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Christianity, the state and women's bodies

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Christian fundamentalists campaign to repeal abortion rights, but the notion that a foetus has rights is relatively recent. German socialist Rosemarie Nünning looks at how attitudes to abortion have changed over the millennia.

Every year in Berlin Christian fundamentalists organise processions with thousands of participants. They are the most radical representatives of the notion that a fertilised egg should be regarded as a human being because at conception “quickening by God” takes place (the clump of cells acquires its own soul). For this reason they consider abortion murder and demand a complete ban.

Interview: 'People are searching for ideas to explain the system'

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Camilla Royle spoke to Joseph Choonara, author of a new guide to Capital, about the relevance of Marx’s great work to the world today.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Capital volume 1. As you say in your book, the 50th anniversary was the year of the Russian Revolution and the 100th anniversary was right before the events of 1968 such as the civil rights movement and the general strike in France. How relevant is Capital today?

The fine art of revolutionary manoeuvre

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The tumultuous summer months of 1917 in Russia saw the right regrouping in an attempt to reverse the gains of the February Revolution. Alan Gibson describes the twists and turns which brought the Bolsheviks and the moderates together — but also laid the groundwork for the October insurrection.

‘In the menacing hour of grave ordeals at the front and complete internal collapse from the political and economic disorganisation, the country can be saved from ultimate ruin only by a really strong government in the capable and experienced hands of persons who are not bound by narrow party or group programs.”

Seize the time

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The general election result confounded the expectations of the media, the Tories and the right of the Labour Party. Ian Taylor analyses what the Corbyn surge and the Tories’ deepened crisis mean for socialists — and asks how we can turn our side’s boosted confidence into action against Tory rule.

The 8 June general election marked a shift in the balance of class forces in Britain. A Tory government expected to return with a majority of 60 to 100 seats was knocked back on its heels. Even on the morning of the election Theresa May was advised she could expect a majority of 92. And the Labour right, which has held sway in the party since the 1980s and on most key issues is barely distinguishable from the Tories, was also dealt a staggering blow.

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.

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