Andrew Stone

Referendum Poses the Wrong Question

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As jingoistic anti-EU rhetoric abounds, Andrew Stone looks for the real arguments.

Barely a week after elections to the European Parliament delivered a stinging rebuke to government parties - with the largest parties in 23 out of the 25 EU member countries suffering a drop in their share of the vote - ministers from these parties agreed the text of a 330-page EU constitution. It provoked the right wing press into apoplectic jingoism, which Tony Blair countered by wrapping himself in the Union Jack and boasting of 'red line' British issues defended from the continentals.

Red Light from the Greens

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The Green Party's resistance to making an electoral arrangement with Respect is unfortunate, but not entirely uncharacteristic, finds Andrew Stone.

The destructive forces of capitalism are driving us headlong into the sixth great species extinction of the earth's 5 billion year history. The Green Party has done the left a valuable service in highlighting this environmental emergency, and in explaining human-induced climate change as one of its prime motors. It has been disappointing therefore that attempts by the Respect coalition steering committee to cooperate in campaigning for the 10 June elections were so robustly refused by the Green Party leadership. This article explains why.

Moderate progress

Anti-Fascism: Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner?

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French fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen's visit to England was not the success hoped for by his BNP hosts.

The National Front's leader was chased away from Manchester, scared off from visiting Birmingham, and ended up in BNP Führer Nick Griffin's ample backyard. The reason was determined and organised resistance from Unite Against Fascism.

Iraq: Casualties of War

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The costs of the occupation keep rising - and the ’blood price‘ is being paid by Iraqi civilians.

General Tommy Franks, the first US proconsul of occupied Iraq, famously stated that ’we don‘t do body counts‘ of Iraqi casualties of war. This is a logical response - who would expect a criminal to supply the evidence for the prosecution? Fortunately the court of public opinion - unlike government inquiries - doesn‘t allow the criminal to appoint the judge.

Restoration Tragedy

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Review of 'Revolution and Counter-Revolution in England, Ireland and Scotland 1658-60', Brian Manning, Bookmarks £8.99

If the recent BBC series on Charles II left you wondering how the 'merrie monarch' was able to return to the throne just 11 years after the English Revolution cut off his father's head, then look no further than Brian Manning's account of the two years leading up to the Restoration. In a thorough Marxist history of a period of repeated coups and conspiracies, he rejects the conservative conclusion that the Restoration was the inevitable return to 'normality' after the blip of the revolution.

GM Trials: Not-So-Jolly Gene Giants

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New Labour and the biotech industry have been left floundering by a succession of blows to their strategy to engineer public support for genetically modified (GM) crops.

In July the Strategy Unit of the Cabinet Office reluctantly reported that there was little economic gain in GM while consumers remained so hostile. This was illustrated by the results of the government's six-week 'GM Nation?' public consultation. Twenty thousand people attended 675 meetings across Britain, with 36,557 feedback forms revealing a mood which 'ranged from caution to doubt, through suspicion and scepticism, to hostility and rejection'.

Social Forums: Feel the Rhythm

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Around 150 people gathered for the launch of the London Social Forum at the start of October.

There were discussions about the role of the media, the Tobin Tax, the anti-war movement and student activism. It was generally critical of the mainstream of the movement. Many speakers argued that the movement relied too much on mass demonstrations and on the power of the unions - in the words of one participant, on the 'ideology of mobilisation'. There was not a clear agreement about what an alternative strategy might be.

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