Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news...

Voices on the Left

1.A letter to the Western Left from Kyiv–openDemocracy

Open Democracy features a thought provoking letter from Taras Bilous, a Ukrainian historian and an activist of the Social Movement organisation, with a message to some on the left who imagined ‘NATO aggression in Ukraine’, and who could not see Russian aggression.

The letter takes aim at what it says is the ‘anti-imperialism of idiots’ who are willing to turn a blind eye to Russia’s actions and downplay Putin’s aggression. Citing Leila Al-Shami’s essay, it states that: “The activity of a large part of the Western ‘anti-war’ Left over the war in Syria had nothing to do with stopping the war. It only opposed Western interference, while ignoring, or even supporting, the engagement of Russia and Iran, to say nothing of their attitude to the ‘legitimately elected’ Assad regime in Syria.

“A number of anti-war organisations have justified their silence on Russian and Iranian interventions by arguing that ‘the main enemy is at home,’” Al-Shami wrote. “This excuses them from undertaking any serious power analysis to determine who the main actors driving the war actually are.”

“Unfortunately, we have seen the same ideological cliché repeated over Ukraine.”

2.The Zero-Hour Scam-Tribune Magazine

Tribune Magazine features a piece on how three percent of the entire workforce is now on zero-hour contracts (ZHC), contracts that do not stipulate a minimum number of hours of work for an employee.

Grace Blakeley writes that If you’re on a ZHC, ‘your boss can decide to change your hours at late notice, but it’s much harder for you to change your own hours at late notice. The ‘flexibility’ introduced into labour markets by decades of erosion of workers’ rights once again ends up benefitting capital rather than labour.

“The prevalence of ZHCs in the UK—alongside other forms of insecure employment, such as the false self-employment prevalent in the gig economy—goes some way to explaining why we have experienced such a low-wage recovery from the financial crisis of 2008.”

3. Paulette Hamilton’s fight for Erdington: “I do plan to be an MP for local people”-LabourList

LabourList features an interview with Paulette Hamilton, Labour’s candidate in the Erdington by-election, on what her vision is for the constituency and why she should be Erdington’s next MP.

Among Hamilton’s priorities is housing, crime and anti-social behaviour, along with small businesses and health and social care.

‘She hints that any frontbench or committee work in London would be around that last topic, “my passion”, but that will come later. For now, she says: “I can’t progress with some of the local issues if I’m constantly in Westminster, ignoring what local people are saying – and I do plan to be an MP for local people.”

4. Unite members join nationwide protests against NHS privatisation- Morning Star

The Morning Star reports on how Unite members joined campaigners across the country at the weekend to demand an end to the privatisation of health services.

The paper reports that activists across 100 cities and towns across England called on peers to vote down the Health and Care Bill when it is debated in the House of Lords.

Protester Jamie Johnson told the Morning Star: “I’m here to keep all privatisation out of the NHS.

“People don’t seem to be aware of how creeping privatisation is taking over the NHS — GP practices [are] being taken over by private health firms from the United States.”

5. A Few New Bus Lanes Won’t ‘Level Up’ the UK – But Upping the Minimum Wage Might –Novara Media

Ell Folan writes for Novara Media on the government’s recent levelling up white paper and why it massively falls short of what is needed to increase equality of opportunity and improve outcomes for all communities up and down the country.

On addressing life expectancy disparities, Ell writes: “The Tories’ plan is to boost healthcare capacity through diagnostic centres and hospital upgrades and to encourage individuals to change their diet with £75m in weight management services.

“This is plainly insufficient for a nation whose health cannot be divorced from economic and social factors like poor housing and low pay: in London, workers’ median pay is 33% higher than in the northeast.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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