Civil liberties, justice, crime

Labour's martyrs: the story of Sacco and Vanzetti

Workers' Liberty 3/53, published as a pull-out in Solidarity 397. The story of the Sacco and Vanzetti case, told by James P Cannon and Max Shachtman, who were leading activists in the defence campaign. Click to download as pdf

Mass arrests in Hong Kong

Prominent trade union leaders were amongst the 53 activists arrested in Hong Kong on the early morning of Wednesday 6 January 2021. Carol Ng, the chair of the HKCTU and Winnie Yu, chair of the most vibrant new health workers' union, the HAEA, were amongst them.

Now free Assange

On 4 January, a judge denied the USA’s call for extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on grounds of mental health. However, the USA has said it will appeal to try to get Assange on trial in the USA on charges of leaking official documents, and he is set to stay in jail, where he has been since April 2019. Despite Assange’s erratic politics, socialists should back the call for him to be released and allowed to return to his native Australia.

Neurodivergent Labour builds on successful first year

Neurodivergent Labour marked the end of its first year with a constructive and democratic online AGM on 28 November. Reviewing the past year, Chair Janine Booth described ND Labour’s response to political developments during the year, including taking on anti-vaccination propaganda and supporting trade union disputes while helping them to become more accessible. Campaigns Officer Andy Forse reported on ND Labour’s involvement in the ongoing campaign to stop the deportation of 22-year-old autistic man Osime Brown to Jamaica. Trade union organising received a boost with the passing of a...

Stop the plane!

Over 60 MPs, mostly Labour — but not Labour leader Keir Starmer — have signed a letter against a flight to deport dozens of people to Jamaica on 2 December. Some airlines have refused to operate the flight. The Tories’ pitch is that the people deported have serious criminal records. But they should have the same right to live free as anyone else who has served their sentence.

Right to protest

The Chief Inspector of Constabulary delivered on 20 November an outline report on “effectively managing protest” requested by Home Secretary Priti Patel, and is due to produce the full report by February 2021. The Network for Police Monitoring reckons the prospect is of increasing police powers against protesters above the level already given by the Public Order Act 1986. Explicit exemption from virus curbs for political protests done with due care was deleted for the current lockdown, but may be reinstated from 2 December. On 29 November police had a heavy presence at a London protest against...

London protest against Macron's "global security" law

Over 100 people protested in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 29/11/20 against the new "global security" law being pushed by President Macron in France. The demonstration followed on a protest of tens of thousands in Paris on 28/11/20, and many others in other cities. The law contains a clause to ban the taking and distribution of pictures of police activity if that is judged to prejudice the "physical or psychic integrity" of the cops. It has gone through the lower house of the French Parliament, but not yet the upper house, and following protests Macron says he will consider amendments. The...

Thirteen murdered working-class women

The death of the killer of thirteen women has elicited an apology from the police for the methods and the language they used during their investigation. The role of the press and they way that they portrayed the victims has also come in for some heavy criticism. Which is right. When you hear their language in the context of today, it is shocking. But in the context of the time it was happening, the police and press fitted right in with the culture that affected all women. Those who had the advantage of class and money had at least some protection from the effect of sexist attitudes on their...

Defend the right to protest

The civil rights group Liberty has reported that in the legislation for the new lockdown (5 November to 2 December), the Tories have quietly deleted the exception previously made, in the ban on public gatherings, for political protests done with due care. On 6 November, some 200 people were arrested on an anti-lockdown demonstration in London. The Netherlands, for example, explicitly makes political protests the one high-profile exception to its second-lockdown ban on public gatherings. The right to protest (with due care) is an essential service. However, the government has conceded on picket...

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