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Why a Biden/Harris White House can only disappoint expectations

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Brian Richardson looks at the hope for real change raised by BLM

I t has often been observed that the US vice-president is just a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Constitutionally the post holds little power. Indeed one incumbent, John Nance Garner is reported to have described it as “not worth a bucket of warm spit”. Given the age and obvious infirmity of Biden, there is a very real possibility that Kamala Harris will be more than merely a ceremonial VP. Much has been made of the fact that she is the first woman and the first Asian-American to be elected to the post.

Stepping into a hostile environment

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We conclude our analysis of the plight of migrants with Part 2 of Refugees Under Siege, by a Calais-based refugee activist. In it, we look at what awaits refugees who make it to Britain.

I f the refugees make it to Britain, they exchange one hostile environment for another. Sajid Javid, while Home Secretary, first declared it a national emergency that a small number of refugees were getting across the Channel on boats. Since then the vitriol has expanded and the situation for refugees who arrive has worsened. Priti Patel has launched a full-scale assault on those who cross, backed by the whole of the Cabinet, every Tory MP, most of the press and of course, the far right.

Who is to blame for the rise in obesity?

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The government announced a new initiative to tackle obesity, but it is limited, poorly resourced and fails to
acknowledge that the stress of living under capitalism is a major cause of the condition, argues Rhoda Thomas.

The government’s role in supporting the food industry — evident throughout the pandemic — is to encourage us to eat and drink (witness the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme) and to return to work in city centres, thus giving a boost to pubs and coffee shops, regardless of health risks. Simultaneously, it lambasts us for ‘obesity’ — a kind of ‘gaslighting’ whereby we come to believe that obesity is of our own doing, thus deflecting from the reality of ‘profits before people’.

Mental Health: Brave New World?

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Mental health services have become focused on generating profits and the use of labour-saving technologies as a key way of achieving this. Iain Ferguson looks at recent developments.

Robots that can hold simple conversations and learn people’s interests are being deployed in UK care homes after a trial found they could improve mental health and reduce loneliness, according to a recent report in the Guardian. The researchers who developed the machines stressed that the aim was not to replace human carers with robots but “to help fill periods when, because of a stretched social care system, staff did not have time to keep residents company”.

Students face Covid-19 chaos on campus

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By forcing students back to college, the government and university authorities have abandoned them to an ill
thought out strategy of ‘herd immunity’, and the consequences are a wildfire of infections, writes Carlo Morelli.

Since students returned to universities and colleges across the UK in September over 21,000 positive cases of Covid19 have been identified by the lecturers’ union, the UCU. These figures underestimate the true figures, since, according to research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as many as 80 percent of students may be asymptomatic and therefore are not being tested. Students are being subjected to a public health experiment in herd immunity without consent or any of the protection in place that would be expected in human medical trials.

Nuclear Fusion: A new technology, but who controls it?

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With the first operational power plant only a decade away, can nuclear fusion live up to its promise of green power?

Within the climate movement of recent years there is much debate about the way forward. Some have looked towards exciting technologies to change capitalism from a carbon-based economy to a Green one. One of the most notable is nuclear fusion, an idea that has attracted scientists and venture capitalists for decades. But what are nuclear fusion technologies?

To save nature, we must destroy capitalism

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The struggle for the natural world has always pitted the left against the right, now it’s become a battle for survival, argues Sarah Ensor

In the 19th century some scientists tried to understand the work of the ‘creator’, while others wanted knowledge to improve people’s lives. Chemist Justus von Liebig was trying to solve capitalism’s developing crisis of soil fertility in farming. His research into nitrates and chemical interactions in soil began to show that declining soil fertility was caused by the processes of capitalism, and was not natural. This work was deeply influential on Marx and Engels’s ecological thinking in relation to metabolic rift and the dialectics of nature.

Another black September

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“We, the Palestinians, are losing our shadow!” These are the words of 32-year-old Sanaa abo Gazal when I asked her to describe what life is like today in Gaza, the world’s largest prison. The people there simply cannot get out from under the 13-year siege imposed by Israel and Egypt. “They are waiting for their soul to come out of their body,” Sanaa says. “Two million are under siege. Two million are in curfew. No food. No electricity all day. No water every week. Some of us are waiting for the mercy of the Gulf states, dreaming of having the $100 from Qatar.”

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