Solidarity 554, 1 July 2020

Block Netanyahu's plan to annex!

The timetable set for itself by Israel’s Netanyahu-Gantz coalition government provides for moving formally to annex to Israel large parts of the Palestinian West Bank this week, on 1 July. Annexing large chunks of what is now “Area C”, under Israel control, will create new barriers to an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, other than in the sham form of a string of disconnected patches of land (Palestinian-inhabited cities, towns, villages) surrounded on all sides by Israeli territory and connected with each other only by Israeli-supervised channels. It still remains possible that...

French workers on streets

French workers have come out on the streets again as the virus emergency eases there. On Tuesday 16 June, 18,000 health workers demonstrated in Paris and many thousands in other cities. They were demanding a pay rise of €300 a month for low-waged health workers, increased staffing, and a moratorium on bed closures. They are calling for action from president Emmanuel Macron on his promise, made during the emergency, of a great renovation of French health care. Macron has also promised a referendum to amend France’s constitution by inserting a reference to ecological values, but is fending off...

Fighting police abuse and racism

The murder of George Floyd, which was the equivalent of a public lynching, is tragically nothing new. Police brutality against black people has always been there. This time, however, it’s been caught on video. It was a slow, terrifying and painful death for Floyd. The amount of times he clearly said “I can’t breathe.…” and was ignored. Unconscionable that anyone could ignore that, let alone carry on causing it. The subsequent killing of Tony McDade further compounded the lack of care from the police to the BAME community. Trust has been broken repeatedly and people have had enough. The...

74 lashes for Iranian workers

42 workers at AzarAb Industries, in Iran’s industrial city of Arak, have been sentenced to one year in prison, 74 lashes, and one month of forced labour. That is for a protest in 2019 against delayed wage payments after the firm was privatised. Workers’ wages have again not been paid in May and June 2020. Non-payment of wages is commonplace in Iran, and so is jailing of workers who protest, On 23 May, however, charges against Esmail Bakhshi, Mohammad Khanifar and Ali Nejati were dropped as part of a wider amnesty granted at Eid by the government. Esmail Bakhshi was a strike leader at the Haft...

USA: the unions and the cops

Certain small US unions which are traditionally on the left, like the ILWU and the United Electrical Workers, have taken very strong positions — and in the case of the ILWU actually shut down the West coast ports. On the East coast the ILA docks union did nine minutes of silence, in agreement with employers. The Amalgamated Transit Union, which has a large black membership, has also taken a strong stance, and many of its locals have organised action, including refusing to cooperate with police. The national AFL-CIO has had a number of requests from affiliates to kick out the police unions that...

Hold Starmer to 2030!

On 29 June, a Labour spokesperson said that while Starmer “had supported” the 2019 Green New Deal policy, he would not commit to retaining the policy, and that the party’s position would be decided in “4 or 5 years” with the next manifesto. This should ring serious alarm bells for the left and environmentalists, and reminds us of the need for an organised and vocal left Labour membership to hold leadership to account. In a general sense, the comments from Starmer’s team show a clear lack of respect for party democracy. The motion passed overwhelmingly at 2019 conference called for “net-zero...

Private hospitals: don't subsidise, nationalise!

According to the Financial Times (16 June) the government is considering a longer term deal with private hospitals. In late March, as the first wave of Covid 19 was on the rise, the government worried that health resources in the UK would be overwhelmed, as they had been in Italy. The government made a deal with private hospitals — a rolling deal that can be terminated. The deal gives the NHS access to the facilities and staff of private hospitals. The government pays all overheads, including lending commitments and rent, for the private hospitals at an estimated cost of £100-120m per week...

Abuse of Uyghur women

China is carrying out forced sterilisations of women of ethnic minority populations in the western Xinjiang region, according to research published on 29 June. More than one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are imprisoned in re-education camps. Uyghur women and other ethnic minorities are being threatened with internment in the camps for refusing to abort pregnancies that exceed birth quotas. Women have been involuntarily fitted with intrauterine contraceptives or coerced into receiving sterilisation surgeries, even were they had fewer than the permitted two children...

Top Labour official suspended

Novara Media reports ( bit.ly/novarareport) that half a dozen former senior Labour officials have been suspended in connection with the party’s leaked report on antisemitism (and in fact a wide range of other issues). This includes Emilie Oldknow, who was reported to be Keir Starmer’s choice for new General Secretary of the party until the leaked report made that impossible. A Labour NEC (National Executive) member told Novara: “Almost three months since the leaked Labour Party report, which exposed racism, sexism, discrimination and bullying by senior officials in Southside, justice is...

Unite the Union needs a new left

With a resurgent right in the political wing of the labour movement, and a General Secretary election due to take place sooner rather than later in the giant union Unite, recent election results demonstrate the urgent need — and opportunity — for a regroupment of the genuine democratic left in the union. The results of the elections which closed on 18 June for the Executive Council (EC) of Unite were not good for the United Left (UL), once the dominant “Broad Left” in the union. In the 2017 EC elections there were contests in 28 of the constituencies (geographical, industrial, etc.)...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.