This week in Parliament, Boris Johnson published the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, described widely as the largest review of its kind since the end of the Cold War. Its publication comes after a string of related announcements, and an inflated defence budget last year.
China’s President Xi Jinping solemnly declared “complete victory” in eradicating absolute poverty in the country during a conference in Beijing on Thursday 25th February 2021. The announcement of this great miracle in the human history of poverty reduction came four months before the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which leads the world’s most populous nation. China is expected to declare a moderately prosperous society in all respects in the middle of this year, which means that the country has achieved its first centenary goal on schedule in 2021. In 2049, China will achieve its second centenary goal of building “a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious.
Libya has heard its first meeting of unitary parliament in a rare light for a country that’s been mired into darkness ever since the US-led intervention in 2011.
In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, Carol Stavris told the Communist Party’s executive at the weekend that violence against women has “deep roots in the capitalist system of exploitation”. “The position is made worse by inequality, poverty, sexist stereotyping, the commodification of women’s bodies, loss of crucial public services and inadequate support for women and children suffering abuse”, the CP Women’s Organiser declared.
Last night (13 March 2021), hundreds gathered to remember the life of Sarah Everard and to call for changes to keep women safe in our society. The cancellation of the vigil couldn’t stop hundreds from gathering to express their emotions in the aftermath of Sarah Everard’s murder. The night ended in violence as police crushed flowers and dragged women kicking and screaming from the vigil. Previously, the Metropolitan police had refused to allow the event to go ahead, stoking rising tensions across Britain. Tensions had started as soon as it was revealed that a serving officer had been charged with Everard’s abduction and murder.
Former interim president of Bolivia Jeanine Áñez was arrested on Friday (12 March 2021) on charges of “sedition and terrorism” for her role in the 2019 coup d’etat. After socialist president Evo Morales was ousted, Áñez seized the role of interim president with the backing of the police and military as well as the United States. Morales, the first indigenous president in the history of the country, had won the presidential election in 2019 only to be falsely accused of election fraud. The ensuing political turmoil resulted in Morales’ resignation and exile to Argentina.
Civil liberties campaigners have warned that the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, contains proposals are set to restrict demonstrations, threatening the right to protest. Buried deep in the 300-page document, proposals would grant, by law, further powers to police officers and the Home Secretary to clamp down on protests. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) have since published its ideas for the future of policing demonstrations.
MSPs have passed what has been described as “Scotland’s most controversial piece of legislation”. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill was passed on Thursday (11 March 2021) by 82 votes to 32, with 4 abstentions after a marathon debate of amendments on Wednesday. The legislation seeks to consolidate existing law and extends protection for some vulnerable groups with a new offence of “stirring up hatred”. Concerns have been raised about the potential impact on freedom of speech, with opponents arguing that the full implications of the proposed law have not been thought through. While supporting the principle of protecting people from prejudice, they argue that the definition of “‘stirring up hatred” is too vague and open to interpretation.
Police fired tear gas and protestors threw petrol bombs as violence broke out in Athens following a demonstration against police brutality on Tuesday night, forcing Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis to take to television to call for calm.
The Communist Party has issued the March edition of its news sheet Unity! focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tory budget, International Women’s Day 2021, anti-racism and the Party’s new Housing Charter.