Feature

Le Pen down but not out

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The French presidential run-off last month saw fascist Marine Le Pen roundly defeated, but the 10.6 million votes she won, plus the high level of spoiled ballots and abstention, suggest that the winning candidate, neoliberal Emmanuel Macron, is not a solution, writes Sheila McGregor.

There was great relief at the outcome of the French presidential run-off. For the second time in 15 years the election of a fascist president had been blocked. The main traditional parties, the Republicans and the Socialist Party, might have been excluded from the second round of voting, but as far as Europe’s rulers were concerned the election of Emmanuel Macron, a pro-EU economic and social liberal, by 66 percent to Marine Le Pen’s 34 percent had broken the rise of the “populist right”.

Why our rulers created racism

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Racism is regarded as “natural” or a result of ignorance but, writes Antony Hamilton, the notion of a hierarchy of races has material roots in the birth of capitalism.

Racism is one of the most favoured weapons in the arsenal of the ruling class. Whenever there is economic or political crisis, instead of pointing the finger at a banker, a scapegoat is created, a minority to blame. Donald Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans out and ban Muslims from travelling to the US; Theresa May has blamed migrants for falling wages and “displacement of jobs”, and has prioritised the Tory promise to reduce immigration in her election campaign to the “tens of thousands”.

What did the first black MPs achieve?

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In June 1987 four black Labour MPs were elected. Gary McFarlane recalls this cause for celebration in an otherwise grim night, and looks at the political trajectories of these pioneering politicians.

There are plenty of theories about how Labour managed to lose four general elections in a row to the Tories from 1979 onwards, despite mass unemployment stalking the land and the relentless attacks on working class living standards. Vast swathes of the country became factory-free zones. The working class is disappearing, we were told by the misnamed journal of the Communist Party, Marxism Today. “De-industrialisation”, we were told, meant the only hope for progressives was to band together around the lowest common denominator.

Chaos reigns in Washington

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As the White House lurches on in turmoil, Lewis Nielsen draws up a balance sheet of Donald Trump’s term so far, looking at the White House, Congress and movements on the streets.

The general consensus among commentators and politicos is that Trump’s first months in the White House were chaotic rather than decisive. The fact that at the time of writing, questions are seriously being asked as to whether Trump should face impeachment is an indication of this. But the rumours of underhand links and leaks to Russia are just the latest saga in a tumultuous first few months for the new president.

The great royal con trick

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When millions of people are rejecting austerity and support the idea of taxing the rich, how does the monarchy manage to maintain a level of popularity that defies its privileged position? And why is the bigoted Prince Philip treated as a national treasure? John Newsinger investigates.

The “retirement” of Philip Mountbatten from his “public duties” led to a great outpouring of carefully orchestrated royalist propaganda right across the British media. The press carried page after page of lightweight pap covering the life of this royal nonentity. Even the Daily Mirror gave the royal parasite four pages.

Fashion: capitalism's favourite child

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From Theresa May’s choice of trousers to the horror of sweatshop labour, fashion is intimately entwined with capitalist relations of production and always has been, writes Anthony Sullivan.

Controversy is never far away from fashion, as Tory prime minister Theresa May discovered just before Christmas when former education secretary Nicky Morgan attacked her choice of £995 Amanda Wakeley leather trousers. Predictably, despite Morgan’s claims to the contrary it transpired that she had spent a similar sum on a Mulberry designer bag.

Darcus Howe: Black Power in the New Left

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Darcus Howe, who died last month, was a central figure in the radical black movement in Britain. He developed his politics from his roots in Trinidad through the fight against the National Front and the Mangrove Nine campaign against police harassment. Christian Høgsbjerg tells the story of his life.

The black Trinidadian political radical Darcus Howe was one of the leading ideological agitators of the British Black Power Movement, and a lifelong rebel and “troublemaker” who made a critical contribution to the making and shaping of modern multicultural “post-colonial” Britain.

'Revolution is much more prevalent than our rulers would have us believe'

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Sally Campbell spoke to Dave Sherry, author of new book Russia 1917, about how the Russian Revolution is relevant today and why its mass democratic nature is still hidden in the mainstream narrative.

For many socialists the Russian Revolution is the most important event in history, but for many young people it’s just another bit of ancient history. What would you say to a young activist who doesn’t see the relevance of the Revolution today?

How did France get here?

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Graffiti on Le Pen poster in the French elections

The second round of the French presidential election will see a fascist run off against a neoliberal centrist. Jad Bouharoun gives context to this bleak battle.

Neoliberal investment banker Emmanuel Macron will face off against fascist Front National’s (FN) Marine Le Pen in the second round of the French presidential election on 7 May. Radical veteran Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s insurgent left campaign attracted a huge audience and a significant share of the vote, but this didn’t prove enough to secure him a place in the second round.

Here's why Corbyn can win

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Corbyn Hull

The snap general election called by Theresa May felt to some like an ambush, designed to do maximum damage to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. But the result is not a foregone conclusion, writes Sally Campbell. Corbyn has come out fighting and this is our best chance to kick the Tories.

When Theresa May called a snap general election at just seven weeks’ notice it came as a shock. She had insisted, since her coronation as leader following David Cameron’s accidental self-removal, that she would not call an early election and would instead steer a steady path through the Brexit negotiations until 2020.

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