Feature

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.

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?

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.

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.

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