Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2911

Librarians throw the book at councils over Palestine 

Socialist Worker readers share their thoughts on building support for Palestine in the workplace, Labour's plan to free up NHS beds and urge other not to fall for the Lib Dems progressive posturing
Issue 2911
Library Workers for Palestine (Picture: @Libworkers4pal/ Twitter)

Library Workers for Palestine (Picture: @Libworkers4pal/ Twitter)

As the relentless genocide in Gaza continues, people are looking for more ways in which they can deepen the struggle to support Palestine.

For workers we need to look at the connections that our organisations have with the production, and funding of weapons for Israel and the dispossession of Palestinians.

I work in a public library as part of a council, and we’ve set up a Lambeth Council Workers 4 Palestine group to campaign for divestment of our pension fund.

Research by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) shows known complicit investments from the Lambeth Pension fund alone amount to almost £10.5 million.

Nationally in local government this is £4.4 billion in companies complicit in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

Our group started small but now for the next Stop the War workplace day of action for Palestine on 27 June we’re holding an all-members meeting to call for divestment.

Stopping the funding of genocide is something concrete we can do here. In public libraries we have also seen a push by Barclays Bank to put their “financial advisors” and banking services into our buildings.

A few concerned staff, initially in East Anglia, came together to discuss with the PSC about what they could do to get Barclays out of our libraries.

They set up an Instagram and connected with other library networks who quickly identified the issue as a much bigger one across the country.

Councils argue that they are cash strapped and so need the money from Barclays, but we don’t accept that public libraries need blood money.

This is a worrying trend and it’d be great if other library workers could join us. Contact us at @libworkers4pal.

Wherever you’re working, I think there’s something you can do—if you haven’t raised Palestine with your workmates yet, 27 June is a great time to start.

Tim O’Dell

South London

Starmer should frack off

So the man who has dodged paying an estimated £4 billion in taxes by moving to Monaco—Sir Jim Ratcliffe—is backing Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

Enough said? No. He’s the multi-billionaire founder of the Ineos petrochemical business and controller of Manchester United football club.

Ratcliffe has been quick to propose the re-start of fracking in Britain once Labour is in government.

Along with a huge portfolio of the planet polluting industry, Ineos owns the fracking rights to shale gas beneath Manchester United’s training ground.

After huge campaign pressure and courageous direct action by climate campaigners, the Tory government suspended fracking licences in Britain.

Now, as the public focus turns away, the king rat wants his licence to frack renewed and expects the next Labour government to do it.

Fracking, the underground drilling to force gas and oil onto the surface under high pressure, causes earthquakes and water contamination.

Fracking is part of the fossil fuel industry that is driving global warming and accelerating climate collapse.

It’s of little wonder that Starmer has slashed Labour’s proposals for the essential fast transition away from fossil fuels, from £28 billion a year to just £4.7 billion.

Climate campaigners must be ready to expose the Labour government.

Tony Staunton


Don’t fall for Lib Dems progressive posturing

As the Tories are flailing and there is zero enthusiasm for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, the Lib Dems are portrayed as a progressive alternative. This should fool no one.

You’ll struggle to find any worthwhile pledges in their manifesto.

They pledge to scrap tax breaks for big banks. But this is a ploy to appear to the left that they would inevitably drop.

When in government they have always ruled in favour of big business and shafted working class people. On immigration, they’ve pledged to scrap the Rwanda plan.

But they would have a similar plan to Labour—to be more efficient than the Tories and no less brutal. A vote for the Lib Dems isn’t a vote against the Tories.

It’s a vote for opportunists who will always come down on the side of the establishment.

Jeremy Price


Streeting bed plan won’t solve problems

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting’s plan to implement the “Leeds model” of spending millions each year on private care home beds would be a disaster.

Using NHS money to buy private beds will not solve the crisis.

With just 4 percent of healthcare provided by the public sector in this example, the emphasis is on profit making.

NHS funding would be siphoned to further line the pockets of the owners and shareholders of Care UK, BUPA and Barchester Healthcare. Streeting has referred to the human and financial “waste” of beds.

What is needed is to reverse the underfunding and privatisation. The NHS and Care sectors need free, consistent social care provision, to allow carers and clients to build up relationships.

This helps highlight difficulties and health problems. It means people access treatment via GPs without the need for hospital admission.

Social Care provision is in crisis due to high vacancy levels, understaffing, low pay, long hours and zero hours contracts. Buying private home care beds will not help.

Caroline Ridgway


Solidarity in action

The Australian National University (ANU) has more than $1 million (£530,000) invested in eight arms companies which student fees are used for.

This is just one tie with Israel that students were absolutely right to protest.

The student encampment for Palestine at ANU needed support after the university threatened to send the cops in and clear them out.

Construction workers in Canberra showed what real solidarity looks like in the fight for Palestine after walking off the job in support of the students.

Jasmine Francis


Dirty air—a deadly danger

A new study from the Health Effects Institute shows that air pollution killed more than eight million people across the world in 2021.

Dirty air is now the second biggest killer globally, overtaking tobacco use.

We need a much bigger movement to tackle climate change and all other symptoms of capitalism which is catastrophically wedded to fossil fuels.

Adam Coulter


Which is the party of rich?

Billionaire John Caudwell endorsing Labour confirms that the extremely rich now believe their wealth will be safe with a Keir Starmer government.

In fact more and more of them are becoming convinced that Labour’s business-friendly “securonomics” is going to make them richer.

But it will increase inequality and be at the expense of the poor and working people.

Rob Hoveman


How lucky are the Tories?

News of now two Tories betting on the election has got to make you laugh.

They know they’re so likely to be booted. Resorting to dodgy bets as their only way to cash in on this election.

Anna McCann


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