News in brief
Pouring on petrol
US president Joe Biden has told Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu that he 'favours' a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas - which is actually a step forward compared to Donald Trump's previous position on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.
But, of course, at the same time Biden fully supports the Israeli government's 'right to defend itself' ie to bomb Gaza into rubble.
To underline this 'right', the American Democrat has approved the sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel. These 'precision weapons' have been responsible for the deaths so far of over 200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including children.
The rich are revolting. Or at least some of them are. The homes of the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, have been picketed. Not by low-paid Amazon workers demanding a pay rise, but by marginally less rich millionaires demanding to be taxed!
The group named 'Patriotic Millionaires' carried placards outside homes in New York and Washington state reading 'Cut the bullshit. Tax the rich'. Clearly this group of exploiters are scared. They can feel the hot breath of working-class anger on their necks and want to throw us a few more crumbs to keep us quiet.
Capitalism's climate criminals
Over half of the 130 million metric tonnes of single-use plastic thrown away in 2019 was produced by just 20 companies. It's no surprise that these multi-billion dollar enterprises prioritise profit over the environment.
The fact that so many of these climate crimes are committed by so few shows that, if these companies were nationalised under democratic workers' control and management, a socialist plan could quickly move towards environmentally sustainable production.
Chile: Rewriting the constitution
A political earthquake struck Chile after voters snubbed the governing right-wing coalition of President Sebastian Pinera in elections to the constitutional assembly - which is tasked with rewriting the current constitution imposed on the country by the late general Pinochet's dictatorship (see 'Defeat for political caste in Chile' - socialistworld.net).
Out of 155 seats in the assembly, the ruling coalition only won 37, meaning that it fell short of the one-third required to veto any changes, whereas a left-leaning bloc won 52 seats and a further 17 seats were reserved for indigenous groups.
The constitutional assembly was approved in 2020 by 78% of voters. This popular demand to rewrite the constitution was the direct result of massive protests, including a general strike, against austerity and wealth inequalities which erupted in October 2019 (see 'Chile in revolt' - socialistparty.org.uk).
Covid: What kind of inquiry?
Boris Johnson has announced there will be an inquiry into the government's handling of the Covid pandemic. But he's delayed it until next year.
In April, the Socialist Party said: "The Socialist Party is in favour of an inquiry, but we believe that absolutely no trust can be placed in Johnson's Tory government and the capitalist establishment to lead it. We demand that any investigation into the disastrous response to Covid be conducted by the workers' and trade union movement."
- See 'Covid inquiry? Workers must decide: Put Tories and capitalism in the dock' at socialistparty.org.uk.
Racism: Tragic anniversary
George Floyd was murdered by the police one year ago on 25 May 2020. His death sparked a worldwide working-class movement against racism, inequality and injustice.
- See 'Capitalism = racism: You fight capitalism with socialism' at socialistparty.org.uk
It's no wonder former Tory prime minister David Cameron bombarded government ministers with 45 private messages trying to drum up cash for finance company Greensill. Greensill paid Cameron even more than the 'pennies' he was paid as prime minister. Cameron refused to reveal how much, only admitting it was somewhere between £150,402 and £60 million!
Not shy of further hypocrisy, Cameron said it was "appropriate" for him to call and text ministers and officials directly. But it would be wrong for another prime minister to do the same.
In The Socialist 19 May 2021:
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