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Trade unions and Corbynism

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The low level of industrial struggle is in contrast to the huge political earthquake of Corbynism. How can socialists work within this contradiction, asks Julie Sherry

The events of Saturday 24 September summed up the key contradiction of the current political situation. As celebrations were breaking out at Corbyn’s triumph in the Labour leadership election, you caught a real feel for that huge mood for an alternative to austerity, and of the possibilities and opportunities for socialist politics in this moment. Scrolling down your news feed, that sense of jubilation was palpable.

BLM UK: the beat goes on

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Inspired by the US, the Black Lives Matter movement took off in Britain over the summer. Harold Wilson looks at the issues that sparked the protests and at the activists who found themselves leading the charge.

A summer of street protests called in response to police killings of African-Americans began at the skate park on London’s Southbank in July. What began with 100 people or so gathered momentum, doubling in size. Soon 1,000 were on the move spilling onto Waterloo Bridge. Parliament Square was choked with protesters.

Other cities in the UK followed: Sheffield, Leeds, Huddersfield, Nottingham, Manchester, Leicester.

Civil war in France

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After a summer of burkini bans, Ugo Palheta argues that France's ruling class is waging a strategic offensive against Muslims - with "socialist" prime minister Manuel Valls leading the charge

France’s highest constitutional court has overturned the burkini bans brought in by over 30 mayors in France through the month of August. Most of these mayors belong to the centre-right party Les Republicaines (LR), but also some to the fascist Front National and the governing Labour-type Socialist Party (PS).

Labour, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism

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Over the summer human rights lawyer Shami Chakrabarti reported on her investigation into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Sabby Sagall looks at her findings, and at the continuing problem of conflating opposition to the crimes of the state of Israel with anti-Jewish racism.

Last April a row engulfed Ken Livingstone, former Labour mayor of London, and Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, following remarks they made about Israel and Zionism. They were suspended from the Labour Party, with Naz Shah having the parliamentary whip withdrawn. Shah has been reinstated, and though Livingstone has demanded that he too be reinstated, a decision has yet to be made by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

The fight for transgender liberation

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Advances in sexual awareness are welcome, but transgender people still face terrible discrimination - and condemnation by some feminists. Laura Miles argues that unity against all forms of oppression is integral to the fight for sexual liberation.

Despite advances such as same sex marriage in a number of countries, hatred, bigotry and hostility to LGBT+ people continue to motivate some people. The US establishment may have expressed outrage at the Orlando massacre in a gay club in June, but over 30 US states still have no anti-discrimination protection for LGBT+ people.

How do we best back Corbyn?

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For the second summer in a row Jeremy Corbyn has been out on the road battling for the Labour leadership. Mark L Thomas looks at the dynamics of the campaign and the prospects for the Labour Party once the contest is over.

The summer was dominated by the bitter fight over the Labour leadership. The majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) gambled that the Brexit vote could be used to launch an onslaught on Jeremy Corbyn, who they deemed insufficiently enthusiastic for the Remain cause after he refused (rightly) to campaign alongside pro-Remain Tories or drop his entirely justified criticisms of the EU. The aim was to force Corbyn to resign without risking a vote by the Labour membership.

The balance of class forces after the Brexit vote

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The world changed a little after Britain voted to leave the EU. Socialist Review spoke to Charlie Kimber, editor of Socialist Worker, about the new challenges revolutionaries face in the current period.

In the run up to the EU referendum in June we argued that a leave vote would create a crisis for our ruling class, particularly for the Tory party; that it would be a crisis for the EU project itself; and that therefore a Leave vote could provide an opportunity for our side to strengthen the fight against austerity. How much do you think we’ve seen those predictions borne out?

Spain 1936: from war to revolution

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On 17 July 1936 a cabal of army officers staged a military coup against the Spanish government. Workers had to decide how to respond. It was a pivotal moment for the politics of the 1930s and there are important lessons for socialists today.

For revolutionaries the Spanish Civil War resonates through the decades. It provides an inspirational example of the heroism, creativity and self-organisation of workers. Everything was possible. When the English writer George Orwell arrived in Barcelona in December 1936 he wrote, “It was the first time that I had been in a town where the working class was in the saddle.

"Consider us as having died today or tomorrow"

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The Battle of the Somme started on 1 July 1916 and dragged on until the following November. Steve Guy describes the rigid class divisions between officers and rank and file soldiers and the snobbery of generals such as Haig, that became major features behind the subsequent slaughter.

In the years prior to what became known as the Great War, most of the nations that were to become embroiled in the conflict had standing armies numbering hundreds of thousands. The empires of Austro-Hungary and Tsarist Russia, Germany and France all used conscription — enforced recruitment — in varying degrees, to maintain their numbers.

Can robots usher in a socialist utopia or only a capitalist dystopia?

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Robots and artificial intelligence should improve and ease our working lives, but they always seem to mean job losses and deskilling instead. The age of artificial intelligence is often proclaimed, but is it really just around the corner?

Are robots and artificial intelligence (AI) set to take over the world of work and thus the economy in the next generation? And what does this mean for jobs and living standards for people? Will it mean socialist utopia in our time (the end of human toil and a superabundant harmonious society) or capitalist dystopia (more intense crises and class conflict)?

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