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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.

Promises, Promises

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Bush claims he wants to liberate Iraq. Dragan Plavsic examines the experience of Serbia and Afghanistan.

The assassination last month of the pro-western, neoliberal Serbian prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, a key leader of the revolution of 2000 that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic, demonstrated in stark and bloody fashion the chaotic condition of Serbia today. This situation cannot be understood without examining the devastating role of western governments and institutions, above all the US and IMF, in recent Balkan affairs.

A criminal elite

Hollywood: Rewriting the Script

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The movement against capitalism and war is having an impact on what's being produced by Hollywood.

With the rise of the anti-war movement, Hollywood is reaching back into the murkiest aspects of its history and reviving tried and tested techniques to try to crush dissent. Actors committed to speaking up against war are threatened with losing their jobs, like the rerun of a bad Cold War movie. The treatment of Martin Sheen, who plays the president in the television series 'The West Wing', is one such example. Perhaps he has put in too many unscheduled appearances on anti-war stages for the likes of NBC who are now under pressure to sack him.

People Power

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Workers' power is far more democratic than parliament.

When I went to live in Tottenham in 1964, I was surprised to learn that local people had elected a Tory MP. Walking through the relentlessly working class streets, I could not understand how the people had elected a Tory. Then I discovered that they hadn't. A left wing Labour MP elected in 1959 had 'changed his mind' in 1960 and crossed to the other side. The voters of Tottenham could do nothing until the next general election. This illustrates one of the great defects of parliamentary democracy.

Born Unfree and Unequal

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Capitalism's claim of promoting democracy is continually undermined by the growing gap between rich and poor.

In his speech in the House of Commons debate on war with Iraq, Tony Blair allowed himself a rather rambling excursion into what he saw as the basic reasons for the conflict. Perhaps unwittingly slapping down those of his ministerial colleagues who had likened Saddam Hussein to Hitler, he accepted that comparisons with the 1930s were not very relevant. The real battle, he said, is not between relatively rich countries, as it was then.

Making Democracy Safe

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Was democracy the cornerstone of US policy during the Cold War?

We frequently hear US apologists claim that since the end of the Second World War US foreign policy has been based on the values of freedom, democracy and human rights--its main thrust being the curbing of the power of dictators and the fostering of social and economic conditions in which 'free' institutions can flourish. The principal examples cited are those of postwar Germany and Japan.

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