News

The hard-Brexit right in disarray - but Labour, too

Submitted by martin on 18 December, 2017 - 2:40 Author: Martin Thomas
Mail and Express

In mid-December, Theresa May agreed to keep British economic regulations "aligned" with the EU, thus opening the way to talks on a transition period and a Brexit trade deal. And rebellious Tory MPs defeated the Government in the House of Commons, to limit the Government's ability to legislate by decree over Brexit.

The hard-Brexit press, the Mail and the Express, backed the "alignment" deal, but were furious at the Tory rebel MPs. On 9 December the Mail's headline was: "Rejoice! We're On Our Way", and the Express had: "Huge Brexit Boost At Last".

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Ofsted criticises “sexist and sectarian” faith schools
faith school
cathy nWed, 27/12/2017 - 15:19

“Will Ofsted start policing thought crime in schools?! wailed a headline in the Catholic Herald on 13 December. The magazine was responding to an Ofsted report that shed some light on faith schools.

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How members can take control of the Labour Party

Submitted by Matthew on 13 December, 2017 - 11:39 Author: Keith Road and Martin Thomas
Conference should be democratic

The Labour Party is doing yet another democracy review.

This time, however, the review comes under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and its coordinator is Katy Clark, formerly a left-wing Labour MP and someone we on Solidarity have known as a solid socialist back to her student days in Aberdeen and Edinburgh in the late 1980s and early 90s.

The deadline for Phase 1 submissions is 12 January, and they are to cover BAME (black and minority-ethnic) Labour, Young Labour, and Labour Women's Conference.

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Against Trump, fight for a real two-states deal for Palestine

Submitted by Matthew on 13 December, 2017 - 12:49 Author: Rosalind Robson
For two states

Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and by strong implication the whole of Jerusalem including the eastern, occupied and Palestinian, part of the city has been rightly condemned.

It is largely a symbolic move. Russia recognised (West) Jerusalem as Israel's capital in April 2017, but no other country, surely no EU country, is likely to follow the example of Putin and Trump.

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Sarwar's business backers

Submitted by cathy n on 27 December, 2017 - 3:33 Author: Ann Field

Anas Sarwar spent more than twice as much as Richard Leonard in the Scottish Labour Party (SLP) leadership contest held late last year. A large proportion of the donations came from businesses linked to his family.

Sarwar spent over £150,000 during the ten-week election campaign. The largest campaign donation (£41,000) came from United Brands Ltd., part of United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd. (UWS), which was founded by Sarwar’s father and uncle and is now run by his brother Asim.

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Support Picturehouse workers — students and workers unite!

Submitted by cathy n on 18 December, 2017 - 1:30 Author: Joe Booth
Staff wars

On Thursday, 14 December, 2017 I attended a picket of Hackney Picturehouse against the mistreatment of the workers at the cinema and every other Picturehouse and Cineworld cinema in the United Kingdom. The Picturehouse workers have been on strike now for over a year: they’re paid £9.30 per hour, no access to sick, maternity or paternity pay, and the managers are refusing to negotiate with them.

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The housing crisis and fighting back

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 12:44 Author: Rosalind Robson and Gemma Short
Housing crisis

Britain has a housing crisis. According to Shelter more than 300,000 people — the equivalent to one in every 200 — are homeless or living in inadequate homes. According to official figures 1.3 million people are on a local authority waiting list for housing. By 2020, 25% of people will be renters, rather than home owners. Londoners now spend 40% of their income on rent, and increasing.

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Labour: Come out against Brexit!

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 12:35
vote remain

Editorial from Solidarity 456

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott declared last month: "I will argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed" (on Brexit). On 2 December, Jeremy Corbyn added: "We’ve not made any decision on a second referendum". An opinion poll on 1 December showed that a 68%-19% majority of Labour voters want a referendum on whatever Brexit deal the Tories produce. A 50%-34% majority of the whole electorate also wants a referendum before a deal can go ahead.

