Covid-19

Videos: Socialist commentary on the Covid-19 crisis

Watch videos giving socialist commentary on the Covid-19 crisis below. Many are subtitled. Click in the top right of the video, for the contents of the playlist, and to watch other ones. See Workers' Liberty's channel for other playlists and videos.

Activist agenda: Uyghurs, health and safety, neurodivergent people and councils

The Uyghur Solidarity Campaign and the Hong Kong campaign LMSHKUK will protest on 4 June from 7 pm outside the Chinese Embassy in London: “Remember Tiananmen 1989 -Democracy, freedom, workers’ rights for China, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Uyghurs”. The Safe and Equal campaign is putting together a model Covid safety survey. It wants health and safety reps to use this period where there is a lull in the pandemic to conduct workplace inspections and a survey of the workforce. Health and safety reps have a legal right to paid time off for these duties. We don’t know if there will be future waves coming...

Covid: it's not "almost over"

With further lockdown-easing announced from 17 May, many people are coming to think that the Covid pandemic is “almost over”. It’s not. The battle for social measures to underpin pandemic control remains urgent. • Requisition the assets of Big Pharma, especially the vaccine patents and the know-how to expand new vaccine-production facilities. The US administration’s move to support a patent waiver is a victory for campaigning here, and Labour should demand that the UK government does similar. • Full isolation pay for every worker self-isolating because of Covid symptoms, testing, contact, or...

Boom for the rich, job cuts for the many

In the USA, job vacancy postings are now 21% above their level in January 2020. The employment rate for well-off workers (on the equivalent of £43,000 a year or more) is now only 2% down on January 2020. The Dow Jones share-price index continues to rise, as it has done since a drastic fall bottomed out in late March 2020. According to Google Mobility reports, US workplace traffic is still down by 28% (more than Germany’s 22%), as many still work from home. But retail traffic is down only 8% on the pre-Covid baseline. The New York Times estimates that businesses are now “mostly open” (though...

Social solidarity still needed to curb Covid

An all-party committee of MPs has called for border checks and quarantine requirements on Covid to be retained. They have a strong case. Cautious step-by-step lockdown-easing, checking each step before moving to the next, can ease the bad social effects of lockdown. If the labour movement continues our efforts to win full isolation pay for all, to establish workers’ control of workplace safety, and to bring social care into the public sector with workers on NHS-level pay and conditions, we may be able to edge towards a set of restrictions which is socially sustainable fairly long-term and yet...

Cookie-cutters and lockdowns

It seems an easy and “left-wing” “cookie-cutter” frame for understanding the pandemic: “capitalists... resist lockdowns”, “workers’ direct action has forced more effective lockdowns” (Stuart Jordan, letters, Solidarity 590). Stuart rejects the full-on equation: “most left-wing” = “harshest, longest lockdowns” = “best pandemic control”. But even his more careful version of the “cookie-cutter” is not true. Capitalist governments everywhere have imposed lockdowns. Trump, Bolsonaro, Lukashenko, Magufuli are outliers even within the right. Competent lockdowns “work” (with heavy costs). There is no...

Wave of student action

Students are protesting in occupations and rallies on campus around UK universities, finally able to employ in-person direct action after a year of mostly online organising. Rallies have been organised at the London School of Economics (LSE), Goldsmiths and SOAS in London, and the rent strike campaigns have launched a wave of occupations in Manchester, Nottingham, and two Sheffield universities. On Wednesday 28 April, 300 people rallied at LSE in central London. The lively crowd heard speeches from the fee and rent strikes going on at the university, as well as from the SOAS fee strike...

NEU: make defence of reps central!

Chaired by victimised National Education Union (NEU) rep Tracy McGuire, the Defend Victimised NEU Reps Zoom meeting on Thursday 29 April heard from victimised NEU reps and how the fightback is shaping up. First to address the meeting was Louise Lewis, NEU rep at North Huddersfield Trust School, suspended last year after seeking to secure safer working during the pandemic. NEU members at the school voted for strike action to defend Louise and are striking for two days, with more to follow. Kirstie Paton, a teacher at the John Roan School in Greenwich, London, for 20 years, NEU rep, and an NEU...

Covid: workers' controls still needed (John Moloney's column)

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike again from 4-8 May to demand improvements to safety. The branch is committed to taking further action if our demands are not met. Although the Covid numbers are trending the right way, we don’t know when a third wave could hit, how severe it could be, or what might happen with new variants. We need agreements in place now to ensure there aren’t more workers on site than necessary. At its heart this is a fight for a form of workers’ control. We want to ensure a direct say for workers’ representatives in...

Letters: Good climate content, dubious wrapping; Better lockdowns

Good content, dubious wrapping Todd Hamer (Solidarity 589) argues well that climate change is not just a threat for the future. It is happening now. A lot of further adverse change will come soon even if we can cut carbon emissions very fast. We must address climate adaptation: “climate-resilient infrastructure”, “solutions to the food and fresh water crises”, “the capacity for mass resettlement of displaced people”. And mitigation measures such as “the drawdown and storage of atmospheric carbon”. To do that requires huge economic mobilisation, achievable only if social priorities can...

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