Lindsey German

The other occupation

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Every mass campaign has its symbols. For me the most moving of the Gaza campaign were the dolls dressed in bloodstained baby clothes, carried by children or teenagers, brought up to the front of demos and cradled in people's arms.

Young people have been central to the campaigning since Israel launched its attack on Gaza on 27 December. Young people have been burning the Israeli flag, organising demos, carrying placards, collecting money and organising boycotts.

Most impressive has been the wave of student occupations in solidarity with Gaza. More than 30 colleges have been in occupation since the middle of January. They have broken new ground in a number of ways.

Mobilise against system

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The protests that have shaken Greece are a sign of things to come. Initially over the shooting of a teenager by police in Athens, demonstrations and riots spread across the country, threatening the future of the government and crystallising the depth of bitterness and anger among working class people.

A deep economic crisis of the sort not seen in most of our lifetimes, following from a credit fuelled boom which failed to deliver for many people, creates a highly explosive situation. Inequality has grown, workers are under greater pressure of exploitation, and there is an ideology which repeatedly blames those at the bottom for everything that goes wrong in their lives.

The Liberal Defence of Murder

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Richard Seymour, Verso, £16.99

One form of collateral damage from the "war on terror" has been the proliferation of pro-war liberals. These supposedly enlightened intellectuals and former left wingers have used access to the media to justify indiscriminate bombing and colonial occupation in the name of anti-fascism, women's liberation and Western values of freedom and democracy.

Richard Seymour's valuable book traces the roots of such arguments and shows that they have a long and ignoble heritage.

Iraq and Afghanistan - out of the frying pan...

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One of the most popular placards on any Stop the War demonstration in the past few years has been Socialist Worker's image of George W Bush with the slogan "World's #1 Terrorist". It's not just the change of name that makes that redundant after 20 January.

Barack Obama stood on a platform of withdrawing US troops from Iraq. His candidacy expressed the widespread opposition to the Iraq war across the US. In fact, Obama's success in getting himself on the ticket as the Democratic Party candidate was itself due in large part to anti-war feelings.

While exit polls showed that 63 percent said the economy was the major issue concerning voters, the second most important issue was the war in Iraq.

Money for the banks...

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My first thought when the government bailed out Northern Rock last year was, where the hell does it find this kind of money when there's never a spare million for a new school or hospital?

That was nothing. Last month has brought new surprises at the amount of wealth in the system and how prepared governments are to use it to bail out the rich and powerful.

The whole scale of it takes your breath away. Banks lent money they didn't have to people who couldn't pay it back and then packaged these debts as prettily as they could and sold them on in such a way that no one really knew where they were. When this game of pass the parcel stopped, everyone panicked and refused to lend to one another.

Beyond the Palin effect

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I was rather surprised when someone said to me recently, "You almost have to admire Sarah Palin."

My surprise came from the fact that the person announcing his half admiration for the Republican vice-presidential candidate in the US elections was a longstanding socialist and anti-war activist. He certainly would not approve of Palin's creationist religious beliefs, nor of her recent chant of "Drill, baby, drill" as she urged more oil drilling in Alaska to cut the price of petrol.

Credit crunch: A winning formula?

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The credit crunch has wiped £600 billion - more than £1 million a minute - from Britain's total wealth in the past year.

According to a recent set of figures, which seem almost impossible to take in, these losses are caused largely by falls in the value of houses and shares. They begin to highlight the scale of the economic crisis which is upon us and which shows every sign of getting much worse before it gets better.

The war in Afghanistan is not a noble cause

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The most noble cause of the 21st century was how Des Browne, the defence minister, described the war in Afghanistan.

This isn't just a grotesque and insulting way to describe a war in defence of corrupt government, warlords and opium poppy production. It is part of a concerted attempt to rebrand Afghanistan as the good war, the war worth fighting and dying for, the war worth spending billions of pounds to maintain.

Is Britain moving to the right?

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Labour's crushing election defeats and the increase in the vote for the Nazi BNP has led some to believe the country is drifting rightwards. Lindsey German opens our analysis of the situation by challenging that assumption and argues that election results don't tell the whole story.

It's hard to remember that only nine months ago 1 May was projected as a likely general election day. Then, the theory went, Gordon Brown would be able to take Labour to a fourth election victory, strengthen his position as elected prime minister and continue for another four or five years. Brown was at that time - again hard to remember - enjoying a honeymoon following the unlamented departure of Tony Blair.

London mayoral elections: Vote for the Left List

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What happens when your economic policies rely on a booming City of London and you're suddenly faced with a banking crisis and a credit crunch?

That's the dilemma facing the Labour government. It is also hitting Ken Livingstone in his mayoral contest, with Boris Johnson, the right wing Tory, ahead in recent polls. Many believe that the contest will be decided on transfer votes as the smaller parties' second preferences are divided between the two main candidates.

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