Solidarity 593, 19 May 2021

Two states, equal rights!

On day nine of Israel’s bombing of Gaza, the percentage of civilian casualties is inexorably rising. Hundreds are dead. 58,000 are displaced, according to the UN. The bombs increasingly shatter the social infrastructure of the blockaded, pauperised territory: hospitals, electricity, water. The Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, surprised at Hamas’s ability to fire so many rockets, and as far as Jerusalem, is retaliating with overwhelming, brutal, vindictive military force, intent on wreaking maximum destruction before international pressure brings a ceasefire. The immediate frame is...

Arabs and Jews unite for equal rights

Standing Together (@omdimbeyachad) is a left-wing social movement in Israel, involving Palestinian Arab and Jewish citizens. In the past week, it has been organising cross-communal demonstrations across Israel, demanding an immediate ceasefire, opposing occupation, racism, and war, and supporting equality and solidarity between Arabs and Jews. Some of its protests have been attacked by far-right Jewish chauvinists. It issued this statement on 14 May. Below that are some voices from Israel's Arab-Jewish left-wing resistance. These are dark days, full of violence and escalation, incitement and...

Letters: Early economic convulsions; More to condemn; Communist for clampdown?

Climate science predicts that different crises will unfold at different time scales and under different emissions scenarios. The purpose of my article (Solidarity 589) was to argue that economic convulsions will be an early rather than a late impact of climate change, and may well begin in anticipation of the major civilisation-rocking crises like sea-level rise. Further, that these convulsions will occur at a time when the dawning realisation of climate change — that the future is one of escalating and multiple crises piling up and compounding each other — becomes hegemonic. I expect these...

Israel-Palestine: a crisis of leadership is only part of it

Over 80 years ago, Trotsky wrote that “the world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterised by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.” I always thought that this was a rather audacious claim to make. After all, surely there were other things at play in the world, certainly back in 1938. But I thought of those words again today as I read the Observer editorial on the renewal of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. “Benjamin Netanyahu is not fit to be Israel’s prime minister,” stated the editorial, correctly describing him as someone who has undermined any...

Activist agenda: Tiananmen commemoration, health and safety survey

On the 32nd anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre of 4 June 1989, Uyghur Solidarity Campaign and the Hong Kong campaign LMSHKUK will protest from 7 pm, with a rally at 8 pm, outside the Chinese Embassy in Portland Place, London W1B 1JL: “Democracy, freedom, workers’ rights for China, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Uyghurs”. The Safe and Equal campaign is putting together a model Covid safety survey. It wants health and safety reps to conduct new workplace inspections and surveys of their workforces. The increased transmission rate from the B1.167.2 variant of the virus, the new upturn in...

Women's Fightback: Trans woman’s rights breached, rules judge

Requiring a trans woman to show she suffered from a “disorder” is an unnecessary affront to her dignity, the Northern Ireland High Court has ruled. The obligation required in order to secure official recognition of her preferred identity is incompatible with human rights, said the ruling. Judicial review proceedings brought against the Government Equalities Office (GEA) focused on the terms of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The woman, who has chosen to stay anonymous, began her transition more than 20 years ago, and took legal action in a bid to obtain a new birth certificate. In order to...

Left politics in Singapore

Jamie Teo, a food courier and socialist activist in Singapore, spoke to Sara Lee, a Workers’ Liberty activist. When did you start being politically active? I came across Marx around the age of 16 or 17 and started to awaken politically. I didn’t start doing political activity until I went to Perth, Australia, for university and came across Socialist Alternative. I met them at an orientation event and was invited to attend their protest against Trump in the Central Business District. I went to their branch meetings and reading groups. I felt they were good politically, but what made me a little...

Unite election: a more critical approach needed

For debate and discussion about the election, see here. Sharon Graham is a very well-paid unelected trade union bureaucrat standing as “The Workers’ Candidate” in the Unite the Union General Secretary election now underway. That doesn't rule out supporting her. Two of her competitors (Steve Turner and Howard Beckett) are also very well-paid unelected trade union bureaucrats, and the very right-wing Gerard Coyne isn't one only because he was sacked after standing against Len McCluskey in the 2017 General Secretary election. It does suggest a more critical approach than that of Matt Dunn in...

On the Howard Beckett/Priti Patel controversy

Debate and discussion on the Unite election here. Unite the Union’s assistant general secretary, and candidate for general secretary, Howard Beckett, has landed in hot water after tweeting – in the context of denouncing the Tories’ anti-migrant policies and supporting the magnificent resistance to them in Glasgow – that home secretary “Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees”. Beckett said: “She can go along with anyone else who supports institutional racism. She is disgusting.” When it was pointed out by many on the left that, regardless of Patel’s appalling politics, suggesting the...

US battles over voting and union rights

The Republicans want to reduce the number of people voting; strengthen the US political system’s existing biases towards allowing them to rule with minority support; and shift the country further towards an authoritarian regime. Following the Trumpist campaign to claim the 2020 Presidential election was “stolen”, Republican-controlled states in the USA have enacted 25 new laws restricting voting in 2021, compared to 14 in 2019 and 2020 combined. They build on past measures. US election turnout is famously low not just because of voters being unmotivated, but because it is harder then in Europe...

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