the left

Ray Woolford: putting profit before people

Ray Woolford is hard to avoid in local politics in Lewisham. He’s a political activist, four-time local election candidate, editor of the Lewisham Campaigner, bankroller of the local self-styled ‘revolutionary socialist’ Lewisham People Before Profit party, owner of Housemartins estate agents and former owner of the now closed Come the Revolution cafe.  We want to highlight the risks involved in working with him (and indeed, anyone associated with him), and advise everyone to give him a very wide berth. 
As the owner of Come the Revolution he
• Fired workers who joined Unite, the union
• Used threats of closing the business to get his way
• Accused workers of theft to cover up his own mismanagement
• Used the government’s workfare schemes for free labour

A report back from the People's Assembly

On Saturday 4th June, almost 150 people took part in the Liverpool People's Assembly Against The Cuts. Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation were amongst them, as the conference discussed resisting cuts in the public sector, to the NHS, and in communities.

Contrary to the name, the event was quite traditional in its set-up. Each of the three sessions was a panel debate, with the chair introducing four speakers who opened and closed the sections, with other contributions often also taking the form of prepared speeches. Despite this limitation, there were still many good points made. Numerous times, the TUC and trade union leadership came in for substantive criticism, and a SolFed comrade drew this together to make the point that we need to act for ourselves and build our own confidence rather than looking to leaders.

Beware all vanguards!

Way back in the midst of time (or the mid 19th century to be precise) was an organisation called the first International Working Mens Association - or First International for short, which declared that "the emancipation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves". We would do well to remember those words as we struggle against austerity, as there's no shortage of would-be vanguards vying to substitute themselves for mass collective action.

Wont Get Fooled Again?

Few can still harbour any illusion about the Labour Party. Hardly any brain cells are required to see that Labour is just a continuation of Thatcher's vicious free market polices glossed over with a touch of caring concern. This says much about the reasoning capacity of boneheaded trade union leaders who still insist on handing over millions of pounds to Labour.

Why workers need to look beyond the TUC

At the TUC’s annual conference, union delegates have backed joint industrial action if “attacks” on jobs, pensions and public services go ahead. The gathering backed a motion which included calls to build “a broad solidarity alliance of unions and communities under threat”.

However, we will not see “hundreds of thousands of workers take to the streets” under the TUC’s leadership.

The fact that trade unionists had to stage a protest outside the conference “lobbying” the TUC to call a national demonstration says it all. We need to be taking the initiative on the streets, not begging for piecemeal protests to be authorised from above.

Review - Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (by Jonah Goldberg)

A recent proposal by the student body at London University to campaign against the BNP was unceremoniously rejected by the Tory Party’s youth wing unless, they stated, the BNP was identified as a left wing party. It would seem on this occasion leftwing fascism is exclusively the enemy for these young Tories. But there is nothing new about this muddled thinking or its intended implications. To this vein, we can safely say Liberal Fascism belongs. It is an essential crash course in historical revisionism for the American free market right.

Luigi Fabbri described the rise of Italian fascism as a “preventive counter-revolution” to the 1920s worker occupations in Italy. For Goldberg, fascism is defined as: