Solidarity 555, 8 July 2020

Palestine annexation: use the delay!

The 1 July date set by Israel’s hard-right government to launch its annexation of occupied Palestinian territories passed with what Palestinian journalist Amjad Iraqi, writing in +972 Mag., called “very little fanfare.” Iraqi wrote: “Disputes and unpreparedness within the Israeli government and the settler movement, along with growing international criticism in recent weeks, appear to have stalled the annexation process.” Speaking in a webinar, Iraqi added that debates within the government may also have contributed to limiting the Israeli state’s ability to act. “There are disputes between...

Make Labour fight for “grand schemes”!

Both the government and the scientists who criticise it say that finding people with Covid-19 symptoms, testing to confirm, tracing their close contacts, and getting sufferers and contacts to self-isolate, is central to controlling the virus. Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds told the Marr show on Sunday 5 June: “I’m not going to say to you that Labour is going to be advocating some massive grand scheme right at this moment when social care is in crisis”. But we need grand schemes exactly at this time of crisis! The Tories’ floundering has imposed a massive grand Covid-19 death toll, threatens a massive grand risk of a whole new second wave of the virus, and is generating massive grand job cuts.

Forward Momentum sweeps election

Reform group Forward Momentum has swept the board in the elections for Momentum’s National Coordinating Group, winning all 20 seats elected by members. Full results here. Momentum Renewal won the four seats reserved for and chosen by Public Office Holders (councillors and MPs). Since then four people broadly on the Momentum Renewal side have been selected for the seats reserved for non-union “affiliates” — many of them not representing much. Even with that manoeuvring, Forward Momentum has a clear majority. But that majority is not united by a clear political perspective. Serious debate of the...

STV for Labour National Executive

The elections for the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) seats on Labour’s National Executive (NEC) will this year be conducted by Single Transferable Vote (STV). Long campaigned for by Open Labour, the move has been voted through by the NEC on 30 June for a process starting 10 July. As noted by Jon Lansman in an NEC report-back for Momentum, many of those who voted for this also voted against the use of STV or AV in other sections. While pleading they want democracy, they also continued the lockdown bar on CLPs making political decisions, with the exception only of NEC nominations and candidate...

Momentum: what needs to change?

With a clear Forward Momentum majority on the National Coordinating Group of the big Labour left organisation Momentum, there is the possibility of significant changes for the better in the organisation. There is so much that needs changing in Momentum that it’s almost hard to know where to begin. Here are some ideas for priorities in the next month or two. Much bigger changes are needed in the longer term. Small bits and pieces around certain disputes it may have seen as “trendy” (e.g. the McDonald’s strikes) aside, Momentum has done essentially nothing to support workers’ struggles. An...

Travel after lockdown

In the lockdown, cycling and walking have increased, but public transport traffic has fallen more than car traffic. Socialists have long advocated the expansion of public transport, and partly to reduce car use. But at present car traffic is recovering towards pre-lockdown levels much faster than public transport, and that looks likely to continue. That pattern could continue for some time. People don’t want to use public transport because it brings a greater risk of infection than travelling alone in a car. Permanent working-from-home cannot be the answer, even where possible. Apart from...

ÂŁ10,000 for maternity care

Maternity Action has lost its legal challenge to the scheme of charging destitute migrant women for NHS maternity care. Following an oral hearing on 1 July, the High Court denied the charity permission to proceed with a judicial review. It is considering whether to appeal. The case was brought by Maternity Action on behalf of a woman who was charged more than ÂŁ10,000 for vital maternity care. Charging migrants for maternity care deters, delays, or denies access to healthcare for pregnant migrants, those giving birth, or those who need postnatal treatment. This is particularly dangerous as many...

Fabrication not antisemitic?

No one, I think, now denies that the story of Minneapolis cops learning neck-kneeling from Israel was a fabrication. But, in the wake of Rebecca Long Bailey’s sacking from the Shadow Cabinet, some still suggest — for example, in Momentum’s 1 July Zoom report-back from Labour’s National Executive — that it wasn’t antisemitic. Denunciations of Israel (so the argument goes) can’t be antisemitic, because only antisemites can identify Jews with Israel and consider a denunciation of the Israeli state as an attack on Jewish people. But here we have a very special sort of denunciation. That it’s...

The New Jim Crow

Police violence in the USA is only a shore of a whole continent of racial oppression and marginalisation, so Michelle Alexander argues in her 2010 book, now a “classic”, The New Jim Crow. Alexander is a civil rights lawyer by trade. Chunks of the book are lawyerly, dissecting a string of Supreme Court rulings. She says herself that she wouldn’t have got to a “fancy law school” without affirmative action rules. Her punchline, though, is that racial oppression is knitted into a larger system of social inequality, and measures which create a bigger black middle class aren’t enough. “Piecemeal...

Support the Tower Hamlets workers!

Thousands of council workers in Tower Hamlets struck on 3-6-7 July against mass sackings and the imposition of new, significantly worse terms and conditions under the “Tower Rewards” scheme. As we go to press Tower Hamlets Unison reps have been meeting to discuss their next steps. There may be more strikes in the week starting 13 July. Picket organisers reported a strong strike turnout and good numbers at socially distanced pickets across the borough, plus many more members “striking from home”. Refuse workers organised by Unite and GMB supported the action, and some refused to cross picket...

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