Scotland: can RISE rise?

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August saw the launch in Scotland of RISE (Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism), a new left alliance initiated by activists from the Radical Independence Campaign, the Scottish Socialist Party, and socialists and activists.

Around 600 people attended the launch event in Glasgow.

RISE aims to bring the Scottish left together under one umbrella which can pose an electoral alternative to the Labour Party and the nationalist SNP, with the first test being the Scottish parliament elections next May.

Stock crash shows up sham recovery

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The world’s stock markets were once more in turmoil as Socialist Review went to press.

The immediate trigger appears to have been the sharp downturn in Chinese share prices since July.

This, in and of itself, is a big problem for the Chinese authorities. As well as seeking to contain growing struggles by workers, they have encouraged so-called “middle class” Chinese to invest their savings in the stock market.

Discontent rises in Arab world

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A crisis caused by uncollected rubbish has triggered the biggest popular protest in Lebanon for a generation. And in Iraq, discontent over electricity shortages has galvanised a movement for an end to corruption and the sectarian wars.

The fast pace of neoliberal reforms in Egypt has pushed workers in the civil service to call for a million-man protest march in September, while low-ranking police officers have staged a series of strikes despite the threat of harsh penalties.

Extremism Bill is threat to all of us

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Barely a year after the passing of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act, the Tories are introducing a new “Counter Extremism Bill”.

It is landmark legislation and we will need a united opposition from the left, anti-racists, trade unions, student unions and the Muslim community to stop it.

With the planned introduction of the bill this autumn, state Islamophobia in Britain is being racked up to a new level.

Corbyn expresses desire for change

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This has been the summer of Corbynmania. Thousands of people have attended Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn’s election rallies in towns and cities across Britain.

These meetings have been some of the biggest we’ve seen since the anti-war movement in 2003, with venues overflowing into outdoor rallies from London to Liverpool to Norwich.

Corbyn, with his principled stance on war and oppression and vow to end austerity, has become an unexpected figurehead for discontent.

EU targets migrants at sea

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The European Union’s (EU) response to the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War is more detention camps, fast track repatriation and jail for migrants and refugees.

Alongside this EU ministers have sanctioned a naval task force with the missions to destroy boats at sea and halt migrant ships as they set off on their journey.

The EU has drawn up a plan to open “structured border zones and facilities”, that is quarantine centres, in the so-called frontline states of Malta, Italy and Greece.

Kurdish breakthrough in Turkish elections

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The general election in Turkey on 7 June was a huge setback for the ruling Islamist AKP party, and a breakthrough for the left-leaning Kurdish HDP.

The AKP’s problems started two years ago when a movement occupied Gezi Park and remained in control of Istanbul’s central square for two weeks.

As demonstrations in solidarity spread throughout the country, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan unleashed brutal police violence which ended with eight dead and hundreds seriously injured. Even AKP supporters were shocked.

Hong Kong vote bill fails

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Hong Kong MPs have thrown out a bill proposed by China that would tighten its control over how the country’s leader, known as the chief executive, is elected. Only eight of the 70 MPs voted for the change.

The original move to alter the already undemocratic elections, decided by a 1,200-member committee loyal to the government in Beijing, to one where candidates had to be selected from a Chinese approved list, triggered one of the biggest mass movements in the former British colony’s history.

Students sell sex to pay for education

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A study released earlier this year made the headline-grabbing claim that 5 percent of students are sex workers.

The Student Sex Work Project, based at Swansea University, was set up to explore the specific experiences of student sex workers and review support networks and advice centres inside Higher Education.

The study has reignited debates around sex work, choice and sexuality. Sex work is defined as “the exchange of sexual services, performances and products for material compensation”.


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