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US: an opening for left ideas this time

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Can there be a red in the White House? Although it’s very early days — primary season hasn’t even kicked off — the prospect doesn’t seem so ridiculous now Bernie Sanders has confirmed he will again run for president.

Over a million people had signed up to volunteer with his campaign within the first six days of his announcement.

First things first: could he win the Democratic nomination? The most important aspect of the Sanders campaign in 2016 was that it tapped into a deep bitterness in working class America at the status quo of poverty and inequality.

Love Music Hate Racism

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Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) was founded in 2002, when the British National Party had begun to make electoral gains and even produced a CD aimed at increasing their support among young people.

LMHR held many successful festivals in the early 2000s. Tens of thousands of people attended the Victoria Park carnival in 2008 and at Stoke Britannia Stadium in 2009.

LMHR is responding to the new rise of the right by launching a fortnight of anti-racist content aimed at tackling the hate filled propaganda of the far right.

No compromise on freedom of movement

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The Immigration and Social Security Bill which had its second reading last month is designed to put an end to freedom of movement after Britain leaves the EU.

It makes an entirely arbitrary distinction between “skilled” and “unskilled” migrants and imposes a 12-month limit on the latter, who would not be able to bring in their families or access public funds.

Irish nurses picket for pay

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Around 35,000 Irish health workers walked out of and picketed hospitals and clinics across the republic at the end of last month over pay and conditions.

Nurses and midwives are demanding a 12 percent increase in pay and improved conditions in a programme of action set to last two weeks.

In response, the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has claimed spending on Brexit preparations prevents him from ceding to their demands.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says its members are working longer hours and receiving less pay than than they were in 2008.

Yellow Vests up the stakes

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A general strike of French trade unionists alongside further Yellow Vest protests at the beginning of February was set to up the pressure on president Emmanuel Macron to stop expenditure cuts, privatisation and a tax system weighted against the poor.

The continuing movement is also demanding significant wage increases and the right to protest without the fear of police violence; a factor that has seen, since the movement began last November, the police badly injure more than 2,000 protesters.

Resist the imperialist coup in Venezuela

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The ongoing right wing offensive to oust Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro came to a head on 23 January, with National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó appointing himself as interim president in a calculated move during a massive anti-government rally.

Within hours the governments of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and other right wingers had issued statements recognising Guaidó as president and demanding the resignation of Maduro. Support followed from Britain, Canada, the European Union and EU countries.

Brexit: Very little confidence in the Tories

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Theresa May survived the attempt to get rid of her from within her own party in December. But it was a sign of her abject weakness that she won the no-confidence vote by promising to go before the next scheduled election.

The fact that 200 Tory MPs backed her did nothing to resolve the crisis her government, her party and the British ruling class face over Brexit. It merely ruled out a switch of Tory prime minister for at least a year, unless May is ordered out by Tory grandees, and confirmed most MPs have no stomach for Britain to leave the EU with no deal.

Yellow vest spirit takes over France

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The Gilets Jaunes protests in France have come from a spontaneous, grassroots movement expressing people’s frustration at low living standards, threats to pensions and tax cuts for the rich, as well as the trigger point of increased fuel tax charges.

The latter was effectively a wage cut for everyone needing to use private transport in work or to get to work. Protesters put on the yellow jackets that all motorists must keep in their cars.

Tories can’t square the circle of Brexit

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The front cover of September’s Socialist Review asked, “Are the Tories heading for the rocks?” This month came the answer: a resounding yes.

While Theresa May seems to have seen off the initial rebellion against her draft withdrawal treaty from the EU, the Tories’ decades-long row over Britain’s membership of the EU could blow up at any time over the next few weeks, toppling May and crippling the government.

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