Solidarity 580, 3 February 2021

Requisition Big Pharma!

Governments have financed the Covid-19 vaccines, by subsidies for research and trials and preparing production facilities, by advance orders before it was even known whether the vaccines would work, and by exempting the pharmaceutical firms from risks of court cases if something goes wrong. The labour movement should demand that governments now requisition the “intellectual property” produced with that finance — i.e. make the patents available to any competent producer. There is already a mechanism for that, set up by the World Health Organisation eight months ago, the Covid-19 Technology...

Diet as a factor

My article in Solidarity 579 on Covid-toll differences between countries omitted diet as a factor. Poor diet and overweight can make people less able to deal with infectious diseases. Japan, with a Covid death rate per population, so far, only 3% of Britain’s, has a different diet and an obesity rate of 4%: compare the UK’s 28%, the highest in Europe after Malta. The only scientific paper I can find on this names Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania as countries likely to do well because of diet, and then all three in December had Covid death rates per population higher than the UK. But diet may be a...

For Russia's left, the "Navalny protests" are not about Navalny

Loretta Marie Perera reports from Moscow. An aversion to Russia’s leading opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, is a sentiment shared by many of the feminists, socialists, leftists, and anti-capitalists who joined tens of thousands in protests around Russia starting on Saturday, January 23. “I disagree with many things about Navalny’s politics: his attitude to migrants, feminism, LGBT,” said Daria, 33, who protested in St. Petersburg. But for many, Daria included, there is a bigger enemy to reckon with. “I believe that it is impossible and humiliating to continue to tolerate the attitude of...

Polish cops face protesters

Polish Women’s Strike reports that 14 people were detained Thursday 29 January, on the second night of protests against Poland’s near total ban on abortion, held despite a prohibition on public gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Poland’s constitutional court ruled in October to ban abortions in cases of foetuses with fatal abnormalities. The implementation of the court ruling was delayed by the October-November wave of protest. The ruling finally became law on Wednesday 28 January, triggering a new wave of protests. The constitutional court argued that allowing abortion when there are...

Activist agenda: Free movement; Sick pay; Right to strike

Safe and Equal will now run organising sessions weekly on Wednesdays at 6 pm, alternate Wednesdays discussions, the other Wednesdays phone-round sessions. The purpose is to push its campaign for isolation pay, which high infection rates make ultra-urgent, so help in the coming weeks will be very valuable: email safeandequal@gmail.com. A particular focus is on careworkers’ isolation pay, and S&E is working with a number of careworkers about local action on that. S&E is approaching other groups which have backed the call for full isolation pay, such as Don’t Leave Organise, to propose a...

Blaming all of humanity

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, the critically acclaimed late 2020 documentary, is a powerful watch. Awe-inspiring natural beauty, captured on film, is interwoven with his signature emotive narration, plus a personal touch from this infamous presenter. It’s no surprise that this environmental call-to-arms caused ripples. This “witness statement” tracks a lifetime studying nature: and its continual destruction and decline. Humans increasingly dominate and destroy the natural world, consuming more and more of the earth which supports us. The great disaster he focusses on is...

Points and immigration

In the 2016 Brexit referendum, the very much anti-migration “Leave” side of debate talked a lot about “taking back control of our borders” and controlling the influx of migrants “taking our jobs”. The new “points-based” immigration system is supposed to deliver on those promises and, as Priti Patel puts it, “only allow the real talent” into Britain. How will the points be awarded? To qualify for a work visa the applicant looking to migrate to the UK first needs 50 points from being able to speak English (10 points) and having a job offer from an approved employer for a “skilled job” (40 points...

Chagos: the struggle continues

Abridged from the website of the Mauritius socialist organisation Lalit In the apparently low-stakes dispute between Mauritius and Maldives over the delimitation of their maritime boundary, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on 28 January found, on a preliminary issue raised by Maldives, that Britain has no claim on Chagos [islands previously ruled with Mauritius by Britain from which Britain evicted the whole population in 1967-73, to hand them over to the US for a military base]. Not even “a claim”. The judgment thus lands a legal knock-out. Now, unfortunately, the...

Council cuts: battles looming

A BBC survey has found nine out of ten major local authorities in England with not enough cash to cover their spending plans in the financial year 2021-2. Coronavirus could lead to them going £1.7bn over budget. To keep services going, say council leaders, billions cut from central government funding to councils over the last ten years must be restored. Although higher than previous settlements under Tory governments since 2010, the council funding settlement for 2021-22 is radically insufficient. Already one in six children’s centres and nearly a thousand libraries have closed. Councils have...

Rally against council cuts, 23 February

The Lambeth branch of the public services union Unison has called a meeting to bring together activists across local government unions, community campaigns and the Labour Party to discuss stopping local government cuts looming in the 2021-2 budget year. Tuesday 23 February 2021, 19:00, on Zoom; more details here. Speakers: Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP; Sean Fox, Unison Chair of the National Joint Council Committee; Susan Matthews, Unite Branch Secretary and Executive Council member; Andy Prendergast, GMB Southern Region Lead Officer for Public Services; Duncan Morrison, Lewisham NEU; Councillor James...

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.