Fighting global capitalism

Fair trade, free trade, and socialism

Trade is a vital part of the neoliberal economic, political and ideological regime that now dominates the world economy and most national states. At various summits in recent years the world’s most powerful governments have promised to introduce a better deal on trade, aid and debt for the world’s poorest countries, especially in Africa. At the same time, there are many charities and NGOs making proposals to make trade fairer. A number of organisations came together in 2006 in the Make Poverty History coalition, call for trade justice. Others advocate buying only goods with the fairtrade mark...

Workers, trade unions and climate politics

Calvin Lawson - an RMT rep in Newcastle, part of the RMT Environmental Action Group, and co-lead on trade union strategy for Labour for a Green New Deal - spoke to Solidarity. Our trade union group within Labour for a Green New Deal is working with local groups to establish union link officers who can connect with trades councils, union branches and so on to support workers’ struggles but also take up environmental questions. We’ve organised some roadshows to encourage discussion and engagement, for instance in the North East where I’m based and working with Unison in the Manchester area. That...

The climate movement and the workers' movement

Protest outside the Vestas wind turbine factory (on the Isle of Wight, 2009), in support of the workers' occupation to stop it closing Often, when you speak to people in the youth-led environmental movement, you encounter people who don’t think climate change has anything to do with the liberation of oppressed groups – the working class, LGBTQ people, people of colour, and so on. It can be frustrating. One’s instinct might be to dismiss them as "bourgeois" or as having antagonistic class interests. But “to write people off lightly is not the mark of an organiser” (Ray Dunne, Trotskyist union...

Myanmar: solidarity against the coup

The Burmese military is stepping up repression to secure the coup it launched on 1 February, but facing strong resistance – mass street protests (in their eleventh consecutive day as we go to press) plus widespread strikes and workers’ actions. (See here for our report last week, with some photos, and here for the week before.) In the last three days armoured military vehicles have appeared on the streets of some cities. Water cannons, rubber bullets and perhaps live rounds have been used against protesters. There is an intermittent internet blackout, prominent social media activists have been...

Coal-mine backtrack

Cumbria’s Labour county council has announced that it will reconsider the development of a new deep coal mine. A spokesperson for the council said this was due to the official Climate Change Committee’s advice in December 2020 with regards to the UK’s sixth carbon budget. It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that digging coal to burn, whether for electricity or steel-making, is not a good way to reduce carbon emissions. Whilst the current trend might look like it is going against new coal, the inconsistency and lack of alternative economic opportunity undermines any climate ambition...

Saklatvala and the Indian workers

25 of the accused in the Meerut conspiracy case This is part five of a series. For the other articles, see here. “Mr Saklatvala… has great influence in India. Irrespective of his Communist views, the Indian people are proud of him… They, a subject race… are naturally proud of the courage with which Saklatvala, one of themselves, denounces the British domination of India in unmeasured terms in the very House of Commons itself. He is a rebel by proxy for them all… When he speaks to them, therefore, they listen, and he speaks to them frequently.” - “India’s lost faith in Labour”, Socialist Review...

The "MP for India"

This is part four of a series. For the other articles, see here. "I pay homage to the British spirit of hypocritical statesmanship... We are debating here as if the [viciously repressive] Bengal ordinances were never promulgated, as if the shooting of Bombay operatives during the cotton strike had never taken place, as if a great strike of thousands of railway workers is not even now going on in the Punjab, with men starving … as if a great controversy is not raging, not only with the people of India but with people all over the world, whether British Imperialism, whatever its past history, is...

Global capital and pandemics

Audio and video introduction, plus an article/transcript, from a meeting of the same name. Dr Camila Bassi delivered this talk at the AWL online meeting on 30 August 2020. The outbreak of SARS Coronovirus 2 or COVID-19 proceeds an escalation of recent epidemics and proto-pandemics: notably, H5N1 or Avian influenza, SARS, MERS, Swine flu, Ebola, and Zika. Camila tells the story of HIV/AIDS and SARS to explore the nexus between capitalist political economy, nature, and emergent infectious diseases; concluding that, without radical change to how we organise and run our world, our future will be locked into this deadly trajectory. For a transcript of the talk and the full set of references, see Camila's blog.

David Graeber's anarchism and the Occupy movement

The news that David Graeber had died so young, at only 59, was shocking and saddening. He had one of those inherently lively, energetic personalities that seems to contradict the concept of death itself. He earned respect as one of the few modern anarchist thinkers who tried to really apply anarchism systematically as a total worldview: anarchist principles informed his anthropological and historical research, his economics, and his interventions into real world politics. Graeber’s anthropological work is fascinating and valuable; his major book, Debt, is thought-provoking, though basically...

Who's lying about the Uyghurs? Socialist Action covers for repression in China

The Socialist Action group has republished an article by Max Blumenthal, a US “left-wing” conspiracy theorist and apologist for Stalinism, seeking to undermine the idea the Chinese state is committing human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang/East Turkestan. They praise Blumenthal and his article in an introductory article which is itself quite extensive. Socialist Action is small but has a certain influence in the Labour left. It is also well-entrenched in the offices of various influential people. Its origins are Trotskyist but nowadays its politics are crudely Stalinist. In...

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