Solidarity 599, 30 June 2021

Workers’ control for safety at work

Over fifteen thousand (15,263) working-aged people have died of Covid-19. Employers have registered just 387 as work-related deaths. That is just one example of the extraordinary efforts the boss class has made to deny and minimise workplace transmission. In fact, at most of the high points in the pandemic indoor, social mixing has mostly been at work, or at someone else’s workplace — shop, place of education, public transport, hospital, or care-home. A lot of household to household transmission of the virus must have happened in a workplace, and a large number of those dead workers must have...

World Covid on the up

World Covid rates are on the up again, with surges in Russia, Indonesia, Bangladesh. Countries with very high vaccination rates such as the Seychelles and Israel are still seeing spikes. This pattern is likely to continue as Delta spreads across the world. In Britain, thanks to vaccination, hospitalisations and deaths are rising much slower than cases, but they are still rising, and will likely rise more if precautions are lifted on 19 July. To reach “Zero Covid” may be unrealistic. To get rates declining, and keep them declining (bar probably inevitable short spikes, probably requiring short...

Three protests on 26 June

As the well-advertised, heavily union-backed People's Assembly (PA) march moved off on 26 June, I cycled from it to join the trans rights protest assembling at Wellington Arch. It was a good few thousand. It was smaller than the PA protest but not that much smaller. It was younger and livelier; and, as far as I could judge from literature sales and conversations, pretty much as left-wing on "average" but in a more positive, less addled, way. There were contingents (small contingents, but contingents) from a clump of National Education Union (NEU) branches (Haringey, Waltham Forest, Newham...

It's class inequality that blights school

The Tory-dominated Education select committee released a report, The Forgotten: How white working class pupils have been let down, on 22 June. The main conclusion of the report should have been: poor students are disadvantaged at school and New Labour and Tory education “reforms” coupled with cuts, austerity and increasing inequality in the UK have made matters worse. Labour members of the committee commented, “The evidence we received clearly indicated that the main determining factors of poor educational outcomes were class and regional inequalities caused by more than a decade of austerity...

Still glorifying Stalin over Barbarossa

Tuesday 22 June marked the eightieth anniversary of Operation Barbarossa — “When Soviets Turned The Tide Against Nazi Tyranny”, as that day’s Morning Star put it. Or to be simpler: when Hitler broke his pact with Stalin and invaded the USSR. The first thing to note is that although 22 June was the eightieth anniversary of German troops crossing the USSR’s border, the respected bourgeois historian Antony Beevor (in his 1998 book Stalingrad) points out that it was on the morning of 21 June 1941 that Moscow became aware of huge military preparations along the frontiers from the Baltic to the...

The future of statues

Eric Lee is right (Solidarity 597) that we should honour fighters for freedom from history; and arguably in a more specific way than by general revolutionary efforts today (Mo Hannon, #598). But... statues? For whatever reason, we are interested in what writers and public figures looked like. Mathematicians like to know what Maryam Mirzakhani looked like, as well as studying her work on the geometry of complicated surfaces. Big statues, on plinths, in public spaces, are a different form of remembrance from photos, portraits, or writings kept in print, or study groups. Statues do not tell us...

Free Darya Polyudova

Russian socialist Darya Polyudova has been sent to a prison colony for six years for campaigning against the Putin regime’s imperialism. The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign reports that Polyudova has faced persecution since her organisation, Left Resistance, opposed Russia’s war against Ukraine in 2014. She was previously jailed, in 2015, for two years. John McDonnell MP has initiated a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM 207) to protest about Polyudova’s imprisonment and demand her release. Please ask your MP to sign.

Summer camp, 3-5 September

The Workers’ Liberty summer camp will be on 3-5 September, near Haslemere in Surrey. Tickets are £10 unwaged, £15 low-waged/student, £25 waged. Buy them on eventbrite here. A weekend of fires, partying, nature, good food and socialist education. In previous years we have run the camp in a farmhouse; this year, due to coronavirus, the camp will be fully outdoors, sleeping in tents only. We will have access to hot water, proper showers, and proper toilets. Covid Safety: We will be taking various measures to ensure that the camp is Covid safe. Please take a lateral flow or PCR test before...

What is the purpose of socialist organisation?

India Walton, prospective mayor of Buffalo, New York Two news stories from the USA this week grabbed my attention. The first was the astonishing victory of a woman named India Walton in a Democratic Party primary in the city of Buffalo. With no Republican opponent anywhere in sight, Walton is almost certainly going to win the general election in November and become the mayor of New York’s second largest city. As the Guardian reported, she would be “the first self-declared socialist to lead a major US city … since 1960, when Frank Zeidler stepped down as Milwaukee’s mayor.” A day later, the BBC...

Women's Fightback: Batman and “heroes don’t do that”

The internet is alive with debate on Batman’s sex life, specifically cunnilingus and the caped crusader. Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacher, co-creators of HBO Max’s adult animated series Harley Quinn, shared why a scene of Batman performing oral sex on Catwoman got removed. “It’s incredibly gratifying and free to be using characters that are considered villains because you just have so much more leeway,” they said. “A perfect example of that is in this third season ofHarley [when] we had a moment where Batman was going down on Catwoman. And DC was like, ‘You can’t do that. You absolutely...

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.