After Theresa May’s announcement on the steps of Downing Street yesterday, the UK is going back to the polls. The snap general election will take place on 8th June, thus giving the parties a month and a half to put their case to the country. To be honest this took me by surprise because, having come out against a general election a few months ago, I believed that it would be too politically risky for May to blatantly go against her own word. Nevertheless we are where we are, and now the press needs to step up.
In Western media there has been justifiable outrage over the reports of concentration camps being established in Chechnya. Naturally such a move should be condemned and pressure need to be put on the Russian government to either stop the persecution or permit the safe passage of those under threat out of Chechnya. However, this doesn’t require any substantive political analysis as even those who do not especially care about LGBT rights would oppose the establishment of concentration camps. The subject of this piece is concerning the discourse around this news story, particularly the view that seeks to link this new development with Chechnya’s status as a Muslim-majority area.
The Labour Party has been characterised by the Tories and the right-win press as hating business and anyone who earns a living in the private sector. Naturally this is untrue, but it is a powerful idea given the millions people who people who work for for-profit entities. A while ago I argued that Labour’s future electoral success doesn’t mean moderating their policies, but articulating how socialist principles can be of benefit to businesses. Although this has a philosophical contradiction, insofar as collective ownership of the means of production and capitalism are inherently opposed, in the short term a left-wing case involving business will be required. It appears that John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn are that case, and it isn’t such that it will alienate businesspeople.
Theresa May claims that the Conservative Party are the party of working people. Obviously this is total horseshit and this is evidenced by, among many other things, the 2016 Trade Union Act. This Draconian piece of legislation was an unprovoked attack on the largest democratic movement in the country, a movement which works every single day to improve the rights of working people. It appears that the Welsh government also doesn’t believe Theresa May and Assembly Members (AMs) are working to undo the Tory restrictions on workers’ rights. This is an issue that is currently being overshadowed by the Tory attempts to use Brexit as a means to further erode the rights of working people, and they must not be allowed to succeed.
After the oppressive rule of former President Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia has decided to move on, and this is in part down to the will of the Gambian people. The Gambian government has announced that the country will establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in the mould of that of post-Apartheid South Africa, to investigate the abuses of power during Yahya Jammeh’s rule. The Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou made the announcement in Banjul a few weeks ago adding that Jammeh’s finances would also be subject to investigation. However the new administration has been further bolstered by parliamentary elections that will rekindle a democratic political culture in the country.
On the campaign trail Donald Trump paid lip service to the idea of non-intervention by arguing from a position of economic nationalism. Any illusion that he was intending to reduce the role of the American military in the world has now been shattered, but this is not especially surprising given his temperament. In response to the suspected chemical attack in Idlib province on Tuesday, the US military has launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syrian military installations. The targets are centred on the Shayrat Airfield south of the Syrian city of Homs and were designed to cripple the Assad government’s aerial capability. Everything about this is situation is terrible.
The ANC have been governing South Africa since 1994, but they have not been doing so alone. The ANC stands for election as an independent political party but it is also a member of the Tripartite Alliance, which sees it supported by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). However the increasingly erratic behaviour of President Jacob Zuma, and the numerous and longstanding allegations of corruption, have alienated many within COSATU and the SACP. COSATU General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali has said that the current ANC leader is not the “right person” to lead the country. Zuma needs to be removed, and this move shows that the labour movement may well be the ones to do it.