Democracy, monarchy, republicanism

"We believe in the power of the people - the multi-racial working class"

The following statement has been issued by eight Chicago-area unions, including the famous Chicago Teachers Union, which has a recent history of mobilising mass strikes and struggles in pursuit of not just its members' immediate interests but wider questions of social justice. For more see the CTU website. For more on discussions about workers' action to block a Trump coup, see here. Joint Statement of Chicago-area Labor on Protecting Our Democracy As the elected leaders of eight Chicago-area unions, we call for every single vote to be counted and for the final results of the 2020 Presidential...

No "referees above politics"!

A piece of recent history made its way into the British press on 14 July. On 11 November 1975, the Governor-General of Australia, John Kerr, dismissed the elected Labour Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and installed Liberal Party leader Malcolm Fraser in his place. The Governor-General acts as representative for the monarch and is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. In the run up to the coup Kerr was in frequent written communication with the Queen’s personal secretary, Baron Charteris. The letters were released on 14 July after a long campaign and legal challenge by...

Nationalism or class solidarity?

Fire Brigades Union activist and National Officer Riccardo la Torre spoke to Sacha Ismail. *** Yesterday we had “Victory in Europe” day, and a lot of nationalism. What are your thoughts on it? Well, first off I’m angry that workers are dying because they’re at work and aren’t given proper protection, and yet the same “leaders” responsible want us waving Union Jacks. There’s immediate reasons to be angry too, because the day itself created a lot of unsafe conditions. I’ve seen blokes out selling Union Jacks and pictures of the Queen – which makes the political agenda of it all pretty clear, but...

Robert Fine's "Cosmopolitanism"

The sociologist Robert Fine, who was a long-time sympathiser and sometime activist with Workers’ Liberty, passed away on 9 June 2018 at the age of 72. As our series of book reviews to commemorate his life illustrates, Fine dedicated his scholarship to many far-reaching topics in social and political theory. These topics include the rule of law, the anti-apartheid movement and independent trade unions in South Africa, racism and antisemitism, and the political thought of GWF Hegel, Karl Marx, and Hannah Arendt. Since Dale Street’s review in Solidarity #432 and Dan Davison’s tribute article in...

Letters

Exactly four years ago, you published my article on homeopathy, provocatively titled “Homeopathy: the one NHS cut we should support”. In it, I examined the evidence provided by the Faculty of Homeopathy itself for the efficacy of homeopathic treatments and found it to be unconvincing and inconclusive. The latest version of the FoH’s evidence, written by its then President, the late Dr Peter Fisher, cites the same reviews and claims these are conclusive evidence of benefit. However, “gold standard”systematic reviews of homeopathy can find almost no convincing evidence of benefit (the terms...

Landslide election in Hong Kong

The pan-democratic camp won control of 17 out of 18 District Councils in Hong Kong’s 24 November elections, almost wiping out the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB). The only council held by the pro-establishment camp was the Islands district, where 8 out of 18 seats were automatically assigned to pro-establishment village heads. 2.94 million (71.2% of eligible voters) voted in the Pan-Democrats and other independent democrats in nearly 400 out of 452 seats, with the DAB winning only 58 seats. Four years ago, the pan-democrats failed to win...

Right wing on the rampage in Bolivia

After two weeks of protests Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, in power for the last 14 years, has been forced by the armed forces to resign his post. The unrest was a result of accusations of electoral fraud in Morales’s latest election (October 2019), as well as the Supreme Court (November 2017) overruling the referendum result which denied Morales the right to run for his fourth re-election. There has been some controversy on whether the last presidential election was in fact rigged. Following the accusation, Morales himself asked the Organisation of American States (OAS) to...

Hong Kong: the crackdown and the future

The conflict in Hong Kong has further escalated and has reached a critical point as I write on 19 November. The escalation began last week with the first casualty of the protest, a university student falling fatally from a multi-story car park in a conflict zone. Since then, policeman have fired live rounds seriously injuring a number of protesters, a man was doused in petrol and set alight by protesters, a pro-Beijing legislator was stabbed, a pro-democracy legislator had his ear bitten off, and there have been many other individual violent acts. A woman has launched a legal case after being...

An open letter on Brexit to Irish people in Britain

Brexit means the xenophobic and reactionary unravelling of the European unity that has taken many decades to knit together. And for Ireland, Brexit threatens nothing less than the catastrophe of a new partition. Isn’t it time that the Irish population of Britain raised a collective voice against Brexit? There are 430,000 Irish immigrants in Britain, and millions of people of recent Irish descent. Yet there has been no outcry from this potential power in British politics against the wrong being done to Ireland by Britain. In Britain Brexit has led to the creation of a government under a buffoon...

For Labour, for Remain, for socialism

As we go to press on 24 September, the Supreme Court has ruled Boris Johnson's shutdown (“prorogation”) of Parliament unlawful and invalid. Parliament will reconvene on 25 September. In fact, since the Court decision was the shutdown was “of no effect”, strictly speaking Parliament is resuming a session which was never validly suspended. Boris Johnson has been pushed back again. But he still says he may shut down Parliament again. He still “refuses to accept that the Benn Act made a no-deal Brexit on 31 October impossible”, though it does exactly that, no more, no less. Journalists in the USA...

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