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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.

Technocrats will make it worse

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The political crisis in Italy, the third largest economy in the eurozone, intensified with the president Sergio Mattarella blocking the nominee of the alliance between the populist parties Five Star and League for finance minister.

Paolo Savona was regarded as being too critical of Italy’s membership of the eurozone and a threat to its future involvement.

The president said he would install a former IMF official, Carlo Cottarelli, as a technocratic interim prime minister.

Regime change in Iran: yesterday and tomorrow

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President Donald Trump is ratcheting up the pressure against Iran, as well as elsewhere. Indeed, his election campaign was fought partly on the “bad deal” that was struck over Iran and nuclear weapons. Now he has pulled out of the deal and is putting pressure on others to do the same. In order to understand the current situation we should revisit the history of meddling by the US.

All out to stop the racists from organising

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The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) has now been with us for a year. If at first there was an ambiguity about their message, a year on the Islamophobia and racism at the heart of the project has been laid bare.

It’s now not just Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and other anti-racists who are sounding the alarm about the group. The Observer and The Times newspapers ran exposures on the FLA while the Premier League has given clubs a warning about the FLA and its extremist links.

Editorial: A hostile environment for May

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The scandal over Windrush — the deportation of some of the generation of migrants encouraged to come here in the days of the post-war boom — exposed the Tories’ racist agenda.

For years this government has been blaming people from elsewhere for the effects of their policies on people here.

The anger has been so vociferous and focused on prime minister Theresa May and home secretary Amber Rudd, that they have been forced onto the back foot.

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.

John Sulston, 1942-2018

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John Sulston, who died on 6 March, was a pioneering biologist and a passionate life-long advocate for socialism.

Sulston spent his formative years working at the famous Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, sometimes called the “Nobel Prize factory” because of the number of its scientists who achieved that award. Indeed Sulston himself was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in the discovery of “cell death”, the regulated process that helps to shape an embryo as it develops, and to prevent uncontrolled cell growth in the adult organism.

‘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.

Editorial: Gearing up for battles this spring

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Could a spectre be haunting Europe once again? As we go to press millions of public sector workers in France — including teachers, civil servants, air traffic controllers, hospital workers and rail workers — are striking and marching together in protest at President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed “reforms” (read: pay freezes, job cuts and wholesale attacks on conditions).

This one-day action is set to be followed by three months of strikes by rail workers, who plan to strike for two days out of every five from 3 April to 28 June.

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