U.K. News

Deadly Fire in London Apartment Building: Underlying Causes


Editors’ note: On Wednesday, June 14, a fire engulfed Grenfell Tower, a high-rise apartment building in West London. As of this writing, 30 residents are known to be dead, 70 are unaccounted for, and dozens sustained injuries. We received the following statement about the fire from the Radical Housing Network, a London-wide network of campaigns fighting for housing justice. It identifies intentional governmental neglect of council housing (known as “public housing” in the U.S.) and contempt for tenants as underlying causes of the tragedy. A similar analysis, by Feargus O’Sullivan, has appeared in The Atlantic.

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Ghosts of the Innocent Victims–what more is there to come?

May 25, 2017 by  

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by Ralph Keller

The pictures of the Manchester attack are shocking, and the suffering of the bereaved is unimaginable. My thoughts and my solidarity are with them.

Manchester’s is the latest incident in a long series of terror attacks: New York, Paris, Berlin, to name but a few. These are Western cities, but bombings have also taken place in Africa, Asia, the Middle East. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It leaves a lot of innocent people dead, regardless of who does it. (An extensive list of terror attacks is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents. The source includes the number of victims the world-wide terror has claimed.) The Manchester attack points towards the IS (ISIS) network once again.

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The UK Left after Brexit: Free Movement and the Unions

by Thomas Fagan

Unite the Union

The issue of free movement of European Union (EU) workers is an incredibly important issue on the Left and in the trade unions in particular. Unite the Union (commonly known as “Unite”)––which is the biggest union in Britain, with 1.42 million members across many industries––has just concluded a brutal election. The candidate of the Right, Gerard Coyne, with the backing of reviled tabloids like the Sun, came within 5,000 votes of defeating the Left incumbent, Len McCluskey. The other Left candidate, Ian Allinson, put in a very decent showing, receiving over 17,000 votes with almost no resources.

Allinson’s position on free movement of EU labour was in stark contrast to that of McCluskey and Coyne. Allinson’s position on free movement was unequivocal: “The question of workers’ rights to move freely and be treated equally is not going away. While the two establishment candidates in the Unite General Secretary election fudge and backslide on it, I have made it an important theme of my campaign.” Allinson in fact moved a resolution at the Unite Conference defending free movement.

Coyne’s position on free movement was bordering on the xenophobic: “Britain’s working classes have been betrayed so rich establishment figures can hire cheap nannies and butlers.”

The position of Len McCluskey is the most interesting of the three candidates, as he positions himself on the Left and had indeed received the backing of most of the traditional Left in this election. The irony of McCluskey’s Left populism, however, is that it’s not that popular after all, given the closeness of his victory and an extreme right-wing candidate failing to win by a whisker. Read More