Dec 18 2020

CANCEL THE RENT: A RISING NATIONAL RENT STRIKE MOVEMENT IN OAKLAND USA MOVEMENT GAINS MOMENTUM

Tenants and supporters demonstrate in Oakland, calling for cancelling rents during the pandemic. The demonstration was organized by the Associateion of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), tenants unions and other activists. 

 

CANCEL THE RENT: A RISING NATIONAL RENT STRIKE MOVEMENT IN OAKLAND USA GAINS MOMENTUM
By David Bacon

Tenants and supporters demonstrate in Oakland, calling for cancelling rents during the pandemic. The demonstration was organized by the Associateion of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), tenants unions and other activists.

 

Newly elected Oakland City Council member Carroll Fife speaks to a rally in Oakland, California, calling for cancelling rents. Aja, the daughter of Dominique Walker, stands beside her.

Rent strikes have spread across the country with the spread of the coronavirus. In the pandemic’s first months, 400 New York City families stopped paying rent in buildings with over 1,500 rental units. In May, rent strikes involving 200,000 tenants spread to Philadelphia and elsewhere. Washington, D.C., in September saw tenant unions spring up in strikes at the Tivoli Gardens Apartments and the Woodner, as well as Southern Towers in nearby Alexandria. Continue reading “CANCEL THE RENT: A RISING NATIONAL RENT STRIKE MOVEMENT IN OAKLAND USA MOVEMENT GAINS MOMENTUM”

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Dec 17 2020

POPULAR CULTURE, BREXIT AND ONE NATION TORYISM

 

 

The following article by Jim Aitken, first appeared on the Culture Matters blog.

 

POPULAR CULTURE, BREXIT AND ONE NATION TORYISM

 

 

There was a palpable sense of euphoria on the BBC during the morning after the night before of the General Election of December 12, 2019. It had a feeling of glee about it; a childish excitement that the un-English dragon of socialism – as represented by Jeremy Corbyn – had well and truly been defeated by the forces of St. George of England. These forces, amazingly, had included many of those who had been reduced to the level of serfdom by the political party they were now supporting. Dragon Jeremy had promised these serfs their rightful inheritance and instead they chose Boris, the court jester. England’s green and pleasant lands could remain forever precariously green – a bit like the serfs themselves.

In a sense the BBC was entitled to this gleefulness because it had helped to orchestrate a campaign that told the serfs of England’s former industrial areas that the court jester needed their seats to ‘Get Brexit Done’. Many duly obliged because they too wanted to ‘Get Brexit Done’. No-one asked them why they wanted it done and why Europe was so noxious to them. No-one asked them if they thought it was the EU that was responsible for the de-industrialisation of their areas; if the EU was responsible for the austerity they lived under; for the food banks they go to for food or for the zero hours and chronic low pay they receive. No-one asked them if all these adversities were made in the UK or in the EU. For the court jester, however, Europe was foreign and too left-wing with too many regulations for a free-marketeer like him. England did not need to be a vassal state any longer. She could be free from all the regulations that guaranteed the serfs minimal rights, and be great again. Continue reading “POPULAR CULTURE, BREXIT AND ONE NATION TORYISM”

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Dec 16 2020

COLOMBIA: DRUGS, WAR AND THE ELN

E&L is posting this article by Gearoid O’ Loingsigh on the political situation in Colombia and the hypocrisy of its government in its handling  of drugs trafficking (often quite literally!) Furthermore,  the article also shows how the City and the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies helps with the laundering of drug money. 

 

COLOMBIA: DRUGS, WAR AND THE ELN

 

 

The issue of drugs is one that is never far from public discourse on the Colombian conflict.  Biased or just simply lazy journalists use the issue to ascribe motives for an endless list of events, massacre and murders.  It is true that drug trafficking has permeated all of Colombian society and there is no sector that has not been impacted by it.  But not everyone in Colombia is a drug trafficker.  However, once again the King of Clubs is played to describe the conflict in terms of a drug problem.

