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Letters – South Korea’s second wave is a real warning for Britain 

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Issue 2707
Checks being carried out at Incheon airport, South Korea
Checks being carried out at Incheon airport, South Korea (Pic: flickr)

South Korea is witnessing what seems to be the beginning of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of May, the Korean government announced that there were no new confirmed cases of the virus.

It seemed like a victory in containing the virus, and South Korea was portrayed in the global media as a success.

The Korean government sent messages to the public about easing physical distancing and closure measures and the reopening the schools. 

Easing of lockdown measures is turning out to be devastating. Busy nightclubs have become a hotbed for infection and the virus spread from a single person to 266 people as of last Friday. 

The government blamed individuals for visiting the club when it actually was the authorities who said they could reopen. 

And a confirmed case was reported from a warehouse of 2,300 workers, leaving more than a hundred infected. 

Bosses want to keep making profit, and social distancing can get in the way of that so workplaces are still often unsafe. 

Workers are risking their lives to make ends meet. 

Schools reopened on 26 May, which has turned out to be disastrous. A total of 838 schools were forced to close down after just two days of being open due to confirmed cases of Covid-19 among students and teachers. 

The government was slow to retreat from the decision on reopening of schools. 

This clearly shows that the production of the labour force is more valuable to the ruling class than the lives of children. 

The case of South Korea shows how reopening schools and returning to workplaces could be a dangerous step in Britain.  

The capitalist system is driven by profit and is willing to risk the lives of ordinary people. 

Socialists and workers must fight against an unsafe return to work and argue for radical change. 

Irang Bak 

Central London

Can this be the end of fast fashion?

without an online presence, Covid-19 has hit Primark hard. The business stopped production in March, leading monthly sales to crash from £650 million to nothing.

But it’s Primark’s workers that have been hit hardest. 

In Bangladesh over a million garment workers working for Primark and other brands had, by April, been sent home or laid off due to cancelled orders. 

Now Primark has hinted it will reopen in June. Primak is a retail store that mainly sells fast fashion, which is hugely damaging for the climate, and for the workers who produce it. 

The Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013 was a sobering. A garment factory supplying Primark and others collapsed killing 1,130 people.

Some say Primark’s exploitative behaviour is down to consumers buying too many cheap clothes. 

But it’s not working class people in the West who are to blame, it’s the bosses who create unsafe and insecure conditions.

As demands for a “new normal” grow, we need to push these arguments forward. It is only through international solidarity that real change can be won.

Martha Snow 


This Socialist Worker cartoon was offensive

a cartoon in Socialist Worker (20 May) by Tim displays a poster with the phrase “You don’t (have) to be Mad to Work Here But It Helps”.

Where to begin? 

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) rightly identifies offensive language that reinforces mental health oppression as unacceptable.

Perhaps, Tim can explain how SWP members are to be given the confidence to challenge a highly offensive poster that is common in workplaces when the very phrase appears in Socialist Worker?

And isn’t the use of humour by socialists meant to challenge the rich and powerful?

Kicking those at the bottom of the pile simply perpetuates the system and makes our job that much harder.

Personally, I found Tim’s “joke” not only not funny but highly offensive. Do better please.

John Curtis


SNP ­vision is not enough

The Scottish government’s withdrawal from the four nations action plan has become a defining moment for SNP theatrics.

It signalled a rejection of the Westminster Tories’ sickening approach to the coronavirus crisis.

But hidden behind the colossal British death toll, the Scottish government follows the same deadly neoliberal instincts.

The progressive image of the SNP is strengthened by Boris Johnson’s further move to the right, though it is hardly a departure from the nationalists’ big business agenda.

For example, deregulation hasn’t ever been reversed, leaving the working class vulnerable to the rough hands of the free market. 

And the SNP hasn’t renationalised key industries which shows its disregard for essential public services such as social care. 

The SNP often presents a grand vision of independence. But its vision is not enough.  

If we remain with this government and this system it will continue to put profit before people. 

This crisis has shown that we can’t return to normal. 

When the campaign for Scottish independence begins again, the movement must rethink its vision of independent Scotland. 

We can’t continue to look to the business-centred SNP. 

A left vision must be fought for and won, or we will continue to see working class lives put at risk.

Brian Claffey


Wales is not much better 

So far, the Labour administration in Wales has escaped much criticism for its handling of coronavirus.

Until recently plans for an easing of the lockdown avoided deadlines or specifics. 

But overall the Welsh Assembly is clearly nervously looking to follow Tory England’s lead.

Despite occasional differences, Wales has suffered from the same lack of planning as the rest of Britain.

Pressure from workers and the public must be put on the assembly to prevent any rushed return to work—and not being Boris Johnson isn’t enough. 

Neil Harrison            


Cops are above the law

I got stopped recently by the police while putting up “No Unsafe Return To School” posters.

“What do you think you’re going to achieve by that? You want anarchism?” one asked. 

“Total liberation of working peoples everywhere, officer” didn’t seem like the right answer.

“Helping save just one life would do for me,” I answered.

They didn’t seem too keen on the idea of this, or on social distancing either.

Josh Largent 

East London

No trust for killer police

I watched a report that said calls to domestic violence support lines have risen tenfold.

The report also asked why there’s been no increase in reports to the police. 

Considering what’s happening in the US and here it’s no surprise. 

Naima Omar 

East London

Piers better than Keir?

Did you think the day would come when Piers Morgan would be more effective against the Tories than the leader of the opposition? No, me neither!

Rick Owen 

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