Europe

New COVID-19 outbreaks in Germany and Berlin’s inhumane quarantine conditions

By Lisa Lachlan, 25 June 2020

Since June 13, 369 households, each containing one to 10 people, have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19 infections in one of Berlin’s poorest districts.

The coronavirus crisis, the government’s aid package and the attempt to strangle German art

By Verena Nees, 25 June 2020

On closer inspection, the German government’s aid package proves to be a sham and a step towards neutering and strangling a diverse cultural landscape.

More than 1,500 COVID-19 infections at pork processing plant in Germany

By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz, 24 June 2020

The Tönnies Group, Germany’s largest meat processing firm, has a long record of putting profits before the health and safety of its workforce.

Boris Johnson reinforces imperialist agenda of Britain’s overseas aid

By Jean Shaoul, 24 June 2020

The Department for International Development, which disperses Britain’s £15.2 billion aid budget, is to be subsumed under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Johnson used pandemic to step up privatisation of UK public sector

By Margot Miller, 24 June 2020

The corporate raid underscores the cynicism of government ministers clapping frontline workers and hailing NHS workers as “heroes.”

All schools in England to open in September

By Tom Pearce, 24 June 2020

The government’s decision to return to the full opening of schools has been taken without any systematic review of the impact of the wider reopening of the economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the global plight of refugees and migrant workers

By Jordan Shilton, 24 June 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to tear through the global population, the disease is having an especially devastating impact on the tens of millions of displaced people throughout the world.

Reading terror suspect fought in US-British proxy war to overthrow Libya’s Gaddafi

By Robert Stevens, 23 June 2020

Saadallah and his family have connections to the British-based group of Libyans who were opposed to the rule of the country’s then-leader, Colonel Gaddafi.

UK students in precarious situation during the pandemic

By Ioan Petrescu, 23 June 2020

An online petition demanding the reimbursement of all this year’s fee due to the pandemic has gathered 345,731 signatures as of the time of writing. Another one, that only asks for refunds for the third semester, has 109,282 signatures.

Germany seeks to tighten European asylum law

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 23 June 2020

The core elements are the internment of refugees at the EU’s external borders and the implementation of fast-track asylum procedures.

The scandal surrounding German MP Philipp Amthor: What is Augustus Intelligence?

By Peter Schwarz, 23 June 2020

The question arises whether Augustus Intelligence is a genuine commercial enterprise or rather a covert intelligence service operation.

Germany: Trial begins in murder of CDU politician Walter Lübcke

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 22 June 2020

The 46-year-old neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst is accused of having shot Kassel District President Walter Lübcke on his terrace on the night of June 2, 2019.

NATO grants Ukraine enhanced status as US steps up military aid

By Jason Melanovski, 22 June 2020

Amid the most profound economic crisis since the Great Depression, the imperialist powers are responding to the growing class tensions by escalating their drive to war.

Suspected assailant in Reading terrorist attack was known to UK intelligence agencies

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2020

If the assailant is Saadallah, it would be the second terrorist attack carried out in Britain by a Libyan national—who was known to UK intelligence agencies—in the space of three years.

Corporations continue to slash workforces in Britain

By Barry Mason, 22 June 2020

Employers are using every opportunity to exploit the pandemic crisis and further slash costs as they shed thousands of workers.

Julian Assange’s fiancé calls on the Australian government to secure his freedom

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 June 2020

The “60 Minutes” program was the first substantive examination of Assange’s plight by the Australian media since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Responding to mass protests against police brutality, Germany’s Left Party appeals for a police state

By Peter Schwarz and Johannes Stern, 22 June 2020

Germany’s Left Party has responded with open hostility to the mass protests against police violence that have spread around the world following the police murder of George Floyd.

Global outrage over violent police arrest of 50-year-old French nurse Farida

By Will Morrow, 20 June 2020

The response of the French ruling class to health care workers’ demands for increased resources to combat the pandemic in decent and safe conditions is naked repression.

Around 250 workers infected with COVID-19 in three UK food processing plants

By Robert Stevens, 20 June 2020

The outbreaks underscore the criminality of the government’s decision to enforce a mass return to work and the lack of basic work safety in plants that have been operating during the pandemic.

Hundreds of new COVID-19 infections in German meat industry

By Marianne Arens, 20 June 2020

More than two-thirds of the meat packers at the Tönnies abattoir in Rheda-Wiedenbrück have been infected with COVID-19, with 730 positive initial test results out of 1,050 tested.

130,000 jobs at risk in the German auto industry

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting and Peter Schwarz, 20 June 2020

Although German auto companies received a lion’s share of the government’s €130 billion stimulus package, and are collecting billions more via the short-time working scheme, the industry plans to axe more than 100,000 jobs.

Air France-KLM prepares to slash at least 6,000 jobs

By Anthony Torres, 20 June 2020

After receiving a €7 billion public bailout, the French-Dutch airline is preparing to slash between 6,000 and 10,000 jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

OECD warns of deep recession in Britain and Europe due to pandemic

By Steve James, 20 June 2020

The OECD envisages no “return to normal” in the world economy, predicting instead mass unemployment and instability.

Doctors head legal challenge to UK government on health care deaths and PPE

By Rory Woods, 20 June 2020

At least 181 health workers and 131 social care workers have died while working on the frontline.

Financier of 1994 Rwandan genocide Félicien Kabuga arrested in Paris

By Jacques Valentin, 20 June 2020

Kabuga, who financed and helped equip the genocidal Interahamwe militias, had been located by police in 2007 but was still living quietly in the Paris suburbs.

Johnson government mounts offensive against mass opposition to police violence and racism

By Thomas Scripps, 20 June 2020

Home Secretary Priti Patel is linked with a Facebook group providing a platform for the far-right thugs who attacked Black Lives Matter protesters.

Yellow Star, Red Star

Capitalist counterrevolution and the rise of fascism in southeastern Europe since 1989

By Clara Weiss, 20 June 2020

Though fatally flawed by its equation of Stalinism with communism, and the author’s reluctance to discuss the social character of the restoration of capitalism, the book exposes the close relationship between capitalist counterrevolution and the rise of fascist forces.

US escalates trade and economic conflicts

By Nick Beams, 19 June 2020

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has delivered a broadside against the World Trade Organisation and indicated that trade negotiations with the European Union were going nowhere.

Top French general announces preparations for “state against state” wars

By Will Morrow, 19 June 2020

Drawing an analogy to the coronavirus pandemic, Burkhard stated that the eruption of a major war “is missing only the patient zero of the epidemic war.”

British Airways workers in limbo as deadline for mass redundancies passes

By Alice Summers and John Newham, 19 June 2020

One BA worker told the WSWS, “I’ve been with BA for 25 years and was earning more than this new contract in 1996!”

Johnson government reneges on waiving health surcharges on NHS workers from overseas

By Tony Robson, 19 June 2020

What is being demanded by migrant NHS workers is not preferential treatment, but rights that should be extended to all overseas workers.

UK nurses from overseas demand permanent residence after battling COVID-19

By our reporter, 19 June 2020

The SEP was contacted by an overseas nurse from the south of England, urging support for a petition demanding permanent residence for non-EU National Health Service migrant workers.

COVID-19 killing the working class in Britain at more than twice the rate of the wealthiest

By Simon Whelan, 18 June 2020

The pandemic is exacerbating the effects of already growing socioeconomic and urban inequalities.

UK: Marcus Rashford campaign forces Johnson government climbdown over summer free school meals

By Tania Kent and Harvey Thompson, 18 June 2020

The announcement followed a public campaign by 22-year-old Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford.

German Navy prepares for worldwide military missions

By Tino Jacobson and Johannes Stern, 18 June 2020

The ruling elite is making no secret of the imperialist goals associated with the rearmament of the German Navy.

Fascist network uncovered in German Army’s Special Forces unit

By Gregor Link, 18 June 2020

”Right-wing extremist tendencies” are “tolerated” in the KSK and “sometimes consciously covered up,” wrote Der Spiegel based on a soldier’s letter.

UK: 600,000 workers already kicked off payrolls during COVID-19 lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 17 June 2020

Companies are implementing long-planned restructuring operations with mass layoffs, a halt to hiring, and pay cuts the order of the day.

Macron unleashes riot police against French health care protests

By Will Morrow, 17 June 2020

The Macron administration organized a violent assault on health care workers who just weeks earlier were self-servingly hailed for their sacrifice during the pandemic.

French state hands €15 billion bailout to Airbus and Air France

By Kumaran Ira, 17 June 2020

While aerospace firms are receiving massive financial support from the state, they are preparing restructuring plans to slash jobs, wages and benefits.

Macron announces mass bankruptcies and layoffs as coronavirus restrictions are ended

By Alex Lantier, 16 June 2020

With Macron’s brief televised address, the ruling class is declaring an international class war against workers.

Germany: Schools and child daycare centres open despite the high risk of infection

By Marianne Arens, 16 June 2020

The same politicians who pump hundreds of billions of euros of so-called “Corona aid” into the vaults of the big banks and leading companies see no need to equip schools with the measures needed to combat the coronavirus.

UK: Johnson opens the economy and guarantees fresh COVID-19 outbreak

By Thomas Scripps, 16 June 2020

Scientists warn that easing the lockdown under current conditions is likely to lead to a resurgence of coronavirus, endangering lives and throwing away the sacrifices made by workers and their families

UK: Legal action highlights social-Darwinist policies against the disabled during COVID-19 pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

Numerous medical guidance documents published during the pandemic suggest that coronavirus patients can be denied or deprioritised for medical care solely on the basis of their age or existing mental or physical disabilities.

“This government has decided that disabled people are better off dead”

UK disability campaigners speak out on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

The WSWS spoke to disability rights campaigners last weekend about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and the Johnson government’s “herd immunity” policy on the lives of disabled people.

UK government encourages fascist provocation to justify police crackdown

By Thomas Scripps, 15 June 2020

The stage has been set for a law-and-order campaign, directed against anti-police violence protests involving hundreds of thousands of people.

Tens of thousands protest in Paris against police killings of George Floyd and Adama Traoré

By Will Morrow, 15 June 2020

Tens of thousands filled the Place de la République in central Paris on Saturday afternoon to protest police violence and demand justice for the killings.

Germany’s Social Democrats, Greens and Left Party organise police violence against peaceful demonstrators

By Gregor Link, 15 June 2020

The police attacks are part of an effort to criminalise anti-capitalist tendencies.

German unions compete to offer greater cuts at Lufthansa

By Gustav Kemper, 15 June 2020

The union leaders falsely claim employees are “ stakeholders ” in the private company, but to the owners they are mere “ unit costs ” to be sacrificed to shore up profits.

Striking Spanish Nissan workers boo unions and Podemos mayor of Barcelona

By Alejandro López, 15 June 2020

This points to the explosive conflict emerging between the working class and the pseudo-left and the unions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and an upsurge of class struggle.

Three years since the Grenfell fire: Collaboration with Grenfell Tower Inquiry must end!

By Robert Stevens, 15 June 2020

Hundreds of thousands of people still go to bed every night in unsafe buildings, with thousands in the “high-risk” category.

UK Health and Safety Executive provides cover for Johnson government’s back-to-work drive

By Tony Robson, 13 June 2020

The Health and Safety Executive has not carried out any inspections of workplaces since March to reduce risks to its own staff.

Scottish government moves to end lockdown as COVID-19 deaths hit 4,000

By Stephen Alexander, 13 June 2020

Scotland has the third worst coronavirus death rate in the world.

VW leadership dispute prepares way for massive job cuts and austerity

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting and Ulrich Rippert, 13 June 2020

The current leadership dispute at VW ushers in a new phase of corporatist policy, aimed at preparing the company for global trade war at the expense of the workforce.

French daily Le Figaro reports that Macron considering early resignation

By Alex Lantier, 13 June 2020

The coronavirus pandemic and the international protests against the police murders of George Floyd and Adama Traoré have profoundly destabilized the government.

Service Prosecuting Authority drops all but one investigation into British war crimes in Iraq

By Jean Shaoul, 13 June 2020

The British government is serving notice that it has no intention of honouring domestic or international law outlawing abuse, torture and murder by its military and security forces.

Decades-long cover-up continues of assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme

By Jordan Shilton, 13 June 2020

The announcement settles none of the many unanswered questions about the first assassination of a European head of government in the post-war era.

UK: Police refer decision not to prosecute over death of Belly Mujinga to Crown Prosecution Service

By Michael Barnes, 12 June 2020

No trust can be placed in the Crown Prosecution Service. Justice depends on the independent intervention of the working class.

Strike vote by Dutch steelworkers, Nigerian doctors prepare for indefinite walkout; South African airline workers protest

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

12 June 2020

Unanimous strike vote at Dutch Tata steel plant while Nigerian doctors have set June 15 as the date for a nationwide walkout while employees of airline South African Express staged a protest in Pretoria, South Africa over non-payment of wages.

Millions of Ukrainian migrant workers forced to search for employment in Europe under unsafe conditions

By Jason Melanovski, 11 June 2020

Despite little health or legal protections, Ukraine’s migrant workers are being forced to search for work in Europe’s farms and factories to avoid unemployment and social destitution.

German virologist Hendrik Streeck advocates “herd immunity”

By Markus Salzmann and Peter Schwarz, 11 June 2020

The controversial virologist is recommending that more coronavirus infections be allowed to occur over the summer months.

Report finds European lockdowns saved millions of lives, ending it threatens millions

By Thomas Scripps, 11 June 2020

The report is an indictment of governments’ initial delays in implementing public health measures and a warning of the terrible consequences of the return to business as usual.

Homeless thrown back onto the streets as UK lockdown ends

By Dennis Moore, 11 June 2020

The Tories feel free to abandon the pose of concern for the fate of the homeless and dump then back where they came from.

Transport for London refuses FOI requests into bus and transport COVID-19 deaths

By Laura Tiernan, 11 June 2020

The involvement of Deputy Mayor of London for Transport Heidi Alexander is proof of a cover-up reaching into the office of Labour’s Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

German Left Party leader Sahra Wagenknecht calls for de-globalisation

By Peter Schwarz, 11 June 2020

“Protecting workers and domestic suppliers from cheap imports and hostile takeovers is not nationalist, but a democratic duty,” Wagenknecht declares.

Anticapitalistas leave Spain’s Podemos-Socialist Party government

By Alejandro López and Alex Lantier, 11 June 2020

Anticapitalistas is being sent out of Podemos to function as a paid political agency of the state, intervening in protests and strikes against Podemos in order to strangle them.

US Postal Service covers up COVID-19 death toll in New York City

By Tom Carter and Shuvu Batta, 10 June 2020

“There are people that have been gone for weeks, and people who have been gone who never came back.”

UK: Johnson government demands police repression of George Floyd protests

By Robert Stevens, 10 June 2020

Tory MPs as well as Labourites denounced “thuggery” and “violent” protesters, focusing on the tearing down of the statue of a Bristol slave trader Edward Colston.

UK: Setback for Johnson’s school reopening plan due to popular opposition

By Tania Kent, 10 June 2020

The temporary retreat is a credit to the millions of parents and educators who opposed the government and acted in defiance of the trade unions.

Protests erupt in Germany against police violence, racism and fascism

By our reporters, 9 June 2020

The outbreak of mass protests in the US against the police murder of George Floyd was the spark that ignited demonstrations in Germany against the return of the far right and the growth of unemployment and social inequality.

UK protesters speak on George Floyd demonstrations

By our reporters, 9 June 2020

“America claims to be the ‘land of the free,’ but protesters are being denied their First Amendment rights”

Johnson government falls in behind Washington’s economic war with China

By Jean Shaoul, 9 June 2020

The “Get Brexit Done/Global Britain” perspective has been exposed as a chimera.

UK: Postal workers at Bridgewater walk out as six COVID-19 cases confirmed at Wellingborough

By Paul Lee, 9 June 2020

Workers have faced threats of disciplinary action such as “wilful delay of the mail,” which can lead to instant dismissal.

UK: Virus infection rate increases as Johnson government continues ending lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 9 June 2020

Since imposing a lockdown on March 23, Johnson and government ministers have proclaimed keeping the “R” rate below 1 as the precondition for ending the lockdown. But ending the lockdown continues.

Hundreds of thousands join protests against police violence across Europe

By our reporters, 8 June 2020

The size and wide geographical spread of the protests over Floyd’s murder reflect broad-based opposition to racism and police violence around the world.

Tens of thousands continue UK protests against racism and police brutality

By Robert Stevens, 8 June 2020

More than 100,000 people across Britain continued to protest the death of George Floyd over the weekend.

German corporations seize on pandemic to implement mass layoffs and welfare cuts

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting and Ulrich Rippert, 8 June 2020

In close cooperation with the German government, major firms are using the coronavirus crisis to prepare for global trade war and carry out long-planned attacks on the working class.

German government’s stimulus package: €50 billion for automakers, €1 billion for childcare

By Peter Schwarz, 8 June 2020

Like the previous bailouts, the latest package showers cash on the rich, concealed behind a few modest rations for families and will produce a further increase in social inequality.

The Malthusian underpinnings of Boris Johnson’s “herd immunity” strategy

By Thomas Scripps, 8 June 2020

Today the toll of the pandemic is viewed by leading figures in the ruling elite as a supposedly natural “check” on sections of the population considered a drain on profits.

Over 20,000 tons of diesel spilled in Russian Arctic river

By Clara Weiss, 6 June 2020

The catastrophe on the Ambarnaya underlies the dangers bound up with the “new scramble for the Arctic” by the major powers and corporations.

UK: After the clapping stops—The way forward for NHS workers

By Rory Woods and Chris Marsden, 6 June 2020

Things came to a head last week because it has become impossible for the government to maintain the charade of unity behind “our carers.”

Collaborations with Grenfell Tower Inquiry must end after corporate witnesses granted legal immunity

By Alice Summers, 6 June 2020

The attorney general announced that any statements given to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry by companies cannot be used as evidence against them in a future prosecution.

UK: Prime Minister’s Questions reveals Labour’s complicity in Tory back-to-school campaign

By Thomas Scripps, 6 June 2020

Every capitalist party in the world is working on behalf of the corporations to impose a reckless return to “the new normal.”

Nissan confirms job cuts as strike against Spanish plant closures continues

By Alejandro López, 6 June 2020

Thousands of Nissan workers, their families and sympathisers are striking, protesting and blocking roads to protest the automaker’s decision to shut down its Barcelona plant.

Protests erupt in France against police violence and Trump’s coup d’état

By Alex Lantier, 5 June 2020

After the anti-constitutional threats by Trump to deploy the military against protests in the United States, 20,000 people demonstrated in Paris on Tuesday.

German protests in solidarity with George Floyd and against police violence

By Jan Ritter and Noah Windstein, 5 June 2020

The brutal video-recorded murder has shocked people in Germany and many have taken to the streets in protest.

Opposition builds to re-opening of UK schools

By Tania Kent, 5 June 2020

In response to a Zoom webinar held by the National Education Union on Wednesday—two days after the re-opening of schools—many educators on Facebook expressed hostility to the inaction of the union.

London bus drivers face COVID-19 disaster: Build rank-and-file safety committees!

By Laura Tiernan, 5 June 2020

Unite has signed off on the Johnson government’s COVID-19 transport plan despite the serious and imminent danger it poses to drivers and the travelling public.

Spanish workers protest Nissan job losses; South African Macsteel metalworkers walk out against pay cut; strike threats by hospital workers in UK, Iceland

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

5 June 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Swedish health officials admit “herd immunity” policy led to “too many” deaths

By Jordan Shilton, 5 June 2020

Sweden’s policy has been lauded internationally by mouthpieces for the financial elite and big business, who were determined to force working people back to their jobs as soon as multi-billion bailouts for the financial oligarchy were completed.

European Central Banks boosts support for financial markets

By Nick Beams, 5 June 2020

The decision by the ECB to lift its emergency asset purchasing program to €1.35 trillion was warmly welcome in financial circles.

Thousands protest in London against police killing of George Floyd

By Robert Stevens, 4 June 2020

Protests were marked by their multi-racial character, with attendees comments confirming that what is taking place in the US is a common experience facing millions across the globe.

European media outlets fear bitter class struggles in the US

By Peter Schwarz, 4 June 2020

The European press and ruling elite are not especially troubled by Trump’s plan to erect a presidential dictatorship. Rather, they fear the president could provoke class struggles that would endanger the capitalist system and spread to Europe.

Nearly 65,000 COVID-19 deaths in UK according to Financial Times

By Barry Mason, 4 June 2020

The FT highlighted the fact that in absolute terms the number of excess deaths in the UK is the highest in Europe, and internationally is only second to the US.

Survey exposes COVID-19 dangers facing call centre workers

By Joe Mount, 4 June 2020

Several call centre workers have lost their lives to COVID-19, with thousands in fear that their health and safety is being jeopardised.

Irish government plans full return to work by August

By Dermot Quinn, 4 June 2020

Ireland is pressing ahead with a five-phase plan to enforce a full return to work by August, while talks for a viciously anti-working class coalition government continue.

Union supports ditching temporary workers at Meyer shipyard in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 4 June 2020

The unions are on the side of those raking in billions in aid to keep the German stock market bubbling.

Woman pinned down by police officers in London: “I can’t breathe”

By Thomas Scripps, 3 June 2020

Police violence is directed against the working class, particularly its poorest sections, and falls disproportionately on black communities.

UK police dismiss spitting case in COVID-19 death of rail worker Belly Mujinga

By Michael Barnes, 3 June 2020

A petition calling for Justice for Belly now has well over half a million signatures.

Julian Assange unable to attend court hearing due to illness as legal travesty continues

By Thomas Scripps, 2 June 2020

Assange has a chronic lung condition and his health has been ruined by years of psychological torture and medical neglect.

More than half of parents defy UK school reopening:Education unions seek to demobilise popular opposition

By Chris Marsden, 2 June 2020

The Socialist Equality Party calls for the building of action committees, independent from the trade unions, to safeguard the health of children, teachers and the entire working class.