Feature

Reasons to be Fearful

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Bush and Blair are desperate to justify war on Iraq. Andrew Stone demolishes their lies one by one.

Saddam Hussein is the new Hitler.

This facile comparison, which has also been applied to General Galtieri, Colonel Gaddafi, Slobodan Milosevic and Osama bin Laden in recent years, has become so tired that even many hawks are now embarrassed to use it. A new trend is to insinuate this false parallel with references to 'appeasing' Saddam Hussein.

'A Party I am Beginning to Despise'

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Labour Party activists talk about their anger at Blair's drive to war.

A war on Iraq could plunge the Labour Party into its biggest crisis ever, with the possibility of mass resignations and the certainty that tens of thousands of Labour Party members will be marching against the government on 15 February. This is a prospect that, you would think, would worry the Blairites at head office, but that's not the feeling I got when I telephoned Labour's headquarters to ask for a response: 'We're not aware of anyone leaving the Labour Party because of the war on Iraq. Nor are we aware of any feeling of discontent.

Venezuela: The Rich Striking Oil

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Chris Harman introduces two accounts which shed light on the struggle to depose Hugo Chavez.

The new year saw the second concerted attempt within a year by the Venezuelan upper classes to overthrow the government of Hugo Chavez. On both occasions the scenario was like that enacted against the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1972.

Nato's Sea of Troubles

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The expansion of Nato eastward comes on the eve of war. Dragan Plavsic argues this is no coincidence.

'Nato has became a European peace movement. An effective movement, that is, to spread peace across the continent,' gushed Timothy Garton Ash in the 'Guardian' in November, one week after the three Baltic states-Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania-together with Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, were invited at Nato's Prague summit to join the alliance in 2004. In his enthusiasm for this miraculous conversion, Garton Ash turned a blind eye to the heart of the matter - Nato as the vehicle of US imperial expansion eastwards, and war as an integral part of the strategy.

The Clash of Civilisations

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John Rees remembers Joe Strummer of The Clash.

The Clash arrived on the battlefield of the mid-1970s in the nick of time. Unemployment was climbing, real wages were falling for the first time in postwar British history, Labour was imposing welfare cuts and the Nazis were on the rise.

In rock music, as it was then called, the radical charge of the 1960s had been dissipated. 'Progressive rock' was overblown, made dull by its concept album, rock opera pretensions.

Political Fund: Value for Money?

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New Labour's attacks on trade unionists has provided an important argument about political affiliation.

There will be an intense debate this year in almost every union conference about the link between the Labour Party and the trade unions. No one should underestimate the seismic shift that has been going on for the last couple of years and which has quickened massively even in the last few weeks.

Italy: We are All Subversives

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Berlusconi's right wing government is cracking down on protesters, but opposition is growing.

Twenty activists from the Italian anti-capitalist movement were arrested by masked police in the early hours of Friday 15 November, while another 22 were notified that they were under investigation. Some of the accusations are laughable, like throwing vegetables at policemen and going to a demonstration 'armed with a pumpkin', but they are also facing very serious and very political charges, such as 'subversion against state authority'. This is a fascist law dating back to 1930, and carries a minimum sentence of five years.

On the Eagle's Wing

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The British ruling class is hitched to the US war machine--a sign of Britain's long-term decline.

Coming on the heels of Kosovo and Afghanistan, the war with Iraq, if it takes place, will be the third Anglo-American military adventure that Tony Blair has backed since his election in 1997. The 'Daily Mirror''s headlines denouncing 'poodle' Blair have captured the extent of popular revulsion at Blair's enthusiasm for US warmongering. Yet Blair's actions are far from a novelty for a British prime minister. What is striking about foreign policy under Blair is not the break with the past but its fundamental continuity with the whole postwar period.

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