Feature

The use and abuse of the Arab Revolt

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In June 1916 thousands of Arabs rose up against the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled over the region for four centuries. They fought with the backing of the British and French governments, not realising they were being used as a weapon in the First World War, writes Simon Guy.

On 5 June 1916 the ruler of Mecca, Sharif Husayn, called for an Arab uprising against Ottoman rule. The goal, agreed with the British High Commissioner in Egypt, was to unite the Arab people, establish and then rule an independent Arab kingdom, ending 400 years of Ottoman domination of the Arab world. Britain promised funds, guns and grain in return for helping to defeat the Ottomans as part of the First World War.

Casual assault on higher education

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The creeping marketisation of higher education has had major implications for staff contracts. Xanthe Rose explains the extent of casualised work in the sector.

In April the UCU lecturers’ union published a report revealing that higher education institutions are using casualised contracts to a shocking degree. The union estimates that 54 percent of all academic staff and 49 percent of all academic teaching staff are on insecure contracts. That includes staff on hourly-paid, zero-hours and fixed-term contracts, as well as agency workers.

Damaging times ahead for the Tories

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The Tories' weakness over Europe is our side's potential strength, writes Sally Campbell

David Cameron “won’t last 30 seconds if he loses the referendum”, said Ken Clarke, one of the few sitting Tories who was in parliament for the last referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU’s forerunner in 1975. And whichever way the vote goes, he continued, the Tory party will struggle to unite afterwards.

Casual assault on higher education workers

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SOAS fractionals campaign

The creeping marketisation of higher education has had major implications for staff contracts. Xanthe Rose explains the extent of casualised work in the sector.

In April the UCU published a report revealing that higher education institutions are using casualised contracts to a shocking degree. The union estimates that 54 percent of all academic staff and 49 percent of all academic teaching staff are on insecure contracts. That includes staff on hourly-paid, zero-hours and fixed-term contracts, as well as agency workers.

Signs of recovery

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The junior doctors' dispute has combined with teachers’ anger and the Tory crisis to present new opportunities

The government has stumbled into a key trial of strength with junior doctors, who by the end of April had taken five rounds of escalating strikes, including a full walkout without cover. As the BBC’s health correspondent wrote after the full walkout, “this is going to be a fight to the bitter end…both sides have been briefing about how determined they are not to give ground. But who will break first? Ministers or doctors?” The answer will have far reaching consequences.

High class muscle men for capital

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In May 1916 US troops entered Santo Domingo. They would leave eight years later, after reshaping the economy in the interests of US big business. But the legacy of the occupation has been much more lasting both economically and in terms of democracy, writes Hassan Mahamdallie.

On 5 May 1916 an advance party of two seaborne companies of US marines landed on the coast of the Caribbean republic of Santo Domingo (also known as the Dominican Republic) with orders to secure US interests. Ten days later they had taken over the capital city. They would not leave for another eight years, by which time they had made sure that Santo Domingo’s freedom had been subjugated to the political and economic imperatives of the US.

Entering the age of humans

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Human activity has transformed the Earth, accelerating climate change in just a few decades. Author Ian Angus talks to Socialist Review about facing up to the new reality.

Can you explain the concept of the Anthropocene and its importance for understanding the current climate crisis?

Anthropocene is the proposed name for the present stage of Earth history: a time in which human activity is transforming the entire planet in unprecedented and dangerous ways. Scientists divide Earth’s 4.5 billion year history into time intervals that correspond to major changes in the conditions and forms of life on Earth.

FE: not just a one day wonder

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Further Education lecturers in Scotland won a stunning victory in March after just one day of planned all-out strike action. Lecturers' union activists Donny Gluckstein and Penny Gower draw out the lessons we can all learn from their methods of organising.

In October 2014 the Further Education Lecturers’ Association (FELA), a semi-autonomous section of the EIS teachers’ union in Scotland, called for national bargaining to bring equal pay to the level of the highest paid college. In March 2016 strike action began and after just one day these demands were won, along with a pay rise for all and no deduction for striking. By 2019 wages will have risen by 11 percent on average, with the lowest paid lecturers seeing an increase of at least 33 percent. We need to learn the lessons.

Is the EU an ecofriendly institution?

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For many of those on the left who support Britain's membership of the EU, environmental protection is an important factor. But the EU's pursuit of neoliberalism and its steadfast support for big farmers negate any positive noises it makes about carbon emissions, writes Chris Fuller.

Among those groups urging voters to stay in the EU in next month’s referendum are the Greens and Friends of the Earth (FoE). The Greens state, “It’s only by working with our European neighbours that we can tackle climate change, protect wildlife and reduce pollution.” FoE argue that the EU has created cleaner beaches and drinking water, reduced air pollution and protected wildlife. Both organisations enter some caveats. The FoE website is littered with accounts of EU environmental disasters. The Greens say that the EU needs to be reformed, saying it can be changed “for the common good”.

Bleached out pop art for the wealthy

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Neoliberalism has promoted an art market that encourages the rise of artists such as Damien Hirst as "factory" owners, employing students on low wages to churn out works for the world's super-rich dealers and collectors. Noel Halifax asks how we got to this sad state of affairs.

What is art for? Oscar Wilde famously said that art was useless and by implication outside of utility — therefore it was able to transcend the capitalist system. Today the most successful artists seem to have rejected the notion of art as transcending the market and a system of value based on money in favour of a neoliberal art world of “art for art’s sake, money for God’s sake”, as rock band 10cc put it.

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