Chris Harman

Why Opposing Imperialism Means Supporting Resistance

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Sometimes there are strange coincidences in history. One occurred last month. George Bush made an official visit to Vietnam just as leading figures in his own Republican Party were saying that the Iraq war had indeed turned into the new Vietnam. The US was in danger of a repeat of the ignominious defeat it suffered 31 years ago, and had to find a way of getting out of the morass.

In both cases US imperialism overstretched itself, stirred massive opposition both in the occupied country and throughout the world, and faced the prospect of defeat as a hammer blow to its capacity to get its way globally.

Middle East: Beware the Cornered Tiger

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As calls for an exit strategy from Iraq increase within ruling class circles, Chris Harman looks at what past imperial retreats could herald for the Iraqis.

Ninety percent of the politicians, generals and overpaid media hacks who enthused in support of the blitz against Baghdad three and a half years ago are now agreed on one thing. They made terrible mistakes. Not in terms of the death toll. For such people the US and Britain cannot, by definition, commit war crimes.

An Enemy of Empire

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Chris Harman is impressed by a new collection of Marx's journalistic writings on India which helps demolish the myths that Marx was a supporter of 'progressive' imperialism.

"The Roman divide et impera (divide and rule) was the great rule by which Great Britain contrived to retain possession of her Indian Empire. The antagonism of various races, tribes, castes, creeds and sovereignties continued to be the vital principle of British supremacy... 200,000,000 natives being curbed by a native army of 200,000 men officered by Englishmen, and that native army in turn being kept in check by an English army numbering 40,000 only... How far that native army can be relied upon is clearly shown by its recent mutinies...

Students and the Working Class

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Something old occurred in a number of countries in the last year, and often seemed like something new. Students' strikes, demonstrations and occupations swept Italy, France, Chile and Greece.

The reaction of the media was to claim these were the actions of a privileged social layer, whose victories would come at the expense of the mass of working class youth, who would never get near a university. So in France they claimed that the students' demand for the end of the CPE law to take away employment rights from young people would make it more difficult for unemployed youth in the suburbs to get jobs.

The Ruling Class, its Police and the Left

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One of the most disgusting spectacles last month was that of Ken Livingstone defending Ian Blair, head of the Metropolitan Police, after his force shot the second innocent person in 11 months.

For Livingstone, it seems, the man who oversees such things is a "progressive" chief constable.

But Livingstone is not alone in confusion over the role of the police. Even people who have not made their peace with New Labour were sometimes slow to back up Yvonne Ridley when she said Muslims should withdraw cooperation with the police so long as they continued to behave like that.

Criticising Capitalism in Order to Save It

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John Kenneth Galbraith, who died last month aged 98, received very mixed obituaries. This was because he challenged some of the conclusions of mainstream capitalist economics while continuing to accept many of its assumptions.

Karl Marx divided the history of mainstream economics into two stages. The first he called "classical political economy". It was the product of thinkers, most notably Adam Smith and David Ricardo, who identified with the capitalist model of society when it was battling to establish itself in place of the feudal society that preceded it. Their desire to push capitalism forward led them to investigate its fundamental features-especially sources of value in productive labour and, by implication, profits in exploitation.

A Conspiracy Theory that Weakens the Movement

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Talk of an Israel lobby lets capitalism off the hook.

The US war on Iraq and its threat against Iran are products of US capitalism's drive for global hegemony. That is what we have always argued in SR.

But there is another interpretation to be found on both the fringes of the anti-war movement and in the Muslim majority regions of the world. It holds that the driving force behind the war is the "Jewish lobby" in the US.

The Hidden History of the Iranian Revolution

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Nuclear weapons proliferation is not the real reasons for the US's attitude toward Tehran.

The hypocrisy of the Western governments' threats to Iran should be obvious. Iran does not have nuclear weapons, whereas nearby states like Israel, India and Pakistan do, as of course do all the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Should We All be Tightening Our Belts?

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Halting climate change requires a change more fundamental than a series of lifestyle choices.

On the face of it, the threat which climate change poses to the environment - and even to the possibility of human life of this planet - has nothing to do with the class struggle.

In January the US energy secretary claimed that the private sector will deal with the problem because it affects them as much as anyone else: "The people who run companies do have children, they do have grandchildren, they do live and breathe in this world."

Revolution in the Revolution

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For the last four years Venezuela has been the political centre of the radicalisation of Latin America. Now those who started a revolutionary process are debating how to take the process further. Chris Harman reports from Caracas.

Venezuela is a country where people have suffered enormously at the hands of the world system over the last 30 years. But it is also a country where millions now have faith in their ability to change things for the better.

Not that long ago, Venezuela was a richer country than most others in Latin America. The mass of the population had better living standards, and its wealth made it a magnet for south European migrants in the 1950s.

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