Solidarity 573, 25 November 2020

Brexit is a step backwards

The Brexit transition period ends in less than six weeks, on 31 December. The EU has told its member states’ ambassadors that a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK is close — but warned a No Deal Brexit is still possible “accidentally”, because of the timescale... A No Deal exit, producing wrenching economic and social dislocation, would or will be terrible. But the Guardian hit the nail on the head when, on the same day as the EU briefing, it quoted economists saying that “the best deal the UK can secure would have counted as ‘one of the hardest of Brexits’ three or four years ago”. During the...

After Corbyn reinstatement: now, a political offensive against antisemitism

Above: The "Mear One" mural: Jeremy Corbyn supported it when the local council led by Lutfur Rahman removed it, but then apologised A panel of the Labour Party National Executive has (17 November 2020) reinstated Jeremy Corbyn after: • he responded to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's legally-enforceable report (29 October 2020) finding the Labour Party culpable for antisemitism by saying that "the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons" and conceding only that he could not claim "no antisemitism" in the Labour Party because of course there would be some "as there...

Morning Star still dismisses antisemitism complaints as right-wing invention

Back in 2018, a writer in Solidarity described Corbyn’s response to allegations of antisemitism in Labour under his leadership: “Corbyn agrees there is a problem. He responds under pressure, moves in the direction his critics are pointing to, but it is as if he cannot understand what the fuss is about ... everything is low-energy, insufficient, ineffectual, can be seen or portrayed as evasive, as lacking conviction ...” That description sprang to mind when reading Corbyn’s response to the EHRC report: instead of an apology for what happened (and didn’t happen) on his watch, there was the claim...

Betterment without emancipation?

Marie Stopes International (MSI) has changed its name in recognition of the need to break association with the pro-eugenics views of Marie Stopes. The abortion and contraception provider will go by the name MSI Reproductive Choices. There had been debate in the organisation for some time about a name change, and they were spurred to action by the Black Lives Matters movement and subsequent discussions. Marie Stopes was an author and prominent women’s rights campaigner. She opened Britain’s first clinic offering birth control advice to married women in 1921, in the face of fierce opposition...

Four climate futures

Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future by Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright is an interesting read, with much to criticise, but some interesting and important questions raised.

Test and trace workers don't get isolation pay

Speaking to the Coronavirus Lessons Learnt meeting in parliament on 10 November, the head of Test and Trace, Dido Harding, told MPs: “All the evidence shows that people are not complying with isolation not because they don’t want to but because they find it very difficult. “The need to keep earning and to be able to feed your family is a fundamental element of it which is why I think the financial support payment is a very good thing.” The financial support that she refers to is the £500 isolation support payment which was introduced in September. But millions of workers, including thousands...

"One should not pretend there is only one imperialism"

Pavel Katarzheuski from the "Fair World" party in Belarus talked with Pete Radcliff from Solidarity. Could you tell us about the work of the campaigns and organisations you work through? (Fair World etc.) I am a member of the Central Committee of the Belarusian Left Party "Fair World". It is the oldest left-wing party in Belarus. It was founded in 1991 under the name "Party of the Communists of Belarus" as the successor of the Belarusian section of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 2009 the party changed its name to The Left Party "Fair World" in order to avoid confusion with the...

Virus: getting through the months

The news is good on vaccines for Covid-19. But, as every expert says, it will be several months at least before vaccination shrinks the need for covid-distancing and quarantining. Longer, if the vaccines block symptoms but not the virus itself or transmission. (We don’t yet know). As of 24 November, infection rates have been edging down in Europe since 8 November. They look like plateauing worldwide, after rapid growth since mid-October, but are rising sharply in the USA. The lockdowns in Belgium and France have reduced rates there sharply, and Spain and Italy (without lockdowns) have also...

Macron's sledgehammer and the nut

CFCM has proposed, and Macron has accepted, the idea of a national register of imams run by CFCM, but how will that work given that most mosques do not recognise CFCM?

Letters: Cronyism and capitalism; Chilean democracy and political parties

Cronyism and capitalism Jim Denham’s criticisms in Solidarity 572 of the No Holding Back report produced by Ian Lavery, Laura Smith and Jon Trickett were on point, particularly in terms of its nationalism and lack of a coherent understanding of what the working class is. There’s one aspect which I think deserves to be drawn out further. The report proposes a “cronyism watchdog” as a way of “challenging the Tories’ economic priorities”. It fails to define what they mean by cronyism or what this “watchdog” would do. It’s hard to see how it would have the significance and cutting edge even plenty...

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