Dan Mayer

The making of a cutters' coalition

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

To their dismay, the Tories failed to win a majority in the election, leaving Britain with a hung parliament. Labour was not wiped out, and, despite losing seats, Nick Clegg led the Lib Dems into government with Cameron's Tories. Dan Mayer analyses the coalition that no one voted for.

The general election will be remembered as the election nobody won.

It was supposed to be the Conservative Party's triumphant return to power. Backed by Rupert Murdoch and the City of London, facing the tired and unpopular Gordon Brown, David Cameron was supposed to fulfil his Etonian destiny by effortlessly sweeping into Number 10.

Historical Actuality of the Socialist Offensive

Issue section: 
Author: 

István Mészáros, Bookmarks, £9.99

In this timely polemic, Mészáros argues that the working class movement urgently needs to stop looking to parliament as the centre of social change.

This short book is not an empirical study of our corrupt elected representatives - Mészáros looks deeper than that with a philosophical argument. Starting from the logic of Marx's Capital, and building on his own Beyond Capital, Mészáros argues that it could not be any other way.

Savage repression won't bring peace to Sri Lanka

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) has reconquered all of the areas previously held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa claims that his military victory will usher in a new period of peace and prosperity on the island. It will not. The brutal methods deployed by the SLA in its efforts to win this war, and the horrific conditions the defeated Tamil population are now being subjected to, will fan the flames of Tamil resistance, guaranteeing the prospect of even more bitter struggles in the future.

L is for Lenin

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

There have been many revolutionary upheavals in the past century, each one unleashing the huge creative energy of millions of people.

Mostly these revolutions have been beaten back, with the reassertion of class power and a return to the "norm" of exploitation, poverty and war.

The one exception to this is the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the crucial difference was made by Lenin and the Bolshevik Party he built.

History and Revolution

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Eds: Mike Haynes and Jim Wolfreys, Verso, £17.99

This important collection of very readable essays challenges the dominance of revisionist historians sympathetic to Francis Fukuyama's claim that "history has ended".

These historians have attempted to downplay the importance of revolutions, depicting them as hiccups of history rather than as its major turning points.

Student Conference: Delegates of Wrath

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

A Barclays Bank report released in mid-April found that students graduating this year will owe a total of £2.46 billion, £13,501 on average, an increase of over 10 percent in the past year.

It predicted that students starting a three-year course this September could face a debt of almost £20,000 at graduation.

A week earlier the National Union of Students (NUS) annual conference was dominated by financial concerns of a different nature. Claims that the NUS is facing bankruptcy had led to a cut in the size of conference and the decision not to hold an anti-fees demonstration in London for the first time in five years. So this year's conference was the smallest, and most dominated by student union sabbaticals (full timers), in years.

Not Ideal

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

I was disappointed by Patrick Connellan's article about the play Behzti ('Thought for the Play', February SR).

Censorship of the arts certainly is something to be resisted, but we must go beyond the rest of the media's mass hysteria about 'censorship by mob' in Birmingham. Much of the hype carried the implicit message that the British establishment is far more civilised than these unassimilated immigrants. Even the liberal papers that, like Socialist Review, made the links with the Jerry Springer furore gave the impression that the BBC, who screened the opera, are crusaders for free speech.

The Drugs Don't Work

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Review of ’Animal‘ by Kay Adshead, Soho Theatre, London

’On the street side the wooden gate is covered in flowers, when they wilt people come and put others, they nail them to the planks ... There‘s a tiny hand-knitted cardie with bloody cuffs, and a shoe with a bloody lace ... At the very front, sat in a deckchair like she‘s on Brighton beach, is the mother of one of the kids trampled to death by the horses ... It‘s very quiet but her lips are moving all the time.‘ The nurse Elmo sets the scene for Kay Adshead‘s new play Animal.

Little Gain and Plenty of Pain

Issue section: 
Author: 

Review of 'Unknown Pleasures', director Jia Zhang-Ke

In 1978 Deng Xiaoping introduced free market reforms in China. The increasingly bureaucratised economy had stagnated under Mao, but in the 1980s its average annual growth rate was 10 percent. China now has the world's third largest economy. Yet the vast majority of Chinese people have benefited little from these reforms.

Workers to Rule

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Graeme Kemp and Alan Woodward (Letters, May SR) raise a number of interesting questions about the nature of workers' democracy.

Graeme Kemp cites China and Russia as examples of supposedly socialist revolutions that 'went wrong'. However, there are fundamental differences between the two. The Russian Revolution of February 1917 was achieved by masses of ordinary working people who created organs of democratic self government - soviets, or 'workers' councils'. The soviets were not initially perceived to be in conflict with the official state, but simply as a way of running society in a time of crisis. Lenin and Trotsky, however, were convinced that these were far more democratic than anything Russia had seen before.

Subscribe to RSS - Dan Mayer