'The union is a shield and our sword is the strike'

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The left and the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian Doctors' Union

A rank and file slate, including socialists, won major successes in recent elections to Egypt's Doctors' Union, long a bastion of the Muslim Brotherhood. Anne Alexander spoke to Mohammed Shafiq, an organiser of this electoral campaign and a doctor at Manshiyet al-Bakri hospital in Cairo

We took 25 percent of the seats on the general council of the Doctors' Union. We had no seats at all before. And we took at least 50 percent of the local union branches. The strongest branches of the union are the Cairo branch and the Alexandria branch, followed by Giza. In Cairo we took 14 out of 16 seats and in Alexandria ten out 12 seats, although we lost in Giza. Around 50 to 60 percent of Egypt's doctors are in those three governorates. The rest are not very significant.

Putting Socialism back on the agenda

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Estelle Cooch and Jack Farmer spoke to Owen Jones, a left wing member of the Labour Party and author of Chavs, about New Labour, capitalism and the demonisation of the working class

What was it that first motivated you to write Chavs?

Above all it was to put class on the agenda. I wanted to challenge this idea that we're all middle class now and that all that remains of the working class is a feckless rump. The point is that if you don't have class, then you don't have class politics and if you don't have class politics, then you don't have a left.

Making a stand with Iran's Green Movement

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In 2009 a mass movement was born in the streets of Iran, mobilising millions in opposition to the disputed re-election of President Ahmadinejad. Jack Farmer and Peyman Jafari spoke to author Hamid Dabashi about being an opponent of both the Iranian regime and Western imperialism

You have described the Green Movement in Iran that emerged after the 2009 presidential elections as a civil rights movement, rather than an attempt to overthrow the whole political order. Do you think the Green Movement will eventually have to pose a fundamental political challenge to the regime?

Outside the Law

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French Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb spoke to Simon Assaf about his new film on the Algerian war of independence, Outside the Law

The Algerian national liberation struggle plunged France and its Algerian colony into a bloody war that has scarred both countries. Rachid Bouchareb's Outside the Law is the story of Algerian immigrants to France who were drawn into the National Liberation Front (FLN), the Algerian national movement. The war, and the scale of the repression recently admitted by France, is part of a history France attempted to bury.

The war that became a revolution

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The US Civil War began 150 years ago in April 1861. It ended with the abolition of slavery in the Southern states. Mark L Thomas spoke to historian James McPherson about this turning point in US history

To what extent was the Civil War a war to preserve the Union and to what extent was it a war to abolish slavery?

It was primarily a war to preserve the Union and that was the sole objective at the beginning of the war for the North. Indeed President Lincoln said on many occasions in the first year and a half of the war that it was not a war to abolish slavery.

Creating cities without imagination

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New Labour placed great emphasis on urban regeneration, but with deeply conflicting results. Owen Hatherley spoke to Alan Kenny and Jack Farmer about his new book and Britain's ruinous architecture.

Owen Hatherley

How did growing up in Southampton affect your view of architecture?

Standing on the shoulders of jazz giants

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New Orleans is often regarded as the birthplace of jazz. Martin Smith spoke to jazz musician Christian Scott about growing up in the city, the devastation after Katrina and making music to move the listener.

A young 27 year old black man found himself driving alone through New Orleans on his way back from the Mardi Gras at around 2am one night. As he looked in his rear view mirror, he saw a car tailing him with its lights off. For eight blocks the blacked out car followed him. His life flashed before him: was it a gang out to rob him, or, even worse, a lynch mob?


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