The Socialist Party welcomes the announcement from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) that all charges related to last summer's Black Lives Matter protests in Belfast and Derry are to be dropped. The PPS recognised that the events were organised in a responsible manner, aimed at minimising the risk of Covid, and that they related to a matter of "important social concern". All fines against those who took part in these protests - and a similar protest against gender violence in Belfast, organised by ROSA in the wake of Sarah Everard's killing - must be immediately rescinded and reimbursed.
The total disregard hospitality bosses have demonstrated towards their staff over the last year has created a labour shortage, as many workers have chosen to leave the industry for good. Now is the time to get organised, join a union alongside colleagues, and go on the offensive for a real living wage, an end to precarious contracts and for better working conditions.
The fact this motion was passed overwhelmingly - and that it was put forward by two UUP MLAs - is significant, given that the Assembly only backed marriage equality for the first time six years ago. Even the DUP and TUV put their opposition in much softer terms than they would have in the past. This speaks volumes about the positive change in attitudes taking place in society. These are being driven from below - represented by the 20,000 people who marched for marriage equality - not by the politicians at Stormont.
We know that Sarah ‘did everything right’; she walked a busy route, she made a phone call and let people know where she was going and when she was going to be home. But that didn’t stop the violent attack that cost her life. Almost 80% of women killed by men in the UK were victims of their domestic partner and were killed in their own home. Safety measures would not have protected them.
84 years ago today, on 4th October 1936, Communists and socialists came together with Jewish and Irish workers in an historic stand to stop Oswald Mosley and several thousand of his fascist Blackshirts from marching through the East End of London. In what became known as The Battle of Cable Street, Mosley and his thugs, with police protection, were blocked by an estimated 300,000 counter-protesters across east London.
The most glaring of these contradictions is that, while we can no longer visit friends and family in their homes, we can meet them in a cafe, pub or anywhere else there is a till, alongside countless other people. Meanwhile, most of us are in close proximity with others in workplaces, schools and on public transport on a daily basis.
Millions have spent the past four years horrified by the experience of the increasingly authoritarian Trump administration, that deliberately stokes racist division. But many are nonetheless disappointed that his main opponent, Joe Biden, is a corporate tool who was an architect of mass incarceration and whose campaign message boils down to “I’m not Trump.”
2020 is not the election year that anyone expected. Presidential election politics are now utterly intertwined with the global pandemic that has killed nearly 165,000 people in the U.S. as of this writing and has completely altered life for most of the population.
The Stormont politicians’ assurances that workplaces will only reopen when safe ring hollow when you look at the track record of enforcement so far.