Voices on the Left: 5 leftist blogs to read this week

An overview of progressive news…

1. A Letter to the Western Left of Kyiv–openDemocracy

Open Democracy features a thought-provoking letter from Taras Bilous, Ukrainian historian and social movement organizing activist, with a message to some on the left who imagined ‘NATO aggression in Ukraine’ and couldn’t see Russian aggression.

The letter takes aim at what it says is “dumb anti-imperialism” who are willing to turn a blind eye to Russia’s actions and downplay Putin’s aggression. Citing Leila Al-Shami’s essay, he states that: “The activity of much of the Western ‘anti-war’ left over the war in Syria has nothing to do with stopping the war. He only opposed Western interference, while ignoring or even supporting the engagement of Russia and Iran, not to mention their attitude towards the “legitimately elected” Assad regime in Syria.

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

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

2.The zero hour scam-Tribune Magazine

Tribune Magazine features an article on how three percent of the entire workforce are now on Zero Hour Contracts (ZHC), contracts that do not stipulate a minimum number of working hours for an employee .

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

“The prevalence of ZHCs in the UK – alongside other forms of precarious employment, such as the bogus self-employment prevalent in the gig economy – is part of the reason why we have seen such a weak recovery in wages after the 2008 financial crisis.”

3. Paulette Hamilton’s fight for Erdington: ‘I plan to be an MP for the local people’ –work list

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

Among Hamilton’s priorities are housing, crime and anti-social behavior, as well as small business and health and social care.

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

4. Unite members join nationwide protests against privatization of the NHS- the morning star

The Morning Star reports how Unite members joined activists across the country this weekend to demand an end to the privatization of health services.

The newspaper reports that campaigners in 100 towns and cities across England have called on their peers to vote against the Health and Care Bill when it comes up for debate in the House of Lords.

Protester Jamie Johnson told the Morning Star: ‘I am here to stop any privatization of the NHS.

“People don’t seem to be aware of how creeping privatization is taking over the NHS – GP practices [are] be taken over by private US healthcare companies.

5. A few new bus lanes won’t ‘level’ the UK – but raising the minimum wage could –Novara Media

Ell Folan writes for Novara Media about the government’s recent white paper on leveling and why it falls far short of what is needed to increase equal opportunity and improve outcomes for all communities across the country.

Regarding disparities in life expectancy, Ell writes: ‘The Conservatives’ plan is to build health care capacity through diagnostic centers and hospital upgrades and to encourage individuals to change their diet with £75million worth of weight management services.

“That’s just not enough for a nation whose health cannot be divorced from economic and social factors like poor housing and low wages: in London, the median wage for workers is 33% higher than in the North East .”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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