Sunday, August 29, 2021
Despite the continued mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and the botched exit deal from the EU, Boris Johnson still seems Teflon coated. Johnson has been able to survive so far because of his popularity in the Tory Party and his huge majority in parliament. Also because the establishment want an orderly transition to a new leader which doesn’t expose the Tories failures too much nor their anti-democratic practices, contempt for the electorate and corruption. Divisions are beginning to emerge among the Tories on multiple issues meaning Johnson, far from being invincible, is looking increasingly insecure.
Saturday, August 28, 2021
Despite Tory failures there is a woeful lack of opposition from the official opposition in the shape of Keir Starmer. Labour’s poor electoral performances of late have underlined Starmer’s lack of credibility with the voters. He and those around him have drawn the wrong conclusions from electoral defeats in the so-called Red Wall constituencies. The real causes of alienation in working class communities and the radical changes needed to address them are ignored in favour of superficial responses, like making Labour look “patriotic” by appearing with Union Jacks. This is a poor imitation of the Tories and goes down particularly badly in Scotland. There is too much concentration on parliament and not enough on class struggle.
Friday, August 27, 2021
For centuries enormous struggles have taken place a across Latin America against Spanish, British and US imperialism and their domestic allies. In the course of that time there have been tremendous victories, like the Cuban revolution, and huge defeats like the overthrow of the Popular Unity government in Chile. But people across the continent have kept resisting and fighting for change. Even a few months ago few would have predicted that a self-declared Marxist would be elected president of Peru. In Bolivia, after a bitter defeat for the left and Evo Morales and a campaign of right wing terrorist violence, nevertheless, Luis Arce from Morales’s party, the Movement Towards Socialism, won the presidential election. In Chile the left has a majority on the convention writing the new constitution for the country. None of this was achieved by purely electoral politics – these successes arose from the struggles of the working class, social movements and indigenous peoples.
Thursday, August 26, 2021
More than 4 million people, by official estimates have now died from coronavirus. Inequality between rich and poor has been the cause of high death tolls as countries lack the infrastructure and resources to treat and vaccinate people. Even in some rich countries, such as Britain, there have been high death tolls as governments have little regard for the welfare of their people. But some countries, such as China and Vietnam, have done a much better job of looking after their populations.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Capitalism has major issues to address about the failures of its neoliberal model. Greater state intervention in the economy is being pursued in the United States and Britain. Although this may seem a radical departure from neoliberal orthodoxy, nevertheless it is nothing like the levels of nationalisation and state intervention which once prevailed. Facing global challenges, especially from China, will these modest departures from free market dogma be enough to save capitalism?
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
The Working Class and 21st Century Capitalism. The growth in homeworking during the pandemic has highlighted that workers are being watched and monitored to an ever greater degree. This is all about speeding up work and extending the working day to increase exploitation. It has major implications for the health, well-being and privacy of employees and their families and for how Trade Unions respond.
Monday, August 23, 2021
It is ten years on from NATO’s 2011 seven-month long bombardment of Libya, and this once secular, peaceful and prosperous country is still in turmoil. The destruction of Libya was part of a bigger plan by the US to oust Middle Eastern leaders who they believed threatened their interests. Colonel Gaddafi the Libyan leader, brutally murdered during the war, was for a time, at the forefront of efforts to develop his country and build anti-imperialist alliances. Libyan people once benefited from its oil wealth but now the face chaos, danger and hardship in a civil war brought about by the United States.
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Collateral Damage by Steve Howell (Quaero Publishing, 2021) The novel is set in 1987, a year after the United States bombed Libya on April 14 1986. It deals with the mysterious death of Tom, a British peace activist, whilst on a delegation to Tripoli marking the anniversary of the bombing. It is a whodunit which gradually reveals the truth in true whodunit fashion. It is often told from the perspective of Tom's girlfriend, Ayesha who is Palestinian-Lebanese. Her background has given her experiences of separation and loss which only make her more determined to find out the truth.