Friday, April 29, 2022

Drug pushers in suits

 The consulting firm McKinsey & Company has denied deliberately hiding the fact that it worked for Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of the powerful and addictive painkiller OxyContin, while at the same time advising the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). OxyContin started an epidemic that has claimed over a million lives over the past 20 years.

A congressional committee released a report revealing how McKinsey’s work for Purdue was hidden from the FDA. McKinsey told the company how to ‘turbocharge’ opioid sales even after Purdue was convicted for illegally pushing OxyContin. Over a period of 15 years 

at least 22 McKinsey consultants, including senior partners, worked for both FDA and opioid manufacturers on related topics, including at the same time.

Congressional Committee Report

The FDA says that until last year it did not know that McKinsey was working for Purdue. The consulting firm was paid $86m by Purdue and $140m by the FDA.

Bob Sternfels, McKinsey’s global managing partner, apologized for the company’s work with Purdue but said his firm was merely protecting client confidentiality anddenied there was a conflict of interest. 

The chair of the House oversight committee, Carolyn Maloney, explained:

At the same time the FDA was relying on McKinsey’s advice to ensure drug safety and protect American lives, the firm was also being paid by the very companies fueling the deadly opioid epidemic to help them avoid tougher regulation of these dangerous drugs… McKinsey was advising both the fox and the henhouse — and getting paid by both.

McKinsey, she said, designed strategies for Purdue and other companies to drive up opioid painkiller sales, paving the way for the explosion of addiction and overdoses.

One McKinsey consultant even advised the opioid maker to head off tighter regulation of its drug with a legal claim ‘alleging FDA impropriety.’ The same consultant was later assigned to work with the FDA office responsible for overseeing that regulation. Another senior McKinsey consultant ‘worked on three FDA projects from 2014 to 2018 to assess the safety of dangerous drugs through the FDA Sentinel Initiative while simultaneously advising Purdue.’

A McKinsey partner who frequently consulted for the FDA also worked with Purdue to prepare for an FDA meeting about one of its opioids and

encouraged other consultants to share information with Purdue about ongoing drug safety work McKinsey was doing for FDA, saying they should ‘talk about our work with the FDA Sentinel Initiative, which I think would be very useful for them in opioids.

Congressional Committee Report

Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey told the hearing:

We learned that McKinsey consultants worked directly with the Sackler billionaires who controlled Purdue. We found that McKinsey told the Sacklers to target the most dangerous prescribers who put the patients on opioids at the most highest levels and at the highest doses for the longest periods of time. We found that McKinsey did not want the world to know what it was doing. But when I sued the Sacklers, McKinsey consultants read about my investigation and lawsuit and actually planned to delete their documents and emails. They wrote that they were going to destroy the evidence because ‘someone might turn to us.’

Representative Rashida Tlaib said she regarded McKinsey’s consultants as ‘drug pushers in suits.’

If anyone could explain to me the difference between McKinsey, Big Pharma, opioid cartel and the organizations of people like Pablo Escobar, I’m all ears.

Representative Rashida Tlaib

Pablo Escobar (1949—93), known as ‘the king of cocaine,’ was the Columbian ‘drug lord’ who headed the Medellin Cartel. His estimated net worth at the time of his death was $30 billion. 

Both ‘respectable’ drug lords like the Sacklers and ‘criminal’ drug lords like Escobar are capitalists. Both make use of the profit system to amass huge fortunes. Both are ruthless and unscrupulous in their business dealings. Neither are subject to genuine government regulation or control. 

There is one small difference and it does not favor the ‘drug pushers in suits.’ In his native Columbia Escobar was revered as a Robin Hood-like figure. Over 25,000 people were at his funeral. How many attend Sackler funerals? 

Drug pushers in suits | World Socialist Party US (

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Fact of the Day

 There are at least 1.4 million migrants living in the UK without access to public funds – that means no social security, no temporary accommodation and no access to domestic violence refuges.

Slavery in the USA

 You thought that slavery had been abolished in the United States?

Earlier this year federal prosecutors completed Operation Blooming Onion. They uncovered a conspiracy to bring in workers from Mexico and Central America to harvest onions at a forced labor camp in South Georgia. Kidnapped or lured by false promises of high wages, some 500 of these workers entered the US over several years under the H-2A program, which enables agricultural employers to import foreign workers on a temporary or seasonal basis. 

