Third Camp Marxism

Protests organised for COP26

Far more important, arguably, than what will be discussed and decided by world leaders and delegates in the COP 26 climate conference itself — almost certainly very little — is what the environmental and labour movements make of this opportunity. The event provides an impetus and focal point for environmental activism to reboot post-lockdowns, in a world where the severity of environmental devastation is increasingly hard to hide from.

Italy: complete the anti-fascist revolution

Of the three aggressor nations that made up the Axis during the Second World War, only one saw its population rise up and topple a dictatorship. While the populations of Germany and Japan remained largely supportive of the regimes right up to the surrender, the Italians ousted Mussolini in 1943, bringing an end to the fascist era. And in 1945, the former dictator was captured and killed by Italian partisans.

PR as code for Lib-Dem coalition

I agree with Billy Hayes (interview in Solidarity 608) that proportional representation is more democratic than First Past The Post (FPTP).

I think he’s closing his eyes, though, to the political drift shown in many of the PR motions to Labour conference: “In 19 of the last 20 general elections [back to 1950] parties to the left of the Conservatives won the popular vote yet the Tories have governed for two-thirds of that time”.

Leftists who agree with Johnson?

Johnson has hit on the idea of posing as the friend of workers and the champion of higher wages.

For weeks ministers have been insisting that shortages had nothing to do with Brexit, but now Johnson claims that it was all part of the Brexit “plan” to push higher pay by restricting the supply of labour: he claims his government wants to make Britain a high-wage economy by ending supposedly “uncontrolled” immigration. .

NHS and council pay: organising to win

The big public services union Unison has a live dispute on pay in both its major sectors — Local Government and Health.

Consultative ballots in both areas have returned high percentages for rejection of the employers’ offer and award — 79% in local government, 80% in health. In the context of rapidly rising costs of living, including food, fuel, national insurance, and council tax, the stage should be set for a huge confrontation with the government on pay.

New Zealand readjusts on Covid

New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern

On 4 October, New Zealand, the poster child of the “Zero Covid” idea, announced that it would shift to a new approach.

NZ had a Covid case count of literally zero briefly in June 2020, and then kept the count low by rigid border-closure and repeated short lockdowns. Since mid-August, however, lockdowns have not quelled a new rise in the Covid count, with the Delta variant.

High wages? Start with strong unions

The Tories want to present anti-migrant policies and the labour shortages caused by those by policies, by Brexit and by poor wages and conditions in key industries like road haulage and social care as a boon for workers.

That was the pitch of Boris Johnson’s speech to Conservative Party conference, promising a “high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy” in place of “the same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills, and low productivity, all of it enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration.”

Indian farmers killed on protests

On 3 October, a few days after Indian farmers relaunched their protest movement against pro-corporate agricultural reforms by India’s far-right regime, four protesters in Uttar Pradesh state were mowed down by a car carrying the son of a government minister. Following widespread protests and Supreme Court criticism of the police’s failure to arrest the son, Ashish Mishra, he has now been taken into custody.

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