There are no answers to this crisis inside the ballot box & Women’s right to control their own reproductive life is under attack

 There are no answers to this crisis inside the ballot box: let’s vote with our feet!

Two days before the local, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland elections, Boris Johnson has addressed the Ukrainian parliament.  British journalists explained how he’s the first foreign leader to be given such an “honour”, and that it’s because he has been the best friend of Ukraine since the beginning of the war...

    So it seems Zelensky doesn’t mind that Johnson’s help for Ukraine is aid which kills, and not aid which brings life, i.e., asylum for refugees: his Home Secretary is facing legal challenges for failing to provide timely visas promised to Ukrainian women and children, for the malfunctioning of spare-room schemes and for delays faced by destitute families still in towns under siege, or waiting in shelters in bordering states...

    Never mind that. Johnson announced a further £300 million-worth of arms for Zelensky, claiming it will help end the war - when in fact it’s a sure (and cynical) way to “help” keep this war going to a bitter and deadly end.

    And then he described the war as the “Ukrainian people’s finest hour”, echoing Churchill’s WW2 speech made during the worst butchery the world has ever seen, including mass-bombing of civilians: 85 million, 3% of the earth’s population, perished. Apparently that is something to be proud of!

    In fact this moment - a well-timed distraction from his problems - may well turn out to be Johnson’s “finest hour”, when election results this Thursday show the Tories on a downhill slope. He has proposed nothing credible to alleviate the worst cost of living crisis since the 1930s.

    His ministers with their crooked faces tell the public that if they were to give extra money to people like 77 year-old pensioner Elsie (from ITV’s “Good Morning Britain”, whose gas bill went up from £17 to £85 and who uses her freedom pass to sit on a bus to keep warm), this will cause an out-of-control inflation spiral!

    Yes, if they gave the “heat or eat” public more money, these irresponsible people might spend it on paying (deliberately!) inflated energy bills, or on food at (speculation-induced) higher cost! And so prices would go up even more! Really?  As if inflation was something which just fell from the blue and wasn’t actually a consequence of profit-seeking human beings literally increasing what they charge!

    Yes, indeed, prices, like rents, could be controlled by the Sunaks of this world, if they really wanted to “help” the population.  But they only want to help the rich get richer. Even if they don’t dare say it.

    So oil giant BP is left to hand out its £5bn extra profits to its shareholders.  As for Labour, aka the new Party for Business, its one-off “windfall tax” proposal might irritate Sunak, but it only aims to cut the energy hike by less than 50% (£600): half-cocked as usual!

    Of course the answer to this cost of living crisis isn’t inside a ballot box.  We know that. It is out on the streets, in the fight against the bosses - not just for higher wages and conditions - but to get rid of the whole dangerous, warmongering, anti-working class system.

 Women’s right to control their own reproductive life is under attack again

The US Supreme Court's decision on the abortion case Dobbs vs Jackson Women's Health, was leaked this week, revealing that the court intends to remove the legal right to abortion in the US.

    The case concerns a law being considered in Mississippi, which threatens to overturn the “fetal viability standard” established under Roe vs. Wade, a 1973 ruling which declared abortion legal up to the point at which survival is possible outside the womb.

    Despite Roe vs Wade, restrictions on abortion access have been piling up for working class and poor women ever since.  It's got to the point where today, in 90% of state counties, there are no clinics which offer abortions.

    However, this new ruling would go after the federal principle of the right to abortion, and if Roe vs Wade is overturned, 22 states could immediately pass laws banning all abortions. Alabama already has, within the last 48 hours!

    According to a poll conducted last month, 54% of Americans believe Roe vs Wade should be upheld, while just 28% think it should be overturned.  A majority also opposes restricting abortions to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, the main provision of the Mississippi law at the heart of the Supreme Court case.

    But the decision will be taken by 9 appointed judges in a line-up prepared by Trump, to capture the vote of the religious right at the time. In fact these hand-picked judges deliberately chose to hear this case, even though it was declared unconstitutional by every other court that examined it.  In other words, they‘re deliberately targeting the right to abortion.

    In Britain, the same reactionary trend exists, even if its “advocates” haven't yet managed to curtail women's (already limited) rights any further.  Two of these are in Johnson's Cabinet: the MP for the 18th century, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Nadine Dorries, who tried twice in the past to amend the law and cut abortion time limits.

    Across the world, women's right to abortion is under attack.  In many countries it no longer exists.  Not only does the working class need to stand up against this encroachment on women's control over their own bodies, but it needs to fight for abortion rights to be extended, so that abortion is provided free and on demand, everywhere.