Several Colombian newspapers have recently published articles on the supposed relationship of the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) with drug trafficking and there are already eleven commanders who are under investigation for such crimes and are sought in extradition.(1)  They talk as if the ELN dominated the drugs trade, and talk of settling of accounts over drug money, as if they were a crime gang, instead of saying that the ELN takes drastic measures against its members who get involved in drug trafficking and that those internal executions are due to the indiscipline and betrayal of principles of some people and are not an internal dispute over money.(2)  Of course, the ELN in an open letter widely distributed on social networks and alternative press, denied any links to the drug trade.(3)  But, how true is this new tale?  Before looking at the accusations levelled against the ELN it is worth going over the history of drug trafficking in Colombia and the reality of the business in international terms. Continue reading “COLOMBIA: DRUGS, WAR AND THE ELN”

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Dec 11 2020

MARY MACGREGOR REVIEWS ‘A KIST OF THISTLES’

Mary MacGregor (RCN) reviews a new collection of radical poetry from Scotland

 

‘A KIST OF THISTLES ‘- AN ANTHOLOGY OF RADICAL POETRY FROM CONTEMPORARY SCOTLAND, EDITED AND INTRODUCED BY JIM AITKEN

 

Too many people on the left still regard art and culture as peripheral to the class struggle. They fail to recognise that for millennia humans have found expression in music and dance and song and poetry. This expression has often taken the form of resistance to the alienation that capitalism has imbued in us.   The suppression of working class culture has been a weapon in the attempts to dehumanise our class. Yet we rise! Continue reading “MARY MACGREGOR REVIEWS ‘A KIST OF THISTLES’”

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Dec 11 2020

NEOLIBERALISM’S LAST STAND

This article from Left Voice in the USA examines the prospects for neoliberalism under a Joe Biden presidency

 

NEOLIBERALISM’S LAST STAND

 

 

Biden’s election is an attempt to revive the neoliberal order — one that is doomed to fail.

Hillary Clinton’s ignominious defeat in the 2016 elections has been widely viewed as a referendum on the failure of the neoliberal project. This is in large part because, in contrast to the outsider Donald Trump, Clinton represented the continuation of the same bipartisan establishment that had, for decades, placed the interests of an unbridled capitalist class above the needs of working people. From Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, the program of globalization, free markets, financialization, deregulation, and austerity had been, with few exceptions, hegemonic.

Since the 2008 crash, however, neoliberalism, as both an ideology and an economic project, has been in crisis, a crisis that shows signs of spreading into all aspects of American political life. This is one reason why an arrogant billionaire who pledged to “make America great again” could eke out an Electoral College victory against the establishment’s candidate. And why he almost managed to win a second term despite miserably failing to deliver on that promise. Although Trump’s xenophobic and nationalist rhetoric clearly represented a break with the neoliberal establishment, in practice his policy turned out to be pretty closely aligned with it. With the exception of his foreign and domestic trade policy, Trump governed much like Republicans before him, gutting regulations, slashing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and preparing the ground for further fiscal austerity. Continue reading “NEOLIBERALISM’S LAST STAND”

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Dec 09 2020

HERD IMMUNITY – MYTH AND REALITY

Following  our continuing series of articles on Covid-19 We are posting this piece form Socialist Democracy (Ireland) in the myth of herd immunity.

 

HERD IMMUNITY – MYTH AND REALITY

 

While many scientific myths have emerged during the course of the global pandemic the most prominent and persistence of these has undoubtedly been that of “herd immunity”. Its basic proposition is that by allowing the virus to spread among sections of the population that are considered least susceptible to severe illness a level of immunity can be built up that breaks transmission and protects the population as a whole. The implication of this in terms of public health policy is a rejection of restrictive measures such as lockdowns. This certainly has an appeal to governments and most of them – to one degree or another – have adopted a strategy that is influenced by the herd immunity approach. Given the negativity surrounding the concept, this is never admitted publicly. It is usually given the softer framing of “Living with Covid” (a phrase which has been adopted by the Irish government). A blunter version of this is the recent admission from the Trump administration that it was “not going to control the pandemic”. Continue reading “HERD IMMUNITY – MYTH AND REALITY”

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Dec 09 2020

NEWRY, MOURNE AND DOWN COUNCIL WORKERS’ STRIKE

 

 

With employers using Covid-18 to attack workers’ jobs, pay and conditions, there has been the beginnings of a fightback. This article first posted by Socialist Democracy (Ireland) looks at the strike action taken by council workers in Newry, Mourne and Down council.