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Reverse the inequality spiral!
Reverse the inequality spiral
MatthewWed, 06/12/2017 - 12:57

The share prices of big companies (the FTSE 100) continue to rise. Top bosses' pay dropped a bit between 2015 and 2016, but is on a long-term trend to rise faster than workers' wages, and stood at £3.45 million in 2016 (median pay for FTSE 100 CEOs). The average profit rate of UK firms (outside finance and outside the North Sea oilfields) recovered entirely a long time ago from its dip in 2008-9, and is now around 13%, compared to 8% in 2001.

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Cuts could devastate domestic violence refuge service

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 9:26 Author: Ruth Willis
Sisters Uncut protest

According to Women’s Aid there were over twenty thousand referrals to refuge services in 2015-16. Of these, a quarter were turned down due to lack of space. The actual numbers of people accessing all domestic violence services is much higher. The figures are staggering.

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Trump’s government for the rich

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 1:46 Author: Gerry Bates
Grad protest

Donald Trump's tax overhaul was passed early on Saturday 2 December in the US Senate. Although the bill will now need to be reconciled with the House-passed version, it is likely to include tax cuts which will make the rich and US corporations much richer, while also punishing the working class and the poor.

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Capital, an abridgement

Submitted by Gemma_S on 9 October, 2017 - 4:08
Rule Carousel

Otto Rühle's abridgement of Capital, out now.

131 pages, including introduction and study notes.

As Karl Korsch remarked: “The investigation Marx undertakes in the first volume of Capital is only formally limited to the productive process of capitalism. In actual fact, in his treatment of this aspect, Marx grasps and portrays the totality of the capitalist mode of production, and the bourgeois society that emerges from it”.

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Catalonia: for self-determinationcathy nFri, 24/11/2017 - 09:02

The latest opinion polls for the parliamentary election in Catalonia on 21 December suggest an outcome similar to the previous election in 2015: a narrow parliamentary majority for the separatists, but with a minority of the popular vote.

A 15 November poll gives the ERC 24%, Puigdemont’s people (running as Junts per Catalunya) 17%, and CUP 6%, in total 47% of the vote but 68-74 seats out of 135.

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Budget alternatives should focus on control

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 10:14 Author: Editorial
John McDonnell

In a number of speeches in the run-up to the Tory government’s Budget on 22 November, shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has rightly indicted the Tories’ record since George Osborne began their cuts program back in 2010.

• A 30% increase in food bank usage in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out, as the six-week delay in making the payment pushes thousands into destitution.

• The NHS so cash-strapped that even its top bosses say it will crumble without a big boost. Cuts in per-student finance for state schools for the first time since the 1990s.

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How the 0.1% rule

Submitted by martin on 23 November, 2017 - 9:54 Author: Martin Thomas
plutocracy

"How does a political party dedicated to the material interests of the top 0.1 per cent of the income distribution win and hold power in a universal suffrage democracy?", asks columnist Martin Wolf in the Financial Times (21 November 2017).

It is indeed the question of questions about the politics and economics of today's social system. Wolf is a former right-wing Labourite who recounts that in the early 1970s he shifted "from social democracy to classical liberalism. I remain such a liberal today".

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Stop this slave trade!

Submitted by Matthew on 6 December, 2017 - 10:52 Author: Ralph Peters
Victory Imasuen

Recent reports about the Libyan slave trade adds further to the horror of what is going on in Libya and across the south Mediterranean region.

The Libyan slave trade has been known to be in operation for years. It accompanies the brutal exploitation of those fleeing poverty in Sudan, Chad and Nigeria. It is well illustrated by the story of Victor Imasuen, the young Nigerian interviewed by US broadcaster CNN on his return to Nigeria, a video that subsequently went viral.

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Free education now!
Students marching with banners that read "free education - tax the rich"
Gemma_SSun, 19/11/2017 - 13:57

As many as 7,000 students marched through London on Wednesday 15 November to demand “Free Education now — tax the rich”.

The protest was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and supported by Momentum, RMT, Unite, NUS Scotland and student unions across the country. Workers’ Liberty student activists were centrally involved in organising and leading the demonstration, along with other comrades in NCAFC.

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Left candidate wins Scottish Labour leadership

Submitted by cathy n on 20 November, 2017 - 12:26 Author: Dale Street
Richard Leonard

On Saturday 18 November, Richard Leonard was announced as the new Scottish Labour leader. In the election contest triggered by the sudden resignation of Kezia Dugdale, he defeated Anas Sarwar by 57% to 43%.

