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We must fight racism with solidarity

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As we go to press the Labour left is coming under attack from a coalition of the Tories and the Labour right throwing accusations of anti-Semitism. Jeremy Corbyn has come under increasing pressure to suspend members, including ex London mayor Ken Livingstone. While it is crucial that the Labour Party takes any claim of anti-Semitism or any form of racism seriously, there is clearly a concerted effort to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Austrian Nazi makes a mark

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Last month’s first round presidential election in Austria showed a dangerous shift to the right. Norbert Hofer of the fascist Freedom Party came top with 36 percent of the vote. In second place was the Green Party candidate with 20 percent.

There will be a run-off election between the two to decide the presidency on 22 May. Although the president is mainly a ceremonial role, Hofer has already claimed that he would dissolve parliament before the next parliamentary elections in 2018.

#Lexit campaign launch

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With the referendum campaign on Britain’s membership of the EU now underway, left forces have officially launched a campaign for a left wing British exit. The organisations backing #Lexit — the Left Leave Campaign include the RMT rail workers’ union, the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, Counterfire, the Indian Workers Association, the Bangladeshi Workers Council of Britain and Scottish Left Leave.

Syria: signs of hope

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The Syrian regime’s capture of Palmyra, the historic Syrian city taken by ISIS last summer, has been hailed as a significant victory and a vindication of Russia’s intervention in Syria. In a deft manoeuvre Putin, a key ally of Assad, announced that he would scale back Russian military forces in Syria — a move designed to reduce tensions with Turkey and the West.

There's a change in the air

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The Tory party meltdown over the past few weeks has been an edifying sight. Not since John Major’s ill-fated premiership in the 1990s have the Conservatives in power been so divided. And the funniest part is that they have largely brought it on themselves.

George Osborne’s budget lies in tatters following work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith’s shock resignation and the subsequent scrapping of plans to cut disability benefits, as Ellen Clifford spells out in this issue. This followed retreats on the “tampon tax” and tax credits.

The bosses Europe is not for us

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David Cameron has set the date, 23 June, for the referendum on EU membership, and there’s a whiff of panic in the air.

The Tory party is split down the middle, with important figures such as current London mayor Boris Johnson opting for the leave camp in opposition to Cameron’s desire to stay.

Big business is also taking sides. Half the FTSE 100 top companies have signed a letter putting the business case for EU membership, though the capitalist class is by no means united on this.

Junior docs strike again

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Junior doctors announced three 48 hour strikes as SR went to press: 9 to 11 March, 6 to 8 April and 26 to 28 April. As this comes after the imposition of the new contract it is a significant escalation.

A poll found 66 percent of people in England support for junior doctors’ strikes, with 41 percent saying they are strongly supportive. Only 16 percent of people say they oppose the walkout.

The BMA will also launch a judicial review as the government failed to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment before making the changes.

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