Simon Guy

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

Trump's key policy promise falls

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A flagship promise of the Trump campaign was thrown into chaos last month. The American Health Care Act, known as “Trumpcare”, was pulled from the floor of the US House of Representatives at the end of March, having failed to win enough support from Republicans to pass.

Throughout the presidential election Trump had made attacks on the rising costs of Obamacare a central strand of his campaign, promising to repeal and replace it.

News shorts

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UKIP unsure exactly how racist to be
A row erupted among Britain’s premier bigots after their defeat in the Stoke by election last month. Former leader Nigel Farage wanted current leader Paul Nuttall to boot out sole MP Douglas Carswell before he rejoins the Tories. Also, having been so anti-establishment for so long, Nigel was upset that he didn’t receive a knighthood. This is no time to stop organising against them, though. Farage has complained that UKIP wasn’t hardline enough over immigration.

German Nazi fear

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There have been protests by anti-racists against the election result in Germany last month. Far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) received 12.6 percent of the vote.

This gave them 94 MPs in the German pariliament. Although one, a former leader, immediately left the party and became an independent.

The MPs include Beatrix Von Storch who found infamy when she supported shooting refugees who approached the border. When defending her comments she said, “The use of firearms against children is not permitted,” but “women are a different matter.”

Occupation in Seoul

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Students at Seoul National University (SNU), South Korea, have taken control of a campus building for more than 100 days so far against a plan to build a campus extension.

The plans are part of a speculative property development project. The students oppose it because the process has been undemocratic and the plans put making profits before the needs of students and staff.

The action takes place in a broader context of neoliberal restructuring driven by a president who is on the verge of impeachment.

Esther Brunstein: we must never forget

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Anti-fascist campaigner Esther Brunstein died last month. She was a survivor of the Holocaust.

She played an active role in the struggle against the far right, speaking at meetings, assemblies, trade unions and workplaces.

Esther was born in Lodz, Poland. She starts her chapter in a book of survivor accounts saying she came from “a very close-knit and enlightened working class family”.

Her parents were active members of the Bund, a socialist political organisation

New movement counters Trump

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The world was rocked by a monumental event in January. Not the initiation of the most right wing US government in decades, but the inauguration of the resistance to the sexism, racism and homophobia that Trump represents.

Around the globe 5 million people marched in 670 towns and cities, including 100,000 in London.

The last time the world saw such a scale and breadth of coordinated demonstrations was in February 2003 against the Iraq war.

In the US itself the numbers were even higher this time than they were during the anti-war movement.

In brief

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1984 hits top spot
George Orwell’s classic book about a dystopian tyranny topped Amazon’s best-sellers chart shortly after members of the Trump administration started saying things like “Alternative facts” and, “Sometimes we disagree with the facts”.

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