Covid-19

Videos: Socialist commentary on the Covid-19 crisis

Watch videos giving socialist commentary on the Covid-19 crisis below. Many are subtitled. Click in the top right of the video, for the contents of the playlist, and to watch other ones. See Workers' Liberty's channel for other playlists and videos.

Universities: no classes? No rent!

By Workers' Liberty students Most first year uni students will have planned to stay in university accommodation this year. Most will already be locked into contracts or will have paid for the first month or term. This year, as in all recent years, rents may be so expensive they drain most, even all, of a student loan. But this year we are also living with Covid-19. Now students are stuck in high-density barely-affordable accommodation where there is a high risk of getting the virus. If say 1 in 500 among students (an age-group with a higher infection rate) has the virus, then, statistically...

Care workers fight for rights

On 18 September are workers at Sage Nursing Home in north London, primarily migrant workers, organising through the United Voices of World union, threatened to strike for a pay claim of £12 an hour to give equality with NHS terms and conditions. Another important struggle for care workers lies in a successful legal case, taken by Unison against three domiciliary care companies, over time for travel counting as working time under the minimum wage legislation. A victory for this group of women zero-hours workers opens the door for action on this issue across the home care sector. Workers in the...

Responses to the pandemic: equality or insanity?

Agitation for increased funding for mental health services continues, with various research papers highlighting or predicting high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mental health services are in desperate need of resources. It remains unclear whether this coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, specifically, really have made a difference to the mental illness pandemic that was already blighting the lives of billions globally long before Covid-19 came into being. For instance, a survey from UCL headlined that 18% of...

Letters: US election; Exams and algorithms; Ballot school workers?

Help defeat Trump Socialists in the US should be trying to build a working-class campaign to throw Trump out of power. In the last six months the Trump Administration has moved decisively in the direction of open fascism. Violent racist, transphobic and anti-left rhetoric was always part of his repertory. Since the start of the pandemic and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests that has stepped up decisively. Trump has effectively celebrated far right shootings of anti-fascists and Black Lives Matter protesters. He encourages followers to take up arms against BLM and Antifa. He is...

Making streets good for walking and bikes

Over 200 emergency low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes have been proposed or implemented across the country since May, when the government introduced new guidance and small amounts of funding to "promote active travel". These are proposed in at least 54 boroughs, particularly in large cities, with the majority in London. The schemes introduce car barriers, preventing cars from using streets as "rat runs" as a way of bypassing main road traffic, and so reducing net traffic. That makes the back streets more pleasant for walking, cycling, for mobility and electric scooters, and the like...

An antidote on the internet

The ideas that socialists try to communicate are often complex. They don't always fit on a placard. As Marxists, we base ideas are based on reality, on things that we know about the world around us. Knowledge comes from scientific enquiry — systematic gathering and analysis of evidence about the world around us. Covid-19 presented a challenge to rational thinkers everywhere. Action was needed, but no-one knew very much about the virus. When I, as a nurse, first had patients who had the illness, I did what I always do when coming across something new. I tried to find sources of information. I...

Where will the axe fall? (Diary of a Tube worker)

"I've been here 13 years, so you know what, yeah? If this fucks me, now, and it doesn't come round, I'll be pissed, pissed". D shakes their head and goes back to their food. "Well, the training [for Tube station workers to become drivers] has to restart at some point, but it's going to be a long time yet. They haven't even got enough instructors that can do the in-cab training yet". I'm in a similar boat myself. Several of us all thought we had a route out. It has been six months now since the lockdown put our training on pause, and time is really dragging. And some days drag more than others...

Statutory ballot in DWP? (John Moloney's column)

The consultative ballot of our members in Job Centres returned an overwhelming majority in favour of industrial action over safety concerns. The union's Group Executive Committee for the Department for Work and Pensions meets on Tuesday 22 September and will discuss whether to proceed to a formal, statutory ballot, which they're very likely to do. Anyone who was wavering on whether action is necessary is likely to have been galvanised by events in recent days. Management is increasing the number of claimants required to attend physical meetings at Job Centres, which is a huge risk given...

Socialist politics to combat new virus surge

We want furlough and the ban on evictions extended, and rent "holidays" added. We want full isolation pay for all. The Tories' £500 one-off self-isolation dole for workers on benefits is a concession, but inadequate Social care should be taken into the public sector, and its staff put on regular public sector pay and conditions. Test-and-trace should be taken out of the hands of Serco and the other profiteers, and made a coordinated public health effort. NHS logistics, at present also a mess of profiteering subcontractors, should be put into public ownership, and industry requisitioned to...

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