Chris Harman

Argentina: Swimming with the Tide of Revolt

Archive article

As renewed political crisis sweeps Argentina, Chris Harman following a recent visit to the country argues there is a huge opening for the revolutionary left, provided it breaks from its sectarian past.

'It must have been fantastically exciting,' a lot of people said to me on my return from a visit to Argentina last month.

Behind The Miners Strike: Class struggle hots up

Archive article

At the annual Easter rally of the Socialist Workers Party, Chris Harman, editor of Socialist Worker examined the state of class struggle in Britain today. We reprint his talk here

On the face of it, the situation in the class struggle has changed dramatically over the last four months or so. Last October we talked about the 'downturn'. We meant it was like being stuck in a calm of the class struggle, gradually drifting backwards.

It was miserable: no mass strikes, or pickets or demonstrations. Only when you talked about the general politics could you escape from the feeling of misery. If you looked at the struggle it was a story of defeats.

Neither Washington nor Moscow

Archive article

Ukraine's 'Orange Revolution' is not all it seems.

The crisis that erupted in the Ukraine at the end of last month has had liberals of all sorts slathering at the mouth. Here, they declared, was a new people's uprising, a display of popular power inaugurating a 'velvet revolution' like that in eastern Europe in 1989.

In fact, what occurred was a fight between rival groups inside a corrupt ruling class, each side of which has been happy at various points to preside over a government given to muzzling opposition and fixing ballots.

State capitalism - the theory that fuels the practice

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With the fall of the Berlin Wall, many on the left concluded that socialism had failed. Others of us saw these countries as state capitalist and an integral part of the world system. This theory has renewed relevance today

When I joined the Socialist Review Group, the precursor of the Socialist Workers Party, back in 1961, our opponents on the left called us the "state caps" - short for "state capitalists". This was not because we were in favour of state capitalism (although rumour had it that one of our members had joined for that reason). It was because we rejected the notion that the USSR, China and the Eastern European states were in some way socialist or workers' states.

Economic growth - the meaning of numbers

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Economic "reforms" for increased growth are often justified by the ruling class as being good for everyone. But what is the truth behind the statistics?

Adair Turner, head of the Financial Services Authority, hit the headlines when he called for control on financial transactions through a tax. Not so widely noticed was his comment that much of what finance does is "socially useless".

Solidarity and encouragement

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There can be no guarantee as to which forces will win out in Tehran. But those on the left who were hostile to the huge protests are in danger of lining up with those who want to crush the movement.

Scepticism is necessary every time the media extol what they claim to be democratic movements against unpleasant regimes. The cheerleaders for the occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine have a nerve talking about democracy.

It is hardly surprising then that much of the left in Latin America and the Middle East was hostile to the huge demonstrations in Tehran against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. The Iranian government has, after all, outraged the US with its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, its hostility to Israel and its friendly relations with Hugo Chavez.

Double edged 'democracy'

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The people of Poland demanded democracy in 1989 - but 20 years on the economy is still controlled by a tiny elite.

Anniversaries do not always bring people the joy they expect. Last month was meant to have seen a celebration by Poland's rulers outside the shipyards in the city of Gdansk. It was to commemorate political changes in Poland and Hungary in the summer of 1989, which saw the first free elections for more than 40 years.

Leap of faith: The ruling classes' "solution" to the economic crisis

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The media greeted the London G20 Summit as a great success and declared it to be "the day the world came together to fight recession with a plan for economic recovery and reform". Chris Harman looks at what lies behind the hype and the so called solutions put forward

According to Barack Obama the London G20 Summit was "historic" and "a turning point". Did it in fact represent an answer to the deepening crisis?

Slump, boom and climate change

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From the European Union to Barack Obama, promises have been made to give priority to a "green agenda". In reality, they are using the recession to go into reverse.

A recent, bad TV programme made one interesting point - that devastating transformations in the climate, as a result of the apparently slow build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, will hit people at some point with the same suddenness as the economic crisis that is now sweeping the world.

India: Poverty behind the tiger

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India's growing economy has benefited a corrupt elite. But the masses only get poorer.

November's deadly attacks in Mumbai had one peculiar side-effect on the British media. Journalists were forced out into the streets and discovered that the vast majority of the city's population are still poor.

Since then the deep contrast between the lives of India's upper middle class and that of the mass of people has been emphasised in Aravind Adiga's Man Booker Prize winning novel, The White Tiger, and Danny Boyle's rags to riches film, Slumdog Millionaire.

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