Feature

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.

New sites of struggle in a changing China

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In a sobering and detailed analysis, Kevin Lin speaks to Adrian Budd about the resilience of workers’ struggles in China, despite fierce state repression.

The precarious working and living conditions of the millions of migrant labourers who have moved from rural to urban areas of China over recent decades made the development of an organised labour movement harder. Have the circumstances of these workers become more stable? Is their increased stability helping to develop class consciousness?

Is our diet wrecking the environment?

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In the first of a series on food and the climate crisis, Amy Leather explains how capitalist agriculture has shaped our diet and the planet.

Earlier this year the Lancet medical journal published what they called the “planetary health diet”. They claimed that if their universal scientific targets for healthy diets were adopted, not only would it save at least 11 million lives but would also help avert global environmental catastrophe and prevent the collapse of the natural world. Their central message was that “the world’s diets must change dramatically” to both save ourselves and the planet. The diet they recommended was largely plant-based, and therefore boosted the claim that only by going vegan can we save the planet.

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.

Pick of the summer

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Our writers recommend books, art, music and events for the holidays.

Tim O’Dell

In her novel, An American Marriage, Tayari Jones introduces us to Roy Othaniel Hamilton, a young Southern black man who is doing well. Everything takes a terrifying turn when he is convicted of a rape he didn’t commit. Jones knows that we judge people on how we imagine we’d react, but real life is a bit more complicated. This novel is an exploration of the fragility of black lives in the US. Deserving of its Women’s Prize for Fiction win, it is a great read that will touch you deeply.

‘Every single Viceroy of India, whether they liked it or not, had to deal with Gandhi’

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Harjeevan Gill speaks to author and historian Talat Ahmed about her new biography of Mohandas Gandhi, the battle over his legacy in India today and what Extinction Rebellion can learn from him.

There’s been so much written about Gandhi. What was the motivation behind writing your book?

Yes there are lots of books about Gandhi — you could fill an entire library with the number of biographies and political theses. Some of the literature is very good indeed and there are lots of historical works dating back 30 or 40 years where historians have mined all kinds of archival material in order to try and make sense of Gandhi. Much of that work has been very useful and it certainly influenced me in my own thinking.

Hong Kong’s protests in perspective

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John Smith puts the Hong Kong protests of recent weeks into the broader contexts of Hong Kong’s development over the past few decades, its growing connections with the hugely important Pearl River Delta area and the growth of an increasingly aware, organised and militant Chinese working class.

The 2 million-strong demonstration in Hong Kong on 17 June and the proliferation of smaller demonstrations led by students and student-worker alliances, have been truly exciting.

Why are homophobic attacks on the rise?

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Bethan Turner examines the toxic mix of mainstream politics, the alt-right and religious pronouncements that normalises bigotry.

"They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us ‘lesbians’ and describing sexual positions… The next thing I know is that Chris is in the middle of the bus fighting with them.” So wrote Melanie, one of the women assaulted in a homophobic attack on a London bus in May. The incident sparked widespread condemnation, including from Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May, arguably surprising, given her record, but more on that later.

Gender, sport and capitalism

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The shocking treatment of runner Caster Semenya raises questions about what is “fair” in top level sport, but it should also make us re-examine how girls and women are taught to feel about their bodies, writes Sue Caldwell.

In May the Court for Arbitration in Sports (CAS) ruled that the South African Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya has an “unfair advantage” when running the 800 metres because of the high level of her naturally occurring testosterone. By their own account the CAS admitted that the ruling is “discriminatory”, but “necessary”. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) welcomed the ruling as a “reasonable and proportionate means of preserving the integrity of female athletes”.

Outrageous imposition

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