Sally Campbell

Editorial: Signs of life

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Anti-war movement

Heading into 2016 we are confronted with a world characterised by continuing war and chaos in the Middle East, a refugee crisis exacerbated by those wars, and a racist offensive at home feeding off both of these situations.

This issue of Socialist Review attempts to tackle all of these factors, and show how they are linked — as well as, crucially, suggesting how we can challenge them.

Tangerine

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The opening credits of Tangerine — curly script on a pink paper backdrop — suggest an old-fashioned romantic screwball comedy. Although the film is ultra-modern in its themes and techniques, that is exactly what we get.

Tangerine is a hilarious, frantically-paced day in the life of two black trans women who work as prostitutes in West Hollywood, Los Angeles.

It manages to be both laugh out loud funny and extremely poignant as it follows the interactions between these women, their pimp, the men who pay for sex, and other neighbourhood characters.

Kill the Tory Trade Union Bill

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November is set to be a crucial month for trade union members in Britain. With the third reading of the Tories’ Trade Union Bill due to take place this month we have a fight on our hands to defend our rights.

And this fight is not abstract — steel workers now fighting to defend their livelihoods, junior doctors taking to the streets in their tens of thousands, and public sector workers facing the eleventh year of pay restraint, all desperately need strong collective struggles.

So why not join the Labour party?

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Many socialists will consider joining Corbyn's party to defend him, but is it the right move for revolutionaries, asks Sally Campbell.

Shaun Doherty has outlined how important it is for socialists — even revolutionary ones — to back and defend Corbyn’s leadership of Labour. But if we’re so keen to help Corbyn hang onto his position, why don’t we just join the Labour Party? Surely that’s where the battle will take place and where Jeremy needs numbers of defenders against the right of the party?

This is England '90

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It is almost a decade since Shane Meadows’ film This is England was released and his characters — from 12 year old lost boy Shaun to the terrifying National Front supporter Combo — grabbed us by the throat.

The original film was set in 1983 with a backdrop of the Falklands War and Thatcher’s re-election entrenching her reign of destruction. Its bleak setting in a non-specific East Midlands/South Yorkshire town presented a world of limitations and small horizons. The central characters’ identity as skinheads gave them a sense of being part of a culture.

Corbyn expresses desire for change

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This has been the summer of Corbynmania. Thousands of people have attended Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn’s election rallies in towns and cities across Britain.

These meetings have been some of the biggest we’ve seen since the anti-war movement in 2003, with venues overflowing into outdoor rallies from London to Liverpool to Norwich.

Corbyn, with his principled stance on war and oppression and vow to end austerity, has become an unexpected figurehead for discontent.

Why did the Tories win?

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The shock of the Tory majority win in May's general election threw up lots of questions for socialists. Sally Campbell looks beneath the results to understand the dynamics at play in british politics.

The immediate response of most people remotely on the left to the election of the Tory majority government last month was despondency. This was not what we had expected; not what the polls had predicted — until that exit poll, which was largely met by disbelief.

General election reflects growing anti-austerity mood

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As we go to press the 2015 general election campaign is beginning to sour for the Tories. Their initial focus on attacking Labour leader Ed Miliband has been dumped in favour of carrots and sticks. David Cameron announced a pledge to increase NHS funding by £8 billion by 2020. This followed the Tories’ call for public sector workers to get three days’ paid leave for “volunteering” — that is, filling in for other public sector jobs which have disappeared as a result of Tory cuts.

Safe spaces?

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The cancellation of feminist comedian Kate Smurthwaite’s gig at Goldsmiths College in February — possibly out of fear of protests by other feminists over her views on sex work — has escalated into a row over who is allowed to speak on campuses and who decides.
Different examples are being lumped together with little clarity. A recent article in the Guardian is a good example:

The Falling

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The Falling is a dreamlike story of a fainting epidemic among pupils at a girls’ school. It is director Carol Morley’s first feature film, following her haunting 2011 documentary Dreams of a Life.

Set in a damp England in 1969, the times are changing, but the stuffy school in which the action takes place couldn’t be less swinging. Most of the teachers are stuck in the 1950s — if not austerity Britain of the 1940s — particularly Greta Scacchi’s Miss Mantel, who initially recalls Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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