 

NEWRY, MOURNE AND DOWN COUNCIL WORKERS’ STRIKE

 

workers in Newry, Mourne and Down (NMD) took strike action on Thursday December 3rd, following an overwhelming vote for action by workers in Siptu, UNITE, GMB and Nipsa. The council merger which saw the creation of the super council has been used as an opportunity to attempt to lower pay and undermine conditions. Now, using the pandemic and a notional ‘financial responsibility’ as an excuse, the council management are attempting to press home their planned destruction of pay grading procedures and reduce wages to the lowest parameter of a pay scale which varies across the merged council areas. Refuse workers alone face losses of up to £2,500 per year. As a means of imposing these cuts a previously agreed objective job evaluation process has arbitrarily been dispensed with and a new one with no right of appeal and headed by an individual manager has been introduced. The new system ignores workers’ contracts prior to the council amalgamation and the legal transfer of undertakings regulations. Continue reading “NEWRY, MOURNE AND DOWN COUNCIL WORKERS’ STRIKE”

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Nov 26 2020

DEFEND OUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO KNOW – FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW

Steve Freeman gave a talk on  Julian Assange Case  at an RCN Zoom meeting on 8.11.20. He has now written this up and we have posted it below. This is followed by two comments, one by Seamus McGuigan, the other by Connor Beaton of the Republican Socialist Platform. 

 

DEFEND OUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO KNOW – FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW

 

Julian Assange being seized by the police

I will start with three questions:

  1. Will the defeat of Donald Trump and election of Joe Biden make any difference to the cruel and unjust treatment of Julian Assange
  2. Why or how does the treatment of Julian Assange make the case for a Scottish Republic?
  3. What can be done in Scotland to raise this case?

The Republican Socialist e-list provided some reading materials and through our zoom meetings we have our Youtube talk given by Deepa Driver, a UCU National Executive Member, chair of Camden Momentum and active supporter of Julian Assange. I listened to it today and would strongly recommend you watch this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCuSX8A0I78&t=26s). I am not going to give a blow-by-blow timeline. Instead, I want to concentrate on how we approach and understand this. Deepa identified four important points to be taken away. Continue reading “DEFEND OUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO KNOW – FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW”

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Nov 18 2020

RULING CLASS CORRUPTION AND CAPITALIST CRISIS

The following article by John Tummon looks at the recent exposures of corruption in the Tory government highlighted by the cronyism  for Covid-19 contracts

 

RULING CLASS CORRUPTION AND CAPITALIST CRISIS

 

 

Government Covid cronyism extends both to the appointment to key positions in its decision-making framework and to its’ award of contracts for carrying out services and providing equipment. This has now become so overt that the mainstream media have started documenting it in prime-time TV News Bulletins and TV documentaries, as well as in the press. Even Sir Steer Calmer has berated the government for the flagrant lack of accountability and transparency. Continue reading “RULING CLASS CORRUPTION AND CAPITALIST CRISIS”

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Nov 18 2020

BIDEN: A TRANSITION TO NEO-TRUMPIST POPULISM?

E&L is posting the following two articles on the situation in the USA after Biden’s presidential electoral victory. Far from heralding a new “progressive” era, or even a return to “normality”, Biden is already preparing the grounds for  a neo-Trumpist populist backlash. The first article by . M. K. Kumar  in the USA looks at the nature of Biden’s transition team. The second article by Paul Demarty examines the pyrrhic nature of Biden’s “victory”.

BIDEN’S TRANSITION TEAM – NOTHING “PROGRESSIVE” ABOUT MILLIONAIRES AND CEOs

 

Cindy McCain, Republican and Chair of Hensley & Co

Joe Biden’s transition team is full of every kind of capitalist — CEOs, tech execs, even Republican lawmakers. Where are the Squad members or other progressives who were supposed to be moving his administration “to the left”?

Since Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential election, there has been much speculation around the kind of president he will be. While some believe, he might be persuaded by the progressive wings of his party who are rallying for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, there is no doubt that he will choose to remain a centrist Democrat, who prioritizes profit over people at every turn and sees capitalists as his only constituents in an America where “nothing will fundamentally change.” To understand his future Presidency, one need not look further than his transition team, composed of over 400 Obama-era staffers, academics, Congressional representatives — and more than a few tech moguls. The Biden-Harris campaign has touted this list as especially inclusive and diverse: more than half of the personnel will be women, and at least 40 percent are people of color or people who identify as LGBTQ+. A more diverse transition team however does not ensure the end of oppression and identity politics is no path to liberation. Continue reading “BIDEN: A TRANSITION TO NEO-TRUMPIST POPULISM?”

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