I’ve helped to set up a mutual aid group in Mile End, east London. We’ve distributed leaflets telling people how to access help at food banks, mosques, churches and charities.
Soon we had too many people for one WhatsApp chat and split into five local area groups.
People are posting about their neighbours who need some shopping delivered, or their prescriptions picked up.
One of the demands that our group should be putting forward is that Tower Hamlets council call off the threat of mass sackings for its workforce.
And people in the group have raised that we should put demands on central government to give the council more funding.
As people start to lose their jobs, things are going to become more difficult, depending on how long this goes on for.
People won’t be able to pay for their own shopping, let alone someone else’s.
We need to argue that the government bail people out instead of bailing out Richard Branson.
You can see the temptation to set up Crowdfunding appeals, but we need to put political pressure for state payments to be made to people.
- However the pandemic pans out over the next year, the bosses’ class will already be planning how they can benefit while we bear the brunt.
Business bankruptcies will follow food shortages and won’t be helped by vague statements of undeliverable financial support from politicians.
But there are many, many more of us than them. We can refuse to pay, yet again, for their crisis.
We need to link the pressing political issues of climate action, anti-austerity, anti-racism and trade union militancy to form a generalised united front.
The utterances from Boris Johnson’s daily press conferences with a nodding dog either side of him are a cynical move.
The Tory government has compounded this opportunism by choosing the height of the Covid-19 crisis to deny justice to the families of those killed during the conflict in Northern Ireland.
There are nearly 2,000 unsolved cases.
Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis’ legislation proposes that only those cases where there was new and compelling evidence and a “realistic” prospect of prosecution would proceed with a full investigation.
This will close the vast majority of those cases and prevent them from ever being re-opened.
As human rights NGO Relatives for Justice said, “The statement is disingenuous and insulting to families who have been denied justice since the killings of their loved ones.
“Rather than meet its legal obligations, the British government has once again moved the goal posts to protect those within its armed forces and those within illegal organisations they colluded with.
“Its ultimate aim is to prevent the truth from emerging about its role in the conflict.”
And what a dirty, murderous role the state played—Bloody Sunday, the Ballymurphy massacre and the British state’s collusion with loyalist paramilitaries, to name just a few examples.
The scandal of cruel ‘avoidable’ Tory racism
The long-awaited independent report into the Windrush scandal has finally appeared.
Wendy Williams, the author of the 275-page report, insists the Windrush scandal was “foreseeable and avoidable” and that those targeted by it were the victims of “systematic operational failing” by the Home Office.
The fact is the Windrush scandal was the direct result of years of racist Tory anti-immigrant policies. The government department has launched a number of antiimmigration initiatives.
Priti Patel responded to the Windrush report by saying, “On behalf of this and successive governments I am truly sorry.”
But her apology is worthless given the Tories remain committed to building their racist “hostile environment”.
Organise against Scottish budget cuts
Angela Feeney, a leading councillor from the Scottish Labour Party, has quit the party after refusing to vote for a budget of cuts.
The budget, which was proposed by Labour-run North Lanarkshire council, meant cuts and increased charges for essential services for some of the most vulnerable people.
Feeney said, “I could not vote for any budget that will see £31 million of cuts being taken from our communities. It is time we offered real resistance and say enough is enough.”
Feeney has an outstanding record as a principled socialist.
She was active in organising support for asylum seekers in Calais, and she also worked closely with Unite Against Fascism in 2018 in building a huge demonstration against the Nazi Scottish Defence League.
We cannot rely on either Labour or SNP-led councils to resist Westminster imposed cuts that are then being passed on to local councils by the Scottish National Party government.
Only our collective action as workers and service users, of the sort which led to the fantastic victory of the Glasgow equal pay strikers in 2019, can do that.
Theresa May said there was “no magic money tree”. There isn’t for children and families, obviously.
However airline companies which have their—sorry, our—stolen loot invested will be rescued no doubt.
- All these dyed-in-the-wool neoliberals are now implementing massive state intervention because the profit-driven capitalist system cannot tackle the coronavirus crisis.
But unless people start to fight for collective democratic control of the economy all we’ll get is a shift from private capitalism towards state capitalism.
The examples that Socialist Worker has been reporting of workers taking action themselves are so important.
- We need a general strike in response to coronavirus.
Moria horror is shocking
I was shocked to read about the conditions in the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos (Socialist Worker, 18 March).
Do you think the politicians understand what lengths people have to go to just to find safety?
It’s often their wars that push people to flee in the first place.
Let all the refugees in now!
Blame rich over climate
It’s quite cheering to see the blame for dramatic climate change laid where it belongs—at the door of the rich.
A study from Leeds university found that the wealthiest 10 percent of people consume around 20 times more than the bottom 10 percent.
t’s a good example of how the inequalities of capitalism are helping to produce climate chaos.