Among individual members Leonard had a narrow majority (52% to 48%). Among affiliated trade union supporters he had an overwhelming majority (77% to 23%). Among registered supporters Anas Sarwar secured a narrow majority (52% to 48%).

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Religious right routed in Australian marriage equality “vote”

Submitted by SJW on 21 November, 2017 - 12:06 Author: Riki Lane
Marriage Equality

Australia’s “postal survey” on same-sex marriage saw a resounding victory for LGBT+ equality.

61.6% said yes to marriage equality, and over 12 million people (79.5%) participated in this voluntary, non-binding poll — a higher rate than the Brexit vote.

All states had a yes majority, and 133/150 electorates voted yes, including almost all regional and rural ones.
However, 12 electorates in Western Sydney voted no. These were mostly Labor-held, with working-class, largely immigrant populations.

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Tax the rich! Save the NHS!

Submitted by Matthew on 15 November, 2017 - 10:13 Author: Gerry Bates
NHS

Simon Stevens, the chief of NHS England, is no socialist. He is a former top manager for a big US private profit healthcare firm, an advocate of “market solutions”, and paid about £200,000 a year. Yet at a conference on 7-8 November he looked around him and said the waiting list for hospital operations could hit five million.

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Salmond, RT UK, and nationalist propaganda

Submitted by cathy n on 24 November, 2017 - 8:54 Author: By Ann Field
snp logo

Alex Salmond now has his own weekly show on RT UK, the British subsidiary of what used to be called Russia Today.

This is good news, in the sense that it has further undermined Salmond’s credibility and has added to divisions within the SNP.

RT is a propaganda channel for the Russian government. Not simply because it is funded by the Russian government, but first and foremost because that is what it understands its role to be.

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Universal Credit: why are we waiting?
UC protest
MatthewMon, 13/11/2017 - 09:19

Although the Government ultimately ignored the 299-0 House of Commons vote, on which Tory MP's were whipped to abstain, calling for a pause in the national rollout of Universal Credit, parliamentary and media scrutiny continues to focus on the punitive aspects of the policy, especially the six week waiting period before any money is paid to people submitting new claims.

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Help us raise £20,000 to support this website

Submitted by Matthew on 11 January, 2017 - 12:49 Author: Cathy Nugent
Anti-Pinochet march

Our new website is now live! Have a look around.

But fundraising is not over! We will be fundraising until we reach our £20,000 goal in order to pay for the website, for future updates, and for staff to work on updating the website going forward. Find our how below.

Why are we raising money?

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Unions and the IHRA

Submitted by SJW on 17 November, 2017 - 1:00 Author: A teacher

On 15 November Southwark NUT agreed a motion proposed by a member or sympathiser of the Weekly Worker grouplet. The motion (attached) passed with ten votes in favour, to my vote against, and a couple of abstentions. It will be submitted by Southwark NUT to our annual conference.

The WW leaders – notorious liars with malleable politics - are currently positioning themselves as the go-to people for ‘left’ antisemites, defending Livingstone - amongst others - against justifiable charges of antisemitism.

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Seize their wealth!

Submitted by Matthew on 8 November, 2017 - 8:58 Author: Cathy Nugent
Seize their wealth

Another day, another revelation. The super-rich avoid paying tax.

The leak of 13.4 million data files (the “Paradise Papers”) to the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Germany, shared with media around the world, has shone a light on the pathologically anti-social behaviour of the rich pile up their wealth and refusing to contribute to the financing of hospitals, schools and the care of the old, sick and disabled.

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Trump’s trade turn is regressive

Submitted by Matthew on 25 October, 2017 - 10:35 Author: Editorial
NAFTA

“Anyone who thinks [Donald Trump] has dropped his vow to rip up the global trading system has not been paying attention”, wrote Edward Luce in the Financial Times (18 October), after the fourth round of US-Mexican-Canadian talks on Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement, closed on 17 October.

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Stop Brexit!

