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Rotherham’s Schindler

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A miner from Rotherham was one of Poland’s secret heroes during the Nazi occupation. To mark Holocaust Memorial Day this month, Phil Turner tells the inspiring story.

Pawel Dlugai kept his secret for around 50 years. Now his part in the amazing rescue of Jewish people in Poland is to take pride of place with a film and exhibition of his photographs and documents at Schindler Museum in Kraków — on the site of the original enamel factory which is featured in the film Schindler’s List.

It follows an emotional visit by Pawel’s daughter Gillian who went to see the place for herself. She even got to sit at the same desk her father used at work.

India falls into turmoil

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A series of political and economic crises, plus the effects of Covid-19, have opened huge opportunities for socialists to rebuild their strength. Barry Pavier asks if they will seize them.

India ended 2020 in political turmoil. On 26 November around 250 million people were on general strike against three pro-employer labour laws. Immediately after this the capital Delhi was surrounded by tens of thousands of farmers protesting against another three pro-corporate agricultural ‘reform’ laws.

The year began with the Hindu chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of prime minister Narendra Modi being put under immense pressure from mass protests against a new anti-Muslim law, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Stirrings of resistance?

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Despite the passivity of the traditional leaders of the working class, there are signs of growing combativity. Mark L Thomas looks at the role of People Before Profit in taking these forward.

Millions of workers in Britain face an onslaught across multiple fronts: the pandemic, the rising wave of jobs cuts, pay freezes, and “fire and rehire” assaults on pay and conditions. The single most salient feature (or better still, problem) in the situation is the huge gulf that exists between this onslaught and the, to say the least, limited response coming from the top of the unions.

Anti-racists on the march

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Anti-racists took a big step forward this year but, as Weyman Bennett and Julie Sherry argue, we still face major threats from the establishment as well as the far right and fascism.

In 2020 the issue of racism and resistance rocketed to the top of the political agenda. Despite his continued protestations, it ended with Donald Trump defeated electorally and on his way out of the White House, but the racist movement he inspired both in the US and internationally is still very much alive and kicking.

Implications of imperial ambitions

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China’s rulers have, for the past four decades, sought to increase the country’s global role, particularly via their Belt and Road Initiative. Simon Gilbert reviews three recently published books on the repercussions of these policies, while Adrian Budd considers a study of US/Chinese tensions.

These three books, in widely different ways, all share a common thread: the use of history to understand contemporary China, particularly its growing global role. Michael Schuman’s is the most wide ranging, drawing on thousands of years of China’s history. John E Hillman looks at the hugely ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through the lens of Britain and America’s earlier imperial expansions, while Rana Mitter’s more particular focus is on the way that an interpretation of China’s wartime experience is enlisted to justify this more assertive global role.

Capitalism and Catastrophe

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The 2020 crisis we’ve endured isn’t an aberration of the system but, as Alex Callinicos argues, an aspect of its permanent crisis.

The end is in sight. Effectively deployed testing may be able to ameliorate social distancing until the vaccines arrive …To have several highly effective vaccines for this horrible virus after less than a year is a quite astonishing achievement, among the greatest things that we — by which I mean both humanity in general and molecular biologists in particular — have ever accomplished.”

How can we stop another deadly global pandemic?

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Baba Aye reviews two books that tackle the origins of Covid-19, the part played by government failures, as well as the social and environmental degradation underlying the spread of the Coronavirus.

Two new books have placed the pandemic in perspective as the crisis unfolded. Richard Horton’s The Covid-19 Catastrophe: What’s Gone Wrong and How to Stop It Happening Again, and Debora Mackenzie’s Covid-19: The Pandemic That Never Should Have Happened contextualise why it is taking place and proposals on how to stop the world from going through a similar experience again. Both authors realise that preventing another such catastrophe requires changes which address social and economic conditions such as inequality and poverty. But they stop short of envisioning a post-capitalist world.

How our movement defeated Trump

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Democrats were lifted to victory by the mass movements that swept the US during the Trump years, writes Virginia Rodino. Virginia Rodino is part of Marx 21
Baltimore/DC; Maryland Green Party co-chair; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Maryland convenor.

Donald Trump’s threat to challenge the results and to illegally occupy the White House was met with a galvanisation of hundreds of liberal and progressive groups across the country, including Labor and the Movement for Black Lives (BLM). At the moment of writing, all legal means to challenge the validity of the elections have been exhausted by Team Trump. Since 3 November, there has been a wave of celebration by liberals who had lifted up Biden and Harris throughout the race. There was a justified sigh of relief by most of the Left, since Trump is and continues to be such a horror show.

Is there a future for activists outside the Labour Party?

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The question of a parliamentary road to socialism has never been more important than now, but has it reached a dead end? Socialist Review asks Labour Party members, activists and campaigners for their assessment.

Socialist Review posed these three questions: 1. Do you agree Starmer is using the EHRC report to attack the left generally and Corbyn’s suspension is the first salvo in this? How serious do you think the attack will be? 2. Seamus Milne and others have argued the left should break away from the Labour Party and form a new, left wing version. What are your thoughts? 3. After the defeat of Corbyn and the take over and agenda of Starmer, is the Labour Party still a parliamentary road to socialism?
Moshe Machover, longstanding Israeli academic and writer:

Can the Labour right destroy Corbyn and muzzle the left?

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Sabby Sagall and Lee Humber examine the EHRC report and talk to Labour party members, former members and other organisations about antisemitism slurs and the future for socialists

A cross the left, Keir Starmer’s attacks on Jeremy Corbyn following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into antisemitism in the Labour party have met with widespread condemnation. In November, Camden Momentum in north London passed a motion calling on the 33 Campaign MPs in the party to resign the whip if Corbyn is not immediately reinstated. They also proposed Momentum National Coordinating Group should encourage unions to disaffiliate if Corbyn is expelled.

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