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Editorial
Towards a People’s Vaccine Campaign

 
The World and South Africa is in a severe crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its second wave of infections. Over 2 million people globally have died and over a million people in SA have been infected and thousands are dying regularly.
 
Recently government has made efforts to curb the spread of the virus and new infections by instituting Level 3 lockdown measures. This is far from enough. Despite ample warning of the Second wave probability from the experiences of countries in the north, the SA government failed to act timeously. Since in power for nearly 30 years, it has not addressed widespread poverty and structural problems of lack of housing and sanitation which are major factors in the transmission of viruses.  Government has blamed the poor and workers for the rapid spread of the virus, while relaxing its vigilance in enforcing safeguards and failed to address health workers demands for personal protective equipment. From the outset, in its typical “penny wise, pound foolish” neo-liberal approach, government abandoned extensive testing and tracing that proved to be successful in Asian countries such as Taiwan, Korea and China. Besides the billions wasted on COVID-19 tender corruption, government failed to ensure uptake of positive initiatives such as subsidised quarantine facilities for those who were infected and unable to do so due to unsuitable living conditions. As a result, the working class is again paying the highest price of this crisis which started as a pandemic and it soon transformed in an economic and social crisis with black women carrying a disproportionate burden of care labour in the households and in workplaces (hospitals, schools, old-age homes etc.).
 
There is an urgent need for a full roll-out of a suitable COVID-19 vaccine to curb more illness and death.
 
A People’s Movement for the Vaccine
This call to action arises out of a broad-based demand for urgent mobilisation to ensure equitable vaccine access and allocation, which is endorsed by over 500 organisations (leading public health and labour formations/organisations) and individuals, who now issue a call for the formation of a Peoples’ Vaccine Campaign. It is inspired by the People’s Vaccine Alliance and Free the Vaccine campaigns globally.
 
There has been a lack of transparency about the vaccine plans and delays in securing access to supplies. Our government’s poor record of public service delivery, widespread corruption and mismanagement, as well as the profiteering by the pharmaceutical industry are key contributors to the dire state of our health system. There is a danger that powerful medical schemes, private healthcare providers and other corporate interests will undermine access to vaccines by trying to profiteer from the roll-out programme.
 
A people’s movement must participate actively in the discussions to shape and provide oversight over the national vaccination roll-out programme. The role of labour (especially front-line workers), civil society, social movements, communities and people’s organisations is crucial to defeat the pandemic.
 
See full Call to Action document here.
                SOUTH AFRICA
The use of a water cannon last Friday to disperse grants applicants in Bellville shows unsurprising contempt for the poor coming from a department that leaves disabled people to sleep outside their offices. 
JENNI EVANS | NEWS24

Police probe use of water cannon against social grant applicants

MARY-ANNE GONTSANA | GROUNDUP

Anti-apartheid hero Ronnie Kasrils slams South African police attack on disabled people

CHARLIE KIMBER | SOCIALIST WORKER

South Africa’s new lockdown regulations explicitly ban all ‘political gatherings’

We are not simply dealing with a limitation of a fundamental constitutional right, but rather its total obliteration.
DALE MCKINLEY | DAILY MAVERICK

Why is murder once again stalking Glebelands Hostel?

Hostel-related murders have since dropped by more than 80%, but at least seven people have been killed in the past 12 weeks. Who is responsible this time?
VANESSA BURGER | DAILY MAVERICK
It’s been known for years that the banks have been flogging off repossessed properties for a fraction of their market worth, but the evidence was anecdotal and fragmented. Not anymore.
CIARAN RYAN | MONEY WEB
               COVID-19 PANDEMIC

False hope of  ‘miracle’ remedies

A lot of research into Covid-19 remedies falls far short of accepted practice, which is why we have had so many outbreaks of false hope. The current framework for pharmaceutical testing is the result of many decades of experience, including correcting for serious errors of the past. Throwing all this experience out because we have a harder problem than usual is a big mistake.
PHILIP MACHANICK | M&G
Treasury has been tasked to fund the purchase of vaccines and tax hikes are expected to be announced in the finance minister's budget.
LAMEEZ OMARJEE, LIZEKA TANDWA

South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out: What we do know and what we’re still struggling to find out

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination roll-out ‘the largest and most complex logistical undertaking in our country’s history’.
REBECCA DAVIS | DAILY MAVERICK

Covid-19: The vaccine sums don’t add up

The South African government is adamant that it must vaccinate 67% of the population to achieve herd immunity – roughly 40 million people. Just one problem – there aren’t enough adults in the country, and the vaccines haven’t been tested on children.
REBECCA DAVIS | DAILY MAVERICK

