Feature

A Fistful of Dollars

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The deadly arms trade between Britain, the US and Israel

Colin Powell effectively went on his 'peace mission' to Israel with a suitcase of guns. Every US call for Israeli restraint is matched by millions of dollars in military aid and huge consignments of US arms. It's not the Jewish-US lobby driving this support for Israel, but those old Texas issues of guns and oil. A well armed Israel can better keep the 'balance of power' in the Middle East, ensuring cheap flowing oil. The arms sales keep up the share prices of Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing and Textron. Britain hangs on to the coat tails of US policy and also arms to Israel.

Victory to the Intifada

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Anger against Israel's murder of Palestinians has led to mass protests throughout the Middle East. Simon Assaf reports from Lebanon.

On Friday 29 March the Arab world changed. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon sent his troops in the deadliest assault so far on the Palestinians. Tanks surrounded Yasser Arafat's office, and the massacre of Palestinians began in Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, and countless towns and villages across the West Bank.

How We Beat the Bankers

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The Birmingham Defend Council Housing Campaign recall how they inflicted a serious defeat on New Labour.

Last year John Prescott announced the 'death of council housing'. Last month 40,000 Birmingham tenants stuck two fingers up to him. Birmingham City Council spent two years and over £36 million (of tenants' rents) on their slick 'vote yes' campaign. Birmingham has the largest number of council homes in the country and despite the council's one-sided propaganda campaign over two thirds of tenants voted against them.

Can Men and Women be Equal?

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Report from a Marxist Forum in Tower Hamlets, East London.

Brick Lane is not the place it used to be. The hot bagel shops are still there but its proximity to the City of London and spiralling house prices have led to a proliferation of yuppie wine bars and the like. But how pleasant to come in from the cold to a trendy and neon-lit cafe to debate with an assorted company of some 50 people on whether women today have equality with men. This is the regular meeting place for the Tower Hamlets SWP Marxist forum.

It's the Government, Stupid

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The Michael Moore book signing tour hits San Diego.

Dear Friends,

I'm in San Diego, and I have just escaped being arrested by the police. This book tour keeps getting more surreal, but the last hour has been unlike anything I have yet seen. I have come to San Diego to speak at an event organised for my book 'Stupid White Men'. The event is being held at a middle school in an auditorium that seats about 800 people.

Funds for the Future

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New Labour can no longer take the trade unions' money for granted.

For over 100 years the trade union movement has supported the Labour Party both politically and financially. Last year alone trade unions donated £10 million to Labour's coffers. But, as last month's Socialist Alliance trade union conference showed, New Labour can no longer take that support for granted. With over 1,000 trade unionists attending, it was the biggest unofficial trade union gathering in over two decades. The key debate was the question of opening up the unions' political funds to parties that oppose privatisation, defend union rights and protect jobs.

'Parrots Have Never Made a Revolution'

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Attacks on Labour and trade union leaders, as well as the occasional anecdote, makes 'In the Thick of Workers' Struggle', Tony Cliff's second volume of selected writings, essential reading.

Before 1960 Tony Cliff established himself as a theoretician with books on state capitalism in Russia, China and Eastern Europe. But as a revolutionary Cliff could not be satisfied by this. To show that Stalinism had nothing to do with socialism was merely a negative statement. Cliff now wanted to negate this negation, to look forward to the rebuilding of an authentic socialist movement.

Unity in Diversity

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The movement against neoliberalism and war must be built, but so too must the revolutionary Marxist current within it.

The 2000s are proving to be a new era of mass movements. This is most spectacularly reflected in the international campaigns against global capitalism and against the 'war on terrorism'. Of necessity, these movements unite a wide range of political forces in common action. The anti-capitalist movement prides itself on its unity in diversity. The second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre brought together a very wide spectrum that extended from French and Brazilian social democrats to revolutionary socialists and autonomists.

Losing the Appetite for War

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Simon Assaf reports from Lebanon about the growing unrest in the Middle East.

With the Afghan war still smouldering the US is having difficulties in moving to the next stage of its 'war on terror'. US vice-president Dick Cheney toured the Middle East trying to win Arab support for a full scale invasion of Iraq. The Arab leaders, however, have shown little appetite for a third Gulf War while the Occupied Territories are ablaze.

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