Submitted by Matthew on 18 October, 2017 - 11:21 Author: Martin Thomas
Stop Brexit

Opinion polling on 10-11 October showed 64% saying that the Tory government is doing “badly” in negotiating Brexit, and only 21% saying it is doing “well”. 47% said that, with hindsight, they thought the vote for Brexit in June 2016 was wrong, 40% that it was right.

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Make Labour anti-capitalist

Submitted by Matthew on 4 October, 2017 - 10:57 Author: Simon Nelson
Joining in the applause

By the end of its conference (22-26, September) Labour had agreed to take all PFI contracts back “in house” across the public services, to ballot tenants on regeneration schemes and to repeal all the anti-union laws.

These policies are great starts, taking Labour towards have bold pro-working class policies but they are not enough without a commitment to a class-struggle socialism that looks to workers’ struggle as the lever to change society.

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Corbyn surge changes Labour conference
Labour conference 2017
Gemma_STue, 26/09/2017 - 08:09

The Corbyn surge is starting to filter through the party and have an impact on Labour Party Conference.

Happening in Brighton on 24-27 September, this year's conference has over 1000 delegates, more than double the usual number. Around two-thirds of those delegates are on the left, or to be more specific support Corbyn's leadership. It was reported at a Campaign for Labour Party Democracy fringe meeting that the conference has had 13,000 people at in total: delegates, observers, visitors to Momentum's The World Transformed fringe festival, and other fringe events.

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How you can support the Picturehouse workers

Submitted by cathy n on 27 October, 2016 - 2:24
Hackney picturehouse strike

Here you can find a printable 1) collection sheet; 2) a letter to union branches from BECTU reps to organise donations from your trade union or Labour Party branch; and 3) model motions for trade unions, Labour Party branches and student unions. Scroll down for text of model motions. Also various useful links to more information.

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Tūmanako*: New Zealand’s Labour-led government

Submitted by Matthew on 25 October, 2017 - 9:57 Author: Lesley Maher
Jacinda Adern

Twenty-six days after a general election, and on the eve of the Labour Day holiday weekend, (21-23 October) Aotearoa (New Zealand) has a new Labour-led coalition government. New Zealand’s Labour Day public holiday was celebrated for the first time in 1900. The Liberal government of the day offered the new public holiday instead of acceding to labour movement demands for a lawful eight-hour working day.

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Catalonia: no to Madrid clampdown!

Submitted by Matthew on 18 October, 2017 - 1:25 Author: Tony Holmes
Catalan Firefighters

The Spanish government in Madrid says that it will suspend regional autonomy and impose direct rule on Catalonia from Thursday 19 October unless president Carles Puigdemont abandons his push for independence for the territory.

A Madrid clampdown would, soon if not immediately, lead to violent clashes such as happened when the Spanish government tried to stop Catalonia’s 1 October referendum. The Catalan police might well side with the Catalan government against Spanish government forces.

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Support the Rohingya

Submitted by Gemma_S on 22 September, 2017 - 12:23
Rohingya refugees

Around 400,000 people from the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar have now fled to Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshi government was reluctant to admit them, but has been less hard-faced than Britain or the EU generally towards refugees from Syria and Eritrea. Or at least it has calculated that it lacks the means to be as hard-faced.

Many of the refugees are huddled round Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh. The Bangladesh police say that they “cannot travel from one place to another by roads, railways or waterways”, and that camps will be built to accommodate them.

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What's wrong with Stalinist iconography

Submitted by cathy n on 22 July, 2017 - 9:35 Author: Cathy Nugent

In the recent past there has been a minor craze in and around the Labour left for using 1930s Stalinist iconography. This craze, based in social media, ranges from the use of Stalinist socialist realist “art” to images and memes attacking Trotskyists, including ice-picks emojis etc. Some people, so we understand, who volunteer for Momentum like to use jargon attacking Trotskyists, taken from these social media exchanges, such as “Clear Them Out”. They mean that people who support Workers’ Liberty or Socialist Appeal should be expelled from the Labour Party.

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Workers' Control, Not Immigration ControlsAWLTue, 25/07/2017 - 17:09

A 2006 pamphlet from the No-One Is Illegal Campaign, setting out the labour-movement case against immigration controls.

