Covid-19

1 August 2021Comment

Stop the spread of speedy, more lethal, vaccine-resistant variants

England is entering a dangerous period. British prime minister Boris Johnson is knowingly creating the perfect conditions to breed stronger variants of COVID-19 that can overcome the vaccine.

A group of experts warned in a letter to the medical journal, the Lancet on 7 July that the complete lifting of almost all COVID restrictions in England on 19 July was ‘dangerous and premature’.

One of the concerns of the expert group was the long-term health of the millions of…

1 August 2021Feature

A free window poster

Click on the link below to download a printable version of the poster.

File peoples_vaccine_poster copy.pdf685.56 KB Downloadable poster

5 July 2021Feature

Has the pandemic changed the media’s approach to immigration?

The British press is notoriously hostile in its coverage of immigration. It is a deeply-ingrained campaign, one that rears its head in inflammatory language, unjust and unfounded associations, and a startling lack of empathy for the harrowing situations that immigrants often face.

But at the height of the first lockdown, a notable softening in attitudes occurred.

Immigrants were universally lauded for their immense contributions on the pandemic’s frontline, with even the…

5 July 2021Feature

Let’s stop more lethal, vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variants developing anywhere

There is a powerful case, both on moral grounds and out of pure self-interest, for the rich nations of the Global North to ensure that everyone on the planet receives publicly-funded tests, treatments, and effective vaccines, free at the point of delivery: the People’s Vaccine.

Otherwise, the global population will continue to breed dangerous variants of the virus that might threaten even people who’ve been vaccinated, for reasons explained below.

On 17 February, the UN…

11 December 2020Review

OR Books, 2020, 240pp; £16; available to purchase on the OR Books website here

In this expanded edition of his 2005 book The Monster at Our Door (the ‘monster’ being a deadly influenza pandemic), renowned historian Mike Davis critically surveys the scientific roots of COVID-19, as well as the political, economic, social and ecological conditions that affected its rise.

From the outset, Davis highlights what few governments and corporate media commentators dare admit: that COVID-19 and its various predecessors (including SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV), as well…

11 December 2020Comment

We must take COVID-19 just as seriously as our grandparents took polio

I’m going to say it – I love vaccinations. I was among the first generation of my maternal bloodline that did not have someone contract tuberculosis. The addition of the BCG vaccination to the British vaccination schedule in 1950, and the herd immunity it resulted in, is most likely the reason my peers and I were spared.

My grandmother, ‘Mam’ to me, suffered polio as a child. I grew up hearing stories of how her childhood was spent in calliper-style leg braces, her life a whirlwind of…

11 December 2020Feature

The government’s shameful response to the second COVID surge

The UK government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been a ‘national scandal’, as I wrote in PN six months ago. (See PN 2642 – 2643) Reaching its peak in terms of infections and deaths in March and April, the virus killed an estimated 65,400 people in the UK by mid-June, according to the Financial Times. At the time, this huge death toll was the highest in Europe, and the second-highest in the world after the United States.

Following the…

11 December 2020News

Campaigners shift to online campaigning

I know! I can learn to play the concertina. I’ve never been able to commit to learn to play anything, but the COVID-19 lockdown would offer the opportunity. The pandemic has necessitated rapid change for us all. From the start of the first lockdown in March, and with each frequent rule change, like many other activists I have wondered what it means and where do we go from here?

In our peace and justice choir, we have found a way with online meetings to practice together though apart…

11 December 2020News

Protests not exempt from lockdown rules

Under the regulations for the second lockdown in England, published on 3 November, protests outdoors of more than two people are in effect banned.

This is a change from the regulations previously in operation. These specifically allowed public gatherings of up to 30 people for political purposes provided a thorough risk assessment had been carried out and reasonable steps had been taken to limit the risk of transmission.

No such exception appears in the new regulations, which…

1 August 2020Feature

The pandemic has broken down barriers for some activists

Doing politics outside of our ideological bubbles was never going to be easy. Between excluding people and/or leaving in an over-dramatic way, on the one hand, and staying silent in the face of irrational, immoral or even malicious views, on the other, lies the thorny territory of discussing, questioning and challenging.

Radical academic Paul Chatterton has a name for interactions between dedicated activists and non-activist communities: encounters on ‘uncommon ground’, recognising…

1 August 2020Feature

How our much-loved sister project downstairs has been handling the pandemic

Activists, radical authors, publishers, zine-makers, book-lovers and all friends of Housmans Bookshop: we are still here, and as long as we are able we will continue to do everything we can to support you.

We’re conscious that, whatever happens in the next few months, the way that people shop and buy books, especially in central London, might not go back to ‘normal’ for a very long time. So we are working to re-imagine the ways the shop can operate, find new ways to engage with people…

1 August 2020Feature

How one independent radical publisher is coping

It’s now four months since we closed the Pluto office. We’re all still working at home and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to return. We’ve come through the worst of the crisis, but there is a long road to full recovery ahead.

It all happened so fast. Everything changed in the course of just a few weeks. Things that we never expected were possible – happened.

When I look back on those weeks, one word fills my memory. Unprecedented. It dominated the media and our conversations…

1 August 2020Feature

Extracts from Pluto's new book surveying mutual aid across the globe

While much of the media has focused on selfish individualism (empty supermarket shelves and con artists) in the time of COVID-19, a new book from Pluto Press, Pandemic Solidarity, has collected stories of community and self-sacrifice from 18 countries and regions around the world, including India, Rojava and Iraq. Here are a few extracts, chosen by PN.

Brazil

Pandemic Solidarity carries several stories from Brazil, including that of the Abya Yala…

1 June 2020Comment

Gabriel Carlyle examines the possibilities - for good and bad - opened up by the mother of all 'trigger events' 

For all its horrors, the coronavirus pandemic has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a shift to a more equitable, socially just, climate-resilient and zero-carbon world – if we can grasp it. The current wave of protests in support of #BlackLivesMatter – and the groundwork that campaigners have laid for them over the past six years – provide crucial pointers as to how we might do this.

In …

1 June 2020Feature

A view of the pandemic from Madrid

It is becoming increasingly clear that those who have the most to lose from COVID-19 have been placed at the bottom of the list of priorities in most countries.

“It’s shocking how many people are suddenly out of a job and are (therefore) embarrassed to ask for a little help,” says one of the volunteers helping register people on the Association’s database.

Spain holds a special position for epidemiologists: one of the first European countries to deal with the coronavirus on a…