Feature

Interview: Labour and the weaponising of antisemitism

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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.

1919: Britain's forgotten war on Russia

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As celebrations commenced at the signing of the General Armistice that ended the First World War, the British army, among others, decided to continue hostilities, this time against the new Soviet Republic of Russia. Steve Guy tells the story of this shady episode in British history.

When the Russian revolution finally toppled the Tsarist autocracy in November 1917 and swept Lenin and the Bolsheviks into power, one of their first acts was to seek a peace settlement with the Central Powers, Germany and Austro-Hungary. In December an armistice was signed, formally ending hostilities on the Eastern Front.

A year of hope and horror

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Looking back at the world of 2019 we can see examples of fantastic bravery and resistance in the face of fierce state repression, but also attempts by the right to gain ground. Sally Campbell asks what awaits us in the year to come.

This year Graffiti has appeared on walls from Hong Kong to Santiago reading, “We won’t return to normality, because normality was the problem.”

As a slogan it expresses well the predicament of the moment. For the past decade “normality” has meant misery for millions of people across the globe, as working class people and the poor were made to pay for the last economic crisis.

Evo Morales, the coup and popular resistance

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A combination of local capitalist forces and US imperialism lies behind the coup in Bolivia. But, as Andy Brown explains, the picture is more complicated, with Morales’s own political aims being partly to blame for his lack of support, giving the right the opportunity to overthrow him.

Evo Morales, the first indigenous person ever to be elected as president in Latin America, is today in political asylum in Mexico. He has been forced from office by the Bolivian armed forces higher command, the police and a cabal of right wing politicians, who have claimed irregularities in the recent presidential election and mobilised against him.

Polish anti-fascists are on the move

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The influence of the far-right has been growing for over a decade, but the resistance to them is beginning to flourish, writes Andy Zebrowski.

Active resistance to the extreme right in Poland is growing. The fascist led Independence Day march on 11 November was opposed on the streets by a record number of people. At its high point around 12,000 people, many young, joined the demonstration in a colourful and vibrant protest that displayed the growth in confidence of among anti-fascists from previous years.

Trinidad 1919: A glimpse of liberation

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Returning soldiers and sailors became the driving force behind a series of mass strikes that, says Christian Høgsbjerg, created a ‘social volcano’.

The year 1919 was one of intense class struggles in Britain, perhaps best remembered for the mass strike in January 1919 and the resulting tumult in Glasgow’s Clydeside for the 40-hour week and which had seen over 40,000 engineers and shipbuilders on strike alongside 36,000 miners and electricity supply workers. The secretary of state for Scotland, Robert Munro, argued that “it was a misnomer to call the situation in Glasgow a strike — it was a Bolshevist uprising”, and 12,000 English troops, 100 military lorries and six tanks were deployed to maintain order.

Rock in the USSR

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As Vladimir Putin seeks to crack down on artistic freedom, Rob Behan tells the story of the rock scene that emerged from the margins in the late years of the Soviet Union, to the dismay of the regime.

Recent developments in Russia have exposed yet more of the inner tensions in Vladimir Putin’s regime. During the summer the forces of the Russian state stood in hard opposition to growing calls for greater democratic and social freedoms from a resurgent youth. The Moscow protests of 2019 are just one of many recent manifestations of resistance to an ageing regime intent on maintaining its hold on power by locking up and censoring its youngers.

From civil resistance to revolution

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Extinction Rebellion places non-violent resistance at the heart of its strategy, and looks to claims made by US academics Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephen that just 3.5 percent of a population can topple a dictator. Sue Caldwell applauds XR’s actions, but questions the conclusions its claims can lead to.

In just over a year, Extinction Rebellion (XR), alongside Greta Thunberg and the school student climate strikes, has forced the climate emergency onto the front pages. Last month’s International Rebellion against climate change inspired activists around the world. The aggressive police response, from the use of water cannon in Brussels to effectively banning protests in central London, shocked many supporters and fed into debates about strategy and tactics.

Marching into the dustbin of history?

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Recent Loyalist riots and disturbances in Glasgow and a subsequent ban on Orange and Republican parades in the city have the shaken the image of Scotland as a modern, inclusive democracy. Mark Brown considers how revolutionary socialists should respond to recent events.

On 30 August of this year an Irish Unity march by the James Connolly Republican Flute Band through the working-class community of Govan in the south-west of Glasgow descended into chaos as it was attacked by hundreds of Loyalist thugs. Smoke bombs and other missiles were thrown at the Republican marchers in what can only be described as a Loyalist riot.

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