Click here to download the PDF.

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Unfinished Corbynism

Submitted by Gemma_S on 22 September, 2017 - 12:08 Author: Martin Thomas
Corbyn rally in Liverpool

Alex Nunns, a journalist on Red Pepper, has based this book on sympathetic interviews with many of the central people in Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 Labour leadership campaign. It’s a well-crafted, well-informed view of the Corbyn surge as it looked from the top.

It’s hard to remember now just how unexpected Corbyn’s 2015 victory was. Before the May election John McDonnell had attempted to assemble a “Left Platform” group. It flopped dismally.

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Catalonia: right to choose yes, new borders no!

Submitted by Matthew on 11 October, 2017 - 11:13 Author: Martin Thomas and Tony Holmes
catalonia dialogue

As Solidarity goes to press on 10 October, Carles Puigdemont, the president of Catalonia, has announced his response to the referendum on independence in Catalonia his government called on 1 October.

The Spanish government declared the referendum illegal, and deployed heavy Spanish police force to try to stop it, but it largely went ahead. 92% voted yes, on a 43% turnout. A series of opinion polls carried out by the Catalan government since 2011 has in recent years shown a slight majority against independence, most recently 49%-41% in July this year.

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Reza Shahabi on 24th day of hunger strike

Submitted by AWL on 2 September, 2017 - 9:35 Author: Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
Reza Shahabi on hunger strike

After 24 days on hunger strike Reza Shahabi’s health is deteriorating. His condition is now said to be serious.

Reza Shahabi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Trade Union of the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, was ordered to return to prison on August 8th. According to a report by this trade union, Mr Shahabi began his hunger strike protest on August 8th as he entered Rejai Shahr prison in Karaj. He is protesting about the legality of his case and prison conditions.

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Support the McDonalds workers!

Submitted by AWL on 11 September, 2017 - 4:46
McDonald's workers strike

Workers at two McDonald′s stores in the UK will be striking on Monday 4 September. The strike is part of a global McDonald′s strike, and is the first time McDonald′s workers in the UK have struck.

Workers in Cambridge and Crayford were balloted and voted by 95% in favour of strikes. Almost as soon as the ballot result was announced McDonald′s offered 80,000 of its UK workers guaranteed hours, thereby agreeing to one of their demands even before the strike. Steve, a worker at a McDonald′s store in Cambridge, spoke to Solidarity about their struggle.

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For Catalonia's right to decide; against separation

Submitted by cathy n on 23 September, 2017 - 10:26 Author: Tony Holmes
spanish riot police

Spanish riot police unleashed violence against people voting in a referendum on Catalan independence on Sunday 1 October. Recent estimates (on Monday 2 October( number those injured at 884, and it seems miraculous no one was killed.

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Thames riverboats workers win reinstatement for sacked colleague

Submitted by AWL on 21 August, 2017 - 7:36 Author: Daniel Randall

UPDATE

Following the announcement of the strike ballot below, City Cruises agreed to reinstate Hairia. RMT has hailed the outcome as a significant victory for union members at City Cruises.


Captains and mates working for City Cruises, a company which runs sightseeing trips along the River Thames, will ballot for strikes to demand reinstatement for Hairia Abdo, an unjustly sacked colleague.

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Venezuelan crisis deepens
Sample
cathy nSat, 12/08/2017 - 19:29

Venezuela’s growing social polarisation and slide towards civil war has intensified in recent weeks, the combined result of right-wing destabilisation and the actions of the Maduro government.

The current political impasse arises from the unravelling of the “Bolivarian” project of Hugo Chávez. His successor Nicolás Maduro narrowly won the presidential election in 2013, but failed to retain the regime’s popularity with the majority of Venezuelan people.

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Labour should listen to Birmingham refuse workers

Submitted by Gemma_S on 8 August, 2017 - 11:59 Author: By a South Birmingham Momentum member
Sample

For the past few weeks the refuse workers in Birmingham have been in dispute with Birmingham City Council over proposed changes to pay-grades, terms and conditions, and levels of public safety.

Workers from the Unite union are now beginning a third week of industrial action. I went down to Lifford Lane depot this morning to find out more about the dispute.

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