Solidarity 496, 20 February 2019

For dyslexic readers

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 18:20

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Clear migration spies out of workplaces

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 13:16

The Observer newspaper on 17 February reported that the Government is “attempting to embed immigration officers at a rate of almost £60 an hour as part of an ‘enhanced checking service’ being offered to public services, understood to include NHS trusts and local authorities, as well as private firms.”

The attempt goes back a while. In May 2017 a local authorities’ information website summed up: “A Home Office immigration official can be placed within a local authority [to] provide.... immigration status checks”. The Home Office told the Observer than some 13 officials are already in place.

Schools climate strike: build now for 15 March!

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 13:14
Author

Maisie Sanders

Tens of thousands of young people joined the Youth Strike for Climate school walkouts on Friday 18 February in town centres and outside schools across the UK. It was organised as part of the Fridays for Future school walkouts started by Swedish school student Greta Thurnberg, which have now gone global.

Students from Australia, Austria, Belgium and Germany have also taken part. School students in France walked out on Friday 18th, too. Over 3,000 people attended the London rally in Parliament Square, ranging from sixth-formers to primary-school-age children with their parents. The atmosphere

Organise, organise, organise

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 13:10

Deliveroo riders in several cities struck on 14 February. An activist in the Independent Workers’ union of Great Britain (IWGB) Couriers and Logistics branch spoke to Solidarity about the strike.

Bristol was again the best city in terms of turnout, but the strike was very effective elsewhere too. In Horsham, Deliveroo’s business was almost completely shut down. Every restaurant was showing as “unavailable” on the app, except for one which uses the Deliveroo platform but hires its own private riders to make deliveries. There are around 50 riders in Horsham, and we’ve built organisation

Alcohol is harmful. Dry January will not help

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 13:04
Author

Todd Hamer

Alcohol [see Martin Thomas’s article in Solidarity 494, and Stephen Wood’s letter in 495] is the most harmful psychoactive substance we know in terms of overall mental and physical damage, addiction, crime and costs to the economy and communities.

It ranks just below heroin and cocaine for the physical and mental damage it does to the individual user. According to the WHO alcohol is a component cause of over 200 diseases. In 2012 3.3 million (5.9%) of deaths were related to alcohol use. Alcohol is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury.

Alcohol is a depressant that

The “Green New Deal”

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 12:57

Marxist ecologist John Bellamy Foster has commented on the “Green New Deal” proposed notably by the new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez.

I am impressed by some aspects of it. She calls for mass mobilisation, which is indeed necessary. She also calls for innovative forms of financing, such as setting up a network of public banks to finance it directly, modelled after the New Deal, and through much higher marginal tax brackets on the rich and corporations, going back to what we once had in the United States. The revenues could be used to finance a massive shift toward solar and wind

Lambeth fight continues after budget vote

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 12:50
Author

Katy Dollar

On Wednesday 13 February, Lambeth Council voted through another cuts budget. The document included a line in a table cutting £500,000 from Children’s Services. Five children’s centres are to be closed, seven more will have their service provision cut, and staff across the borough will lose their jobs.

Outside the Town Hall, Labour members, trade unionists and families sung and chanted in protest. A deputation of mums addressed the Council meeting to explain how much the Centres mean and to propose an alternative. They distributed a counter-proposal, A Better Plan, written by the Lambeth

The Omar Tweet controversy

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 12:42
Author

Barry Finger

“Because the attacks on Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are certain to continue and escalate, it is essential that anyone who wants to be considered ‘progressive’ come to their defence now.”

So reads the statement from the Steering Committee of the US socialist group Solidarity on the recent controversy over Omar’s tweet implying that the US’s pro-Israel policy is “all about the Benjamins.” And not just Solidarity. This is the pervasive take of the American revolutionary left, who have mobilised their lists, contacts and fringe arenas in support of the sentiments expressed in that tweet.

The

Letters

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 12:10

Japanese language not more socialist

Janine Booth’s article on neurodiversity and socialism (Solidarity 494) was valuable and interesting, but I want to query one (maybe unintended) implication.

Janine cites an individual “severely dyslexic in English and not dyslexic at all in Japanese” and takes that as showing that capitalism develops language in a form that “does not suit”. To build anything on a single case is dubious. So far as I can see from scanning the research, there is some indication that dyslexia may be less with ideographic languages (where symbols correspond to meanings rather

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