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Capitalism's Covid inequality
The 15 May issue of The Economist featured a briefing article trying to estimate the death toll from Covid over the last year. Its conclusion was that death tolls in almost every country were much higher than has been reported. Based on analysing excess death data, and statistical modelling, they give a global death toll of around ten million, roughly three times the official rate.
But these unrecorded Covid deaths are much more prominent in poorer countries around the world. In richer OECD countries it estimates the death toll to be 1.17 times the official rate, whereas in Egypt it reckons it was 13 times that rate!
But, incredibly, The Economist goes on to claim in an editorial in the same issue: "The most important insight from our work is that Covid-19 has been harder on the poor than anyone knew"! Perhaps The Economist didn't realise this, but in the Socialist we've read reports from members in the Committee for a Workers' International from all around the world about the devastating impact of the pandemic on workers and the poor.
In reality, this reflects the capitalists and their journals waking up to just how deeply the pandemic has revealed the glaring inequality around the world, which is also reflected in their support for Keynesian-type policies to shore up their system. For socialists though, such information is further confirmation that this rotten system, which continually fails the working class, needs to be replaced with a socialist society based on meeting the needs of workers and the poor.
Iain Dalton, Leeds
School uniform protest wins
"Pupils at our local high school organised a protest outside the gates after learning about a classmate being refused permission to wear a baseball cap and hoodie to maintain her dignity in school, due to hair loss from illness, as it was against policy!
"This was instigated by other 13-year-old classmates, resulting in around 50 people, some with placards, assembling outside the gates to fight for her. They were planning to repeat this every day until the policy changed. As a result of the pressure, the decision was reversed."
Socialist Party member Alan Alberry, from Clowne in north east Derbyshire, quoting from a school student after their success.
Sir Starmer actively supports the 'fencing-off and night closure' of Primrose Hill, a park in north London, to stop local rich residents being disturbed by noisy peasants.
Posh Labour or what?
Wally Kennedy, west London
Marching for democratic rights
As a freeborn man, on 1 May I joined the small peaceful group of responsible citizens that demonstrated in Southend High Street against the proposed law that will take away my freedom to demonstrate.
After months of confinement it was good to be out in the crowds of shoppers, feel the sun on my face, breathe the air, and shout my truths at the top of my voice. It was good to meet up with old friends and to stand in solidarity with comrades that see things the same way as I do.
As a low-level political activist for many years taking an interest in the world and the country that I live in, I recall when Thatcherism set about smashing union power and how ready, willing and vicious the law was to destroy the unions' democratic rights. This has contributed to the low-wage injustice that we have today.
If these proposals become law, children growing up today will be living with a more dangerous and hostile authoritarian establishment than we already have.
Bob Chapman, Essex
In The Socialist 26 May 2021:
What we think