[Workers were] required to dig onions with their bare hands, paid 20 cents for each bucket harvested, and threatened with guns and violence to keep them in line. The workers were held in cramped, unsanitary quarters and fenced work camps with little or no food … and without safe water. The conspirators are accused of raping, kidnapping and threatening or attempting to kill some of the workers or their families, and in many cases sold or traded the workers to other conspirators. At least two workers died as a result of workplace conditions.

US Department of Justice

The profit made by exploiting the workers is estimated at $200 million. Dividing by 500 gives $400,000 for each worker. Not that they will ever receive that sort of money.

A remarkable feature of the case is that several conspirators were officials at the Georgia Department of Labor responsible for oversight of the H-2A program, or close relatives of such officials. Did they seek employment there for this very purpose? The perfect cover, you must admit. The fox guarding the chicken coop!  

And so activists are demanding closer federal oversight of the program. If you want to sign a petition in support of this demand, here’s the link. But think. Even supposing that oversight is transferred to a federal agency, what is to prevent would-be enslavers from bribing its officials or themselves seeking positions there? 

Reforming capitalism is like a wild goose chase. You never quite catch the goose! Or like trying to fit a garment onto someone who is a bit too big for it. A tear opens up in one place, but when you sew it up another tear opens up somewhere else. That is why we put our efforts not into trying to reform capitalism but into organizing to abolish it.  

   Slavery in the US today: Operation Blooming Onion | World Socialist Party US (

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Destroying the Land


Damage to the planet’s land is accelerating, with up to 40% now classed as degraded, with half of the world’s people suffering the impacts. Degraded land – which has been depleted of natural resources, soil fertility, water, biodiversity, trees or native vegetation – is found all over our planet. Many people think of degraded land as arid desert, rainforests maimed by loggers or areas covered in urban sprawl, but it also includes apparently “green” areas that are intensely farmed or stripped of natural vegetation.

Without urgent action, degradation will spread further. By 2050, an area the size of South America will be added to the toll if current rates of harm continue, according to the Global Land Outlook 2 reportAbout half of the world’s annual economic output, or about $44tn a year, is being put at risk by land degradation, according to the report. But the economic benefit of restoring degraded land could amount to between $125tn and $140tn a year, which would be about 50% more than the $93tn recorded global GDP for 2021.

The world’s ability to feed a growing population is being put at risk by the rising damage, most of which is caused by food production. Women in the developing world are particularly badly affected as they often lack legal titles to land and can be thrown off it if conditions are tough.

Growing food on degraded land becomes progressively harder as soils rapidly reach exhaustion and water resources are depleted. Degradation also contributes to the loss of plant and animal species and can exacerbate the climate crisis by reducing the Earth’s ability to absorb and store carbon.

Most of the damage by people has come from food production, but consumption of other goods such as clothes also makes a big contribution. Much of the degradation is most visible in developing countries, but the root cause of overconsumption happens in the rich world, for instance in the increasing consumption of meat, which takes far more resources than growing vegetables, and fast fashion, which is worn briefly then thrown away.

Ibrahim Thiaw, the executive secretary of the UN convention to combat desertification, said: “Land degradation is affecting food, water, carbon and biodiversity. It is reducing GDP, affecting people’s health, reducing access to clean water and worsening drought.” He explained, “Every single farmer, big and small, can practise regenerative agriculture,” he told the Guardian. “There are a panoply of techniques and you don’t need hi-tech or a PhD to use them.” Thiaw said: “Modern agriculture has altered the face of the planet, more than any other human activity. We need to urgently rethink our global food systems, which are responsible for 80% of deforestation, 70% of freshwater use and the single greatest cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss.”

Restoring degraded land can be as simple as changing farming methods to terrace and contour farming, leaving land fallow or planting nourishing cover crops, practising rainwater harvesting and storage or regrowing trees to prevent soil erosion. Many farmers fail to take these steps owing to pressure to produce, lack of knowledge, poor local governance or lack of access to resources.

UN says up to 40% of world’s land now degraded | Environment | The Guardian

Socialist Sonnet No. 63

 X Marks the Spot


Election’s due, the ballot box beckons,

Time to campaign for a radical change,

To advocate what presently seems strange,

To no longer count as capital reckons

By giving votes real value to exchange

A society posited on greed

For a better one that accounts for need.

