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.

Why respect the new virus rules?

Readers report arguments with workmates and neighbours over the virus restrictions. How should we respond? “I’m young and fit, and my friends are all young and fit too. Why should we not socialise a little, when the chances of serious hurt from us getting the virus are so small?” The virus has mutated, and is up to 70% more contagious than it was. Hundreds of people are dying of Covid every day in the UK. There are chains of transmission. Most young people will not be seriously affected by Covid, but some will be. And even people who have the virus without symptoms can spread it. One young...

Inequality worsens the pandemic. The pandemic worsens inequality

New reports from academic researchers and think-tanks have vividly illustrated the connections between the Covid-19 pandemic and social inequality, and made the case — explicitly or by implication — for radical measures in response. A range of social inequalities have worsened the impact of Covid-19, and Covid in turn has worsened those inequalities. None of these reports comes from or even really mentions the labour movement, which surely says something too. Socialists must fight for our movement to shake itself up, to become a megaphone for social protest and campaigning. The Marmot review...

Letters: Don't use the word "mob"; Singling out Israel?

Don’t use the word “mob” The occasional use of the word “mob” in Solidarity 577 requires some comment. The first point I want to make is that “mob”, “mob rule” or variants thereof, have almost always been used against the left: strikers, demonstrators such as those involved in unemployed movements, anti-fascist struggles and campaigns such as BLM and so on. We shouldn’t be borrowing the language of the ruling class, however appalled we might be by what we see on the television screen. I have no desire to go into a detailed history of the term “mob”. It probably gained currency in the French...

The British far right in 2020

Socialists in Britain had a pretty awful 2020, but it’s slightly heartening to note that the far right in the UK had a bad year too. In some ways things look favourable for them. Millions of voters voted Tory without any particular love for that party in 2019, on the basis that a hard Brexit and Boris Johnson would deliver on jobs, reverse the decline of northern towns, restore national prestige to where it was in the 1950s, or reverse the UK’s cultural and ethnic diversity. None of that was ever going to happen. Meanwhile the socialist left and the trade unions have been mostly on the back...

Requisition big pharma!

On 18 January, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of “catastrophic moral failure” on Covid vaccines. “It’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries… Right now, we must work together as one global family to prioritise those most at risk of severe diseases and death, in all countries”. The labour movement should demand emergency public ownership of Big Pharma’s factories, and the speedy wartime-fashion expansion of production lines to get vaccines out across the world. For...

Has picketing been banned?

In November 2020, Unite pursued a legal challenge over the right to picket during lockdown, after a picket of bus workers was broken up by police. That challenge was successful, clearly establishing the right to picket in lockdown. Exception 22 of the “Coronavirus: The Health Protection (Coronavius, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020” clearly states that picketing is exempt from lockdown restrictions, provided: “the gathering is for the purposes of picketing which is carried out in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992”, and: “the...

Diary of an engineer: Proud to keep the heat and light on

My first job early Monday is to swap a burnt-out heater. The workshop is freezing and L really feels the cold. We put on hi-vis puffer jackets and thick gloves — I’m glad of my bomb-proof boots. M, who cleans bin waste off the tipping apron, is almost invisible behind two snoods and a balaclava. The switch room is always warm, and we spend a good afternoon in there dismantling a pump soft-start to replace the cooling fans behind heavy copper bus bars. We drink a lot of instant coffee. L spends most of his lunch break on the phone trying to resolve some personal drama, and J checks in with his...

Progress in DWP (John Moloney's column)

Our members continue to fight for safer working, especially in departments where workers continue to be in the physical workplace. We’re making some progress in the Department for Work and Pensions, where management have proposed an arrangement that would see 80% of workers working from home, with 20% coming into physical workplaces, hopefully on a rotating basis. That would be a stark reversal of management’s position in a department where up to 60% of workers have been working in physical workplaces. Bosses in DWP though are currently dragging their feet over implementing increased...

Fire service bosses scrap safe-working deal

Utterly disgracefully, fire and rescue service employers have unilaterally terminated an agreement with the FBU that allowed firefighters to safely assist our communities during the pandemic. It’s not just a matter of keeping our normal service running, so we can deal with fires, floods and other hazards safely. The agreement they are trying to torpedo is what has enabled us to perform additional tasks more directly related to Covid-19. Virtually since the start of the pandemic firefighters have volunteered to drive ambulances and assist paramedics, help with patient transfer, deliver packages...

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