Solidarity 532, 29 January 2020

Health workers strike in Hong Kong

Today, 3 February, over 2,000 health workers went on strike, after an overwhelming ballot held over the weekend in favour of action to press their two demands, and after the Government refused to meet with them: 1) The HKSAR Government must close its border with China to prevent more and more people infected with the Wuhan novel-coronavirus from coming in. 2) The HKSAR Government must secure sufficient masks, clothing and other equipment to enable hospital staff to carry out their work with sufficient protection against the virus. With more health workers ready to join the strike tomorrow, the...

Challenge Labour internal-election candidates: build a democratic labour movement

Download as pdf > Policy-making in the labour movement should be the property of conference and duly-elected committees, not of a designated “Leader” and their “Leader’s Office” handing down announcements. Even when the announcements-from-on-high are left-wing — as they have been sometimes under the Corbyn leadership — that they are announcements from on high tells against the chances of the labour movement mobilising sufficiently to convince the electorate of the policies, or to get them enforced against ruling-class resistance. What we want above all is a leader who will help vitalise a real...

Bernie Sanders, dangerous Trotskyist?

In the hunt for dirt on Bernie Sanders, hostile journalists have come up with very little. He had his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. He wrote some dodgy stuff in an alternative newspaper as a very young man. And that’s pretty much it. It’s hard to find anything really juicy in Sanders’ past because his politics have been fairly consistent from the time he joined the Young People’s Socialist League (YPSL) in the early 1960s until today. It was in the YPSL that he learned to be a democratic socialist and he remains a democratic socialist even now. But one story has recently surfaced which is...

Gas deals and Libya's civil war

Turkish troops, along with Turkey-aligned Syrian rebels, have now been sent to Libya. They have been sent to defend Fayez al-Serraj’s government in Tripoli in western Libya. Russian forces are also in Libya — supporting General Khalifa Haftar’s rival administration based in Benghazi in the east. There has been continuous civil strife throughout Libya since the overthrow of Colonel Gadaffi in 2011. The most recent episode began in April 2019, when General Haftar launched an attack on Tripoli. Haftar has been a central figure in Libyan politics for over fifty years, taking part in Gadaffi’s coup...

The first victims of Brexit

The Tory Brexit Withdrawal Bill went through the House of Commons this week with a series of amendments — one ending the right to family reunion for unaccompanied child refugees within the EU. The so-called “Dublin regulation” is set to be removed with a majority of 96, a damning sign of what is yet come and the callousness of this latest Tory government. But none of this should surprise us. Only days after their victory in December, prominent members of the far-right took to social media to announce that they had now joined the Conservative Party. Be they Tommy Robinson or Paul Golding (and...

Recycling is on down trend

Resource use has more than tripled over the last half century, while the proportion of the total which has recycled has fallen slightly over recent years. “The Circularity Gap Report 2020”, published in January 2020, found that the total quantity of resources entering the global economy each year surpassed 100bn tonnes each year in 2017. 2017 is the most recent year for which data is available, one tonne is one thousand kilograms, and one billion is one thousand million. By way of comparison, to fit 100bn tonnes of water into a tank with an area the size of a professional football pitch, the...

AWL delegation visits Paris

Since early December, France has been gripped by a mass strike movement over the Macron government’s plan to reform pensions. Workers’ Liberty organised a delegation of socialists of all ages from across the UK to visit France 24-26 January to bring our solidarity to strikers, and to talk to and learn from striking workers and socialist activists about events. By the time that we arrived in France, the movement was entering a new stage. After nearly 50 days of almost-uninterrupted strike action, transport workers were scaling back their action from an all-out strike every day to a series of...

Rewriting history on Brexit

On 13 December, CWU general secretary Dave Ward was quoted in the front page lead story of the Morning Star as saying “Labour got it wrong on Brexit. Millions of people who know the economy, the world of work and politics in general isn’t working for them saw the move to a second referendum as a betrayal and final straw.” Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey, in an article for Huffington Post, published on the same day stated “It is Labour’s slow-motion collapse into the arms of the People’s Vote movement and others who have never accepted the democratic decision of June 2016 for a...

Letters

Exactly four years ago, you published my article on homeopathy, provocatively titled “Homeopathy: the one NHS cut we should support”. In it, I examined the evidence provided by the Faculty of Homeopathy itself for the efficacy of homeopathic treatments and found it to be unconvincing and inconclusive. The latest version of the FoH’s evidence, written by its then President, the late Dr Peter Fisher, cites the same reviews and claims these are conclusive evidence of benefit. However, “gold standard”systematic reviews of homeopathy can find almost no convincing evidence of benefit (the terms...

"More jail" will not make society safer

The Tories are speeding through plans to expand the prison population and strengthen state powers of control and surveillance, supposedly to tackle Islamist-inspired terrorism. They cite the murder of Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt by recently released terrorism convict Usman Khan in London Bridge last November as justification. Those convicted will face more time in jail, with a minimum term of 14 years and the abolition of automatic early release. There will be more funding for counter-terrorism police and probation officers. Lie detector tests will be introduced into the probation system....

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