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Solidarity is on call

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Junior doctors voted by a staggering 98 percent to strike over working hours. Doctor Ron Singer explains the long term issues and BMA activist Yannis Gourtsoyannis talks about the campaign.

The proposed strike by junior doctors is only the second in NHS history. The first was in 1975 over hours of work — then a usual 120 hours a week. The government does not think that the NHS works 24/7. The call for a “full” seven days a week service needed a way round the current junior doctor contract.

Confidence in the balance

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Workers face a massive challenge in taking on the Tories' anti-trade union bill. Julie Sherry draws the lessons from the steady trickle of victorious localised disputes.

The passing of the Tory Trade Union Bill — a fundamental assault on our right to strike — at its third reading in parliament on 10 November acted to focus the mind on the scale of the challenges ahead. The task of defending our unions and mobilising workers to fight the austerity onslaught just got more urgent.

Freud, sex and the socialist imagination

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Freud’s methods may not have been very scientific, but his insights into the social construction of gender and sexual identity were remarkably radical for a middle class man in conservative Vienna a century ago. Socialists can take those radical insights far further, writes Mark O’Brien.

Freud presents an intriguing paradox for Marxists. His explicit theory of the psyche was clearly not revolutionary. He believed that the psychological repression of desire was the necessary price for the achievements of “civilisation”.

He was also deeply pessimistic about the possibility of human transformation.

We learned to be bold

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After over 100 days of strike action National Gallery workers voted to return to work last month having won nearly all their demands. Socialist Review and five strikers discussed the lessons learned.

When did you all join the union?

Patrick: Nine years ago!

Eva: I can’t remember if it was before the first strike or not… Less than a year ago.

Lucy: Did you join because of the privatisation?

Eva: Yes.

Corbynomics: can it work?

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell are championing economic policies that challenge the neoliberalism of the past four decades. Simon Guy argues that to make them work will require not just reforms in parliament, but workers' struggles from below.

‘What’s happening?’ Corbyn asked a young man with a ‘CORBYN OUT’ placard. ‘He’s refusing to give free gap years and iPhones to the under-25s’. ‘CORBYN OUT!’ Corbyn shouted. ‘DOWN WITH CORBYN! END THE CORBYN JUNTA NOW!’”

The Daily Telegraph’s depiction of a delusional, childish movement forever unsatisfied with so-called economic realities tries to distract from the key reason for Jeremy Corbyn’s rise — that he represents a popular break with austerity.

The privatisation of military power

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Over the past 15 years a creeping process of outsourcing has been taking place inside the military. John Newsinger argues that the use of mercenaries and contractors undermines democracy.

The Iraq war will be seen as a turning point in the history of warfare. Not because of the illegality of the invasion or the unprecedented incompetence of the occupation, important though these were, but because it was the first modern public-private war.

Nature, nurture: mind the trap

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Is it the DNA we are born with or our environment that determines how we act? John Parrington, author of The Deeper Genome, looks beyond this false dichotomy to a dialectical approach.

Imagine if someone invented a portable supercomputer that required only the wattage of a light bulb to run, but had the literary imagination of a William Shakespeare or Emily Brontë, the scientific genius of an Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, and the musical talent of an Amadeus Mozart or Billie Holliday. In fact such a computer already exists — it’s called the human brain.

Opportunities and challenges for the left in Argentina

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Last month Heike Schaumberg looked at Argentina's 2001 neoliberal crisis and the uprising that followed it. With a general election approaching and a Trotskyist on the presidential ballot, she asks whether the far left can make electoral gains and how that relates to the wider social movements.

Argentina will hold a general election to elect a new president on 25 October and it is possible that the far left may see noteworthy results. The Trotskyist left got 3.31 percent of the vote in the presidential primaries this August, which elects the parties’ and alliances’ main candidates for the presidency and provincial governors.

This was enough to secure a place for Nicolás del Caño of the Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores (Workers’ Left Front, FIT) in the presidential race.

Trojan treaty

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International big business aims to smash barriers to higher profits. John Sinha explains what is actually at stake if TTIP passes.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a bilateral trade deal between the EU and the US. Its claimed purpose is to boost trade by removing non-tariff “barriers”. These so-called barriers are the regulations which protect workers’ rights, health and safety, and the environment.

Reformism, islamism & revolution

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The crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood by general Sisi's counter-revolutionary regime has generated much debate on the Egyptian left about how to relate to Islamists. Anne Alexander argues that we must recognise the tensions within such organisations and work with their members.

The left in Egypt is gripped by an intense debate over the question of how revolutionaries should relate to the Islamist movement in general, and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular. The starting point was a statement published by the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) on 19 July, followed by a longer document calling on the left to rethink its attitude to the Muslim Brotherhood in order to build more effective opposition to the military regime of Abdelfattah al-Sisi.

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