Kevin Ovenden

Eyewitness report: Israel's murder on the high seas

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On 31 May Israeli commandos attacked a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza, killing nine people and injuring dozens more. Kevin Ovenden from Viva Palestina recounts the horror of the attack and gives his views on building a movement that can lift the siege of Gaza.

"All changed, changed utterly." So wrote the great poet William Butler Yeats after the execution by Britain of Irish freedom fighters following the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. Those words resonate today, following the massacre aboard the Mavi Marmara on bloody Monday - 31 May 2010. Now, a new phase of struggle is born in the movement to bring justice and freedom in Palestine. But it has come at a terrible price.

Cyprus: Political Stalemate

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Political turmoil was the outcome of elections in the Turkish northern part of Cyprus last month.

The general election produced a stalemate, with opposition and pro-government parties each ending up with 25 seats in the 50-seat parliament. The government of Rauf Denktash hopes to form a new administration or call further elections next month.

Denktash is a hardline nationalist who came to power after the Turkish army invaded Cyprus in 1974, resulting in the island being partitioned into a Greek-dominated south and Turkish-dominated north.

Racism: Hope Amid the Hostility

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Attacks on refugees and Islamophobia are one side of the changing face of racism, but there is also a groundswell of anti-racist sentiment.

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' Assessing the level and threat of racism in Britain today uncannily summons up those famous opening words of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

Germany: The Poison That Doesn't Kill

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The reaction of the Washington hawks should dispel any doubt that it was opposition to war on Iraq that sealed victory for Gerhard Schröder's Red/Green coalition in Germany.

US secretary of state Donald Rumsfeld refused to meet his German counterpart the day after the election, and repeated the charge by George Bush's national security adviser that Schröder had 'poisoned relations' with the US.

Fire Down Below

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The pressure for strikes is rising and could lead to major confrontations with the government this autumn.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), with 55,000 members, is in the middle of a deadly serious pay fight, which is set to lead to the first national strikes in the service for 25 years. A series of big FBU demonstrations in the summer--12,000 in London, over 5,000 in Glasgow, over 1,000 in Swansea, 2,000 in Belfast--were marked by a spirit of confidence and determination. A special FBU conference on 12 September was due to agree a ballot for national strike action.

Polarisation in Europe: Right Turn or Revolt?

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The crisis in Europe has allowed the far right a hearing, but it's also led to a resurgence of the left.

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.' The Irish poet WB Yeats wrote those words in the wake of the First World War. Today the sense of political crisis across Europe, while not as great as then, is growing weekly as support for the parties of the centre cracks and politics polarises to the left and right.

Elections: A Left Response to Europe's Right Turn

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Four years ago it all looked so different. Social Democratic parties had swept to office in all but three European Union states, in some cases, as in Britain, putting an end to over a decade of right wing rule.

Now Le Pen's success in France has underlined the failure of those governments and the bitterness they have created. His breakthrough in the first round of the presidential election comes after a series of successes for fascist and far right forces in Europe.

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