Solidarity 605, 8 September 2021

The Palestinians in the world today

The global Palestinian population is estimated at around thirteen million. There are big Palestinian communities in some countries of the Americas – half a million in Chile, over 250,000 in the United States, 250,000 in Honduras, and 200,000 in Guatamala – but most Palestinians live in countries in the Middle East.

Expropriate big pharma! Vaccinate the world!

Worldwide, “serious and critical cases” of Covid in hospitals stand at 105,000 and increasing, only just below the all-time high of 114,000 on 29 August. The counted death rate per day has decreased a bit in recent days, and is now 50% below its peak in January 2021, but is still higher than at any time before mid-November 2020. The real figures are worse than the counts. More of the deaths and serious cases recently have been in poorer countries which have looser counts and where severe cases are less likely to reach hospitals. In India, the death rate is now falling, but scientists reckon...

Russia and Afghanistan: rewriting history

The Russian invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was as brutal as the USA’s, in fact more so, involving indiscriminate bombing, the napalming of villages and the deliberate destruction of crops. It cost an estimated million lives. It was more a war of colonial occupation than the USA’s, in that the Russian government wanted to permanently conquer Afghanistan, whereas the USA’s plan was to punish the Taliban for 9/11, clear out al-Qaeda, install a stable government it could do business with, and then get out. (It didn’t work out like that, of course). In one respect, however the Russian...

Letters: XR and the police; Vibes won't save us; The bureaucrats had choices; Other Afghanistan films

XR, the police and working-class politics The climate demonstrations organised by Extinction Rebellion and participated in by Workers Liberty saw multiple instances of authoritarian and violent policing not previously witnessed at mainstream environmental protests. The opening days of the two week long protest introduced the police’s van-mounted loud hailer belting out “Section 14” dispersal orders in central London, and by the Tuesday of the second week videos were circulating of police officers mounting an open-top-bus and swinging batons at protesters inside. This, in the context of the...

Protests against Texas abortion law set for 2 October

The strictest anti-abortion law in the US went into effect on 1 September after the US Supreme Court let the 31 August deadline to block it pass, after an emergency appeal. The new law in Texas allows any private citizen to sue anyone deemed to have helped a woman get an abortion against the law, although not the patient themselves. Campaigners are worried this will empower anti-choice reactionaries to make harassing lawsuits, paralysing the few abortion clinics still open, in the state. The US Justice Department said that it will not tolerate violence against anyone seeking abortion services...

Beyond refugees: the left and Afghanistan

Calls on Britain and other wealthy countries to take in Afghan refugees are absolutely correct. And those refugees should not be limited to people who worked alongside British soldiers and diplomats. Anyone at risk from the Taliban regime should be allowed to come live in our countries. But is that the only thing that socialists can say? I think we need to be a bit more ambitious. Here are some ideas: First of all, socialists have a role to play in the public debate. While mainstream politicians led by Biden and Johnson have demanded of the Taliban only that they deny bases to terrorist...

After XR actions, what next?

The 13 energetic days of XR’s “Impossible Rebellion” finished the same day as Hurricane Ida: Saturday 4 September. What’s next in the fight against climate crises? The priorities vary from city to city, from workplace to workplace, but I note some ideas below. On Friday 24 September a youth climate strike has been called, globally. Take the day off work if necessary, and go down to the local one. If you can find people organising for it locally, get in touch in advance, help them to build and prepare for it. Invite them to trade union and Labour Party meetings, and even organise a workplace or...

Workers' Liberty summer camp report

On the weekend of 3-5 September, 40 members and friends of Workers’ Liberty gathered in a campsite near Haslemere in Surrey to enjoy some late summer sun and take part in our summer camp. Workers’ Liberty has run an annual summer camp in Hebden Bridge since 2011, but the event was cancelled last year due to coronavirus. This year, we moved to a new location to ensure that the camp could be held 100% out of doors, for Covid safety reasons. The camp heard talks from democracy activists in Hong Kong, an account of recent social struggles in France, and a history of the workers’ movement in Turkey...

How the heroines and heroes of Grunwick lost

20 August was the 45th anniversary of the start of one of the most important struggles in British working-class history, the two-year strike by Grunwick film-processing workers in North West London. This is the second of two parts of an abridged version of an article written by Jean Lane in 1998: full version with photos, links and resources here. From mid-June 1977, the Grunwick strike in north London by workers in a film-processing firm (see part one of the story here) was all over the TV. The media’s lies were extraordinary: getting in good practice for the next miners’ strike. Grunwick...

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