Browsing: Politics

Coronavirus

Coronavirus, Trump and the world economy

by Jonathan Neale How will the covid-19 outbreak effect the world economy? Donald Trump was flying back from India on Air Force One when the stock markets began to go down two weeks ago. He stayed awake, furious, the whole way. By one account, he was up for 48 hours straight before he finally spoke publicly on Wednesday. He gave a speech in which he said both that the coronavirus was a Democratic ‘hoax’, and that his administration was doing a brilliant job in containing it. This reflected his dilemma. For electoral reasons, he had to talk down the threat…

Coronavirus

Notes on the plague

Mike Davis on Coronavirus. COVID -19 is finally the monster at the door. Researchers are working night and day to characterize the outbreak but they are faced with three huge challenges. First the continuing shortage or unavailability of test kits has vanquished all hope of containment. Moreover it is preventing accurate estimates of key parameters such as reproduction rate, size of infected population and number of benign infections. The result is a chaos of numbers. There is, however, more reliable data on the virus’s impact on certain groups in a few countries. It is very scary. Italy, for example,…

Economics

The Budget – first thoughts.

Michael Roberts on the Budget Too little too late Rishi Sunak, the ex-hedge fund UK Chancellor, has presented the first budget of the Johnson government.  The first thing is that the government is increasing spending by £30bn this fiscal year (of which £12bn is for handling the coronavirus outbreak) and plans to spend £175bn more than previously in this parliament. The government’s policy decisions increase the budget deficit by 0.9 per cent of GDP on average over the next five years and add £125 billion (4.6 per cent of GDP) to public sector net debt by 2024-25.  All this borrowing…

Coronavirus

Coronavirus in Italy : a report from the frontline

This is a translation by an Italian epidemiologist Silvia Stringhini of a report of the situation facing health care workers in Italy at the moment. The report is by Dr. Daniele Macchini who is working on the Intensive Care Unit at Bergamo hospital. Both Silvia and Daniele are keen to stress the seriousness of the situation the Italian health care system is facing and for everyone, whether in Italy or elsewhere, to wake up to the threat that Corinavirus poses. Corinavirus is not flu. Silvia writes:  ‘I may be repeating myself, but I want to fight this false sense of…

Coronavirus

Coronavirus and community activism

  How can we centre community organising and mutual aid in response to coronavirus? by Jonathan Neale Medicare protest outside Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia. Image rights: Holly Otterbein, Twitter. Some of the environmentalists and leftists I know tell me not to be fooled by the mainstream hype about covid-19. Others are pleased that the lockout in China has reduced pollution. Some say the real issue is not the disease, it’s racism. I want to suggest a different way of responding to epidemics. Communities I was an HIV counsellor in the UK between 1988 and 1994, before we had the retroviral…

Politics

Alice Kilroy: In memoriam

In life and in politics there are friends and comrades who are too precious to lose. There are people whose absence from this world can never truly be overcome. Alice was one of these people. I first met Alice in 2001 at a local Stop the War meeting in Islington and worked with her on many campaigns and projects over the next nearly twenty years. From the off she was the proverbial force of nature driving forward the campaign. She wasn’t interested in the doctrinal disputes of the left. They irritated her and she wasn’t shy in letting those who…

Politics

Who is the parasite class?

A review of Parasite, (South Korea, written and directed by Bong Joon-ho) by Dave Kellaway “Ki-taek: They are rich but still nice Chung-sook, Ki-taek’s wife: They are nice because they are rich Chung-sook, Ki-taek’s wife: If I had all this I would be kinder” This is a film for our dark times. Director, Bong Joon-ho, looks behind the shiny Samsung phones and Hyundai cars of the South Korean economic miracle and unmasks the reality of capitalist class relations. He shows how they affect people’s choices and actions. On different levels it is a black comedy, a ghost story and even…

Inequality

Shipwreck of the Third Way: Tony Blair, New Labour and Inequality

Phil Hearse writes: As a general election approaches, especially one which might lead to a Johnson or Johnson-Farage government, (and, less likely, a Corbyn government) the record of the last Labour government is bound to come up. As memories fade, rose-tinted spectacles can be deliberately deployed to airbrush past realities. At the end of June, Tony Blair took to twitter to attack Jeremy Corbyn’s speech which proposed Labour’s objective should be equality and not ‘social mobility’. Blair took issue with Corbyn’s claim that for decades governments had resisted the objective of equality. Speaking at the Nation Education Union conference, Corbyn…