USA/Canada

Statue wars: some should go up

Some people — and by that I mean some Tories — have whipped themselves up into a frenzy over the issue of statues. The pages of newspapers like the Daily Mail and Daily Express are full of “rage” about the statues of Edward Colston in Bristol, or Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College in Oxford. Colston’s statue was toppled and tossed into the water. Rhodes’ statue remains in place, due to the college’s reluctance to take it down. This week protests have taken place in east London demanding the removal of a statue of slave-ship owner Robert Geffrye, which stands outside a museum in Shoreditch. The...

The first time planes bombed a US city: Tulsa, 1921

Second of a series of articles on the Tulsa Massacre of June 1921. Part one here. “The night of the massacre, I was awakened by my family. My parents and five siblings were there. I was told we had to leave and that was it. “I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home. I still see black men being shot, black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day.” That was Viola Fletcher, 107, the oldest survivor...

Republicans decry "woke capital"

There is an interesting subplot to the US struggle over voting rights covered in Solidarity 590 and 593. Many corporations have come out against restrictions on voting rights — and been attacked by Republican leaders for getting involved in politics! In March the voting rights debate ramped up when the important swing state of Georgia passed new restrictions. Activists pressured Georgia-based corporations that made supportive noises during the Black Lives Matter protests to speak out — and a number did, including Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and Home Depot. Then in April hundreds of companies and...

Racist war in the USA, 1921: the Tulsa Massacre

The first of a series of articles on the Tulsa Massacre of June 1921, and events which led up to and surrounding it. Part two here. In June 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Donald Trump announced an election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma: his first real-world public campaign event since the outbreak of the pandemic, and while infections were still running very high. Despite the Trump campaign’s embarrassing failure to come anywhere near filling the venue, the rally did result in a spike, with new cases in Oklahoma more than...

US battles over voting and union rights

The Republicans want to reduce the number of people voting; strengthen the US political system’s existing biases towards allowing them to rule with minority support; and shift the country further towards an authoritarian regime. Following the Trumpist campaign to claim the 2020 Presidential election was “stolen”, Republican-controlled states in the USA have enacted 25 new laws restricting voting in 2021, compared to 14 in 2019 and 2020 combined. They build on past measures. US election turnout is famously low not just because of voters being unmotivated, but because it is harder then in Europe...

Thoughts towards strategic organising

It’s important that labour and the left learn from the Bessemer Amazon experience. After all, we’ve seen a series of defeats in the South from Volkswagen to Nissan and now Amazon.

Socialism vs sleaze

More and more leaks and side-channels from the pump of plutocracy are becoming visible. Tories are falling out among themselves. Dominic Cummings has denounced Boris Johnson’s behaviour as “mad and totally unethical”. 50% of those polled say there is a “culture of sleaze” in the government. Socialists work to switch off the pump as well as fixing the leaks. The core process of capitalist plutocracy is the transaction in which, though economic compulsion, we sell our labour-power to a capitalist, endowed with riches and control of the means of production. They pay out as meagre a “living wage”...

Strong fossil-fuel reboot, weak plans

The fossil-fuelled reboot that we have long warned of in the wake of 2020’s Covid-19 lockdowns is on course to be record-shattering — and not in a good way. Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are set to see their second highest rise in human history. No, not the second highest levels of atmospheric CO2, nor even the second highest emissions or rate of addition to these levels. In both levels and emissions, 2021 is heading towards first place. Emissions are predicted to rise by 1.5 billion tons, to 33 billion — 33 thousand million tons — over the year, and that 1.5 billion rise is...

Lessons from India and Michigan

Covid cases and deaths in India have rocked since early March, and scanty hospital provision has been overwhelmed in some areas. On the official count, India’s Covid death rate per population is still only what the UK’s was in mid-March, mid-October, or mid-June, and way below the highest rates seen in the UK or in countries like Brazil. However, in India only 22% of deaths are medically certified with a cause of death. The real rate may be much higher. The world Covid death rate has been rising again since mid-March, and is now higher than it has ever been, bar a peak around late January. A...

Three hundred anti-voting laws tabled in US

Follow up article here. Part of the US Republican Party’s shift to more radical and authoritarian right-wing politics is its drive to suppress the number of Americans voting — particularly Americans with dark skin. Following Donald Trump’s campaign against the “stealing” of the presidential election, Republicans have introduced bills in many state legislatures to make it harder to vote. The former President’s evidence-free claim of major voter fraud in the US is now mainstream in the Republican Party. Republican politicians typically proclaim that making it harder to vote is a matter of...

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