Solidarity 587, 7 April 2021

Now win full isolation pay for all

For the past few months the Safe and Equal campaign (S&E) has been working with Labour MPs to demand full sick and isolation pay for all frontline Test Centre workers. On 29 March 2021, S&E and Emily Thornberry MP got a letter from Sodexo HR Director Greg Austin: “Since receiving your enquiry I am pleased to report that the DHSC have approved the payment of occupational sick pay for periods of self-isolation for all workers at Test Centres. This commitment has also been included in the tender specification for the new Test Centre contract which commences in July 2021.” Previously, G4S and...

US police killings still at 100 per month

Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s trial for the killing of George Floyd last May opened on 8 March. Even after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, and with all the attention focused on the police, the number of killings they commit has remained very high. According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, 1,127 people were killed by US police in 2020. In the first two and half months of 2021, the figure was 207. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — but has pleaded not guilty to all. Three other police officers will face...

“Kick the racist out!” Rebellion at Pimlico Academy

On Wednesday 31 March, their last day of term, almost a thousand students at Pimlico Academy, the flagship school run by Future Academies, sat down in the playground and refused to go to lessons.

The students were protesting a racist school uniform policy, which instructed students with afro...

Coaxing small capitalists?

Andrew Northall (Letters, 24 March) takes exception to my Antidoto column (10 February) on the Communist Party of Britain’s concept of the “anti-monopoly alliance”. One thing Andrew says is undoubtedly correct: “The ‘anti-monopoly alliance’ is very much written into the DNA of the CPB and its programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism”. Where we disagree is on whether or not this represents (in Andrew’s words) “a cross-class alliance that cannot by definition be anti-capitalist since it includes small capitalists.” Andrew claims that the term monopoly capitalism “simply describes the nature of...

Women's Fightback: Changing culture in schools

Everyone’s Invited, a website describing itself as a movement committed to eradicating rape culture, has collected 14,000 testimonies so far of sexual harassment and violence in schools. Elite private boys’ schools, St Paul’s, Harrow, Westminster, Latymer, Eton, Highgate, and Dulwich among them, were named in testimonies sent to the platform, inspiring students at Dulwich to write an open letter and organise a demonstration about rape culture at the school. Students at Highgate, meanwhile, planned to stage a walk-out after the school was accused of turning a blind eye to issues. The school has...

Labour auto-exclusions are back

The Labour Party has published a new complaints policy, and, at last, some information on disciplinary decisions. 356 cases have been heard by panels of the National Executive Committee (NEC) over the last ten months, since May 2020. Almost half of those (170) were in the three months May-July 2020. 94 members out of those 356 have been expelled. We don’t know for what, except that the report says 70% of the 356 cases were charges about antisemitism. On top of the 94, 43 members have been “auto-excluded” (i.e. expelled without a hearing) on the catch-all clause about “supporting a political...

Covid lessons from Chile

So far the news in Britain from the vaccine roll-out and the gradual lockdown-easing is good. News from Chile reminds us that battles for isolation pay and for workers’ control of workplace safety (as in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) remain urgent. Chile has done more vaccinations per population than Britain, 58 per 100 population vs 56 here. Yet on 25 March it imposed a new lockdown in its major population centre, around Santiago, because of soaring Covid infection and death figures. The new lockdown is stricter than anything we’ve had in Britain, with borders closed, a night-time...

Myanmar's workers appeal for solidarity

On 3 April Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said that the Burmese security forces have killed 550 people, including 46 children, since the 1 February military coup. In parts of the country inhabited mainly by the minority Karen people, the coup regime has begun carrying out airstrikes, killing dozens and displacing tens of thousands. Still, many thousands, including striking workers, continue to protest in the streets across Myanmar. Corporations with suppliers producing garments in Myanmar have refused to accede to workers’ demands for protection if they continue to...

India: "Deeper than farm laws"

On 30 March Momentum Internationalists held a meeting in solidarity with the Indian farmers’ struggle with London region Fire Brigades Union black and ethnic minority officer Amit Malde, and Pritam Singh, a left-wing academic and economist specialising in the economy of Indian Punjab and an ally of farmers’ leaders. Amit’s statement of solidarity, which drew out parallels with anti-privatisation and climate struggles here, was followed by a comprehensive and informative presentation from Pritam, and many questions. MI will put up videos soon. Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome, who was due to...

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