There’s a revolution to arrange,

A revolution of thinking, not force,

A revolution in how we all live,

Take what we need and give what we can give,

With the whole world as our shared resource.

Such is the message most workers won’t hear,

The message capital has most to fear.


D. A.



The Cause of War

 The war continues in Ukraine and continually risks escalating into a wider conflict. You can’t humanise war. If you could it would not be war. While we have wars we must have inhumanity. And we must have wars until socialism. The immediate object of war is to dispose of the opposing forces. The only power that can stand between the people and the inhumanity of war is the organised working class of the world. The only hope that peace-makers have is in the working class of the world organising themselves. Their only hope, that is, is socialism. Our position is: We are against every war and both sides of every war. Wars are struggles between capitalist interests; no army fights for the interests of any working class. The Prussian militarist Clausewitz declared that war was “nothing but the continuation of politics by other means”. He would have been nearer the truth if he had said that war was the continuation of economics by other means. 

Capitalism is the cause of the international rivalries that lead to war. When socialists say that capitalism is the source of wars we do not mean that wars are deliberately plotted by individual capitalists or groups for the purpose of making money although in the present Ukrainian war, Putin and his oligarch supporters are singled out for blame. It is apologists for capitalism who lay the responsibility of the outbreak of war on the acts of ‘wicked’ men such as  Putin rather than contend that the root of modern war is the capitalist system. Capitalist society is rooted in conflict, and war is one of the products of that conflict. War is not an accidental interruption of the peaceful operation of capitalism but is inherent in the structure of the system itself, it is not the outcome of diplomatic stupidity or miscalculation, or of the arrogance and mistakes of statesmen. War is an extension of an underlying contest going on at all times. Governments in trying to handle the problems and antagonisms created by capitalism turn to war when other means fail.

Economic competition between capitalist groups leads to the encroaching on the markets and resources of foreign rivals, and governments retaliate. The prospect of losing its economic advantage over Ukraine’s economy to the EU was one of the reasons that led Russia to invade.

Capitalism with its minority ownership of the means of production and distribution, and the resulting economic struggle for profit means the capitalist class has a motive for using armed forces in wars to protect its vested interests. All members of the capitalist class do not have identical interests in foreign trade and investment; there are divisions. The policy of a government is dictated by which capitalist group is predominant at the time but the capitalist class as a whole has the same interest in defending itself and its privileged position.

The aim of war is the protection and advancement of the economic interests of the capitalist classes of every country, each in competition against the others—for example, to protect or gain markets, sources of raw materials, trade routes. The ambitions and interests of one state often must conflict with those of another. Political discord occurs, and when one government judges that “national interests,” that is, capitalist interests, are intolerably threatened, war explodes. Of course, the struggle is often not directly between great powers, but between their proxies or puppet states. In today’s world, small states cannot be independent. And independence, that is, exploitation by fellow nationals alone is not something worth fighting for to the working class.

The Socialist Party points out and explains the other war existing in society – the class war – and we show how the workers place this terrible power in the grasp of their most bitter and pitiless enemies and draw the only conclusion open to any intelligent person – that is that the workers must conquer political power for themselves, and so wrench from their oppressors once and forever that weapon which is turned against them, no matter whether Labour or Tories are in power, whenever they seek to obtain better conditions. Only then worldwide draw will the cause of wars – class and market – be abolished. Only then will the workers enjoy what they produce, and have comfort, luxury and happiness. Only in a truly socialist world-wide society will war disappear, because while the capitalist world social order lasts, the roots of war remain. So the only way to lasting peace is through a new world order—without private property, classes or nations. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

It will get worse


"The point is not to reduce inequality, poverty, debt, or gas emissions a little or to increase the food supply and wages so that fewer people are hungry. Yes, these will help. But the need is for a complete reset, a new direction, that favors the people as a whole and puts them center-stage. This means putting human rights, not the narrow pursuit of maxim profit by the rich, at the center of everything and taking a new fresh path free of parasitic arrangements that favor even fewer people every year. The rich and their representatives are not going to usher in this new direction because it would mean making themselves completely obsolete. It is up to working people, women, students, youth, senior citizens, and everyone else to collectively bring in the alternative."

