Solidarity 539, 18 March 2020

Looking ahead to November: COP26

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 16:29

Cathy Nugent

Later in this year, assuming the UK has recovered enough from Covid-19, environmental activists will be active around 2020’s UN climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow (9-20 November).

Probably very little radical or adequate policy will be decided at that conference, even though the world faces a pandemic and continuing climate crisis.

A lot of trade unions had been organising for a demonstration to put pressure on the conference. Work on that may now be suspended. Nearer the time we need to get it restarted, and gett trade unions in Glasgow and Scotland are involved, including on the

Covid-19: make Labour speak out!

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 16:03

Rhodri Evans

On 17 March, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn presented a list of demands to the Government:

• extend sick pay to all workers;
• increase sick pay;
• introduce rent and mortgage payment deferment options;
• ban coronavirus evictions;
• remove the requirement to present for Universal Credit and reduce the waiting time;
• support councils working with food banks.

Those leave a lot unsaid, though, and the Labour leadership has made no effort to publicise the demands. A short video put out on social media by the Labour Party on the same day, 17 March, did no more than explain that the epidemic makes

C-19: override private profit! Fight for workers' control!

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 11:06


In this epidemic, Workers’ Liberty fights for the labour movement to make itself an essential service.

The labour movement, as yet, lacks the capacity to take over society and reshape it so as better to minimise and control epidemics. Neither we as Workers’ Liberty, nor the labour movement generally, has the depth of expertise to qualify us to second-guess the established bourgeois public health experts.

But the labour movement does have, and must develop more, expertise in pushing back and overriding the barriers to social well-being raised by the interests of private profit.

On 17 March the

Sanders' socialist plan for the pandemic

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 11:01

Eric Lee

The mainstream media has already written off Bernie Sanders and crowned Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate to challenge Donald Trump (despite the primaries being far from over). But that hasn’t silenced the Vermont senator.

Sanders has long seen himself as more than just a conventional politician and acts as the voice for a movement. This last week, he laid out a socialist programme for the pandemic.

Sanders began with a recognition of the severity of the crisis, saying that “the crisis we face from coronavirus is on the scale of a major war, and we must act accordingly. Nobody knows how

The feminist issues round "staying home"

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 10:56

Katy Dollar

More and more of us will be advised or forced to stay home for whole periods, and to stay home longer each week even when we are going to work.

We must remember that for many women and children, staying home comes with additional dangers of its own.

In the 2015 Ebola outbreak when Sierra Leone shut schools, girls removed from school took on care work and were also at heightened risk of sexual abuse and teen pregnancy. Activist reports and police statistics both report a spike in domestic violence in Wuhan as a result of strict curfews.

The New York public school system has announced school

A year of climate strikes

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 10:45

Abel Harvie-Clarke

It is nearly exactly a year since the first Global School Strike for Climate took place, and whilst the participation and coverage of the movement may appear to have peaked for now, the resolve and commitment of climate strikers across the globe remains strong.

Last year I was a climate striker during my last year of sixth form and I continue to be involved in the UKSCN branch in Newcastle, organising the climate strikes and trying to build links with the local labour movement.

While far from the strongest in terms of numbers, the UK strike movement particularly has taken on a strong political

Covid-19 and capitalism

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 10:38

Angela Driver

Despite many predictions over the years by the World Health Organisation that a new pandemic was fairly certain, fairly soon, capitalist governments and businesses failed to do the research and development in advance that could have provided us with medical capacity to limit its effect, or environmental measures which might even have prevented the outbreak.

The Covid 19 pandemic has laid bare the lie that the welfare of the population can be “left to the market”. Only now, very late, have the ruling classes recognised that the destruction mandates coordinated, collective, market-flouting

Don't let Tories push through anti-migrant law

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 10:25

Ben Towse

The Conservative government’s new Immigration Bill would grant sweeping “Henry VIII” powers to the Home Secretary to make up immigration rules with limited oversight or accountability to Parliament.

The Johnson government’s new post-Brexit border policy ends free movement with the EU. It extends to EU migrants the brutal anti-migrant regime that is already imposed on non-EU migrants, while also changing that regime in new ways.

It classes migrants earning less than a certain salary threshold as “unskilled” and offers no general route for them to enter the country. They will be allowed in only

Covid-19 strengthens case to welcome refugees

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 10:17

Mohan Sen

Right-wing governments and movements are using the C-19 crisis to demand refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere are kept or driven out of Europe.

In fact the crisis only strengthens to the case they must be let in, welcomed and integrated.

The Syrian government says the country has no confirmed C-19 cases, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports outbreaks in several provinces. It says the regime has issued a gag order to stop medical personnel discussing the issue.

Meanwhile Syria is one of very few countries in the region not to have stopped air travel with Iran — the

"Lib-Lab" is a way backwards, not forwards

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 09:23

Sacha Ismail

Some, even on Labour’s left, advocate electoral alliances or coalitions between Labour and non-labour movement “progressive” parties — mostly, in practical terms, meaning the SNP and the Lib Dems.

From a class-struggle, socialist point of view, there are many arguments to be made against such “progressive alliances”. Here I try to draw some lessons from Labour’s history, focusing on alliances with the Liberals.

Debating “progressive alliances” with Janine Booth from Workers’ Liberty at the 2019 Labour conference fringe event The World Transformed, left Labour MP Clive Lewis cited the 1906 Lib

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