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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.

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.

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.

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.

Northern Ireland Executive impasse

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Talks to re-establish the Northern Ireland Executive after more than a year’s stalemate have collapsed. The Guardian editorial put the blame unequivocally on Sinn Fein: “The darker truth here is that Sinn Fein has chosen to weaponise the language question for political ends, less to protect minority rights than to antagonise unionists.”

This assessment could not be further from the truth. An agreement had been reached by all parties which included a proposed Irish Language Act.

Germany’s grand coalition boosts right

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The Nazi-led Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) is poised to become Germany’s main opposition party thanks to the political bankruptcy of leaders of the country’s Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The SPD reached a deal with Conservative CDU leader Angela Merkel last week, reviving the “grand coalition” of the previous four years, which was a prime reason for the far-right’s rise.

Anxiety among Egypt’s leaders

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Campaigners internationally have welcomed the news that human rights lawyer Mahienour el-Massry and trade unionist Moatasem Medhat were released from an Egyptian prison on 16 January.

They had both been jailed in November 2017 for allegedly breaching Egypt’s repressive anti-protest law, for “insulting the president”, and for thuggery during the protests over the transfer of Egyptian islands Tiran and Sanafir. The charges against the duo were dropped after an appeal, while three other activists were tried and charged in absentia.

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