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Lebanon's October revolution

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Mass protests and strikes in Lebanon have already toppled the prime minister, but they must go further, writes Simon Assaf.

This was never supposed to happen. A country riddled with sectarian divisions, facing a deeply embedded ruling class at ease using violence, threats and patronage to keep the people in place.

But now an unprecedented movement for change is sweeping Lebanon, with some one in four of the population taking part in the demonstrations, street occupations and strikes — numbers surpassing anything in the country’s history. There is a popular saying that “Hunger is an infidel that does not abide by public morals”.

How can we get system change?

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This year has seen a global movement in response to climate crisis. Lewis Nielsen asks how that can lead to deeper change.

Will 2019 go down as a year of mass revolt? Perhaps it is too early to say, but we can now add Chile, Catalonia and Lebanon to the likes of Hong Kong, Sudan and Algeria as places that have been rocked by mass protests this year. A notable feature of the protests has been a generalisation from an initial trigger — a WhatsApp tax or metro fare hike — into demanding much wider change.

Can Corbyn beat the toxic Tories?

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With a general election finally on the way in Britain, Shaun Doherty argues that we need to absorb the spirit of the global revolts against the effects of neoliberalism and austerity.

Against a background of global revolts, some of which are outlined on the following pages, voters in Britain have also been given the opportunity to add their voices to the demand for a world transformed.

‘A Corbyn victory will be a fundamental break’

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Left wing author and Labour Party activist Mark Perryman spoke to Socialist Review about his new book Corbynism From Below, a collection of articles by writers in and around the Labour Party.

The best thing about your book is that it is based on an optimism that Corbynism can bring about change. But you acknowledge that the last couple of years have not really lived up to the feeling we got in 2017. How optimistic are you at the moment?

Economic warnings

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All the signals suggest the global economy could be heading for another recession. Joseph Choonara looks at the factors behind a crisis that the system could find difficult to resolve.

“The economy is the BEST IT HAS EVER BEEN! Even much of the Fake News is giving me credit for that!” With this tweet, Donald Trump greeted news this summer that the US economy had achieved the longest period of expansion in its history — 121 months of growth.

Demand rises for Scottish independence

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Trouble for the Scottish Tories, the shifting sands of the Brexit crisis and growing disillusion with the Scottish National Party’s neoliberal policies in practice have all combined to created a boost for independence. Raymie Kiernan calls for a renewed radical movement to deliver real change.

“It can no longer be presumed that Scotland would vote No again in an independence ballot,” said the respected pollster professor John Curtice last month. He was commenting on the first poll taken after the resignation of Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson in late August.

When race riots marred the streets of Britain

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A combination of racism, unemployment, housing shortages and post-war disillusion led to a series of terrible attacks on black communities following the end of the First World War. Laura Miles describes the events, and how the authorities either stood aside or blamed the victims.

A century ago, after four long years of war, Britain was on the brink of revolution. Strikes raged across the industrial heartlands such as Glasgow, Liverpool and Belfast. Martial law was declared to quell a revolt in Luton. But vicious race riots also erupted in several British ports, resulting in four people being killed and hundreds badly injured.

China's revolution at 70: reality trumps myths

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Mao's revolution was not socialist

As China launches its official celebrations marking 70 years since the revolution of 1949, Adrian Budd looks at the longer context of what was a national revolution, far from any vision of communism.

On 1 October China was set to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Massive parades are organised, children will sing patriotic songs whose lyrics they have learned by heart but do not understand, military hardware has been polished. The multi-millionaires who run China will admire themselves in their new hand-made suits and dresses.

Break the Tories on the streets

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Boris Johnson, within weeks of taking over as (unelected) prime minister, has outraged everyone by suspending parliament in the run-up to the Brexit deadline. Ian Taylor analyses the forces at work around Johnson, while looking for signs of strength on the left to take the Tories on.

Boris Johnson challenged MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit to a showdown by suspending parliament for up to five weeks from the week of 9 September.

It meant MPs must move to topple the government the week of 3 September. The move wrong-footed Labour, Lib Dem and Tory opponents who had been groping towards a strategy to prevent no deal without backing Jeremy Corbyn and called their bluff. Crucially, it invited the 40 or so Tory MPs opposed to no deal to fall on their swords.

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