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Editorial

  • The Tory Kickstart scheme is a joke. We need a real plan to beat youth unemployment - The Tories’ flagship ‘Kickstart’ scheme isn’t a subject that has received a great deal of coverage either in the monopoly media or in the labour movement since it was launched as part of the Summer Budget in 2020. This lack of coverage and awareness might be surprising given that it is being touted as the Tories silver bullet to spiralling youth unemployment resulting from the pandemic. In fact, it is really their only significant policy in terms of youth unemployment. But there is a good reason you probably haven’t heard much about it since the scheme was launched. Despite all the government spin, it has been a complete failure.

News

  • Communists offer real alternative to Starmer’s Labour - Communist Party candidates in Scotland launched their campaigns this week ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections this May. The Communist Party is putting up candidates, not just in Scotland, but across Wales, many of the English regions, and London. Each and every one of these candidates offers hope in a political landscape that has been ravaged by neoliberal politics for over a decade at least.
  • US Covid death toll passes 500,000 in grim milestone - The number of US coronavirus deaths have passed 500,000 as of Monday (22 February 2021) according to data from John Hopkins University. Over 28 million have also tested positive for COVID-19 in the USA. This is higher than any nation in the world. Both statistics are the worst in the world and the pandemic has thrown a harsh spotlight on the country’s ability to cope with such a disaster, especially during the tumultuous tenure of Donald Trump, whose administration botched the government response.
  • Premature school opening puts COVID recovery at risk - Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the “roadmap” out of lockdown for England on Monday (22 February 2021), with an idea of when pubs, cinemas, sporting events and non essential shops would be opened. However many are concerned at the opening of schools as early as the 8th of March. Johnson put forward his 4 step plan for England to the House of Commons, with the first step being schools opening early next month.

Culture & Sports

  • Poetry Corner: Day of the Pawns by Bob Dixon - Day of the Pawns by Bob Dixon Born into a working-class family in Spennymoor, Co durham, Bob Dixon eventually became a school teacher, and then a lecturer in English at Stockwell College of Education, Bromley. He was involved with the left-wing cultural journal Artery in the 1970s, and he wrote three collections of poems, three books on the ways in which children’s attitudes have been shaped by the publishing and manufacturing industries, plus an autobiography, The Wrong. Bob was a life long member of the Communist Party and well-known figure on the left-wing poetry scene, reading at CND rallies and other events.
  • Weekend Premier League recap - All 20 Premier League teams were back in action for a full Friday to Monday gameweek. In a week that included not one but two derby encounters, it wouldn’t just be points on the line for the squads involved but the pride and ability to call their respective cities theirs.
  • Twitter @camila_turriani Poetry Corner: The Men by Pablo Neruda - The Men by Pablo Neruda, translation by Alfred Yankauer Pablo Neruda was a prominent Chilean Communist, as well as a Nobel prize-winning poet in both literature and peace. Neruda played key roles in two Chilean governments and experienced the outlawing of Communism in 1948 and later became a close adviser to the Socialist President Salvador Allende only to die in hospital of cancer at the time of Pinochet’s US-backed coup. Better known nowadays only for his poetry, he was a hugely popular poet in Chile at the time and remains popular throughout the world today.

Contributions

  • The youth without ‘Goulash Communism’: the youth of post-socialist Hungary - Hungary since the notorious Hungarian Uprising always had a reformist style of leadership which would become known as Kádárism, after the General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (MSZMP), Janos Kádár. This would see the move of the country’s economy from full state-planning to a focus on self-financing of the Hungarian state’s enterprises and a much slower, incomplete collectivisation process.
  • The architecture of Irish partition is disintegrating - Nick Wright argues the people of the Irish Republic and their government have had a rude lesson in the politics of inter-imperialist rivalry.
  • Trump hysteria ends in anti-climax - Under Biden, as before, we need the broadest possible class-conscious coalition against the capitalist machine that intends to march the US and the world into more war and poverty — singling out Trump as a ‘fascist’ aberration only hinders that task, writes Nick Wright.

Back2Basics

  • Introduction - Back2Basics is the Young Communist League’s series on Marxist concepts made easy. Its aim is to provide a starting point for those interested in learning about communist theory and a foundation for further reading and study.
  • 1. Materialism - The philosophical underpinning of Marxism-Leninism is often referred to as "dialectical materialism". Parts 1 and 2 of this series set out what that actually means; materialism in this issue and dialectics in the next issue.

Digital

  • Challenge TV Interview: Ayelén Biegbeder (la Fede, Argentina) on the femicide of Florencia Gomez - On the 12 October in the town of San Jorge, Buenos Aires, María Florencia Gómez Pouillastrou (known as Florencia Gómez) was murdered, and her body was abandoned in a field in the local area. The 35-year-old woman was an active feminist who had recently become a city councillor. Florencia was a comrade of la Fede – the Communist Youth Federation of Argentina. She was a militant socialist and member of the Communist party in San Jorge. Jessica Duggan spoke with her close friend and comrade, Ayelén Beigbeder, for ChallengeTV to find out more, and to explore the endemic violence against women in Argentina that led to her death. #JusticiaPorFlorencia