Opinion

Hong Kong: Tactics are up for debate

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Last month we spoke to Hong Kong revolutionary socialist Lam Chi Leung about the mass movement. Following events in the past month, as well as reponses from readers, we caught up with him again.

How is the mood in Hong Kong since Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of the Extradition Bill on 4 September?

Lam’s announcement was largely a case of striking a pose. As early as mid-June she had halted the legislative change, but she had avoided using the word “withdrawal”. More noteworthy is the fact that she completely refused to accept the remaining four demands of the mass movement (for an independent commission to investigate police violence, the withdrawal of the “riot” designation, the release of arrested protestors, and genuine universal suffrage).

From segregation to black liberation

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This is the first of three columns looking at the life, politics and activism of Angela Davis, a living icon for revolutionaries

Angela Davis is an icon for many, a fighter for black and women’s liberation and a revolutionary to the core. But some seem to forget the revolutionary bit.

Davis’s childhood was defined by racism, violence, fear and resistance, shaping who she went on to become.

Trump forced onto back foot by Iran

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Donald Trump has learned that the Middle East is a complex and dangerous place where bellicose threats on Twitter count for little.

The US president has been talking up the threat of war on Iran since he came to office, prompted no doubt by Israel and Saudi Arabia, which have long feared the growing Iranian influence in an era of declining American power in the region.

Versailles: the settlement that settled nothing

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US president Woodrow Wilson celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was a vicious project, during which the Great Powers prioritised their own imperialist interests over the rhetoric of a “just and lasting peace”. Steve Guy looks at its consequences.

The Great War had ground on for four long years, and the Allied leaders were caught by surprise when revolution in Germany compelled the military dictatorship of Ludendorff and von Hindenburg to sue for peace in November 1918. As a result, the peace talks only commenced in January 1919, with a commitment by the Allies to producing a “just and lasting peace”. In fact, there were five peace treaties concluded by late 1920. Of the five, the one with Germany, the Treaty of Versailles, levied the most onerous demands on the vanquished foe.

Kashmir: the poisoned legacy of partition

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The plight of the Kashmiris has long roots, stretching back to the end of Empire and the division of India after the Second World War.

Kashmir is the most militarised region on the planet. An estimated half a million Indian security personnel police a population of about 7 million.

About 80,000 have been killed in an insurgency against Indian rule. From 2016, shotguns filled with lead pellets have been used for “crowd control”, deliberately fired to blind civilian protesters. Stories of torture, rape and abduction abound among the mainly Muslim population.

Johnson's bluster on crime

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The prime minister, like many before him, has advocated greater police numbers and increased stop and search powers. This approach won’t tackle the issues fuelling violent crime, writes Brian Richardson.

“Entitlement, aggression, amorality, lack of concern for others.” That was how one woman described a particularly notorious member of the Bullingdon Club during her time as a student at Oxford University in the 1980s. She recalls “with extreme regret and embarrassment” her role acting as a scout for an organisation which was characterised by a culture of vandalism and intimidation. Women were routinely belittled at its lavish dinners while others were recruited to perform sex acts.

Letter from America

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A tide of racism and violence is sweeping the US, but there is also resistance, reports Clare Lemlich.

On 3 August 21 year old Patrick Crusius travelled to the border town of El Paso, Texas, walked into a local shopping centre, and murdered 22 people. Moments before opening fire he shared a manifesto online stating, “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” He drew inspiration from the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shooting earlier this year.

Mass shootings are almost a routine occurrence now in the United States. So far this year there have been 261, roughly one per day, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Notes on the climate crisis: Heathrow expansion

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In June last year, sensing the growing chaos of Theresa May’s administration, the Heathrow lobby got the government to smuggle legislation through parliament to expand Heathrow airport. It only passed because many Labour MPs voted for a third runway, against their party’s policy on aviation. They undoubtedly received encouragement in their defiance by the actions of Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, who wrote to every Labour MP lobbying for Heathrow expansion.

How defeat bred division

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On 20 April 1968, leading Tory politician Enoch Powell made his infamous “rivers of blood” speech in which he attacked mass immigration from the Commonwealth. Quoting from the Latin poet Virgil, he proclaimed: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.” The speech caused a political storm, making Powell one of the most divisive political figures in the country.

How supermarket workers buck the trend

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The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) has long had a reputation as a right wing force in the labour movement, a bulwark of the right inside the Labour Party and a voice for “moderation” inside the TUC, where it champions the utility of cosy “partnership” deals with employers and avoids even the occasional language of confrontation.

Close to Tony Blair throughout the New Labour era, the union nominated Andy Burnham in the 2015 Labour leadership election and, learning nothing, backed the hapless Owen Smith in the 2016 attempt to depose Jeremy Corbyn.

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