Paul Foot

Mordechai Vanunu: Israel's Whistle Test

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Paul Foot hails the 'whistleblower' who exposed Israel's nuclear programme.

I have been a journalist for the last 40 years or so, and most of that time I have been exceedingly fortunate in that I have been able to decide what to investigate and what to write about. All that time I have been struck by the ingenious and comprehensive methods by which capitalist society protects itself from the circulation of information. The essence of that society is exploitation, and the facts and figures of that exploitation are wherever possible kept secret from the exploited. This is not to say that there is nothing to discover.

Karl Marx: The Best Hated Man

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Karl Marx continues to be damned because of the revolutionary power he identified, argues Paul Foot.

Karl Marx was so famous when he died in March 1883 that eleven people went to his funeral at Highgate cemetery. The funeral oration given by his friend and collaborator Frederick Engels ended with the observation that Marx, though he was a delightful character, a loyal friend and a devoted father, was the 'best hated and calumniated man of his times'. That may have been true at the time but it became even more true later. Most socialists and revolutionaries can expect some relief from the abuse of high society after they are dead.

Left Alternative: Beyond the Crossroads

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Paul Foot puts the case for a unity coalition of the left, while Socialist Alliance councillor Michael Lavalette explains how he has forged a campaign in Preston.

The vast demonstration against Bush on 20 November once again opened wide the increasingly intolerable contradiction on the British left. These demonstrations in 2003 were far greater than anything in the 1960s or indeed at any other time before or since, yet when the crowds have dispersed, there is so little sign of any political result. The huge Labour majority cannot even prevent parliament from moving yet another step closer to the privatisation of the health service.

Democracy: A Grand Delusion

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Capitalism as economic democracy? Paul Foot has heard it all before.

For at least a hundred years there has been a continuous and hard-fought struggle between capitalism and democracy. Now a miraculous solution has been discovered by New Labour in the shape of its dynamic secretary of state for trade and industry, Patricia(n) Hewitt. Capitalism and democracy, she asserts in her new pamphlet A Labour Economy: are we nearly there yet?, are the same thing!

Orwell Centenary: The Cold War Controversy

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George Orwell was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. On the hundredth anniversary of his birth we examine the controversy around his work and his legacy for today. Paul Foot examines why much of the left rejects Orwell.

As the Private Eye columnist Glenda Slagg might ask, 'George Orwell? Arncha sick of him?' As the hundredth anniversary of his birth - 25 June 1903 - comes and goes the literary media appear to have taken leave of their senses. Three more full-scale biographies have been produced to enlarge an already enormous pile.

Corruption: Who Said Crime Doesn't Pay?

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The last time there was a crisis in the international stockmarket they made a film about it.

It was called 'Wall Street'. Michael Douglas played Gekko, the intended villain of the piece, a greedy gambler who had made a fortune on the stockmarket chiefly by buying and bribing inside information, and then betting on it, knowing it to be true. The film was such a realistic indictment of the market and its values that it quickly became a cult movie for thousands of yuppies swarming like bees round the honey of the stock exchange. When Gekko is finally captured by the regulators of the Securities Exchange Commission, most of his admirers felt sorry for him.

Born Unfree and Unequal

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Capitalism's claim of promoting democracy is continually undermined by the growing gap between rich and poor.

In his speech in the House of Commons debate on war with Iraq, Tony Blair allowed himself a rather rambling excursion into what he saw as the basic reasons for the conflict. Perhaps unwittingly slapping down those of his ministerial colleagues who had likened Saddam Hussein to Hitler, he accepted that comparisons with the 1930s were not very relevant. The real battle, he said, is not between relatively rich countries, as it was then.

Slaughterhouse Six

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Review of 'Rose Rage', adapted from Willliam Shakespeare by Edward Hall and Roger Warren, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London

Readers of 'Socialist Review', you have about three weeks to book for a truly exhilarating dramatic experience. At the Haymarket theatre, 12 young men (well, they all looked young to me, which may not be the same thing) under the direction of Edward Hall smash, slash, slither and shriek their way through a tremendous performance of 'Rose Rage', an adaptation in two parts of William Shakespeare's three 'Henry VI' plays. These were the first of Shakespeare's plays.

Obituary: Red Barbara's Rocky Road

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The life of Labour left winger Barbara Castle.

I first heard Barbara Castle speak at a Young Socialist rally in Skegness in 1963. She was 53, I was 25. She was magnificent. She sensed an iconoclasm in the hall, with which she immediately identified. She had a way of rolling her body round her more eloquent phrases that gave the infectious impression of movement, passion and change.

The Budget: Not Very Taxing on the Bosses

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A terrible squealing and squawking has been set up by the ruling class and their experts as they pretend to be 'shocked' by Gordon Brown's Budget.

Stephen Radley, chief economist at the Engineering Employers Federation, set the tone when he told the 'Financial Times' on 19 April of 'widespread anger' among his members. 'Some of them feel they have been shafted by the government,' he whined. Ian Fletcher, head of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, was equally furious. He complained that the rises in National Insurance contributions for the poor and the workers were to some extent 'cushioned' by tax credits for families with children, while tax cuts for 'business' had been 'overshadowed by the scale of the tax rises'.

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