Feature

A Warning to Us All

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Although in the May 2003 local elections the British National Party (BNP) achieved the biggest fascist vote since the late 1970s - its 221 candidates polled around 100,000 votes - it failed to achieve the electoral breakthrough it had been hoping for.

The BNP won a total of 13 seats, seven of them in Burnley alone. In Sunderland none of its candidates were elected but the party won over 13,000 votes.

Electing to Fight

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Carlo Morelli, Joe Hartney and Mike Gonzalez examine the success of the Scottish socialists, while Michael Lavalette explains how he won in Preston.

The political landscape of Scotland was transformed on 1 May, with the election of six Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) MSPs to the Scottish Parliament. In the face of Blair and New Labour across Britain, we cannot overestimate how important it is that a party that openly talks about socialism and is consistently anti-war has won mass support. Even the most reticent bourgeois commentators agree on that.

Young, Gifted and Back

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Cabinet resignations, backbench rebellions and increasing public anger are all making life difficult for the government. Rob Hoveman views the prospects for the left.

Tony Blair and New Labour are in trouble. The most dramatic political event in years - the war on Iraq and the mass movement against it - created deep splits in the party. Some 140 Labour MPs voted against the government even though Blair effectively made it a vote of confidence in him. The movement against the war very nearly forced Blair from office. Two cabinet ministers - Robin Cook and belatedly Clare Short - have now resigned because of the war.

The Conquest of Iraq

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The Stop the War Coalition is now entering a new phase of its evolution.

From its first meeting in September 2001 it has been clear that the coalition is unique as a single-issue campaigning body. Its precursor was the anti-globalisation movement, whose broad critique of capitalism and methods of organisation entered into its bloodstream at birth even if it never formed part of the coalition's explicit programme.

The Guilty Men

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Democracy and liberation were not top of the agenda following the Second World War.

In the summer of 1940, Britain's 'finest hour', German aircraft were over the white cliffs of Dover and the streets of London, and Hitler's panzers seemed set to invade Britain. After beating a disorderly and chaotic retreat from Dunkirk you might have expected that every available British soldier would be lined up on the south coast ready to repulse an expected invasion.

A New Left is Born

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Simon Assaf reports on the anti-war movement in the Middle East.

'Now the anti-war movement has become a movement against occupation in Palestine and Iraq,' the Al Jazeera correspondent declared from the London demonstration on 12 April. Images of the protest, and the millions out across Europe, punctured the mood of despondency that had gripped the Arab world since the fall of Baghdad. The anti-war movement served notice on the warmongers that they will continue to face deep opposition.

Imperialism - Remaking the Middle East

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The history of British and French rule in the Middle East makes uncomfortable reading for Iraq's new conquerors.

'I'll never engage in creating kings again: it's too great a strain.' As they struggle to impose a compliant government on Iraq, Pentagon officials may well reflect on the words that Gertrude Bell wrote in 1921. Bell, an adviser to the British High Commissioner in Baghdad, played an important role in creating a new colonial order for the Middle East. Out of the debris of the Ottoman Empire, the imperialists of an earlier generation fashioned a network of client kingdoms under British and French tutelage.

World Erupts Against the US

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From Egypt to the Lebanon, from Damascus to Palestine, the war in Iraq is leading to a revolt in the Middle East not seen for years.

'Where are the protesters?' As anti-war demonstrations shook the globe in February, CNN's correspondent in Amman wondered why the streets of the Middle East were still quiet. Robert Fisk made the same point in the 'Independent': 'One million people demonstrate in London, while the Arabs, faced with disaster, are like mice.'

War Under Attack

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Opposing and organising against the conflict in Iraq is the most important task facing anti-capitalist campaigners today.

It is clear that we are currently participating in one of the most remarkable mass movements in world history. Its origins date back to before the Bush administration exploited 11 September 2001 by launching its war-drive, to the great wave of anti-capitalist protests--Seattle, Prague, Genoa. Yet, as the movement has come to focus on mobilising against imperialist war, first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq, it has grown astonishingly in extent--15 February 2003 is simply without any historical precedent as a gigantic day of global protest--and in political radicalism.

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