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An end to all tyranny

It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.
Arnold Wesker
12 January 2003

There seem to be two kinds of left-wing reasoning. (Many more, of course, it's in the nature of the left to fragment itself - which is both good and bad.) The kind that reasons all tyranny must be brought down; the kind that reasons anything the right supports must be wrong.

By March 1933 in Germany the Communists refused to join a United Front with the Social Democrats thus leaving the way free for Hitler to come to power. British Communists later opposed the war with Hitler because it had been declared by a right-wing government. They changed their minds when the Soviet Union entered the battle.

Having campaigned for years against the tyrannical Argentinean generals who slaughtered thousands, many unaccounted for - 'the disappeared ones' - the 'right-is- wrong' left then refused to support the war against Argentina's invasion of the Falklands because it was lead by the right-wing leader, Margaret Thatcher. She brought down the fascist generals, and democracy returned to the Argentine.

One of the most dangerous, murderous tyrants of recent times, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, has usurped the sovereignty of his people and dragged them through three bloody wars, one of them against his own Kurdish people. Bush and Blair are attempting to lead an international force to physically disarm and overthrow him.

The 'right-is-wrong' left opposes a war with Iraq.

I belong to that part of the left that reasons all tyranny must be brought down.

Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.

See also Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. II

 

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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