vote for Len McCluskey!
The NEC of the LRC decided at its meeting on December 10th to support the re-election of Len McCluskey
as General Secretary of Unite the union and support the United Left slate within the union. [continue...]
Southern Rail Chaos By Mick Brooks There seems to be a competition among Tory cabinet ministers as to which one can be the most unpopular with the public. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is definitely in the running. [continue...]
LRC STATEMENT ON MOMENTUM There can be little doubt that recent days have been damaging to Momentum’s reputation. Divisive rhetoric and personalised attacks - from whatever source - can only play into the hands of our opponents, and undermine our credibility. Any camp pursuing witch-hunts, vendettas or using the language of witch hunts against individuals will only do further damage, and put the organisation’s future in jeopardy. [continue...]
Lessons of Richmond Park
By Mike Phipps
What can be read into the by-election result at Richmond Park? A 23,000 Conservative majority has been turned into a narrow win for the Lib Dems and a lost deposit for Labour. One blogger drew the comforting conclusion that this was down to the anti-Corbyn characteristics of the Labour candidate. Well, maybe.
In reality, this was obviously a contest more about Brexit than anything else. Constituents in this area voted by 70% in the referendum to Remain in the EU. Since then, the Lib Dems have championed the minority Remainers, a plausible option for a minority party, promising a fresh referendum. It is far more difficult for Labour to offer this and stand a credible chance of winning the next general election - but the Lib Dems have no serious ambitions to do this. [continue...]
Disabled People Against Cuts ON 7TH NOVEMBER the UN published a long-awaited report from an inquiry last year under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was triggered by complaints from disabled campaigners and lengthy submissions from the Disabled People Against Cuts research team, led by our late co-founder Debbie Jolly. The findings conclude that there is reliable evidence of grave or systematic violations of disabled people’s rights by the UK government due to welfare reform. It is the first time a state has ever been investigated in this way and the findings are a damning indictment, although they come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the attacks waged by the Tories since 2010 on disabled people and the poorest members of society. [continue...]
The Threat of Right Wing Populism Jeremy Corbyn spoke to the Party of European Socialists Council in Prague yesterday, here is the full text of the speech. [continue...]
Whither Momentum? By Pete Firmin Early in November the Momentum Steering Committee (SC) issued a statement, “The SC recognises and regrets the discontent and frustration felt by Momentum members in recent days… The Committee recognises the need for a greater level of accountability and transparency”. [continue...]
What kind of Momentum conference?
Mike Phipps ponders the case for an OMOV structure [continue...]
Keith Henderson Appeal Successful! All legal costs have now been paid in full. Keith would like to take this time to thank everyone who donated to the appeal fund and give special thanks to John McDonnell and the LRC for all their support over the last five years. [continue...]
by-election | defend council housing | for a people's railway | ian gibson | international solidarity | keep the post public | labour party | labour's future | stop heathrow expansion | stop welfare reform | the people's charter | their crisis not ours | trade union rights