  1. About 7 out of 10 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
  1. One in three U.S. workers are earning less than $15 an hour.
  1. The problem of joblessness for Black men is on average three times worse than what is generally assumed.
  1. 52% of women, ages 50 and up, say the economy isn’t working well for them.
  1. Three-Quarters of Americans say the economy is on the ‘Wrong Track’
  1. The student debt crisis so far has led 43 million borrowers to collectively owe around $1.6 trillion.
  1. 35% of Americans lose sleep over their debt.
  1. The average American household will spend $5,200 more this year to buy the same goods and services it purchased last year.
  1. A new measurement suggests that the U.S. undercounts people in poverty by millions.
  1. Between February 2020 (prior to the pandemic) and February 2022, the labor force participation rate (LFPR) declined 2.1 percentage points, from 63.4% to 62.3%. That translates into 3 million fewer workers today. The LFPR was at a peak of 67.3% in early 2000 (more than 20 years ago).
  1. Food inflation will hit millions
  1. From February 2021 to February 2022, inflation rose by 7.9 percent to a 40-year high, and food prices also increased by 7.9 percent over those 12 months.
  1. The Feeding America network reported a 60% increase in demand early in the pandemic, and continues to see steady or increased demand.
  1. Food banks and pantries across the U.S. are stretched so thin by soaring operating costs that they’re having to ration what goes out to feed the nation’s hungry.
  1. One in eight people in the US do not have access to nutritious food.
  1. The percentage of people who say that now is a “bad time to buy” a home jumped to 73%, another record-worst in the data going back to 2010.
  1. Officially, the Federal Reserve balance sheet now stands at nearly $9 trillion. The real figure is higher.
  1. Three men own as much as the bottom half of Americans.
  1. The velocity of money (V),1 an important economic metric, has declined from a high of about 2.2 in the 1990s to a bit below 1.5 before COVID-19, and to 1.1 during the pandemic.
  1. The soaring cost of diesel is rippling through the global economy.

33% of Americans were denied credit in the past year.

81% of Americans think a recession will hit this year.

Inflation in the U.S. is more than three times higher than it was last year, straining Americans’ finances.

The extremely high cost of houses is leaving millions out of the home ownership market.

About 72% of those who bought homes within the past 2 years received help from family with their down payment.

Consumers are taking on more credit card debt, just as interest rates are expected to rise.

Bankruptcy filings are creeping back up in early 2022.

735 billionaires in the U.S. have seen their collective wealth soar by 62% over the past two years while worker earnings have grown just 10%, modest gains eaten away by the rising costs of food, housing, and other necessities.

Between 2009 and 2017 depression rates increased more than 60% among teens 14–17 years old. Other age cohorts also saw large increases during the same time period. It is reasonable to assume that even more people of all ages experienced depression and/or anxiety between 2017-2022. The “Covid Pandemic” has traumatized billions.

Across Los Angeles County, California last year (2021), the unsheltered died in record numbers, an average of five homeless deaths a day, most in plain view of the world around them.

San Francisco alone is home to 77 billionaires, but more than 34,000 people are homeless across the Bay Area and more than 800,000 live in poverty.

Security and dignity in retirement is also becoming a pipe dream for millions. Since 1974, more than 140,000 companies have ended their defined-benefit plans. More than a third of workers — more than 50 million people — don’t even have access to a 401(k) or other so-called defined-contribution plan. Of those who do, more than a quarter don’t participate.

Twenty five percent of college graduates over the age of 25 make less than $35,000 a year, with many close to the poverty level.

Globally, another quarter billion people will fall into poverty this year, Oxfam Says.

In addition, interest rates at home and abroad are expected to rise in the coming months, which means that the cost of borrowing money will increase, which means that more people will be paying even more for various forms of debt that they hold. This will reduce disposable income, which means that the standard of living and the velocity of money will further decrease as well.

