Feature

Left Alternative: Beyond the Crossroads

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Paul Foot puts the case for a unity coalition of the left, while Socialist Alliance councillor Michael Lavalette explains how he has forged a campaign in Preston.

The vast demonstration against Bush on 20 November once again opened wide the increasingly intolerable contradiction on the British left. These demonstrations in 2003 were far greater than anything in the 1960s or indeed at any other time before or since, yet when the crowds have dispersed, there is so little sign of any political result. The huge Labour majority cannot even prevent parliament from moving yet another step closer to the privatisation of the health service.

Education: Dear Diane Abbott...

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Poet Michael Rosen slams New Labour's education agenda.

First of all, can I say thank you for having given socialists yet another reason not to waste any time in the Labour Party. Your decision to send your son to a private school helps those of us who say that New Labour is really about inequality.

If you were a Tory, then what you've done would be a simple matter. Tories say they believe in the privilege that comes with either money or birth or both. The problem is that you've spent the last 20 years giving out the message that you're opposed to it.

Racism: Hope Amid the Hostility

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Attacks on refugees and Islamophobia are one side of the changing face of racism, but there is also a groundswell of anti-racist sentiment.

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' Assessing the level and threat of racism in Britain today uncannily summons up those famous opening words of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

Blackouts: Not a Very Bright Idea

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Deregulation is the root of the recent spate of power failures.

Who keeps switching the lights off? At the end of September, Italy joined the growing blackout club of Britain, the US, Sweden and Denmark. Since the US led the way on 14 August, all have experienced major electricity blackouts.

And it's not an exclusive club. At the current rate, every country in Europe will soon be a member.

Israel-Palestine: Wall Crimes

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A Palestinian statelet dwarfed by Israel is neither just nor viable.

The death of the road map for the Middle East has revived the debate about a single, secular, democratic state as the ultimate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in preference to the 'two states' option officially pursued as the goal of the Oslo Accords. The irony of the present situation is that it is the steady Israeli colonisation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967, that has slowly killed off that option.

Twenty Reasons to Stop Bush

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Reasons to protest as Bush visits the UK later this month.

1 - Representing the Rich
Introduced $1.6 trillion of tax cuts in 2001, 43 percent of which benefited the richest 1 percent. Made $350 billion more tax cuts in May, promised as a measure to create jobs - 225,000 jobs went in the next three months. In the first nine months of the 2003 fiscal year, corporate income tax revenues slid by $18 billion.

Democracy: A Grand Delusion

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Capitalism as economic democracy? Paul Foot has heard it all before.

For at least a hundred years there has been a continuous and hard-fought struggle between capitalism and democracy. Now a miraculous solution has been discovered by New Labour in the shape of its dynamic secretary of state for trade and industry, Patricia(n) Hewitt. Capitalism and democracy, she asserts in her new pamphlet A Labour Economy: are we nearly there yet?, are the same thing!

European Social Forum: Growing Pains

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The movement has reached a critical point, and socialists' role in the debates around the European Social Forum will be key.

Politics in France are tense. The right wing Raffarin government scored a victory in the summer by forcing through pension reforms. With the budget deep in the red, they are keen to push ahead with their neoliberal progamme. But after just 18 months in office they have become deeply unpopular.

Unions: The Only Way to Win

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The enthusiasm for the awkward squad will be wasted unless the rank and file take centre stage with determined strike action.

A run of recent setbacks in the unions has taken a bit of the gloss off the preceding sequence of election victories for members of the 'awkward squad'. Following the defeat of the firefighters and then the ousting of Mick Rix from the leadership of Aslef, the shock vote against national strike action by postal workers has taken a bit of wind out of the unions' sails and put some unaccustomed backbone into New Labour. It has left many fellow workers wondering when and if the much-heralded revival of union militancy is ever going to materialise.

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