7000 primary school children in alternative provision
I could scarcely believe this figure when I first saw it. As somebody working in secondary education I had known about the explosion of alternative provision as headteachers scrambled to get anybody scoring poorly in exams off their rolls. But to see that this has come down to primary schools is appalling. The quality of the provision often by private providers, as this article shows, is very poor too. A child shunted into this sort of situation will find it very difficult to recover into a half-decent education. Even the head of Ofsted has denounced the situation. Disruption due to Covid has probably made this a whole lot worse. Special needs provision for local authorities has been cut to the bone for many years.
Doctors refused to intervene to save Izabela’s life because they were scared of violating the Polish government’s draconian new abortion laws, which severely limit any right to abortion. The really terrifying aspect of this case was that due to COVID restrictions the woman was only able to text her family aware that she was risking a septic infection and possible death. Despite requests from the family, doctors refused to intervene. If the woman’s life is in danger they can do something, but doctors are now afraid that if they carry out an abortion and then at a later date the authorities claim the patient’s life was not threatened then they risk legal action. Demonstrations were held in protest in Warsaw and elsewhere.
Migrants find themselves in deadly no man’s land on the Polish border
Ed Vuillamy and Urzula Glenzk have sent in a valuable eyewitness report about the hellish conditions on the Polish/Belarus border. The barbarism of the Polish and Belarus states are on show for all the see, backed up by liberal hand wringing of the EU leaders. The undemocratic Lukashenko regime in Belarus wants to cause mischief with an EU that it sees as interfering in its internal affairs, so it is facilitating flights from Turkey and elsewhere – for significant payments – to ship migrants into Belarus. However, it does not intend to provide support or refuge but merely to take them to the border with Poland and dump them there – and not allow them to come back. On the other side, Poland is doing everything to keep the border closed, including building its own ‘Trump’ wall. EU leaders have praised the Polish government for defending the EU border but have not proposed any solution for the migrants. Children and adults are dying of exposure and are being attacked by border guards and the military on both sides. Eight are reported dead so far but the Polish authorities are keeping the media away from some of the area. Global capitalism kills whether it is in the EU, in the West or an ex-bureaucratic dictatorship.
Nicaragua – Ortega continues to trample on the honour of the Sandinista revolution
As William I Robinson writes (9 November) on the progressive, anti-NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America) imperialist website the Nicaraguan leader left nothing to chance in Sunday’s election:
“With seven opposition presidential candidates imprisoned and held incommunicado in the months leading up to the vote and all the remaining contenders but one from minuscule parties closely allied with President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), the results of Nicaragua’s November 7 presidential elections were a foregone conclusion. The government declared after polls closed that Ortega won 75 per cent of the vote and that 65 per cent of voters cast ballots. The independent voting rights organization Urnas Abiertas, meanwhile, reported an abstention rate of approximately 80 per cent and widespread irregularities at polling stations around the country.”
Some of the candidates imprisoned were people who fought alongside Ortega to overthrow the dictator Somoza in 1979. Dora Maria Tellez, a legendary guerrilla fighter, actually helped him break out of prison. Sergio Ramirez, one of the first ministers after 79, is in exile guilty among other things of writing a novel about the 2018 mass protests against the regime. You can read an interview with him here.
Unfortunately a minority of comrades on the left who inhabit the campist world still defend the indefensible arguing that since Ortega demagogically opposes US imperialism his regime has to be defended against CIA intervention. We can oppose US intervention and still defend the fight of the Nicaraguan people for democratic rights.
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