In Britain today, anyone asking a worker about the direction the country is headed will be unlikely to receive a printable answer. Stumbling from crisis to crisis, the country is on its third prime minister of the year. Energy bills have skyrocketed by 96 percent since last winter, and rent has shot up by as much as 20 percent, while inflation—which currently stands at 12.3 percent—has been predicted to rise as high as 18 percent by the first few months of 2023. This is happening in a country which was the first in Western Europe to register 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus and has already been subject to brutal austerity measures that have wrecked the social fabric. An analysis by the Trades Unions Congress (TUC, the British equivalent of the AFL-CIO) released earlier this year found that British workers earned £60 ($70) less per month in real wages in 2021 than at the start of the financial crisis in 2008—the longest wage slump since the Napoleonic Era.
On Saturday, November 5, over 15,000 people marched in London to protest the policies of the Tory government that have failed to tackle the soaring cost of living crisis and its attack on working class sections and social movements. The protest demonstration was called by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, trade unions, including the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), National Education Union (NEU), Communication Workers Union (CWU), Unite the Union, Trade Union Congress, and ASLEF, and groups such as Stand Up To Racism, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion, and Keep Our NHS Public. Political parties including the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Young Communist League (YCL-Britain), and MPs from the Labour Party also participated in the protest.
Demands for reparations are growing across the Caribbean, following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The British monarchy have come under heightened demands from several Caribbean countries to undergo the reparatory justice process and issue an apology for their part in the slave trade. It comes after Royal tours of the Caribbean earlier this year led by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, followed by Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex were bundled by photo-ops disaster and tone deaf gifts. Niambi Hall-Campbell, Chair of the Bahamas National Reparations Committee, said: “As the role of the monarchy changes, we expect this can be an opportunity to advance discussions of reparations for our region.”
The CIA and special operations forces from NATO members Britain, France, Canada, and Lithuania are physically in Ukraine, helping direct the proxy war on Russia, according to a report in The New York Times. These Western forces are on the ground training and advising Ukrainian fighters, overseeing weapons shipments, and managing intelligence. At least 20 countries are part of a US Army-led coalition, guiding Ukraine in its fight against Russian troops. Some Ukrainian combatants are even using US flag patches on their equipment. This is all according to a June 25 report in The New York Times, titled “Commando Network Coordinates Flow of Weapons in Ukraine, Officials Say.” The Times is a de facto organ of the US government. Although technically private, the paper closely follows the line of the CIA and Pentagon.
ust this week, it was confirmed that Israel’s top weapons exporter Elbit Systems is closing down its offices in London. The decision follows numerous protests against Elbit and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the letting agent for those offices. It is the second time that Palestine Action, the group organizing the protests, has compelled Elbit to quit a site in Britain – a country identified by the firm as a priority for sales and investment. Earlier this year, Elbit confirmed it had sold Ferranti, its subsidiary based in Oldham, near Manchester. Palestine Action’s protests – which often involve smashing up weapons facilities – have angered Israel and its supporters. One of Israel’s most influential backers in Britain is Priti Patel, the home secretary. She has effectively declared war on Palestinian solidarity activists by claiming that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is racist – without presenting any evidence.
The Establishment’s war against independent media took an even darker turn with revelations by The GrayZone on Thursday that the British government and private disinformation “experts” discussed how to damage The GrayZone’s credibility and funding, while raising suspicions about Consortium News. The Gray Zone is the main target discussed in leaked emails between Paul Mason, a British journalist now running for Parliament, and Amil Khan, a former Reuters Middle East correspondent embedded with jihadists, who later helped spread the notion of moderate terrorists in Syria. He now runs a counter-disinformation firm called Valent Projects. The emails were leaked anonymously to The GrayZone and were authenticated through their metadata, GrayZone reporter Kit Klarenberg, who co-authored the piece with GrayZone editor Max Blumenthal, told Consortium News.
When Marie Antoinette discovered her subjects were facing a bread shortage and starvation in around 1789, due to multiple poor crop harvests and rodent infestations, she apparently exclaimed ‘let them eat cake!’ Her hereditary privilege meant she had no grasp of the severity of their suffering, or the fact that cake was much more expensive than bread to produce. Inequality during this period, immediately before the French revolution, was very high. Historians have estimated that around 90 per cent of working-class families lived at or below subsistence level, meaning they could only afford bare necessities. Marie Antoinette’s comment made her a symbol of hatred, which fueled the French revolution and the fall of the monarchy.
