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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 September 2020

XR blockade: Don't let the Tories criminalise protest

  (Click to enlarge)

The billionaire-owned UK newspapers, along with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, decried the blockade by Extinction Rebellion (XR) environmental activists outside a number of printing presses last weekend. The action delayed printing and distribution of the climate-change-sceptic Telegraph, the Murdoch-owned Times, and the right-wing Daily Mail, among others.

Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel, and Labour leader Keir Starmer all said it was an attack on 'a free press' and 'democracy' - as if the ownership of major newspapers by a handful of billionaire bigots is in any sense 'free' or 'democratic'.

The Tory government has consistently failed to tackle the current health and environmental emergency, for instance over illegal levels of air pollution causing tens of thousands of excess deaths in the UK each year. None of the delayed newspapers have campaigned to prosecute Johnson and his ministers over this outrage.

XR protesters have been charged with obstruction and had stringent bail conditions imposed on them. Patel has threatened to further restrict the freedom to protest by designating XR a criminal gang, opening up the activists to lengthy jail sentences.

Although XR fails to engage with trade unionists to discuss tactics and strategy in fighting climate change, etc, many sacked print workers and journalists were also accused of 'curtailing press freedom', when they organised mass picketing outside Murdoch's News International plant in Wapping in 1986, and also at scab employer Eddie Shah's Stockport Messenger plant at Warrington in 1983.

Any moves to criminalise climate change protests must be fought.

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The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 9 September 2020:


Coronavirus news

Fight the schools Covid crisis

Safety overridden in drive to bolster the economy

Caerphilly lockdown puts profits before safety

Under the microscope


Campaigns and party news

Jobs, training, pay, we want a future!

Dover: Solidarity with refugees - applause and cheers for socialist ideas to unite working class

BLM: Socialist alternative to racist capitalism

Big push to hit finance target


News

15% now - unions must fight for NHS pay rise

Callous Tories threaten not to uprate the minimum wage

XR blockade: Don't let the Tories criminalise protest

Grenfell fire inquiry stops victims attending

Video game developer attacks Black Lives Matter


What we think

U-turn Tories' splits are growing


Workplace news

Fight Amazon's anti-union spies

NSSN rally: Workers must not pay the price of Covid

Nottingham City Council: The (mis)adventures of Robin Hood Energy

Covid-19 pandemic increases financial pressures on Welsh local government

Ireland: Debenham's workers occupy stores

Hull: Defend Tony Smith!

Reinstate Richie Venton


Unison

A critical election for Unison general secretary


TUSC

Back at work! TUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians


International news

Belarus: Mass opposition continues to defy repression by Lukashenko's regime

Strike wave marks new stage in revival of Iranian workers' movement


 

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