Monday, February 8, 2021
Despite the judge in charge of the case ruling against extradition to the United States, Julian Assange remains in prison without charge. He is being detained in conditions which amount to torture and his physical and mental health are at serious risk. Although not charged with any crime his offence has been to expose the misdeeds of the US war machine. His persecution a major threat to investigative journalism and free speech everywhere.
Sunday, February 7, 2021
One of the most notorious aspects of the development of neo-liberalism has been the huge growth in the gig economy. With venture capital having a big stake in it, Deliveroo was one of the pioneers in slashing workers’ rights and their terms and conditions of work. The use of workers with bogus self employed status has become a significant feature of how capitalism exploits workers in the 21st century.
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Whilst big rivals confront each other in a new cold war, the tactics involved in this of sanctions, boycotts and bullying are also being underpinned by military might. This includes a concerning build up of nuclear weapons and the lowering of the threshold for their use by the USA and NATO. There are nuclear and other threatening manoeuvres directed at encircling Russia and China. Britain too is increasing its arms spending and exports, is developing a new National Cyber Force and is still set on renewing Trident nuclear weapons.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Sylvia Pankhurst was sidelined from the official celebrations of 100 years some women getting the vote in Britain. This was not unconnected to her socialist politics. Unlike the other Pankhurst women she took a class position on fighting for women's rights and embraced anti-imperialist causes, especially opposing the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial committee are seeking to redress this shameful neglect by raising a statue to her in Clerkenwell Green.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
The West has, over decades, used its technological capabilities to spy on a host of other countries and organisations. Spy hardware was built into communications systems by Crypto AG. Crypto was a Swiss firm founded in 1952 and secretly bought by the CIA and the West German spy service. In all, 120 countries were sold apparatus which enabled their communications to be decrypted by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The information gathered was actively used by the West to intervene for example, in the Egyptian/Israeli negotiations at Camp David in 1978, and to aid the British during the Falklands war. Crypto continued in use until 2018 its capabilities having been superseded by the use of software. We are now all spied on through our use of search engines and social media and the NSA has a huge capacity to process all that data fed in from Google, Facebook etc.
Monday, November 2, 2020
The right wing and liberal media are united in their attacks on so-called Russian interference in western elections. This has been so hyped that it is almost taken for granted, yet the evidence does not stack up. The Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report failed to substantiate allegations of Russian interference. It blamed the lack of evidence on spooks not having looked hard enough. Yet the ISC used this non-evidence as a basis for arguing that Britain should boost its offensive cyber warfare capabilities, calling for more resources for the National Offensive Cyber Programme set up by GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence. This year a National Cyber Force was also established and Britain hosts the NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre at RAF Molesworth.
Friday, October 30, 2020
In the negotiations with the EU the Tories have come under fire for their confrontational approach on state aid rules, taking back powers from devolved governments and the threat of breaking international law. However the left needs to be principled in its critique of the Tories and not allow them to seize the ideological ground as defenders of sovereignty. Meanwhile their disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic continues as they aim to implement a herd immunity strategy which they wanted from the start.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Though defeated in a referendum in 2011, proportional representation (PR) is again being mooted as a way of engaging voters and making the electoral system more democratic. In fact PR would actually produce less of what the electorate wants with more horse-trading of policies. Most importantly it would dilute a clear class divide making radical change harder.