Hundreds gathered at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk yesterday to reject the presence of US nuclear weapons in Britain after a report detailed Washington’s plans to deploy warheads across Europe. Protesters arrived from Bradford, Sheffield, Nottingham, Manchester and Merseyside with banners opposing Nato, raising them at the airbase’s perimeter fences. Veterans from previous struggles including Greenham Common stood alongside those attending an anti-nuclear demonstration for the first time. Malcolm Wallace of transport union TSSA made the journey from his Essex home to stress the importance of stopping the US from placing nuclear weapons on British soil.
Thousands of protesters will take to the streets today to vent their anger at the soaring cost of living and the brutal sacking of 800 P&O workers. The protests come as the Insolvency Service launches criminal and civil investigations into P&O’s behavior. The People’s Assembly, a national forum campaigning against austerity since 2013, has organized demonstrations across Britain in protest at the spiraling cost-of-living crisis. In London, protesters will gather outside Downing Street from 2pm. Demonstrations will also be held in Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Doncaster, Glasgow, Hanley, Hull, Ipswich, Lancaster, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Preston, Redcar, Sheffield and Southampton.
Twenty years ago, when Tony Blair tried to restore something of the old militarism of empire, invading Afghanistan and Iraq with little understanding of what had once happened there, he did so with the words and music of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ echoing through his speeches. In like manner, the work of Niall Ferguson (Empire: How Britain made the Modern World, 2004) sought to revive the old imperial dream, and, for a moment, it seemed as though what was called ‘humanitarian intervention’ was going to usher in a new imperial era. Other distinguished historians were there to provide support: Lawrence Friedman, Andrew Roberts, Max Hastings – quite a cohort of armchair imperialists enjoyed a spring offensive.
A giant pink table inviting Londoners to “come to the table” and discuss climate change has been erected by Extinction Rebellion protesters near Leicester Square.
In my twenty-year career in the hospitality sector, I have never experienced such a demanding week as the one that started on 17 May. The re-opening of pubs and restaurants may have been eagerly anticipated by customers, but hospitality workers have been through hell and back. After months of rest and recuperation, chefs have been once again thrown into intolerable conditions. My work colleagues and I were put in a situation with new huge and unmanageable menus, and a new Kitchen Management System (KMS), which took the form of an automated tablet-to-screen order system and crashed frequently. The workloads were backbreaking, too, seeing several of us put in a 75-hour week. If this wasn’t bad enough, the sheer pressure of reopening saw two of our chefs leave after just two days.
By Kenneth Surin for Counter Punch - To state the obvious: two weeks can be a long time in western electoral politics. The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn has been gaining steadily in the opinion polls, despite a massive media campaign to undermine him, extending from the BBC and the supposedly “liberal” Guardian to the UK’s famously ghastly tabloids. When Theresa May called the election, Labour was 20 or more points behind the Conservatives, but this figure was down to as little as 5 points in some polls conducted before the Manchester bombing atrocity occurred. The policies put forward in Labour’s manifesto are popular (especially when they are not identified as Labour’s!), Corbyn has been an effective campaigner, but Labour has also been aided by a woefully inept Tory campaign. The Tory spin doctors and election strategists somehow convinced themselves that the largely untried Theresa May was their trump card, so much so that only her name (accompanied by the vacuous slogan “strong and stable”), and not her party affiliation, featured on their election propaganda. While the hunch behind this decision of the election strategists was probably the marketing of May as a Thatcher Mark II, she has been a disaster so far.
By Staff of World Beyond War - The U.S. government, for no stated reason, and after having approved his entry in the past, has denied Craig Murray the usual approval to enter the United States without a visa that is given to UK citizens. Craig Murray was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004. Murray was forced out of the British public service after he exposed the use of torture by Britain’s Uzbek allies. Murray is scheduled to chair the presentation of this year’s Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou...
By Emma Howard for The Guardian - Climate change activists have occupied part of Tate Britain, where they have started to tattoo each other in protest at BP’s sponsorship of the gallery. Tate has closed the 1840s gallery where 35 activists have set themselves up and started to tattoo each other with the numbers of the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere in the year they were born. They estimate it will take all day to complete the tattoos. Alice Bell, a spokesperson for Liberate Tate, the group that is leading the protest, said: “This makes a statement about the stain that oil has across society, on Tate, on the negotiations and across our culture, society and economics more broadly. The black mark on our skin reflects the taint of BP on Tate.” Scientists estimate that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a safe level. This was passed around 30 years ago.