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No room for racism

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Decades of underinvestment in social housing have had a disproportionate effect on black communities in Britain and the US, writes Glyn Robbins.

George Clooney’s recent film Suburbicon lampoons the hypocrisy of the archetypal American suburb. Alongside a fictional crime caper, it tells the true story of the first African-American family to move to a neighbourhood previously reserved for whites. The Mayer family in the film is based on the Myers family who, in 1957, moved to Levittown, Pennsylvania. As the film depicts, they met with vicious organised racism (including the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan) aimed at driving them out.

China, the US and imperialism

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In the first in a new series, Adrian Budd examines the changing power balance between China, the US and regional competitors — and how this fits with the Marxist theory of imperialism.

The nuclear stand-off between the US and North Korea focused eyes on Asia in 2017. Despite their differences, including over sanctions, the US and China have cooperated over North Korea’s nuclear programme and have a common interest in attempting the impossible of stabilising global capitalism. But they also have rival interests and China’s rise is the key long-term issue facing US power.

Halting the conveyor belt of hate

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Donny Gluckstein analyses the relationship between nationalism, which helps convince workers to defend the “national interest”, the racism which flows from that idea of an us and them defined by nation, and full-blown fascism, which abandons the notion of democratic consent altogether.

We are daily buffeted by a bewildering mass of bad news stories on the racism front. The most bizarre example to date is Trump, the most powerful person in the world, retweeting the grotesque videos of Britain First, a tiny fascist grouping whose only claim to fame is that the murderer of Jo Cox MP shouted its name as he attacked her. To make sense of such events it helps to clearly understand what nationalism, racism and fascism are, how they are connected, and how they interact.

From the dream to a nightmare

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The argument that Lenin’s leadership of the Russian Revolution paved the way for Stalin’s terror is pervasive. Patrick Nielsen looks at the circumstances, objective and subjective, which resulted in the revolution being strangled and Stalin coming to dominate — the opposite of the aims of 1917.

The October Revolution of 1917 was barely mentioned in the mainstream media during its centenary year. When it was, it was used as a weapon to attack the left. When Jeremy Corbyn sacked three shadow cabinet ministers for defying the party’s agreed line on a Brexit vote, the Daily Express ran a hysterical article: “Corbyn’s hard left to purge Labour Party moderates in Bolshevik style revolution”.

Music and the Russian Revolution

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The social and political turmoil surrounding the First World War and the wave of revolutions across Europe produced some of the most radical modernist music. Sabby Sagall outlines key figures in the movement and looks at debates among revolutionaries about "working class culture".

The carnage and brutality of the First World War had punctured the balloon of late 19th century optimism and established that the industrial and scientific progress of capitalism had not led to a world based on justice and reason but to unimaginable horror. Industrial cities had produced unprecedented wealth but also poverty and alienation hitherto unknown.

Ending the silence on workplace sexism

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The autumn has been dominated by the sexual harassment claims against prominent figures. Sally Campbell looks for collective solutions to a problem often experienced individually.

Since October headlines have been dominated by revelations of sexual harassment and assault, first against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and then spreading to other producers, directors and stars.

The scandal then engulfed the UK parliament, where Tory minister Michael Fallon was forced to resign over sexual misconduct — and claimed his behaviour was “acceptable ten or 15 years ago”. Some 28 other Tory MPs and several Labour figures are being investigated over similar issues.

Pick of the year

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Our writers' cultural and literary highlights of 2017

Judith Orr

I am a big fan of Irish writer Sebastian Barry; his work is inventive, evocative and flows like poetry. His latest novel, Days Without End, follows one of the McNulty family, Thomas, on his emigration from Ireland to escape the Famine. The American Civil War is the backdrop to this rich and powerful tale that explores the violence of war and love and sexuality as Thomas falls in love with fellow soldier John Cole and they fight to survive.

Danger on the right in Europe

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The far-right has made a series of major electoral gains across Europe. Charlie Kimber details the links between their rise and the wholesale distribution of bigotry by the establishment.

A series of election results in Germany, Austria, France and the Czech Republic have seen advances for hard right and sometimes fascist forces. The left has made advances, including the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain. But there are stark warnings of the danger from the right.

Drugs: It’s time to stop and think

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In discussions about stop and search, racism and young people, there is an elephant in the room. Brian Richardson says it’s time to end the "war on drugs".

David Lammy is clearly a man who has been liberated by his removal from the rigours of high political office. This year he has raged with righteous anger about the horrific Grenfell Tower fire, demanding corporate manslaughter charges against those responsible for the deaths of dozens of people including his friend, the 24 year old artist Khadija Saye. In addition he has spoken with passion on Stand Up to Racism platforms and published a government commissioned review into racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

"On the grey horizon of human existence looms a great giant called Working Class Consciousness"

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John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World is the best known eyewitness account of the Russian Revolution, but he was accompanied on his visit in 1918. Jan Nielsen tells the story of Louise Bryant, American bohemian, talented journalist and commentator on life in revolutionary Russia.

Louise Bryant was an American radical journalist who travelled to revolutionary Russia with John Reed, author of Ten Days that Shook the World. Bryant wrote her own account of the events she witnessed and people she met, titled Six Red Months in Russia.

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