Solidarity 538, 11 March 2020

Covid-19: fight for workers' control

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 11:20


More comment on Covid-19 here

You, the reader, know what to do about Covid-19 for yourself and your household. You know how to steer clear of the conspiracy theories and quack remedies on social media.

You also know, more or less, what the public health experts are doing. And you know it would be foolish to pretend to be an alternative expert on disease control and epidemiology.

But what is your employer doing? What is the government doing? Make the labour movement fight for public scrutiny and workers’ control!

What is the government doing to secure your ability to take time off work, without

Profit drive has stalled vaccines

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 11:16

Angela Driver

In capitalist society we are encouraged to believe that our health and wealth depend on individual endeavour. The market can meet all of society’s needs.

Society is set up so that the only organisations capable of producing vaccines for Covid19 are privately-owned and run pharmaceutical companies.

In fact, with more public investment and research there might have been at least partially effective treatments already available when Covid-19 was identified.

As I wrote in Solidarity 534, the threat of zoonotic diseases has long been identified by the World Health Organisation. Covid-19 is in fact

Political revolution in the age of pandemics

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 11:12

Eric Lee

The decision by the AFL-CIO to cancel the planned candidates’ forum in Florida this week is bad news for Bernie Sanders.

This would have been the perfect opportunity for Sanders to challenge his sole remaining rival for the Democratic nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden, on the issues which divide them. On all those issues – social security, Medicare for all, trade deals like NAFTA and TPP – Sanders’ views are much closer to those of the unions. Biden’s neo-liberal agenda would have been exposed.

This is now something we are going to have to get used to as more and more events are

Israel poll impasse gives a little more time

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 11:07

Martin Thomas

The bad news from Israel’s election on 2 March is that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s right-wing prime minister since 2009, increased his score slightly in this third poll since Israel hit electoral deadlock in April 2019.

Netanyahu openly trades on hostility to Israel’s 20% Palestinian minority, and, in line with Donald Trump’s “plan”, pledges to formally annex to Israel much of the 80%-Palestinian West Bank. He also talks of “transferring” some Palestinian-majority areas of Israel into the patchwork quasi-semi-demi-autonomous “Palestinian state” which the Trump plan promises.

The good news is

To fight climate change, fight capitalism!

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 11:02

Misha Zubrowski

The climate crisis has, is, and will likely kill thousands of times more people than Covid-19 - yet why aren’t governments and international institutions responding to it with the same urgency? Thoughts, questions, accusations like this have been posed by many environmentalists.

On Thursday 5 March, scientists at the European Union’s CS3 declared that Europe has had the hottest winter on record by far. UK’s floods and Australia’s bush-fires are just two of the recent environmental disasters stoked by the climate crises.

On top of these alarming symptoms of the crisis new research, on 5 March,

Expand public transport, not the airport

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 10:56

Luke Hardy

A serious campaign is picking up momentum against the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA).

The private owners of LBA want to build a new passenger terminal that will increase the number of passengers from 4 million a year to 7.1 million a year by 2030, and 9 million by 2050.

In March 2019, in response to pressure from youth climate strikers and XR, Leeds City Council declared a “Climate Emergency” – committing Leeds to carbon neutrality by 2030.

Research from Leeds University has shown the planned expansion will lead to a massive overspend on the city’s carbon budget, making the 2030 net

Desperate Stalinists face their Thermidor

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 10:51

Jim Denham

The Morning Star and its political masters in the Communist Party of Britain are getting desperate: the only chance they’ve ever had of wielding governmental influence in the UK lies in ruins.

Only yesterday, it seems, they had a Labour leader who openly supported the paper, surrounded by close advisers whose ideology reflected the CPB’s most hard-line Stalinist wing. And after the surprisingly strong Labour showing in 2017, governmental power (or at least, influence) could not be ruled out.

Now all that has been snatched away from them – or, as some would say, they’ve blown it.

No wonder they


Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 10:48

Katy Dollar’s article, “Morning Star depicts trans people as predators” (Solidarity 536) is a valuable exposition of the Star’s recent and longer term transphobia, why unions should stop funding it, and more. I’d like to pick up on one point. Katy states:

“In 2018 a group of Morning Star readers wrote into the paper criticising it for publishing an anti-trans open letter.

“This division between a group of mostly younger Star readers who see the need to fight transphobia, and the official line of the Communist Party and its paper, will probably have been one reason why the Morning Star felt

Uneasy lull in Idlib

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 10:33

Pete Boggs

Since Friday morning 6 March, a tentative ceasefire has been in place in Idlib. Russian president Putin and Turkey’s president Erdoğan came to this agreement at their meeting in Moscow on Thursday 5th.

The deal makes provisions for a security corridor covering the area around the M4 motorway which goes through Idlib from Aleppo to Latakia, and Russia-Turkey patrols starting in mid-March. It did not secure any withdrawals by Assad from any of his recent gains in Idlib province, or a safe zone for the million people who have been displaced by the latest round of fighting.

Despite being a member

Afghanistan and the US pledge to get out

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 10:27

Martin Thomas

On 29 February, the USA signed a deal with the Taliban to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan within 14 months.

The US has been at war in Afghanistan with the Taliban, an Islamist movement based in the lawless north-west of Pakistan, for over 18 years.

In December 2019, the Afghan women’s right activist and secularist Malalai Joya, on a visit to Italy, declared that in 18 years of what she called “NATO occupation… things have just gotten worse” in Afghanistan.

The longer the troops have stayed, the worse the prospects when they withdraw have become. *Solidarity* has long supported withdrawal.

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