Civil liberties, justice, crime

Covid-19: fight for workers' control

Published on: Tue, 31/03/2020 - 07:17

1. Requisition (in other words, take into emergency public ownership)
• private hospitals, as Ireland and Spain have done
• the pharmaceutical and medical-supplies industries, so that production can be ramped up in a coordinated way to meet the crisis
• high finance, so that the epidemic is not compounded by a snowballing economic slump resulting from an implosion of credit
• and other sectors where coordinated mobilisation is necessary.

2. Fight for workers’ control
The workers ourselves, taking expert advice, should have a decisive voice in identifying and running what is essential, and how

Empty the jails!

Published on: Mon, 30/03/2020 - 21:24
Author

Gerry Bates

Amnesty International UK’s head of policy and government affairs, Allan Hogarth, has said that elderly prisoners and those with underlying medical conditions should “immediately” be considered for release “if they do not pose a threat to themselves or society”. The government has said (25 March) that it is “looking carefully” at releasing some prisoners.

As of March 2019 (the latest official figures), about 25% of prisoners were in jail on “violence against the person” counts, large or sometimes small, and about 15% on sex-offences counts. Theft and drug counts are the biggest other categories

Beware emergency powers!

Published on: Sun, 29/03/2020 - 19:44
Author

Mohan Sen

The government’s Coronavirus Bill passed into law on 25 March after four days discussion in Parliament. It went through the House of Commons without a vote, since the Labour Party did not force one.

The government conceded to Labour’s demand that the powers granted by the Act would be reviewed and actively renewed every six months. That's better than the two years the Tories originally proposed, but a very long time on the scale of the epidemic. Labour should have insisted on every month or two months. And Parliament will be able to vote only on renewing or cancelling the whole Act, not

Emergency powers: who checks?

Published on: Wed, 25/03/2020 - 08:46

Yes, any government would need emergency powers in an epidemic like this, to shut down activities which endanger not just those taking part, but others near them, and endanger the NHS too.

That does not mean that we should trust the Tories.

The government agreed under pressure to have the emergency powers reconsidered after six months, not to run for two years as they first proposed.

In this fast-moving emergency, that should be monthly.

Parliament should go online rather than either shutting or being depleted due to self-isolation. Make the government accountable!

The legislation gives

Covid-19: public health, and workers' rights too!

Published on: Tue, 24/03/2020 - 21:27
Author

Editorial

1. Requisition (in other words, take into emergency public ownership):

• private hospitals, so that all their resources are directly available to the NHS
• the pharmaceutical and medical-supplies industries, so that production can be ramped up in a coordinated way to meet the crisis
• manufacturing facilities which can be adapted to produce ventilators and other medical equipment
• hotels and empty houses, to use them for the NHS, for the homeless, and for domestic violence victims
• transport and logistics, so that essential deliveries and travel can be coordinated and planned
• the big

Assange: don't extradite, don't glorify

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 11:55
Author

Sacha Ismail

We should oppose the extradition to the USA of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, whose court battle against extradition has just started.

Those on the left who hail him as a political hero are wrong. But we should still oppose extradition.

Assange’s politics are a confused and noxious mix of “libertarian”, left-wing and right-wing. Moreover, credible charges of sexual assaults have been made against him in Sweden.

After a Swedish court blocked extradition in May 2019, the Swedish authorities announced in November 2019 that they had dropped their investigation.

But now, if extradited to the

Students back UCU strike

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 08:38
Author

Maisie Sanders

Students have been joining the university workers’ union UCU on picket lines, organising stalls, leafletting, banner drops, joint rallies, teach-outs and fundraising gigs, and taking part in direct action.

Through the Student Strike Solidarity group, students across the country are discussing demands, tactics and sharing resources. In the run up to the strike, Student Strike Solidarity held days of action to start building student support and regular online

meetings. Next, we are planning a national meeting after the strikes to discuss how we can build on the momentum and rebuild the student

UVW demo 20 February

Published on: Tue, 18/02/2020 - 15:05
Author

Ollie Moore

The United Voices of the World union (UVW) is planning a demonstration at St. George’s University in Tooting, south London, on Thursday 20 February.

UVW members working as outsourced security guards at the university, which is linked to an NHS hospital, have been striking to win greater parity with directly employed staff. Their picket lines have been subject to repeated attempts by the police, working in obvious collusion with the NHS Trust and the workers’ employer, Noonan, to break them up. UVW lawyer Franck Magennis was arrested, before being released without charge.

The demonstration on

We're still for a united Europe

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 12:16
Author

Editorial

The socialist left should vocally oppose the Tories’ Brexit plans. It should argue for a united Europe, and for the UK to rejoin the EU. It should fight for the broad labour movement, including the Labour Party, to argue and campaign for this too.

Almost all the Labour-leader candidates say that we have no choice but to “move on” while the Tories “get Brexit done”. Even Emily Thornberry, the most vocally anti-Brexit candidate, says only that Labour should have been more anti-Brexit.

That is wrong. Actual, really-existing Brexit involves a range of attacks on the interests of the working class.

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