Feature

Nineteen Eighty-Four and all that

Issue section: 

Seventy years after his death, George Orwell has been canonised by the literary establishment as a liberal critic of totalitarianism. John Newsinger argues that his life and his work show him to be a harsh a critic of capitalism, and a staunch supporter of the struggles of the “common people”.

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was first published in 1949 when its author was already seriously ill. He was to die, aged only 46, in January 1950. One consequence of his early death was that his book was successfully hijacked by the right, both in Britain and the United States. It was turned into an ideological weapon in the Cold War, used to defend the interests of British and American imperialism and to undermine the left throughout the world. It is today once again a bestseller, speaking to a new audience in a very different world.

Interview: Hegel, history and revolution

Issue section: 

Terry Sullivan and Donny Gluckstein spoke to Socialist Review about Hegel, history and dialectics and why we still need to understand them.

Why should any socialist today care about Hegel? Wasn’t he just a difficult, abstract, bourgeois philosopher?

We would argue Hegel is worth careful attention even though he is a difficult, abstract and bourgeois philosopher and reading him is “like chewing gravel”. That was one reason to write a book that makes the core of his thought accessible. What is significant is not this or that particular piece of writing, but the overall method and approach that he adopted. This was applied by Marx in his time, and can and should still be applied by socialists today.

Australia's political firestorm

Issue section: 

The startling effects of climate change have highlighted the global catastrophe for people who might have thought they were immune. Camilla Royle explains the political context of the crisis and Caitlin Doyle looks at why the government wants business as usual, despite the evidence.

The huge fires ripping through the Australian bush over the past few months have brought climate change home. Although people in the Global South are the most vulnerable, and the fires come at the same time as devastating floods in Jakarta, Indonesia, the climate catastrophe is also reaching the wealthier countries.

Lecturers head back into battle

Issue section: 

Tens of thousands of university workers are set to go on strike this month. Michael Bradley looks at the roots of the dispute and the debates about strategy within the movement.

Tens of thousands of lecturers across Britain, organised by the University and College Union (UCU), are set to come out on strike for up to 14 days in February and March in a dispute over pensions, pay, workload, equalities and casualisation. More than 40,000 workers have already taken part in eight days of strike action last December.

Love me Tinder, love me true…?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Online dating has taken off spectacularly in the past decade, with up to 200 million users around the world. Sarah Bates asks how much services such as Tinder change the ways we relate to each other.

Are we living through a “Tinder revolution”? Has finding partners been radically transformed by new technological routes to sexual gratification? In some ways, it has — it’s estimated that 200 million people around the world use the internet to find romantic and/or sexual partners.

Statistics vary, but one piece of research found that 39 percent of heterosexual couples and 70 percent of same sex couples in the US met online.

Should we build more houses?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The answer seems obvious but, as thermal efficiency expert Fergus Nicol says, once global warming and energy conservation are factored in, the solution to the housing crisis is more complicated.

The shortage of housing, particularly for people on low incomes, is a major issue. The extent of the shortage is made visible by the number of homeless people forced to sleep rough on the streets. According to research by the housing charity Shelter, at least 320,000 people are homeless in Britain, with more than 4,000 of these sleeping rough. The need for council housing vastly outstrips supply, with around 1.24 million UK households on local authority waiting lists.

Vasily Grossman always sided with the oppressed

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Some have tried to claim Russian author Vasily Grossman, whose novels Life and Fate and the newly translated Stalingrad are considered masterpieces, as a supporter of the West and proponent of rugged individualism. Bob Light reclaims him for a radical tradition that rejects all rulers.

When he died in September 1964 just one English-language publication considered the Russian writer Vasily Grossman worthy of a memorial, with only the New York Times carrying a perfunctory hundred-word unsigned obituary. None of his writing was available outside Russia, and next-to-none was available inside Russia. In the sub-zero atmosphere of the Cold War in the “West” Grossman was just another Stalin-period hack; in the Russian empire he was an unreliable has-been who could not find a publisher.

A bloody bitter pill

Issue section: 
Issue: 

The reasons for the Tory victory extend back beyond Jeremy Corbyn’s time as Labour Party leader and beyond Brexit. Joseph Choonara explains and points a way forward.

Yes, this was the Brexit election. Yes, Jeremy Corbyn, the most decent figure to lead a major British party in recent history, was subjected to a campaign of slander in the media, aided and abetted by the right-wing of the Labour Party. This was indeed the context in which Labour’s “red wall” of formerly safe seats in the north of England and Midlands came crashing down, paving the way for Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory.

But the wall began crumbling long before — back when Corbyn was a peripheral figure within the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Interview: Labour and the weaponising of antisemitism

Issue section: 
Author: 

Tony Lerman is one of the authors of Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the party and public belief (Pluto, 2019). Rob Ferguson and Sophia Beach spoke to him about the Labour Party, antisemitism and the rise of the far right.

Rob: Bad News for Labour focuses on how news coverage of the debate over antisemitism in Labour has developed and, in particular, the disparity between actual numbers of allegations of antisemitism and the public perception of the level of antisemitism in Labour.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Feature