In my view column

Discontent and the police

Issue section: 
Issue: 

I have been on two demonstrations where protesters were killed and on a few more when I thought someone would be killed.

In every case there was a build up to the demo where the police, in particular, hyped up the threat of violence and the supposed need for aggressive policing. An atmosphere is created in which these police tactics are deemed acceptable and even reasonable, even though they rely on high levels of surveillance and violence.

A government's revenge

Issue section: 
Issue: 

It's beginning to look as if the government is out for revenge on the Muslim community for its resurgent mobilisation over Gaza.

That is surely the explanation for the pressure now being put on the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to force one of its leading officers, Dr Daud Abdullah, to resign. Dr Abdullah is the deputy general secretary of the MCB and has played a staunch and active role in opposing the "war on terror" and the attacks on the Palestinians. He is a regular speaker on demonstrations and at meetings.

The other occupation

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Every mass campaign has its symbols. For me the most moving of the Gaza campaign were the dolls dressed in bloodstained baby clothes, carried by children or teenagers, brought up to the front of demos and cradled in people's arms.

Young people have been central to the campaigning since Israel launched its attack on Gaza on 27 December. Young people have been burning the Israeli flag, organising demos, carrying placards, collecting money and organising boycotts.

Most impressive has been the wave of student occupations in solidarity with Gaza. More than 30 colleges have been in occupation since the middle of January. They have broken new ground in a number of ways.

BBC: Whose side are you on?

Issue section: 
Author: 

The refusal of the BBC's top management to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Gaza aid appeal focused public anger over media coverage of the Israeli assault.

The BBC Board's position had nothing to do with "impartiality". When a dog savages a child, it is not impartial to stand back and watch the child bleed - that is siding with the dog. Hiding behind the shibboleth of impartiality in reality meant that the BBC sided with Israel.

The betrayed generation

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Our societies are supersaturated with unrecognised anger that can suddenly crystallise around a single incident of police abuse or state repression. Yet although the seeds of revolt have been so flagrantly sown bourgeois society seldom recognises its own harvest.

In Los Angeles in 1992, for example, every teenager on the streets (or, for that matter, every cop on the beat) knew that Armageddon was coming. The widening faultlines between inner-city youth and city government should have been visible to even the most naive observer: there were weekly mass arrests, innumerable police shootings of unarmed kids, indiscriminate profiling of youth of colour as gangsters, outrageous double standards of justice, and so on.

Mobilise against system

Issue section: 
Issue: 

The protests that have shaken Greece are a sign of things to come. Initially over the shooting of a teenager by police in Athens, demonstrations and riots spread across the country, threatening the future of the government and crystallising the depth of bitterness and anger among working class people.

A deep economic crisis of the sort not seen in most of our lifetimes, following from a credit fuelled boom which failed to deliver for many people, creates a highly explosive situation. Inequality has grown, workers are under greater pressure of exploitation, and there is an ideology which repeatedly blames those at the bottom for everything that goes wrong in their lives.

Iraq and Afghanistan - out of the frying pan...

Issue section: 

One of the most popular placards on any Stop the War demonstration in the past few years has been Socialist Worker's image of George W Bush with the slogan "World's #1 Terrorist". It's not just the change of name that makes that redundant after 20 January.

Barack Obama stood on a platform of withdrawing US troops from Iraq. His candidacy expressed the widespread opposition to the Iraq war across the US. In fact, Obama's success in getting himself on the ticket as the Democratic Party candidate was itself due in large part to anti-war feelings.

While exit polls showed that 63 percent said the economy was the major issue concerning voters, the second most important issue was the war in Iraq.

Money for the banks...

Issue section: 

My first thought when the government bailed out Northern Rock last year was, where the hell does it find this kind of money when there's never a spare million for a new school or hospital?

That was nothing. Last month has brought new surprises at the amount of wealth in the system and how prepared governments are to use it to bail out the rich and powerful.

The whole scale of it takes your breath away. Banks lent money they didn't have to people who couldn't pay it back and then packaged these debts as prettily as they could and sold them on in such a way that no one really knew where they were. When this game of pass the parcel stopped, everyone panicked and refused to lend to one another.

Beyond the Palin effect

Issue section: 
Issue: 

I was rather surprised when someone said to me recently, "You almost have to admire Sarah Palin."

My surprise came from the fact that the person announcing his half admiration for the Republican vice-presidential candidate in the US elections was a longstanding socialist and anti-war activist. He certainly would not approve of Palin's creationist religious beliefs, nor of her recent chant of "Drill, baby, drill" as she urged more oil drilling in Alaska to cut the price of petrol.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - In my view column