Feature

An inquiry will not tackle the roots of racism

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The disproportionate number of BAME death rates during the coronavirus pandemic need to be investigated, but Brian Richardson argues, only if we tackle the racism that underpines them

There is a widespread consensus that when Britain finally emerges from lockdown there will be what the Observer’s chief political commentator Andrew Rawnsley characterises as “the mother of all public inquiries”. Socialists could be forgiven for rolling their eyes in contempt at such a prospect.

Many people would agree with Guardian journalists Paul Lewis’s and Rob Evans’s suggestion that inquiries are usually initiated in order to “silence critics with one fell swoop and kick a controversy into the field of long grass where (those in power) hope it will be forgotten”.

After the leaked Labour report: which way forward for the left?

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The recent revelations of the stomach-churning opinions and activities among the top echelons of the Labour Party are not an aberration but symptomatic of Labourism

One week after Keir Starmer’s election as Labour leader in April, an internal report into the role of the party’s rather opaquely titled Governance and Legal Unit (GLU) in dealing with allegations of antisemitism was leaked to the press.

A disproportionate number of deaths

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Are BAME people more likely to die from Covid-19 because of genetics, diabetes, or even vitamin deficiencies? No, argues Dr Kambiz Boomla, racism lies at the heart of the differing death rates.

The Office of National Statistics last month published figures on who dies of coronavirus. It revealed a shocking truth that the risk of death for south Asians is twice as high as that for whites of the same age, and that blacks have a fourfold increased risk. Behind these figures lie human faces.

The ‘Test and trace’ app is another Tory fiasco

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Boris Johnson’s government has taken weeks to launch a procedure that has been used to contain a host of epidemics in the past. Camilla Royle investigates the reasons behind the latest disaster.

it seems there is a fresh example of the Tory government’s failures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic on an almost daily basis. One of the most significant is its failure to put in place an effective and appropriate system of contact tracing early on in the pandemic.

Contact tracing has been used for a range of diseases, including pandemic flu, tuberculosis, measles and sexually transmitted diseases. It has been successfully deployed against Ebola in west Africa.

Hyping up a vaccine

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The pharmaceutical industry is not only systematically hindering effective treatments for Covid-19, its drive for profits is distorting the whole process of drug treatment

Despite the intense hype throughout May, a Covid-19 vaccine is no silver bullet. Nor is it close at hand. At the very best, vaccines can play a part in integrated public health strategies to trace, contain and halt the spread of infectious diseases. However, in Britain, the US and most of the rest of the world the search for a vaccine has taken centre-stage to the exclusion of all other considerations.

How austerity undermined public health across Britain

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As COVID-19 continues to inflict terrible damage, it is the privatisation of social care, and the undermining of the NHS, that is the root of the crisis now facing healthcare

At the beginning of April, Queen Elizabeth II told a television audience: “Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.” Her appearance was filmed by a single cameraman encased in body-covering protective clothing. No shortage of PPE here.

Compare this with a care home for older people in Liverpool run by Future Care Capital, a care provider increasingly reliant on venture capital.

Tories’ Betrayal of Windrush

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Brian Richardson pays tribute to the contribution BAME health workers made to the NHS, and the terrible price they are now paying.

Medical and support staff are making an extraordinary contribution to our survival and recovery at great risk to themselves. But a disproportionate number of those that have paid the ultimate price are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. At the time of writing, the first 10 doctors and three of the first six nurses to die were from BAME. Since its inception in 1948, the NHS has been built and sustained by people from all around the world.

Lenin’s revolutionary ideas are more vital than ever

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As we celebrate 150 years since the birth of the Russian revolutionary leader, Socialist Review outlines his core beliefs, and defends his legacy from the liberal critics and the right wing.

It is still usual in certain circles to treat Lenin as the father of Stalinism. This is as true of the libertarian left as of the liberal right. Yet those who met Lenin in the early years of revolutionary Russia paint a completely different picture of the Bolshevik leader.

One of them was them was the French syndicalist Alfred Rosmer. Contact with Lenin and Lenin’s ideas converted him to Bolshevik ideas, which he adhered to for the rest of his life, although he denounced Stalinism from 1924 onwards and came to believe that Russia was state capitalist.

Covid-19 is decimating poor, elderly and vulnerable

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Malnutrition and poor health combined with the toxic impact of welfare cuts, run down health services and years of austerity has left many people at the mercy of pandemics.

The struggle between an abstracted version of nature and science is not what determines the health of global populations and it never has been. The nature we have is the one which has developed in its relationship with global capitalism. The threats nature now poses result from the multi-faceted failure of that relationship —the metabolic rift—which the current pandemic illustrates by its global attack on our health.

What do socialists say about free speech?

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What Socialists say about free expression

The question is not an abstract one—the question comes to the fore in debates about anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and the Labour Party, about “no platforming” on university campuses, and about trans rights. A one-size-fits-all answer has to be avoided—concrete circumstances demand concrete answers.

That is because the right to free speech is more complicated than might appear at first sight. For one thing, despite it supposedly being a universal right, the only people who can really exercise it are those who wield power —particularly, the media moguls.

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