Israel/Palestine

Don't make a fetish of Andreas Malm

Zack Muddle (Solidarity 588) eulogises Andreas Malm’s book Fossil Capital (2016) as an original analysis of the climate crisis. I think Zack exaggerates Malm’s contribution, overgeneralises from it and ignores big flaws with Malm’s politics. Malm’s central insight is that early nineteenth century English textile manufacturers adopted steam power from coal burning, when waterpower was a viable alternative. As Malm puts it, steam “gained supremacy in spite of water being abundant, cheaper and at least as powerful, even and efficient”. Malm argues that these capitalists adopted steam power...

Israel: Islamists or ultra-Orthodox as "kingmakers"?

Israel’s fourth general election in two years has resulted in a deadlock. A fifth election seemingly the most likely outcome. Freakishly, though, an Islamist party could be "kingmaker". The right-wing bloc of parties supportive of incumbent prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won 52 seats, nine short of the 61 required to form a government. Parties opposing Netanyahu won 57 seats. On the left, the left-Zionist party Meretz won six seats in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, an increase of two from the last elections in March 2020. Israel’s Labor party, moderately social-democratic but with a...

Organising couriers in Israel

Uri Metuki spoke to Michael Elms of Solidarity about couriers in Israel fighting for rights of union organisation. Uri leads the “youth and students” section of the Histadrut organising effort. JustEat/10bis employs 1,700 couriers. The other company is called Wolt, which is a spurious self-employment company. We have some couriers who approached us from Wolt, we started talking with them and finding out about the situation, but the organising drive took off with JustEat/10bis. We have more than half the workforce, but they did not recognise the union. They used all kind of union-busting...

Uphold free speech, fight antisemitism

David Miller The government’s new attempt to police freedom of speech and academic freedom on University campuses — e.g. to withhold registration if a University is deemed not be complying — should be opposed. Universities already have a statutory duty to uphold free speech (in the 1986 Education Act). The new push is a demagogic attempt to push back against “wokeness”, linked to reactionary attempts to promote historical pride in such things as colonialism and slavery. However, there are real pressures against free speech and the right to organise on campuses. There have been many free-speech...

Spread vaccines world-wide

First figures from Scotland and Israel show vaccination working well. It is urgent to spread it to the world’s poorest countries. Africa has had only 2 vaccinations per 1000 people, and many countries have no vaccine supplies at all any time soon. Money from the rich countries into the World Health Organisation Covax project, much less than spent on bailing out businesses, and requisitioning of Big Pharma to get maximum spread of technology and maximum production, can fix that. Saving lives should be the driver, not just the current anxiety of France, for example, that China and Russia will...

Letters: Prosecuting Trump matters; Israel's is not the worst vaccine nationalism

Prosecuting Trump (Part of an ongoing debate: see here for all the contributions) For Joe Biden and his cabinet it’s all about “getting back to normal”. They regard the Trump presidency as an aberration, and now Washington politics can return to the old ways of wheeler dealing and horse trading between the two traditional parties of American capitalism. Yet such wishful thinking flies in the face of the attempted insurrection of 6 January and socialists who once dismissed the notion that what passes for a democracy in America is fragile need to reconsider that stance. The Biden administration...

Letters: Bothered by the mob; Not singling out; QAnon in the UK

Bothered by the mob John Cunningham objects ( letter, Solidarity 578) to the word “mob” being used to describe pro Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol. He argues that “mob” is often misused by the right wing politicians and their media lackeys to describe strikers. That was certainly the case during the 1980s miners’ strike, though of course the real violent mob at Orgreave and elsewhere were those wearing blue uniforms. Thatcherites at the time were also in the habit of calling Nelson Mandela a “terrorist”. By John’s reasoning we should therefore not call anti working class outfits like...

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...

Vaccine nationalism in Israel

After a deal with Pfizer, Israel is leading the world in Covid-19 vaccinations, with a goal of vaccinating everyone over 16 by the end of March. It has already vaccinated about 20% of its population. It is not providing vaccines to the millions of Palestinians living under its rule in the Occupied Territories, let alone to Gaza. Israel may have completed its vaccination programme by the time Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank start getting vaccinated. Israel has done badly in the pandemic, with lockdowns lifted too fast and inadequate social policies. It is now in the middle of its third...

Socialist Worker on "The Lobby": half a step forward

Socialist Worker half-breaks from its previous attitudes to tell readers that seeing "the Israel lobby" as super-powerful in world politics is an antisemitic idea "Continuing to believe [criticism of Corbyn inside Labour is] all simply orchestrated by an 'Israel lobby' can lead you down some very dark paths… It can lead to antisemitic arguments". That's not from Solidarity, but, surprisingly, from an article by Nick Clark in Socialist Worker (2 December 2020). Clark's article is progress. Mind you, he doesn't explain how the "Israel lobby" idea of Jews worldwide being mysteriously highly...

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