Britain

Racism, war fuel asylum seeker deaths

About 800 refugees were drowned in the Mediterranean on April 18 when a boat carrying them from Libya, and trying to reach the south of Italy, capsized. Just three days earlier, more than 400 people drowned when another boat on the same route sank.

Refugee deaths in the Mediterranean are rising sharply. “According to the UN and the International Organisation for Migration, 1,776 people are dead or missing so far this year, compared with 56 for the same period last year,” the April 24 Guardian reported.

An engaging look at Scotland's independence campaign

The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again
by Paul Geoghegan
Luath Press 2015
177 pages

The British-wide general election for the Westminster parliament scheduled for May 7 looks set to be very close, perhaps even closer than the 2010 election that resulted in the Labour Party being replaced by a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Opinion polls suggest that neither of the two main British parties, Conservative or Labour, will win enough seats for a majority of their own in the House of Commons.

Students protests spread across Europe and beyond

The London School of Economics (LSE) was occupied by students on March 17. The occupation, still going as of March 28, has since spread to King's College London, University of Arts London and Goldsmiths University of London.

More than 100 students took over the school, which has been associated with neoliberal economic theory for decades, and declared that the central university administration building has been transformed into the Free University of London.

Argentina condemns British militarism in the Malvinas

The Argentine government urged the British government to return to the negotiating table over the Malvinas Islands on March 25, TeleSUR English said.

It comes in response to a planned “beef up” of British military presence on the disputed islands off the coast of South America that Britain occupies.

In a statement, Argentina's foreign ministry described Britain's “growing militarisation” of the disputed islands as “absolutely unjustifiable”.

Britain: Revitalised climate movement draws 20,000 to protest

Some 20,000 people marched through central London on Saturday, in the Time to Act! protest, demanding that climate change be taken seriously by political parties in the coming General Election.

Time to Act!, launched by the Campaign Against Climate Change, brought together a wide coalition of environmental and left wing organisations.

The march was young, vibrant and diverse: placards from the Greens, Socialist Worker and Left Unity mixed with banners and flags from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Peoples’ Assembly and trade unions.

Greece should expect foreign intervention

If history is any guide, it is reasonable to assume that Greece’s recently-elected left-wing SYRIZA government will be subjected to a foreign-backed destabilisation campaign and possible attempts to install a new right-wing authoritarian regime.

There is a long history in Greece of the left being suppressed by the oligarchy collaborating with outside forces.

Britain: Greens surge on back of anti-austerity anger

A Green Surge has hit Britain. Thanks to an ongoing growth spurt, the Green Party of England and Wales has now hit 54,000 members, on top of nearly 10,000 members in the Scottish Green Party.

Opinion polls put the party on the rise, frequently beating the Liberal Democrats, who are governing in coalition with the Conservatives. The Greens now have more members than the far-right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party (UKIP), whose growing support has generated much media attention.

Activists shut down drone factory

Instro Precision, a factory in Kent, England, owned by Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems was shut down on February 17 by four activists occupying the roof while others blockaded the entrance.

Instro Precision is a manufacturer of military targeting systems. Its optical equipment is used in drones such as those Israel used to bombard Gaza during the summer of 2014, say the activists. Such surveillance equipment has also been installed in Israel’s apartheid wall in the West Bank.

More than 700 British artists pledge to boycott Israel

More than 700 creative professionals living in the Britain — including writers, visual artists, actors, musicians and many others — have signed up to a pledge to boycott collaboration with Israeli state-funded projects.

The announcement marks a significant step for the British cultural boycott campaign. There have been many open letters and other statements of support for Palestine from British artists, but the pledge brings together a huge number of creatives in one coordinated effort.

Scotland: Politics transformed post-referendum

As Scots gathered together at Christmas and Hogmanay last year, conversations inevitably turned to politics. Most were agreed that the year ahead would be an interesting one.

The impact of the independence referendum on September 18 last year, won by the “No” vote, is still being felt throughout Scottish society. Its impact is reverberating across the British state as well.

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