Jane Hardy

Band of warring brothers

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The spending review comes at a time of high international tension, as governments around the world compete to escape economic ruin. Jane Hardy analyses the global "currency wars".

Financial pundits have given up scrabbling for the green shoots of recovery. New York professor Nouriel Roubini said on 14 October, "The growth rate is so low it's going to feel like a recession even if technically it's not a recession." On top of that he has predicted that there is a 35 to 40 percent chance of a double dip recession. The recovery in the US, the heartland of global capitalism, looked extremely fragile. In mid-October the dollar hit a 15-year low and unemployment increased, and 18 months into the so-called recovery jobs are still being shed.

Cracks and crisis in the Eurozone

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The leaders of eurozone countries are desperate to avert a full blown currency crisis, but they are divided by conflicting interests and fearful of workers fighting back.

"It was a stand-up argument. He was shouting and bawling," said one Brussels official. "It was Sarkozy on steroids," said a European diplomat. The European ruling class were in disarray as another, potentially even more damaging, episode of the world crisis unfolded in the eurozone.

Stoking the bonfire of illusions

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In August 2008 Russia went to war with its neighbour, Georgia. One month later Lehman Brothers bank went bust, plunging capitalism into crisis. In reviewing Alex Callinicos's new book, Jane Hardy explores how these apparently unrelated events signalled epochal changes in the global economy

Two recent events, unequal in magnitude, represent epochal changes to the global economy. The first was the brief war between Georgia and Russia in early August 2008. This was followed by the second: the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September of the same year, which precipitated the biggest financial crash since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Migrants and the economic crisis

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In the face of the economic crisis, many politicians are blaming migrant workers. But what is the truth behind the racist rhetoric, asks Jane Hardy.

The recession has had devastating consequences for migrant workers. During the boom thousands of workers fuelled the surge of construction in Dubai and Moscow. They provided cheap labour and did the worst jobs in Britain and Ireland - which before the recession were deemed the big "success stories" of European capitalism. Migrant workers are concentrated in sectors that have experienced the largest contractions in output, such as construction, export-oriented industries and the so-called hospitality sector.

Material Girls

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Lindsey German, Bookmarks, £12.99

I came into socialist politics in the early 1970s through the women's movement. At that time I remember a great sense of optimism about the possibilities for women's liberation. Legislation in the late 1960s to decriminalise abortion and homosexuality, and easier divorce laws opened up the possibility of much greater personal freedom. Anti-discrimination legislation and the Equal Pay Act promised equality at work. Issues such as rape and domestic violence for the first time appeared on the agenda as political issues.

'We Know We are Beautiful'

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Jane Hardy looks at the work of Harlem radical Langston Hughes.

Simply Heavenly stands in very sharp contrast to most of the musicals to be found in the West End of London. Set in a bar in Harlem, its focus is the lives of ordinary black Americans. The music is a mixture of gospel, blues and jazz and the dialogue is quick and witty. However, through the main character, Jesse B Semple (known affectionately as Simple), it portrays the struggles of eking out a living in Harlem. Finding and keeping work, paying the rent and trying to make a better life are daily battles.

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