"The necessity for change that favors the people is presenting itself very forcefully at this time. The crisis of the capitalist economic system has become unusually severe. There is a rapid breakdown at all levels, which is why life is becoming more chaotic, anarchic, violent, and untenable. The human personality is being violated severely. It is no surprise that mental and emotional illnesses have increased significantly in the recent period. Millions wake up every day asking themselves: “What shocking or horrible thing will happen today?” “What kind of bad economic news are we going to get this week?” “What new conflict, crisis, or war is upon us now?” There is no reprieve from the chaos, violence, and accelerating social and economic breakdown. Things feel like dystopian bedlam. Even worse, everyone is supposed to accept that there is no alternative to the unsustainable status quo.

But reality, life, and people have a way of being resilient and overcoming what seems like a never-ending nightmare. Nothing lasts forever, everything is transient. The thesis-antithesis-synthesis cycle has not disappeared under today’s unprecedented conditions. The dialectic lives even in these difficult times. It is up to working people and all enlightened forces to grasp this dialectic and use action with analysis to move humanity forward in a human-centered direction. It can be done and must be done."

More Disasters to Come

  Our people and planet will be hit harder in the coming years by even more catastrophes a United Nations report says. Disasters are hitting poorer countries harder than richer ones, with recovery costs taking a bigger chunk out of the economy in nations that can’t afford it, co-author Markus Enenkel of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative said.

“These are the events that can wipe out hard-earned development gains, leading already vulnerable communities or entire regions into a downward spiral,” he said.

If current trends continue the world will go from around 400 disasters per year in 2015 to an onslaught of about 560 catastrophes a year by 2030, the scientific report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction said. By comparison from 1970 to 2000, the world suffered just 90 to 100 medium to large scale disasters a year.

The number of extreme heat waves in 2030 will be three times what it was in 2001 and there will be 30% more droughts, the report predicted. Climate change has a huge footprint in the number of disasters, report said.

In 1990, disasters cost the world about $70 billion a year. Now they cost more than $170 billion a year, and that’s after adjusting for inflation,n 

Mami Mizutori, chief of the UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction, explained, “If we don’t get ahead of the curve it will reach a point where we cannot manage the consequences of disaster. We’re just in this vicious cycle.”

Not every hurricane or earthquake has to turn into a disaster, Mizutori said. A lot of damage is avoided with planning and prevention. About 90% of the spending on disasters currently is emergency relief with only 6% on reconstruction and 4% on prevention.

For years disaster deaths were steadily decreasing because of better warnings and prevention, Mizutori said. But in the last five years, disaster deaths are “way more” than the previous five years, said report co-author Roger Pulwarty, a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate and social scientist.

That’s because both COVID-19 and climate change disasters have come to places that didn’t used to get them, like tropical cyclones hitting Mozambique, Mizutori said. It’s also the way disasters interact with each other, compounding damage, like wildfires plus heatwaves or a war in Ukraine plus food and fuel shortages, Pulwarty said.  

The sheer onslaught of disasters just add up, like little illnesses attacking and weakening the body’s immune system, Pulwarty said.

Weary of many disasters? UN says worse to come | AP News

Monday, April 25, 2022

Mexico's Eco-Caravan

 In Mexico, fifteen of 32 states are experiencing water shortages where use surpasses the amount available. Much of Mexico are approaching the point when a region will lack sufficient water to meet basic needs, with Monterrey and Nuevo Leon only having two months of water reserves, and Mexico City two years. with Monterrey and Nuevo Leon only having two months of water reserves, and Mexico City two years. 

Indigenous people are participating in a month-long caravan, traveling around the country and marching and meeting in multiple towns and cities a day, in order to denounce environmental destruction by transnationals. Activists with the Indigenous Caravan for Water and Life argue that it is multinational corporations, often with governmental support, that are responsible for causing climate change, environmental damage and water shortages — rather than the regular dry season.

“It’s not a drought, it’s looting” has been one of the main chants of the month-long caravan which kicked off in Puebla on March 22, and will run until April 24. The caravan, one of the biggest demonstrations in recent years of Indigenous people’s defense of the environment, will cover nine states and visit Indigenous communities across Mexico each day for 34 days. These communities are standing up for their environmental rights and autonomy. Most are confronting megaprojects, where manufacturing, mining, extractive and commercial companies — often from the U.S. or Europe – have built massive amounts of infrastructure, such as hydroelectric plants and gas pipelines, to plunder the communities of their water and energy resources.

