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.

Workers' control and the Chicago model

On 6 February, the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) issued a “framework... relating to resumption of in-person instruction” to its membership, and their vote to ratify was reported on 10 February. That framework included familiar features. Every CPS (Chicago Public Schools) facility must have sufficient hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, “sneeze guards”, medical grade face coverings, and PPE. But some is unfamiliar — and can be a model for us in schools, and other workplaces too. The framework agreement says: “The Union and the Board [management] will create two levels of Covid-19 safety...

Vaccines: requisition the patents

Producing vaccines fast and distributing them widely has become a top priority. India and South Africa have pushed for a world waiver on vaccine patents, a sharing of “intellectual property”, to maximise production. No rich country has supported them. The World Health Organisation has set up a Covid Technology Access Pool to share vaccine know-how. No big pharmaceutical company has supported it. Moderna and Pfizer expect huge profits from their vaccines. Many of the companies with big vaccine-production facilities are little involved in the vaccine roll-out, because they don’t have “their own”...

Activist agenda: Student Uyghur solidarity; Safe and Equal budget day protest

Students at SOAS university in London passed a Uyghur solidarity motion by an 86% majority at an online union general meeting on 22 February. The Ugyhur Solidarity Campaign will be urging other student unions to do similar. ND Labour is supporting Safe and Equal’s Budget Day online protests (3 March) demanding full sick and isolation pay for all. Some neurodivergent people are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, especially those with mental ill-health and/or learning disabilities and those who live in care homes. • All links and info on these and other campaigns, and suggested words for...

Activist agenda: Safe and Equal, Free Our Unions, Neurodivergent Labour, Poplar 100

Safe and Equal is pursuing its drive for full isolation pay for all with systematic phoning-round of its hundreds of contacts, demands for information from councils and from the NHS Test and Trace operators, and an appeal to other groups for a united front on the issue. Momentum Internationalists has given support; a good informal response from Don’t Leave Organise, but no formal answer yet. Free Our Unions has a Zoom meeting on anti-union laws, Tuesday 2 March, 6:30 pm. Speakers include Gerry Carroll MLA on the Trade Union Freedom Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mark Porter, Unite...

Letters: Jumping the vaccination queue; A 0.32% swing

Jumping the vaccination queue I thought the call for school workers to be bumped up the vaccination queue had faded, because it was originally advocated as vaccination in half-term (mostly week 15-19 Feb). Not so. My local Labour Party passed a motion on 17 Feb for bumping up the queue. It was motivated by sympathy and appreciation for school workers, but as a teacher myself I argued against it. We’re for requisitioning Big Pharma to speed vaccine supplies. Even then vaccination will take time. Not everyone can be first. The vaccines drastically reduce death and severe illness from Covid. The...

From scoffing to persuading

The conspiracies and misinformation associated with Covid-19 have shifted within my workplace on the Tube as the pandemic and the measures to combat it have changed. I hear less about 5G and the disease being fake or the same as flu, and more about fear of the vaccine and myths surrounding the “Great Reset”, the World Economic Forum’s plan for economic revival after the pandemic. Misinformation around the vaccine is what dominates now. There is really only a handful of people who are passionately convinced by the anti-vaccine theories. They have gone out of their way to read up and listen to...

Fee strikes and solidarity

Talk of fee strikes is starting to spread through the UK student movement. There are fee strikes ongoing at SOAS University of London and Royal College of Art (RCA); they started in January primarily due to students feeling they have not received “value for money”. Fee strikes are particularly feasible at those universities because of the high proportion of international and postgraduate students, who pay fees from their own accounts, and can therefore withhold them. Home undergraduates’ fees are paid directly by UK student finance, and so they cannot “fee-strike”. The ongoing strikes remain...

Diary of a paramedic: When does your shift end?

I’m working with a newly qualified paramedic today. As we check our equipment we chat about how pissed off he is that, although he’s been doing the full role and not getting any extra support during the pandemic, he’s still on the probationary wage. He says his girlfriend is a student nurse covering wards on no pay at all. Our first job is helping transfer a Covid-positive patient to hospital using specialist equipment. We’re all in highest level PPE. It still feels very odd to be outside on a suburban street in that gear. Once we’re finished and tidied up, we try to clarify what cleaning...

Civil service ballots close 5 and 11 March (John Moloney's column)

Our industrial action ballots at DLVA Swansea, and in 12 courts across the UK, are continuing. Our members there are balloting over workplace safety concerns. Those ballots close on 11 March and 5 March respectively. Our aim is to speak to every member who’s being balloted. Where reps can safely have those conversations in person, in the workplace, they will. But we’re also mounting a phone-banking operation to ensure every member is spoken to, to remind them about the ballot and the importance of voting. That effort will be run by activist volunteers, with support from union officials and...

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