Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2704

Dated: 12 May 2020

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The battle is on - we can refuse to work

It is possible to refuse to go back to work. Teachers in the NEU union have said it clearest. They’ve laid out five tests that have to be met before they can agree it’s safe to open schools.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Why are we addicted to fossil fuels? Michael Moore’s new film doesn’t have the answer

New film Planet of the Humans could damage the environmental movement

Medway TUC organises action to support suspended bin workers

Medway trades union council organised a drive-by this week to show solidarity with eight suspended bin workers.

VE Day – the truth about the Second World War, imperialism and Empire

This week we are encouraged to celebrate VE Day, which marked an end to the bloody fighting of the Second World War in Europe on 8 May 1945.

Extinction Rebellion targets Barclays bank, the fossil fuel funder

Activists have taken their anger at the climate crisis straight to one of the drivers of the ecological catastrophe

‘Put our safety first, not money,’ say activists on day of action

Trade unionists and campaigners are staging a day of action to demand “no return to unsafe workplaces”.

Starvation and racism – life for Britain’s international students under lockdown

Some international students are “starving” during the coronavirus lockdown, a charity has warned. And new research published this week shows that Asian students have also suffered an increase in racism.

As polluting industries face crisis - emissions must fall but workers should not pay

Some of the world’s most high-profile polluters are faltering in the coronavirus crisis. And already, it seems like good news for the environment.

Tories plan to use the whip of hardship to force people back to work

Workers fear unemployment and poverty if the Tories slash the Job Retention Scheme

Boris Johnson speech clears way for dangerous return to work

Boris Johnson has opened the door to herd people back to work before it is safe. But widespread support for keeping the lockdown stopped him from going as far as he wanted in his speech on Sunday night.

Fury at Johnson’s plan to reopen schools means potential for real resistance

Parents and school workers have reacted with fear and fury to Boris Johnson’s announcement that schools could start to reopen from next month.

Damning evidence of scale of black and Asian virus deaths

Black people are four times more likely to die from coronavirus than whites, according to the Office for National Statistic (ONS).Fresh figures, published last week, showed black women are 4.3 times more likely to die and black men are 4.2 times more likely

Backlash in Labour grows as party shifts further rightward

Labour has provoked a ­backlash from its own members after betraying both tenants and victims of India’s hard right government.

It’s the lowest paid workers who will pay with their lives if the lockdown is lifted

The Tory push to end the lockdown will hit those in low-paid, insecure work hardest.

Roar of resistance at grizzly behaviour by Great Bear Distribution

Distribution workers at a Unilever plant in Merseyside are gearing up for strikes after bosses dismissed a union rep.

Union slams deadly fire failings and cuts

Firefighters have attacked the government and building owners as a parliamentary committee’s cladding survey highlighted widespread safety failings.

Workplace roundup: strike call at The Doctors Laboratory+Mcr airport+The Grange+The Giant agency

Medical couriers that transport Covid-19 samples on behalf of NHS pathology contractor The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) are to ballot for strikes.

Workers’ deaths show we are not ‘all in the same boat’

Workers in low-paid and manual jobs are up to four times more likely to die of coronavirus, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Homeless people charged for not going home

Homeless people are being arrested and charged under coronavirus legislation.


‘Explosions of mass struggles are on the horizon’ as Nigeria eases virus lockdown

Nigeria in west Africa is emerging from lockdown in a climate of authoritarian state rule and continuing fears about coronavirus.

A dangerous plan to reopen schools in France fails as many stay shut

The French government tried to reopen schools on Monday in the teeth of opposition from parents, students, teachers and scientists.

Infections are on the rise in Germany as lockdown lifts

Germany—hailed as one of the “success stories” in controlling coronavirus—was one of many European countries to ease its lockdown restrictions last week.


Vietnam War student massacre—50 years on

In May 1970 cops opened fire at black students resisting US imperialism. Socialist Worker looks at the forgotten killings at Jackson State

Economic crash could leave lasting scars

The bank of England’s latest monetary policy report is a classic example of bad news and good news. The bad news is that the British economy will shrink by 14 percent this year.


Coronavirus, capitalism and a crisis of mental distress

For many, lockdown will affect their mental wellbeing. Iain Ferguson and Sarah Bates explore why mental distress is linked to the social system that we live in.

Russia 1917 - how a revolution beat back a pandemic

How would a society that has had a revolution deal with pandemics? A glimpse comes from Russia in 1917. The working class, headed by the Bolshevik party, took power in a revolution there in October. Immediately, they had to deal with waves of disease sweeping large parts of Europe.


The Assistant doesn’t flinch from horrors of Weinstein

It’s not the first film of the MeToo era but it exposes both the mundane and horrifying realities of abuse by powerful men well

Soul Boy—an affectionate look at the Northern Soul scene

A love for music and the community it can create is at the centre of Soul Boy

What We Think

Blame for virus chaos lies at the top - not with ordinary people

People crowding onto public transport this week were mocked as sheep with a death-wish by some on social media.

Other Categories

Neil Davidson, 1957-2020

I first encountered Neil Davidson, who has died at the tragically early age of 62, when he spoke at the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) Paisley branch in the early 1990s. 

Letters—We workers need more than just applause and gratitude

As a support worker I have seen recently the outpouring of affection and respect lavished upon us “key workers”. 

More die at home from other illnesses due to virus crisis

More than 8,000 more people have died at home since the start of the coronavirus crisis than would have done in normal times.

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