Democracy, monarchy, republicanism

Tories prepare voter suppression

Embolded by their success on 6 May, the Tories are proposing new measures to (further) restrict election democracy in the UK. One — a proposal to change executive mayoral elections from a “supplementary vote” system to “first past the post” — is designed to make it harder for opposition parties to win mayoral elections, at a time when the left-and-centre vote is more split than a right-wing vote consolidated around the Tories. Already this time around, the change would have prevented Labour from winning the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor, handing the position to the Tories on the basis...

A socialist case for PR (interview with Benj Eckford)

Benj Eckford is the youth officer and North East regional rep on the committee of the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform, which campaigns for proportional representation. He spoke to us about the growing campaign within Labour for PR. LCER has existed since the early 1980s, but it was properly relaunched after the 2015 general election. That was one of the most disproportionate elections in British history: the Tories got 36% of the vote, or only 24% of the registered electorate, yet they ended up with 51% of the seats, which in this system means 100% of the power. Just in the next two years...

Sending condolences to our enemies

Why am I writing this now? Because since Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh passed on April 9, 2021 so many people in the country consciously or subconsciously sent their condolences to him and gave the royal family importance. So many people including left wing, socialist republicans like Jeremy Corbyn and Nadia Whittome (MP for Nottingham East) This has sparked so much controversy because for his long history of racism, having nazi siblings and just very simply being a member of a royal family where most people who believe in democracy, anti hierarchy and equality are rightly against, people...

"A prop for privilege": Tony Benn on why we must abolish the monarchy

The death of Prince Philip has revealed how strong the ideological pressure against republicanism is even on the left. The TUC has put out a statement saluting the monarchy - as have a number of left-wing Labour MPs who are known to oppose it, at least privately.

Myanmar's workers appeal for solidarity

On 3 April Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said that the Burmese security forces have killed 550 people, including 46 children, since the 1 February military coup. In parts of the country inhabited mainly by the minority Karen people, the coup regime has begun carrying out airstrikes, killing dozens and displacing tens of thousands. Still, many thousands, including striking workers, continue to protest in the streets across Myanmar. Corporations with suppliers producing garments in Myanmar have refused to accede to workers’ demands for protection if they continue to...

Stand with Myanmar's workers

“One cannot overstate the heroism of the Myanmar union movement right now in the fight against the military dictatorship, nor the horror of the military’s ongoing crimes against humanity.” So wrote Andrew Tillett-Saks, a US union organiser working in Myanmar, on 19 March. (See Tillett-Saks' Twitter for regular English-language updates.) There is now a steady flow of killings by the regime. Current estimates in the international media, which Burmese activists say are too low, are around 250. 14 March saw almost a hundred killings, two thirds in the Yangon factory suburb of Hlaing Tharyar. The...

Myanmar: "We need international solidarity"

Khaing Zar Aung, President of the Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar and a member of the executive of the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar, spoke to us about the situation there.

Abolish the monarchy - fight for democracy

The issues in the controversy surrounding the UK’s royal family require proper comment in themselves. We hope to publish more soon. Immediately, we welcome the fact that the controversy has caused a noticeable surge of publicly-expressed scepticism about the institution of the monarchy. The republican left should seek to sustain that surge and develop a real debate. Since the turn of the century, the monarchy has managed to "rebrand" itself and actually increase its popularity. "Harry and Meghan" were of course an important part of that. If the unpleasant realities of the institution and the...

Burmese junta declares labour movement illegal

Since this article was written on 1 March the military has escalated its crackdown, killing and injuring dozens of protesters. More soon. See here for regular updates. In the last days of February Myanmar’s military regime killed at least 18 people and injured dozens more, using live bullets, stun grenades and tear gas against striking workers and protesters. On 26 February the regime’s spokesman read out a list of sixteen trade unions and working-class organisations, declaring them illegal and promising persecution if they and their members continue to mobilise against the coup. The...

Myanmar: general strike against the coup!

At least two people were killed by Myanmar’s military over the weekend of 20 February, as it was confronted by fresh mass protests to overturn the coup it launched on 1 February. There is now a steady flow of confirmed killings, as well as unconfirmed reports of significantly larger numbers of deaths. The army’s claims that it is only using rubber bullets have been categorically disproved. The two latest dead are a young man and a teenage boy. Half of Myanmar’s population are under 25 (three quarters under 40) and the protests seem dominated by young people. The regime’s attitude is surely...

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