Feature

Can we kill the Housing Bill?

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The Tory government's Housing and Planning Bill, currently making its way through parliament, is a disaster for tenants. Housing activist Eileen Short looks at the potential consequences of the bill, and at the growing movement against it by tenants, trade unionists and campaigners.

Last month 10,000 people demonstrated in central London against the Housing and Planning Bill. A national movement is growing against the government’s plans. Some of the biggest meetings for a generation have been packed with angry people worried about the future of their homes, families and communities. A broad alliance of tenants (council, housing association and private), trade unionists and housing activists is uniting behind a banner that says, “Kill the Housing Bill; Secure homes for all; Control rents”.

Tories cook up a crisis

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The EU referendum is deepening the cracks in the Tory Party. Joseph Choonara looks at how the refugee question and EU austerity are converging into a crisis for our ruling class.

As the campaign over Britain’s EU referendum, set for 23 June, gets under way, the arguments by those advocating a “remain” position are rapidly coming unstuck. There are three arguments often encountered on the left: that the EU secures free movement, that the EU protects workers and that an exit would lead to British politics shifting rightwards. All three are based on an unwarranted pessimism.

Revisiting Ireland's uprising

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Kieran Allen's book 1916 examines the legacy of the Easter Rising. He spoke to Socialist Review about revolutionary Irish politics then and now.

Let’s start with the recent Irish elections. It was marvellous to see an increase in the number of socialists in the Dail [parliament]. Also the two main right wing parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, saw their combined vote drop, continuing a 30-year trend.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have dominated Irish politics since the Civil War of 1922-23. They used to get about 85 percent of the votes of the Irish people and they are now down to about 50 percent.

Who decides if culture is authentic?

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Recent controversies over food, hairstyles and music have highlighted the complexities of race and representation. Ken Olende unpacks some of the issues surrounding the notion of "cultural appropriation" and argues that culture is constantly evolving.

Beyoncé managed to both delight and offend with her US Superbowl tribute to the Black Panther Party. Fox News got a police sergeant to say it was the equivalent to a white act coming out in “hoods and white sheets”. She was attacked both by the right for politicising a sports event and by some on the left for trivialising a political movement, by turning a revolutionary struggle into a sexualised dance routine.

Germany’s left faces new Nazis

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In the German state elections on 13 March in Saxony Anhalt, Baden Württemberg and Rhineland Palatinate the racist Alternative for Germany (AfD) jumped from nothing to become the second or third strongest political force. The danger of a mass fascist party in Germany has become a real threat. But the rise of the AfD can still be stopped, write Volkhard Mosler and Martin Haller

“Political Earthquake”, “Election Shock” or “Swing to the Right” ran the headlines on the day after the state elections in Baden Württemberg, Saxony Anhalt and Rhineland Palatinate.

The united front in theory and practice

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Capitalism continually forces workers to fight — whether to defend conditions, challenge racism or take on the whole system. But how do revolutionaries ensure that they mobilise the widest possible forces, without compromising their politics? Tom Kay looks at the historical lessons for today.

The Tories’ onslaught continues. Whether the war in Syria, the attempted imposition of an unsafe contract on junior doctors, vicious racism towards refugees and Muslims or the many other attacks, it’s clear that the need for a broad, united fight back could barely be greater. Yet the question remains — how can we build a movement, both in the streets and the workplaces, which can halt, beat back and break this government?

Stand up and be counted

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As activists mobilise for UN Anti Racism Day, Brian Richardson assesses the state of racism in Britain and across Europe, and asks what anti-racists' priorities should be in the coming period.

The late Labour prime minister Harold Wilson is widely reported to have declared that “a week is a long time in politics” during a period of economic crisis in the 1960s. Literally speaking this well-worn cliché is, of course, wrong. There is, however, some truth in the dictum that sudden and unexpected events can dramatically transform the political landscape. Such has been the case both in Britain and across Europe over the past 12 months.

A change in society and in our art

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In a follow-up to his piece on the radical theatre of the 1930s, David Gilchrist examines how the events of 1968 kick-started a new theatre of the people. The 7:84 company took popular forms of culture - from TV to the ceilidh - and utilised them to reach new, working class audiences.

John McGrath and Elizabeth McLennan set up the socialist 7:84 Theatre Company in 1971. McLennan was a successful actor both in the theatre and on television. McGrath had had a successful career, scriptwriting the early episodes of a ground breaking TV cop show, Z Cars. They were both disillusioned with commercial theatre and excited by the political events of 1968.

Coming face to face with hate

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Author Hsiao-Hung Pai set out to understand where bigots learn their behaviour. She talks to Socialist Review about the results of her research, her new book, Angry White People.

Could you say something about the approach you take in the book? Why did you decide to interview and spend time with the likes of the EDL’s Tommy Robinson, and give their words space?

Marxism loses a passionate champion

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Alex Callinicos looks back with warm memories, not only at the life of Ellen Meiksins Wood, who died last month, but on her early identification of, and critique of, 'Post Marxism' and her critical contribution to the development of the controversial analysis of 'Political Marxism'.

Ellen Meiksins Wood, who died in January at the age of 73, was one of the outstanding Marxist intellectuals of the past generation. She combined a rigorous commitment to theoretical clarity with a profound political passion. These qualities were very evident in the intervention that first brought her to broader attention, The Retreat from Class, first published in 1986.

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