Solidarity 581, 10 February 2021

Regroup Labour's internationalists!

Every now and then on Twitter, users will post about their distress at being diagnosed with a terrible illness. The replies to these posts are almost always full of people making “helpful” suggestions: to forego meals and subsist off fistfuls of turmeric; to subscribe to expensive and miraculous yoga courses; homeopathy. The illnesses are very real; but the remedies often tell you a lot more about the people proposing them than about how to get well again. It is the same with the Labour Party’s famous disconnection from the working class, or at least from a large portion of it. When...

The night Russia’s riot police stormed Moscow

On the night of 2 February, the most central parts of Moscow – that is to say, the fanciest, most iconic, and at other times, the most touristy – were taken over in a culmination of ultraviolence brought to the streets by droves of armed men.

China sets sexist state strategy

The Chinese state has announced a sexist strategy to stop the “feminisation” of Chinese boys. It thinks the nation’s teens are too delicate, timid and effeminate. A letter from China’s state education ministry has announced the plan to prevent the “feminisation” of young Chinese males, arguing young men can be prevented from becoming too girly by more sport and being exposed to more traditionally masculine role models. The Chinese Government has recently expressed concern over the growing popularity of movie stars and pop icons, saying widely admired role models were formerly traditional...

Drop Walney's inquiry!

Fighter against "extremism" John Woodcock (Lord Walney), with two far-right Turkish politicians On 7 February, the former right-wing Labour MP John Woodcock — now Lord Walney, a Tory supporter, and the government’s official for “countering violent extremism” — announced via the Daily Telegraph that the government had asked him to do a new “inquiry” into “extremism”. Walney said that the biggest “threat” is the “far right”, but the Telegraph chose to headline “far left influence in Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Black Lives Matter”. It quoted Walney further as saying that he was worried about...

Capital is the culprit

“Things are harder for our generation than they were for our parents. But in one respect we are luckier than our parents. We have begun to learn and are rapidly learning to fight — and to fight not as individuals, as the best of our parents fought... but for our slogans, the slogans of our class. We are fighting better than our parents did. Our children will fight better than we do, and they will be victorious.” Lenin, The Working Class and Neo-Malthusianism (1913) This article takes up from the review of David Attenborough: A Life on This Planet in Solidarity 580. Fossil fuel — mostly coal —...

After the Napier fire: close these camps!

29 January saw a fire in Napier army barracks, in Kent, which is being used to house several hundred asylum-seekers. Simultaneously the site was in the middle of a Covid-19 outbreak, with over 130 positive cases. Clearly the poor, cramped living conditions are driving waves of deadly infection. Home Secretary Priti Patel’s response? Assume the fire was a deliberate act of arson (without evidence) and rubbish claims that the accommodation was at all sub-standard (because it was fine for soldiers, despite having been uninhabited for ten years). The same issues are raised by the Home Office plans...

Demonstrations and strikes confront Burmese military

Demonstrations and strikes have spread across Myanmar to overturn the military military coup which began on 1 February. Events are developing fast as we prepare to go to press. For more information and updates, see the website Frontline Myanmar and these Twitter accounts: twitter.com/AndrewTSaks and twitter.com/Rgnhardliner (the former in particular for worker-focused reports, with many photos and videos of strikers). The military regime has responded with demands to disperse, arrests, snatching people off the streets, water cannons and more extreme violence. At least three people have died...

Against the Saudi war in Yemen

Joe Biden has announced the end of US support for Saudi-led offensive military operations in Yemen, arguing in a foreign policy speech that they have “created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe”. The details remain to be seen, but we should use this shift to exert pressure on the British government too. Intervention by the predominantly Arab military coalition headed by Saudi Arabia, directed against Iranian-backed Shia Islamist/nationalist Houthi militias, has resulted in many tens of thousand of fatalities, including over ten thousand civilians killed directly by coalition military...

Return of the Anti-Monopoly Alliance

The “Recapitulation Theory” in biology claims that the human embryo in the womb passes through every evolutionary stage from amoeba to fish to invertebrate, etc. etc., up to primitive human form. As a biological theory “recapitulation” is long discredited, but theMorning Star does seem to do something like “recapitulation” of Stalinism. “Third Period” Stalinism of 1928-34 was an ultra-left line that held that social democracy and liberalism were the last obstacles in the way of socialist revolution and that their destruction by fascism might even hasten the revolution. All proportions guarded...

Vaccinations and transmission

Overall arguments made in “Requisition Big Pharma!” (Solidarity 580) are important and good. The implicit rejoinder to demands to bump school workers up the queue is apt. Yet the article imbalances further than justifiable, or necessary. It notes “[t]he carefully-reasoned elderly-first vaccination schedule designed by scientists. (They explain its advantages over “no, vaccinate me first” cries from rival younger groups). “The vaccines probably reduce transmission to some degree; maybe a lot, but we don’t know. It will be difficult finding out. (If transmission drops in Britain now, is that...

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