FREE e-BOOK
Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine

Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine offers an overarching framework for vaccine allocation to assist policy makers in the domestic and global health communities. Built on widely accepted foundational principles and recognizing the distinctive characteristics of COVID-19, this report's recommendations address the commitments needed to implement equitable allocation policies for COVID-19 vaccine.
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE
               INTERNATIONAL
This is not the time to celebrate or to go back to ignoring politics. It’s time to re-double our efforts, unite our struggles, and refuse to be satisfied with any crumbs tossed our way.
TATIANA COZZARELLI | LEFT VOICE

Trump Enables Occupation And Threatens Peace In Western Sahara

The Trump administration’s announcement on December 10th 2020 that the USA recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara disregards international law by endorsing colonialism and occupation. It also threatens prospects of future peace in northwest Africa.
ALISON WILSON | DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA

The fight for safe rates for transportation workers in South Korea

South Korea has emerged as one of East Asia’s most advanced digital economies. Deregulation, since the early 1990s, has eased the barrier of entry for smaller companies and owner-operators, while the power of large companies to dictate rates has grown, increasing driver precarity.
NITHIN COCA | EQUAL TIMES

Website launched for a new approach to achieving living wages in the garment industry

Activist organisations in the garment industry launched a website that sets out a concrete proposal for an enforceable, binding agreement between global brands and unions on the payment of living wages to garment workers - wageforward.org
CLEAN CLOTHES CAMPAIGN

Report: European and Israeli arms sales to Mexico

An international coalition of peace organisations reports that arms companies in Europe and Israel are fuelling violence in Mexico. Gun homicides and other violence by state forces and criminal organizations in the country increased dramatically since 2006 thanks to this trade in arms.
WAR RESISTERS INTERNATIONAL

               ISRAEL PALESTINE

Israel’s Genocide In Gaza Goes Uninterrupted

A report published by the United Nations in 2018 stated that by the year 2020 the Gaza Strip would be uninhabitable. It said specifically that, “the United Nations has stated that Gaza may well be unlivable by 2020.”
MIKE PELED | MINTPPRESS NEWS

It Is Time For The One State Solution To Go Mainstream

This is not a conflict. There are not two sides fighting over some issue that can be resolved through technical negotiations and compromise. Rather, Zionism was – and is – a settler-colonial project.
AWAD ABDELFATTAH, JEFF HALPER | ELECTRONIC INTIFADA

UK Labour Party hires former Israeli spy

Assaf Kaplan will work in the office of Labour leader Keir Starmer. Kaplan was in Israeli military intelligence for nearly five years in its cyberwarfare branch.
ASA WINSTANLEY | ELECTRONIC INTIFADA

               OPINION

Three Major Threats to Life on Earth That We Must Address in 2021

Although the pandemic is the principal issue on all of our minds, other major issues threaten the longevity of our species and of our planet: nuclear annihilation, climate catastrophe and neoliberal destruction of the social contract.
NOAM CHOMSKY, VIJAY PRASHAD | COUNTERPUNCH

The Future Will Only Contain What We Put into It Now

At the heart of the UN is its Charter, the treaty that binds nations together in a global project, which has now been ratified by all 193 member nations of the UN and abrogated by most of them.
VIJAY PRASHAD | TRICONTINENTAL
ENVIRONMENT

Hot Again: 2020 Sets Yet Another Global Temperature Record

Earth’s rising fever hit or neared record hot temperature levels in 2020, global weather groups reported Thursday.
SETH BORENSTEIN | AP NEWS
NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Wikipedia at 20: last gasp of an internet vision, or a beacon to a better future?

The naysayers said the user-written encyclopedia would never work. Now it boasts 55m articles and 1.7bn visitors a month
ALEX HERN | THE GUARDIAN

Google's 'experiment' hiding Australian news just shows its inordinate power

Google doesn’t want to pay for news content, on anyone’s terms except its own, and it appears to be manipulating search results to avoid it.
BELINDA BARNET | THE GUARDIAN
ARTS

An animated resistance: How Polish filmmakers are using arts in defense of women’s rights

In Poland there is a massive movement against the government in defence of the right to abortion. One of its peculiar tactics was originated by a group of young animators.
THOMAS MARTINELLI | IL MANIFESTO

Raw, brave, wild and honest: why Germany is Europe's greatest artistic nation

Germany became a unified state 150 years ago this week – and no other country has produced such original, provocative and powerful art since, from Richter to Klee, from Dix to Höch.
JONATHAN JONES | THE GUARDIAN

Michael Apted’s Up, a Decades-Long Film on Britain’s Class System

The 1964 film Seven Up! asked 14 British seven-year-olds about their hopes of being the “shop steward and the executive of the year 2000”, revisiting them every seven years for more than half a century—and shone a light on changing notions of class in Britain.
JOHN MERRICK | JACOBIN MAG
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DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is intended to serve as a channel of special and alternative news, information and knowledge source for all those interested in issues relevant to promoting political, social and economic equality and the eradication of poverty. The articles contained herein are obtained from various electronic media platforms and do not necessarily reflect the views of WWMP.

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