Feature

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)?

Education goes to market

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The Tories' White Paper on higher education will enable companies to profit from education

The Higher Education and Research Bill and its accompanying White Paper, working its way through parliament now, represents an attempt to turn the English Higher Education sector into a full blown neoliberal market on the US model.

For-profit private providers will be able to quickly and easily set up as universities, recruit unlimited numbers of students and claim £9,000 per student in tuition fees. Regulation will be ripped up and simplified in the interests of these corporations and at the expense of students, staff and academic freedom.

Politically black is back

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Debates about identity, racism and “blackness” have re-emerged in the student movement this year.

The summer conference of the Black Students’ Campaign, a liberation campaign within the National Union of Students (NUS), was framed by explosive debates about identity, racism and how we organise. These debates drew on the discussions happening in wider society, from the question of who can be involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, to how we can stop the Tories’ Islamophobic Prevent agenda.

Telling political stories

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In 1977 Jatinder Verma got together with some like-minded friends in south London and founded Tara Arts — the first British Asian theatre company. It was a political act, fuelled by resistance against racism, and it catalysed an Asian theatre movement in this country, with many of Tara’s early associates going on to found their own companies. This movement linked up with other radical theatre makers, including those coming out of the struggle of African-Caribbean youth, such as the Black Theatre Co-operative, which also emerged in the late 1970s. Four decades later Tara Arts is still going strong, with Jatinder Verma at its helm. Continuing Socialist Review’s series on political theatre, Hassan Mahamdallie talked to the company’s founder about the political roots of Tara Arts, what it was trying to achieve and its continued relevance today.

Act 1: Arrival

People power in Stormont

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People Before Profit won two seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections last month, with Eamonn McCann winning a seat in Derry and Gerry Carroll topping the poll in West Belfast. How big an impact will two revolutionary socialists in the Assembly have, asks Colm Bryce.

The election of Gerry Carroll and Eamonn McCann from the radical left People Before Profit Alliance to the Stormont Assembly on 5 May has shaken the political establishment in Northern Ireland.

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