Feature

Will a vaccine save us from Covid-19 and future epidemics?

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biomedicine

Lee Humber completes the fourth part of his analysis of medicine’s response to the pandemic with a critique of the global machine that more and more dominates our healthcare

The Swine Flu epidemic of 2009, and the Ebola crisis still active in West Africa after nearly seven years, both attest to the problems and unknowns regarding vaccine development and deployment. With Swine Flu, not only were supplies of the vaccine extremely limited, there were a range of short- and longer-term side effects causing, in some cases, years of suffering. These included arthritis, fibromyalgia, lymphadenopathy, rashes, photosensitive rashes, to name but a few.

The legacy of Darcus Howe

Issue section: 
anti-racism

Darcus Howe was a towering figure both in Britain and internationally. Possessed of a sonorous voice and sharp intellect, he edited the journal Race Today and remained deeply committed to race equality and social justice right up until his death in 2018. The Mangrove Nine Case that he was centrally involved in features in the forthcoming BBC series Small Axe, directed by Oscar winner Steve McQueen. Socialist Review spoke to Leila Hassan, who succeeded Darcus as Race Today’s editor in 1985, and writer and broadcaster Farrukh Dhondy, about the work of the Race Today Collective and what the Darcus Howe Legacy initiative can offer the movements of today.

SR: What are the origins of Race Today?
Race Today began as the house journal of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and had been edited Peter Watson. The IRR was originally funded by companies such as Booker Brother and Lonrho, which had investments in former colonial territories. After a “palace revolution” its council was replaced by more liberal and radical people. The Rev Kirby became editor under the organisation of Towards Racial Justice and funded by the World Council of Churches.

The uprisings that ended slavery

Issue section: 
anti-racism

The uprisings that ended slavery
We are told William Wilberforce brought about the abolition of slavery. As John Newsinger explains, it was the slaves themselves that fought bloody rebellions in order to win their freedom
‘I Would Rather Die On Yonder Gallows Than Live In Slavery”. These were the words of Sam Sharpe, the leader of the great Jamaican slave revolt of 1831, shortly before he was hanged on 23 May 1832. This was the spirit that abolished slavery in Britain’s Caribbean colonies.

BLM rebellion is a mass movement

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Protests that swept the US have deepened to involve pro-migrant campaigns and trade unionists from a host of associations. Iannis Delatolas of Marx 21 in the US reports on changing times

There is a photo of a nurse from a demonstration going around the internet holding a sign that reads: “We fought Covid, now we will fight the police”. This captures what is happening in the United States today. Race and class are central in this anti-racist rebellion. There have been demonstrations in all major cities and even small towns with no history of protests, even in the south in Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and many other cities and states.

Occupations to ministries: where is Podemos going?

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After bursting onto the Spanish political scene in 2014, the once radical left-wing party has become a loyal supporter of the moderate left government. Santi Amador explains what went wrong.

The Spanish state is the only country in Western Europe whose government includes a party to the left of mainstream social democracy. After the exciting rise and then disappointment of Syriza between 2014-2015, many progressive people are hopeful about the possibilities. But to understand what this government can really offer ordinary people, we have to look at what has happened to Podemos.

An inquiry will not tackle the roots of racism

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The disproportionate number of BAME death rates during the coronavirus pandemic need to be investigated, but Brian Richardson argues, only if we tackle the racism that underpines them

There is a widespread consensus that when Britain finally emerges from lockdown there will be what the Observer’s chief political commentator Andrew Rawnsley characterises as “the mother of all public inquiries”. Socialists could be forgiven for rolling their eyes in contempt at such a prospect.

Many people would agree with Guardian journalists Paul Lewis’s and Rob Evans’s suggestion that inquiries are usually initiated in order to “silence critics with one fell swoop and kick a controversy into the field of long grass where (those in power) hope it will be forgotten”.

After the leaked Labour report: which way forward for the left?

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The recent revelations of the stomach-churning opinions and activities among the top echelons of the Labour Party are not an aberration but symptomatic of Labourism

One week after Keir Starmer’s election as Labour leader in April, an internal report into the role of the party’s rather opaquely titled Governance and Legal Unit (GLU) in dealing with allegations of antisemitism was leaked to the press.

A disproportionate number of deaths

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Are BAME people more likely to die from Covid-19 because of genetics, diabetes, or even vitamin deficiencies? No, argues Dr Kambiz Boomla, racism lies at the heart of the differing death rates.

The Office of National Statistics last month published figures on who dies of coronavirus. It revealed a shocking truth that the risk of death for south Asians is twice as high as that for whites of the same age, and that blacks have a fourfold increased risk. Behind these figures lie human faces.

The ‘Test and trace’ app is another Tory fiasco

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Boris Johnson’s government has taken weeks to launch a procedure that has been used to contain a host of epidemics in the past. Camilla Royle investigates the reasons behind the latest disaster.

it seems there is a fresh example of the Tory government’s failures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic on an almost daily basis. One of the most significant is its failure to put in place an effective and appropriate system of contact tracing early on in the pandemic.

Contact tracing has been used for a range of diseases, including pandemic flu, tuberculosis, measles and sexually transmitted diseases. It has been successfully deployed against Ebola in west Africa.

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