Opinion

Letter from Catalonia

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It’s important for the left to understand what’s at stake in the independence debate, writes David Karvala.

On 1 October 2017 Catalonia is to hold a referendum on the question “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”

The Spanish state aims at all costs to stop the vote, with administrative and judicial measures as well as covert operations.

Catalonia is a nation of around 7.5 million people at the eastern end of the Iberian Peninsula.

Scotland feels the Corbyn effect

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The gears are shifting in Scottish Labour, in a direction that Kezia Dugdale didn’t like, as evidenced by her resignation as leader.

She stood down immediately after Jeremy Corbyn’s tour of Scotland in late August, which saw him speak to thousands of supporters — including in Glasgow at the Govanhill Against Racism Carnival and the Central Mosque.

Corbyn has set his focus on developing his support in Scotland through the Campaign for Socialism (CfS) group.

#grime4corbyn caught a mood

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One of the most remarkable aspects of the general election was the extent to which young people rallied behind Jeremy Corbyn. Approximately 250,000 registered to vote on deadline day alone and two thirds of those who cast a ballot voted for Labour.

That electoral surge included the frankly astonishing sight of the decidedly uncool Corbyn being hailed by a host of young black musicians including Akala, Riz Ahmed and JME. Moreover that support coalesced into a movement, #grime4corbyn, and a range of activities including a campaign rally in north London.

A new terrain for socialists in Scotland

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The outcome of the 2017 general election in Scotland was altogether more complex and contradictory than in England and Wales. The election result saw the forward march of the SNP — in power in Scotland since 2007 — not just halted but thrown sharply into reverse. The party went from 56 to 35 MPs, with leading figures such as Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson losing their seats to the Tories.

What does a climate insurgency look like?

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Emissions stop 400,000 Hiroshima bombs worth of heat from escaping the atmosphere every day. In Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual (PM Press, £11.99) Jeremy Brecher warns the outcome will be either “doom” — 800 parts per million of atmospheric carbon, unsurvivable warming — or a plan to stop burning fossil fuels by 2050.

Solidarity forever part 9: War and repression

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Part nine of our history of the Wobblies recounts how the First World War changed the terrain — and not for the better.

By 1914 there was a growing acknowledgement within the IWW that despite the huge part it had played in the class struggle, the union had not succeeded in becoming a mass revolutionary force. It had failed to sweep aside the conservative American Federation of Labour (AFL) and lead the American working class to socialism.

A most remarkable gathering

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Workers in Britain, sick of war and inspired by the Russian Revolution, met in their thousands in June 1917 at the Leeds Convention to debate how to bring the lessons here, writes author Christian Høgsbjerg.

The Russian Revolution of February 1917 inspired many workers internationally, including in Britain. As Aneurin Bevan, then a young miner, once eloquently recalled:

“I remember so well what happened when the Russian Revolution occurred. I remember the miners, when they heard that the Tsarist tyranny had been overthrown, rushing to meet each other in the streets with tears streaming down their cheeks, shaking hands and saying: ‘At last it has happened’.”

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