Solidarity 610, 20 October 2021

Stop the fossil fuel reboot!

“Build back better, blah blah blah. Green economy, blah blah blah. Net zero by 2050, blah blah blah… Climate neutral, blah blah blah.” This is all we hear from our so-called leaders. Words. Words that sound great but so far have not led to action. Our hopes and ambitions drown in their empty promises… They’ve now had 30 years of “blah blah blah” and where has that led us? Over 50% of all our CO2 emissions have occurred since 1990, and a third since 2005. — Greta Thunberg, 28 September 2021 After a summer of fires, floods, and freaky weather, the gap between widespread green rhetoric and the...

200,000 in Rome against fascism

On 9 October thousands of right-wing anti-vaccine demonstrators protested in Rome, and fascists from the Forza Nuova party smashed their way into the offices of the CGIL, Italy’s biggest union federation. On 16 October, trade unionists and left-wingers responded by demonstrating in Rome to say “Mai più fascismi” (“Never again fascisms”). The organisers, Italy’s three biggest union federations, claimed 200,000, while the media said 50,000. Many report that demonstrators carried pro-vaccination slogans as well as anti-fascist and pro-union ones. The Italian labour movement’s fight against the...

We can wind back Brexit!

Brexit is already contributing heavily to economic chaos. That contribution may get bigger. In UK-EU negotiations over trade arrangements between Britain and Northern Ireland, the EU has now offered sweeping removal of checks on animal and plant products entering NI. The UK’s negotiator David Frost has told them to get lost. The Tories are letting talk circulate that they will kick over the table and unilaterally suspend the Northern Ireland protocol, the deal they themselves signed less than two years ago to avoid a hard border within Ireland. EU states including France, Germany, Spain and...

Indian farmers remobilise

In another sign of a revival of Indian farmers’ struggle against the Modi regime, thousands of farmers and supporters blocked train tracks across the country on 18 October. The “Rail roko” (“Stop the trains”) mobilisation, organised by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha coalition of farmers’ unions, was focused on demanding the resignation of minister Ajay Mishra, after a car carrying his son mowed down and killed four protesters. The farmers’ movement is aimed at winning repeal of three pro-capitalist agricultural “reforms” passed by India’s Hindu-nationalist-dominated parliament last year. It began in...

South African metal strike grows

Many tens of thousands of metal and engineering workers in South Africa, members of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), have been on indefinite strike over pay and conditions since 5 October. NUMSA is calling for an 8% wage rise for everyone in the first year of a deal, and inflation plus 2% in the following two years. Employers offered 4.4%, then inflation plus 0.5% and inflation plus 1%. Under pressure they have now added an offer of 6% for the lowest paid. Last year NUMSA agreed to no wage increase due to the impact of the pandemic on the industry. That helps...

Disorder at the border: Lexiters backing Johnson

During the EU referendum, the “leave” side almost entirely ignored the implications for Northern Ireland, and when concerns were raised, dismissed them as part of “project fear.” When it became clear that Brexit would have a seriously destabilising effect on Northern Ireland, Johnson and the hard-line Brexiteers (including the DUP) opposed the May government’s “backstop” which, for all its faults, was an attempt to mitigate the problem and avoid a hard border. Now, together with his Brexit tsar, the malevolent clown David Frost, Johnson is deliberately using Northern Ireland and agitation...

Thinking again on David Miller

I found the article by Chris Reynolds in Solidarity 608 on David Miller and Bristol University very strange. I think choosing the case of Helmut Hasse as analogy is pretty strange, considering as this guy was a wannabe Nazi and certainly fellow-traveller of fascists. Our line is typically that we do support the removal and blockading of fascists for their politics. The implicit defence of Miller that his antisemitism is unrelated to his academic project, or is of the calibre of unthinking near-antisemitism seen on the left, is off the mark, too. PowerPoints from his lectures have been leaked...

Miller, Hasse, and academic freedom

In discussing the case of David Miller and Bristol University, I chose the example of Helmut Hasse, a celebrated mathematician sacked by the British occupation authorities in Germany in 1945 because of his right-wing nationalist views, as a comparison test case. Partly because I knew about it, but partly because no reader is likely to find Hasse's views other than vile. Hasse, to my mind, provides a test case for how Miller's could be considered wrong even while denouncing his political views. And likewise we can criticise Sussex University professor Kathleen Stock's noxious trans-sceptic...

Moscow: the truth can't be hidden forever

Last week, more than thirty masked young men broke into a public meeting at the human rights NGO “Memorial” in Moscow. They shouted “Scum!”, “Fascists!” “Get out of Russia!”, and “There’s no room for foreign agents!” They ordered members of the audience to lie down on the floor. They were there to stop the showing of a film, “Mr. Jones”. The 2019 film tells the story of Gareth Jones, a Welsh journalist who stumbled upon the story of the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine in which millions died. At the time, the Soviet regime denied there was a famine and they were assisted in this by New York Times...

Night tube needs better staffing

The Night Tube in London will resume on two lines from 27 November, in a move promoted as ensuring safety for women. However, the reality is more complex, and women’s safety requires increased Night Tube staffing. Around 150,000 people signed an online petition for Night Tube to resume, calling it “the best transport option to ensure millions of women across London can get home safely in the evenings and at night this coming winter”. There is certainly a strong case for this assertion, and it is understandable that women will feel safer travelling on the Tube rather than on night buses...

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