Simon Guy

Editorial: take heart and resist

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Many around the world are celebrating the vote for abortion rights in Ireland. It has been a long time coming. The result is as exciting as the movement that has been built on and leapt forward during this whole process.

It raises question for women around the world. On top of the #metoo movement, this is a huge achievement and it happened in a one time bastion of reactionary control over women’s lives.

News in brief

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Lecturers run amok
The UCU union congress erupted in an argument when delegates dared to challenge their leadership using such weapons as democracy. General secretary Sally Hunt and others in the bureacracy walked out and halted the conference over calls for her to resign. Members are unhappy that she tried to push a dodgy deal during the pensions dispute.

Westworld, season 2

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Epic soundscapes, fearsome landscapes, and the meaning of life; the second season of Westworld opens with the same intensity with which the first one closed.

Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), our hero, is on a bloody quest for justice and survival, having discovered that her repeated lives and deaths have all served to amuse rich humans at the Westworld theme park.

A real fight to repeal the 8th amendment

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This month could see a victory for legal access to abortion in Ireland. On 25 May voters will decide whether to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution, which recognises an equal right to life of the mother and the foetus. This fundamentally removes control for millions of women over their own bodies, and it leaves Ireland decades behind most other western states in terms of abortion rights.

‘We don’t want your thoughts and prayers’

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On 20 April, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, students throughout the US will walk out of school again to demand action over gun control. On 14 March thousands left their classes together at 10am. Then on 24 March they took the fight to the White House.

The movement that has burst onto the stage is militant, informed, and shaped by previous struggles. The last walkout was called by the Women’s March youth branch.

Britain First retweeted

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Donald Trump gave a boost to the Nazi group Britain First by sharing a series of Islamophobic videos that were collated by its deputy leader, Jayda Fransen.

One of the posts claimed that a Dutch boy on crutches was being beaten by a Muslim immigrant. Dutch authorities were quick to say that he was actually born and raised in the Netherlands.

Fransen has been charged with “using threatening or abusive behaviour” at a far-right rally in Belfast this summer.

Build on crucial anti-racist conference

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There have been growing signs that forces on the far right are reorganising and making gains of late.

The idea you could go to protest racism and be killed by a Nazi in a vehicle reverberated around the world after Charlottesville in August. At the end of September the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) had 94 MPs elected in Germany. In October the fascist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) came third, winning just one seat fewer than the Social Democratic Party.

Will the media be the ones wot won it?

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It may seem bizarre to many people that the Conservative Party has been riding high in the polls after seven years of battering public services and fuelling racism. One popular explanation for this is the role of the media. Given the magnitude of its attacks on Jeremy Corbyn that seems to make sense.

The Sun ran the headline “Blood on his hands” for a vile rant against Corbyn and McDonnell, attempting to attack them over their relations with the IRA. It was printed the day after the Manchester bombing.

News in brief

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Chile heats up

There were huge demonstrations in Chile last month against the privatised pensions system. According to organisers 2 million people marched in cities across the country. Pension contributions are set to rise. Protesters want them replaced with a public social security system.

Landlord is untenable

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