Third Camp Marxism

To curb the virus, reverse the cuts

The UK’s virus infections are now rising faster than France’s and Spain’s, and are at a higher level (relative to population) than Spain’s.

The government’s measures, since infections started rising fast again in early August, have had little effect. The Tories are set to close bars and cafés again, in large areas at least, and maybe soon for a new lockdown similar to spring’s. In Ireland, which has a lower rate of infection increase than the UK, the government’s scientific advisers have already proposed a new general lockdown, not yet implemented.

Kino Eye: dirty work in US politics

A film about the US elections seems only appropriate, and there’s much to choose from. In The Best Man (Frank J. Schaffner, 1964), liberal candidate William Russell (Henry Fonda) is up against loud-mouthed populist Joe Cantwell (based on Richard Nixon — actor Cliff Robertson) for the Presidential nomination of an unnamed party. There is much “dirty work at the crossroads”. Cantwell illegally obtains a psychiatric report on Russell and threatens to expose him. Russell hears evidence that Cantwell is a closet homosexual but he refuses to use this against him.

Diary of an engineer: Cutting tools

A week ago I felt like giving up, but this one I think I might be getting somewhere. This is often an up-and-down job.

I’m asked to make a pin for the crane from a rough sketch. I can’t find any solid bar of the right size, so I use threaded bar. I use a cutting saw to trim a piece to size, then the pillar drill to punch a 7mm hole through the centre. When the hole ends up off-centre on the curved surface, I cut another piece and drill it again, but accurately.

Eireaennach

A place I lost I scarcely knew,

The childhood land I never outgrew,

My father’s life, my mother’s tales

Of hungers, wars, workhouses, jails,

The memories not quite my own

To which my memories are sewn:

Inextricably in Erin’s net,

I am what I refuse to forget.

Democracy in the labour movement

On 12 October Keir Starmer told Labour MPs he intended not to vote against the Tories’ “spycops” Bill, authorising MI5 and other police to commit criminal offences without limit while working undercover. He will do that even if Labour amendments are defeated. Nine trade union leaders and 18 Labour MPs have come out against the Bill. The Labour Party needs to gain democratic control over the leadership. The ballot for Labour’s National Executive opens 19 October and runs to 12 November.

Lessons from Spain

“I really enjoyed working in the NHS”, said a Spanish nurse quoted by the Financial Times on 7 October.”You get longer holidays, more breaks. And workers’ rights are much better”.

His comment tells us less about excellences in the NHS and more about problems in Spain. Those led big protests on 19-20 September about virus measures in Madrid to demand “More healthcare, fewer police”, and are a factor in why Spain’s hospitals have had great trouble coping with the pandemic, and an exceptionally high number of health workers infected.

Lesser-evilism in the 2020 US elections

If there is one proposition that most anti-Stalinist socialists should agree on it is this: capitalism does not need democracy and democracy does not require capitalism. Only socialism does.

Socialists in every struggle are the left-wing, the revolutionary wing of democracy. This is what distinguishes us from the left-wing of capitalism and why, in comparison to the small gaps that separate the conservative from the liberal wing of capitalist democracy, we as socialists stand a mile apart from both in irreconcilable opposition.

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