Solidarity 595, 2 June 2021

Against Beijing tyranny: workers' solidarity

June 4 2021 marks 32 years since the Chinese state’s massacre of hundreds or thousands of pro-democracy protesters around Tiananmen Square. Workers’ Liberty will join the vigil in London to commemorate the movement and its bloody suppression, and to re-affirm our solidarity with everyone still struggling today for the liberation sought by the 1989 movement. Repression Today, the Chinese “Communist” Party (CCP) continues to brutally repress the people under the rule of its dictatorial party-state. Its economy is characterised by rampant exploitation of workers and peasants for the profits of...

To curb Covid: isolation pay, requisition Big Pharma, workers' control

Under the noise, the same sort of short-sighted Covid policies are back again. It is down to the labour movement to force effective policies against a third surge of the virus. Turning against his former patron Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings has declared that Covid blunders in 2020 shows that "in any sensible rational government, it is completely crazy that [Cummings himself] should have been in such a senior position, in my personal opinion. I'm not smart..." Too true. Infections have been increasing again in Britain since about 7 May. Hospitalisations are now increasing again, and also...

Push back on evictions!

Around 400,000 households have been served an eviction notice or have been told they may be evicted. And the ban on evictions during the pandemic, dating from March 2020, ended on 31 May. Unemployment is still up because of pandemic job losses, and the Bank of England forecasts a further rise in autumn when the Tories plan to scrap furlough. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates that a further 450,000 households are in arrears with rent. The “community union” Acorn and the Labour left group Momentum aim to mobilise people to stop these evictions. Solidarity supports their campaign.

Lukashenko, Orban and "enemies' enemies"

“Whataboutery” is an old trick favoured by Stalinists whenever difficult questions about human rights under “socialist” (or, these days, “anti-imperialist”) regimes are raised. So, in the old days of the Stalinist empire, they would respond “what about racism in the US?” to questions about the lack of democratic rights in the USSR and Eastern Europe. The other old trick of that sort is “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Some of the most blatant cases you’ll come across involve the Morning Star and its efforts to deny or justify the Chinese state’s treatment of the Uyghurs. The editorial (25 May)...

Republicans decry "woke capital"

There is an interesting subplot to the US struggle over voting rights covered in Solidarity 590 and 593. Many corporations have come out against restrictions on voting rights — and been attacked by Republican leaders for getting involved in politics! In March the voting rights debate ramped up when the important swing state of Georgia passed new restrictions. Activists pressured Georgia-based corporations that made supportive noises during the Black Lives Matter protests to speak out — and a number did, including Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and Home Depot. Then in April hundreds of companies and...

Antisemitism on the left

I find it interesting that Colin Foster in his piece about the rise of antisemitism (Solidarity 594) looks just at the aspect of far right antisemitism, concluding: “Antisemitic attacks have been increasing in Europe and the USA for some years. This increase is correlated with upsurges of the far right and in the USA especially of Trumpism.” Whilst I agree it is important to recognise this aspect and talk about it, as the rise and threat of the far right is very real, it’s not looking at the full picture. Historically it is the far right who are antisemitic and they’ve expressed this...

Dark secrets in the Channel Islands

The Sunday Times (30 May) featured a front page story with this headline: “Exposed: Horrors of Channel Islands concentration camps”. The article reported that official documents describing the German treatment of prisoners on Alderney — where thousands died — would be published for the first time. That may well be the case, but the story of the German occupation of the Channel Islands in general, and Alderney in particular, is already well known. Alderney, one of the smaller islands, has been described as the biggest “crime scene” in British history. As the Times reported, “Britain later...

Women's Fightback: The Tarun Tejpal case - rape victim on trial

In India, a judge has thrown out charges against journalist and publisher Tarun Tejpal, accused of raping a female colleague. The allegations attracted a lot of attention as it involved a major media figure. His magazine was one of the leaders in Indian investigative journalism, his publishing house India Ink represented major figures, and he was often seen with friends Arundhati Roy and VS Naipaul. Not content with acquitting the accused, the judge went on to question the character of the alleged victim. The 527-page judgment reads like a checklist of sexist tropes on rape victims. Judge...

Defending the "anti-monopoly alliance"

I appreciate Luke Hardy’s response (Solidarity 591) in both tone and content to my letter (Solidarity 589) re the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), the Party’s programme Britain’s Road to Socialism, and the concept of the broad, democratic, anti-monopoly alliance.

Unite the Union deadline is 7 June

Two of the four candidates seeking election as the next General Secretary of Unite the Union have already won enough branch nominations (175) to get on the ballot paper. Branches can add nominations until 7 June. Voting will be between 5 July and 23 August. Sharon Graham, head of the union’s Organising Department, announced her 175th nomination on 25 May. On 29 May Howard Beckett, head of the union’s Legal Department, announced that he had 231 nominations. Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner, backed by the union’s United Left (UL), had just 120 nominations (as of a tweet on 26 May), while...

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