In Puebla state alone, hundreds of corporations have licenses to build or maintain such infrastructure, which many local residents refer to as “death projects” because they threaten the existence of nearby communities. The hydroelectric plants that are built to provide mines with energy deprive nearby farmers of water. There are fracking zones and gas pipelines, and most supportive infrastructure is also privately owned, with corporate interests at heart and no community consultation. Areas with the highest concentration of such projects, such as Serdán and northern Puebla state, also have the highest levels of organized crime.

Mexico has the highest amount of carbon emissions from electricity of any country in Latin America. In Cuautlancingo, Puebla, for example, where Volkswagen and the industrial park, Finsa, is located, at least 80 percent of electricity use is industrial. Companies like Volkswagen, Ternium, Heineken and Dr. Pepper are also among the main users of water in Puebla state.

These mega projects disproportionately affect Indigenous people, said María de Jesús Patricio, widely known as Marichuy, who is a spokesperson for the National Indigenous Council (CNI) and the first female Indigenous presidential hopeful in the country. 

From the way Indigenous people farm, to the deterioration of their lands, to the stealing and contamination of their water, the mega projects affect “what they eat, and therefore their health. They are modifying the environment, polluting the … rivers, and modifying farming cycles. And they cause internal divisions in the communities, by winning over some members with donations and telling them that the mega projects will bring employment,” she explains. The caravan around Mexico is showing people that “our problems are similar … communities are seeking ways to walk together and denounce all the different types of plundering,” Marichuy said.

Megaprojects also often involve displacing entire Indigenous communities, and the loss of important natural, cultural or religious sites. Across Mexico, some 4,200 dam construction projects have forced 185,000 people, mostly poor or original peoples, to leave their homes.

The caravan “is a message that (original) peoples are bringing to other peoples and communities, suburbs, organizations. As they go, they bring the message that it is important to struggle, to organize in order to defend water, and life … and that together, it’s possible to stop all this,” Marichuy said. “If communities can’t strengthen their self-determination and autonomy, they leave a space for the mega projects to continue their destruction.”

“It’s not a drought, it’s looting”

"It's Not a Drought, It's Looting": Water Rights Activists Organize in Mexico (

Bombs and Guns


World military expenditure reached an all-time high of $2.1 trillion in 2021. This prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Military spending rose for the seventh consecutive time despite the economic fallout of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Who's Land?

 Ninety-two per cent of England’s land is privately owned and not available to access.

Ninety-seven per cent of rivers are off-limits to the public. 

Tens of thousands of acres of woodland have benefited from public subsidy yet remain publicly inaccessible.

Antibiotics and Industrial Livestock Rearing

 Doctors and scientists have warned for years that over-prescribing antibiotics for trivial complaints or infections caused by viruses which do not respond to antibiotics threatens to lead to the spread of resistance to this critically important class of drugs. It is estimated about 750,000 people die every year from drug-resistant infections and it is feared that, by 2050, this number could reach 10 million and cost more than $100tn to global health services, according to the Union for International Cancer Control.

In addition, they have stressed that the problem is being intensified by the widespread use of antibiotics on farms where they are given to animals – most often pigs and poultry but sometimes also cattle – in order to keep them in poor, basic conditions where disease spreads easily. Scientists have uncovered evidence that dangerous versions of superbugs can spread from pigs to humans. The discovery underlines fears that intensive use of antibiotics on farms is leading to the spread of microbes resistant to them.

The discovery of the link has been made by Semeh Bejaoui and Dorte Frees of Copenhagen University and Soren Persson at Denmark’s Statens Serum Institute and focuses on the superbug Clostridioides difficile, which is considered one of the world’s major antibiotic resistance threats.

“Our finding indicates that C difficile is a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance genes that can be exchanged between animals and humans,” said Bejaoui, who is due to present her study at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Lisbonon Sunday. “This alarming discovery suggests that resistance to antibiotics can spread more widely than previously thought, and confirms links in the resistance chain leading from farm animals to humans.”

C difficile infects the human gut and is resistant to all but three antibiotics in use today. Some strains contain genes that allow them to produce toxins that can trigger gut inflammation and life-threatening diarrhoea in the elderly and in hospital patients. The bacterium is considered one of the biggest antibiotic resistance threats in developed countries. In the US, it caused an estimated 223,900 infections and 12,800 deaths in 2017 and cost the healthcare system more than $1bn.

