Fighting global capitalism

Fair trade, free trade, and socialism

Trade is a vital part of the neoliberal economic, political and ideological regime that now dominates the world economy and most national states. At various summits in recent years the world’s most powerful governments have promised to introduce a better deal on trade, aid and debt for the world’s poorest countries, especially in Africa. At the same time, there are many charities and NGOs making proposals to make trade fairer. A number of organisations came together in 2006 in the Make Poverty History coalition, call for trade justice. Others advocate buying only goods with the fairtrade mark...

Learning lessons in dark times

Things are dark now for socialists almost everywhere. Nationalism, nativism and violent reaction are on the march across the globe.

Karl Marx and Uyghur solidarity

On Tuesday 5 May the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign will coordinate a second wave of online protests against high-street companies whose suppliers used forced Uyghur labour in China. For those who don’t know, the Uyghurs are an ethnic group whose nation, East Turkestan, is held under Chinese control and ruled as ‘Xinjiang’ province (literally ‘New Frontier’). Last time the target of the protests was Apple – this time, Gap. 5 May is Karl Marx’s birthday (he would have been 202). If Marx was still around he would certainly have supported the Uyghur solidarity movement, for at least five reasons. 1....

The pandemic, wars, and socialism

Martin Thomas' article on the similarities and differences between this pandemic and the Second World War omits several major differences that make the pandemic more favourable for socialist politics. First, wars are fought against other nations and the capitalist class has to work hard to whip up nationalist spirit. The power of nationalism during first World War mobilisation was sufficient to break the mighty Second International as workers rallied around their capitalist leaders. By contrast the pandemic is an attack on the human species by another organism. The frontline soldiers of our...

Looking ahead to November: COP26

Later in this year, assuming the UK has recovered enough from Covid-19, environmental activists will be active around 2020’s UN climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow (9-20 November). Probably very little radical or adequate policy will be decided at that conference, even though the world faces a pandemic and continuing climate crisis. A lot of trade unions had been organising for a demonstration to put pressure on the conference. Work on that may now be suspended. Nearer the time we need to get it restarted, and gett trade unions in Glasgow and Scotland are involved, including on the...

Big brands profit from Uyghur forced labour

Uyghur Solidarity Campaign protesters invaded flagship Oxford Street stores on 5 March, demanding that global corporations – including Nike, H&M and Microsoft – cut ties with factories using Chinese-state-directed ethnic forced labour programmes. Workers’ Liberty activists have played a central role in building UK labour movement solidarity with the Uyghur people and other Turkic minorities in the north-western Xinjiang province (known to the Uyghurs as East Turkestan). The Chinese state has targeted them with brutal, industrial-scale persecution: it has locked more than a million in...

Link-ups on 29 November climate strike

Climate strikes on 29 November saw large number of school students and older people turn out, all across the country. In many places there were smaller turn-outs than previous strikes: partly because of the election; partly because — unlike the 20 September — there was no central emphasis on trade unionists and workers joining; and maybe partly because of a slight loss of steam. There were still fairly good and energetic turnouts, even if smaller, in most places that I got reports from. It coincided with the UCU strikes. Some places seized the opportunity presented by that, others failed to....

More needed than carbon trading

The opening of COP25, this year’s major international climate conference, in Madrid (2-13 December), has been marked by strong words by UN secretary general António Guterres. However, action to live up to these words is unlikely to be forthcoming from the conference. Guterres said “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon… It is in sight and hurtling toward us”. He noted that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to limit global warming, but “what is lacking is political will”. “Political will to put a price on carbon. Political will to stop subsidies on...

A mess on antisemitism

On ITV’s This Morning , 3 December, Jeremy Corbyn finally apologised for antisemitism in the Labour Party, after a week in which he had resisted calls to do so following Orthodox chief rabbi’s Ephraim Mirvis’s statements. Politically, the delay signals uncertainty at best. Worse, in the 26 November interview with Andrew Neil where he first refused to apologise, Corbyn was asked repeatedly whether the phrase “Rothschild Zionists run Israel and world governments”, tweeted by a Labour council candidate in Liverpool, is antisemitic. (Apparently the tweeter remains a candidate, for now, after his...

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