I agree with John Parrington’s assertion that human characteristics and disorders are the product of an intricate interplay between society and biology. However, this academic generalisation should not be confused with a Marxist approach to human suffering.
I was surprised to read such an uncritical review by Kevin Devine of Oliver James’s book Not in Your Genes (June SR).
Discussing mental health, James argues that “what is crucial is how, as children, we are (or aren’t) nurtured by our parents”. It is true that family tensions can have a negative impact on mental health.
Bob Fotheringham’s piece (Scottish front, June SR) has been largely vindicated by the election results. He was right that their record in office would damage the SNP, and also that the Tories would be the main beneficiaries.
The big surprise was that Labour also made significant gains at the SNP’s expense. Bob is right to say that Labour’s manifesto, “way to the left of anything being considered by the SNP” (with the important exception of Trident), resonated in Scotland.
In the picture accompanying Alan Gibson’s excellent article on the redirection of the Bolsheviks’ policy to the First World War (“How Lenin set the course for October”, April SR), there is a picture of Lenin descending from a train at the Finland Station. Behind him is a moustachioed, flat capped figure. Who he?
I would like to thank John Mullen for reading my article “Rage against police racism rocks France” (March SR) and for taking the time to respond to it.
John is absolutely correct to point out that the question of Islamophobia is far from solved when it comes to the radical left in France; however, he is underestimating the substantial improvements that have been secured in recent years.
Roger Huddle is right to be disappointed by the Royal Academy’s Revolution exhibition (March SR). Thankfully, unlike the stolid display on show there, the Imagine Moscow show at the Design Museum makes an effort to bring to life the artistic dynamism that the events of 1917 propelled.
None of the six architectural projects exhibited were ever built, but the fantastic ideas behind them live on in cities across the world, though sadly more often than not without their original political aims.
Joseph Choonara’s article “If robots took our jobs, could they do them?” (March SR) made for refreshing reading. I work as a software developer and there is much talk of the impact AI will have on employment levels in our line of work. Much of it seems to follow the bleak “robot overlords” narrative that has dominated the debate so far.
I was pleased that Joseph raised the profitability problems inherent in automation under capitalism. Crucial arguments such as this one have been swept under the carpet by AI proponents.
Jad Bouharoun’s article “Rage against police racism in France” (March SR) was very good. It contained one error, however. The New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) candidate, Philippe Poutou, has absolutely not made fighting Islamophobia a priority in his presidential campaign.
Indeed, in the NPA newspaper, the issue is practically invisible. This is because, like all the other left and far-left groups in France, the NPA is hopelessly divided on whether one should organise against Islamophobia or not.