Solidarity 596, 9 June 2021

Their G7, our global solidarity

To the picturesque seaside resort of Carbis Bay, Cornwall, on the weekend of 11-13 June, the leaders of the “G7” group of seven of the world’s richest states flock. Fossil-fuelled reboot to an even more unequal, exploitative, violent and destructive world continues. It’s building back bleaker, as vaccine nationalism and pursuit of private profit permit this pandemic to tear onwards through societies, and to compound the evils of pre-Covid capitalism. Cornwall is seen as central to the UK’s green tech sector, so the choice of location is an attempt to flaunt green credentials. But a thin one...

4 June protests show solidarity

Over 600 protesters gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in London on 4 June to mark the 32nd anniversity of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. The commemoration was a far more left-wing and consistent one this year than previously. John Moloney of the civil service union PCS; Vicky Blake, president of the University and College Union (UCU); Pete Radcliff from the Labour Movement Solidarity with Hong Kong campaign; and other socialists spoke. The message was quite clear: this is not a battle against “China” as a whole, but one against the repression of the Chinese state and in solidarity...

Hedge funds drive food price rises

World prices for basic food commodities (grains, soyabeans, vegetable oils) were up 40% in May 2021 on their level in May 2020, and the trend is accelerating. The impact on food prices in shops is high at present in Nigeria and West Africa. It has been low in Britain, Europe, the USA, and China. Food prices are now moderating in India, after about 10% inflation in 2020. Shop food prices depend on processing costs as well as world basic-commodity prices, and those may filter through into shop prices only with delay. Still, the rise in the underlying index is comparable in size to the food...

Don't even investigate, says Morning Star

As matters stand the balance of scientific opinion is that the Covid-19 pandemic probably started by a virus jumping from an animal host to humans in the Wuhan wet market or elsewhere. But we don’t know and may never know. The Biden administration in the USA is launching an investigation, which includes considering the idea that the virus leaked from a lab. Of course the Biden administration will have political motives in including that idea, just as the Chinese authorities had their motives for promoting the theory that the virus came from outside China. But it is not pursuing Donald Trump’s...

Against Covid: requisition big pharma

The G7 meeting on 11-13 June will probably come up with some promise to speed vaccinations worldwide. It will surely fall short of the comprehensive public requisitioning of Big Pharma, and emergency world jab plan with priority to old or frail people and to health and care workers, that we need. Pfizer expects $26 billion in revenues from its Covid vaccine this year. For Big Pharma bosses, holding on to their patents and profits comes before saving lives. The quick spread of the Delta virus-variant in Britain, and the Covid spike in Taiwan, which thanks to its strict island-border quarantine...

Tony Blair's new manifesto

I have just got round to reading Blair’s latest piece of writing in the New Statesman, partly because I really didn’t want to read any more of what he had to say. However, in the spirit of an open mind I read through the three pages of Blair philosophy. I can’t say I found anything in it to bring joy or hope to my heart. He seems determined to trash all the ground that the left has built up and is completely unwilling to see older left-wing philosophy as something to be cherished and fought for. He rightly speaks of free education in quotation marks, as everything ultimately needs to be paid...

The strange case of Malcolm Bidali

Last summer, the international trade union movement was celebrating the news from Qatar. The country which is slated to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup had come under enormous pressure to respect the rights of workers, especially migrant workers, who were getting the country ready for such a high profile event. The headline on the website of the Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) could not have been more gushing: “A new dawn for migrant workers in Qatar”. The article went on to say that “new laws adopted today by the State of Qatar are a game changer in the protection...

Osime Brown: stop the deportation

Saturday, 12 June: assemble noon at the Home Office 2 Marsham St London SW1P 4DF, march to Parliament Square. Campaigners have already stopped Osime Brown, an autistic young man jailed under the Joint Enterprise law, from being deported to Jamaica (where he has no support or connections), immediately on release from jail. Now they aim to block the deportation altogether at the Judicial Review. • Facebook event

Women's Fightback: Don't trust the "ethics committees"

Rogério Caboclo, the Brazilian Football Confederation president, has been suspended after accusations of “sexual and moral harassment”. The suspension comes just days after the announcement that Brazil will host the Copa America, Brazil was chosen at the last minute after Colombia was forced to withdraw because of anti-government protests and co-host Argentina was ruled out due to coronavirus infection rates. The worker alleges Caboclo called her into his office and asked her to remove her mask and offered her alcohol. The employee messaged two CBF directors who came and “rescued” her. However...

Scotland and the "second referendum"

The SNP victory – or SNP-Green victory – in the Holyrood election of 6 May 2021 was a mandate for a second referendum on Scottish independence. The fact that the SNP did not get an absolute majority of seats or an absolute majority of the popular vote is irrelevant. The Holyrood voting system is designed to stop one party gaining an absolute majority of seats (and the SNP fell only seat short of that). And no one ever argued that the 1945 Labour government had no mandate because it failed to win 50% of the popular vote. The elections held on 6 May also strengthened Sturgeon’s position in three...

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