Solidarity 586, 24 March 2021

Fighting for the right to protest: what demands?

The revolt against the Tories' Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, with large demonstrations in several cities just before we went to press, is good news. Faced by an assault against democratic and social rights of many kinds, the labour movement needs to get out on the streets again. Thanks to left-wing feminist group Sisters Uncut in particular, the focus has been on grassroots mass mobilisation, and it should continue to be. Without this the Tories would be pushing ahead at greater speed (after the first protests they slowed the passage of the Bill), and without even token opposition...

Bristol and the police

At perhaps 10,000 people, Sunday 21 March's Kill The Bill protest was one of the largest demonstrations I've been to in Bristol. Heading there from my home, it was as if the whole city was coming alive, people coursing through its otherwise quiet streets, all heading in the same direction, and to stand up for the right to protest. This is even more impressive given that it had to be organised “under the counter” due to current anti-protest regulations. The demonstration was energetic and angry, but with a buoyant and creative atmosphere. The large majority of participants were comparatively...

NHS pay protests set for 1 April

NHS workers are continuing to organise against the 1% offer on pay, and for a 15% increase. Unison has announced a day of action on 30 March, and Health Workers Say No! are planning activity on 1 April, backed by Unite and the GMB. More information here. There is also an online day of action on 29 March: see here. Although the RCN have made a big announcement about their strike fund and all health unions are talking about ballots — Unison has issued an email to consult members informally — realistically any ballots will take place after the NHS pay review body reports in May and the government...

Transform "Test and Trace" into an isolation service

Despite a budget of £37 billion over two years “NHS” Test and Trace is having a negligible effect on reducing infections. Only one in five are fully isolating when they have symptoms. Around 12 million workers still have no occupational sick pay and have to rely on Statutory Sick Pay of just £95.85 a week. An isolation service should ensure that workers are not losing any income due to isolation. Germany has a scheme that allows all workers to isolate on full pay for up to six weeks. Practical support could be offered. In New York residents who need to isolate access medication and grocery...

Morning Star goes quiet on 40% more nukes

On 16 March the government set out its plan for a post-Brexit “global Britain” in the so-called “Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy”. One aspect of the review caused consternation even in the Tory press: “Shock plans to increase the country’s nuclear warheads by 40 per cent were met with fury last night... the remarkable move comes more than 50 years after the signing of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty” noted the Daily Mail. Even the Sun asked “And why do we need 80 more nukes... aren’t 180 city-destroying bombs enough?” TheMail also noted that “In...

No to offshoring asylum-seekers!

The Tories’ latest anti-migrant move — suggestions of removing asylum-seekers to camps in remote locations, hundreds or thousands of miles away, while their claims are processed — has now been condemned by numerous humanitarian and migrants’ rights organisations, by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and, though in fairly timid terms, by the Labour Party. Many organisations have pointed to the humanitarian consequences of Australia’s use of this model. As Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council put it: “We know from the Australian model that offshore detention leads to appalling outcomes...

Women's Fightback: The fight for equality and respect

The murder of Sarah Everard, and police action at subsequent vigils and demonstrations, has opened a public discussion on gendered violence. The circumstances of the tragedy fit perfectly with the public imagination and conversation of the threat faced by women. A middle-class white woman, she was a model of female “respectability” and a “proper” victim. Many have commented that Sarah “did everything right” — wearing bright clothing, walking along the lit main road and calling her boyfriend. She didn’t know her attacker, and was snatched on a street at night. The focus on strangers as...

Lessons of Fukushima

On 12 March 2011, an earthquake near Tōhoku, about 200 miles north of Tōkyō, caused a tsunami which killed up to 20,000 people in eastern Japan. One of its effects was to overtop the defensive walls and knock out the cooling systems of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP), resulting in three meltdowns, hydrogen explosions and releases of radioactivity. Those resulted in the death of… no one. As a safety precaution, 109,000 people were ordered to evacuate from within a 20 km radius of the NPP (while 45,000 others chose to evacuate from the wider surroundings). Among these, there were...

Back to tabloid 14 April

Solidarity 587 will be out on 7 April (we’re skipping a week on 31 March because of Easter difficulties with distribution, and to give our paper staff a bit of time to work on other projects). From 14 April on we plan to return to our usual tabloid format. Thanks to the reader who has noted that we’ve dated the last few issues, on the cover, as “2020”, and apologies for the lapse.

A setback for Bolsonaro

On 8 March, Brazilian Supreme Court judge Edson Fachin suspended four corruption charges against ex-president Lula. The charges were related to a triplex apartment, a farm and donations to the Lula institute, all allegedly given to him as bribes. Lula had previously been found guilty on those charges. He went to prison for 580 days, and was barred from running for the presidency against Bolsonaro in 2019. The charges were suspended with the reasoning that Sergio Moro was not the “natural” judge for the case, so in theory a judgement on whether Lula is guilty of corruption or not is still due...

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.