Margaret Chan, former director general of the World Health Organization. “Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise in Europe and elsewhere in the world,” she said. “We are losing our first-line antimicrobials. Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units.”

However, medical authorities have pointed out that two-thirds of antibiotics are not used on humans at all but are given as agricultural additives. This is done to stave off illnesses and infections in animals that are being kept in conditions that would otherwise cause disease.

Pigs can pass deadly superbugs to people, study reveals | Antibiotics | The Guardian

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Rwanda and Refugee Deportation


People eligible for removal to Rwanda will be those judged “inadmissible” under the rules of the UK asylum system. The rules, introduced in January 2021, apply to those who arrived in the UK via another “safe” country, such as France, and therefore their asylum claim is considered their responsibility. Boris Johnson claims that “tens of thousands” of people who have arrived in the UK without authorisation could be given a one-way ticket to Rwanda.

The Refugee Council said that last year of the 8,593 people only 172 people could have been sent to the east African country had a deal been in place. It estimates that this year the number is not likely to be much higher.

So far only 2% of people considered under the rules are ultimately served with decisions classifying them as inadmissible.

Enver Solomon, the CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “This analysis shows the real impact this bill will have on desperate men, women and children who are simply trying to find safety when fleeing the dangers of war and persecution.

“Punishing people, treating them like criminals and human cargo to be expelled to Rwanda is not only inhumane, cruel and nasty but it will do nothing to address the reasons why people take perilous journeys to find safety in the UK. It will do little to deter them from coming to this country, but only lead to more human suffering and chaos – at a huge potential expense of nearly a billion pounds each year.”

Refugee data analysis casts doubt on Boris Johnson’s Rwanda claim | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian

Trickle-Down Economics Explained (video)


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Song of the Low - Ernest Jones (animation)


The Socialist Party Rebuffed

 The Socialist Party learned of election hustings to which its candidate in Lambeth had not been invited. The reason offered was that it was to be limited to those deemed by the organisers as "major parties". Naturally, this is unacceptable and we insisted upon being permitted to participate. To no avail. 

 Danny Lambert, the Socialist Party candidate in Clapham East ward, has now issued a statement that we fully expect to be read out at the commencement of the meeting. 

"I make no apology for raising the nature of the present world economic system – capitalism – in a local election. Local councils have to run things inside the framework of capitalism and that restricts what they can do. They are also restricted in that most of their money comes from central government.

The priority under capitalism is profit-making. Having to respect this priority means that what the central government can make available for local social services and amenities takes second place. That’s why they are never as good as they should be, in spite of the efforts and promises of the other parties. Capitalism simply cannot be made to work for the benefit of all. Only a society based on the common ownership and democratic control of productive resources can do that.

If you like to know more about Socialism as the alternative to capitalism, call in at our Head Office in Clapham High Street or visit”

Population Myth (Two Videos)


Thursday, April 21, 2022

"Crisis within a crisis"

 According to the President of the World Bank, David Malpass, the world is facing a "human catastrophe" from a food crisis arising from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Malpass warned that record rises in food prices would push hundreds of millions people into poverty and lower nutrition, if the crisis continues.

"It's a human catastrophe, meaning nutrition goes down. But then it also becomes a political challenge for governments who can't do anything about it, they didn't cause it and they see the prices going up," he said.

The World Bank calculates there could be a "huge" 37% increase in food prices, which is "magnified for the poor", who will "eat less and have less money for anything else such as schooling. And so that means that it's really an unfair kind of crisis. It hits the poorest the hardest." The price rises are broad and deep, he said: "it's affecting food of all different kinds oils, grains, and then it gets into other crops, corn crops, because they go up when wheat goes up".

There was enough food in the world to feed everybody, he said, and global stockpiles are large by historical standards, but there will have to be a sharing process to get the food to where it is needed.

 He also warned of a knock-on "crisis within a crisis" arising from the inability of developing countries to service their large pandemic debts, amid rising food and energy prices.

"This is a very real prospect. It's happening for some countries, we don't know how far it'll go. As many as 60% of the poorest countries right now are either in debt distress or at high risk of being in debt distress," he said.

Ukraine war: World Bank warns of 'human catastrophe' food crisis - BBC News