Opinion

Left leaders before Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn is not the first leader of the Labour Party to have supported strikes and opposed war. Keir Hardie, who had himself been victimised for trade union activity, had a record of supporting workers in struggle and condemning government repression. In 1911 Hardie had written a devastating indictment of the Liberal government’s repression in Wales, Killing No Murder, condemning the shooting dead of two workers by troops.

Pushing the limits of Corbynomics

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The more radical elements of Corbyn and McDonnell's economic policies can challenge the logic of capitalism

The ire on the right and the applause on the left provoked by “Corbynomics” demonstrate that you can move a long way to the left by standing still. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have long opposed the pro-market consensus among successive governments since Jim Callaghan adopted monetarism in the late 1970s. Compared with that consensus, their ideas are both radical and welcome.

Kick sexism out of football

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Last month saw yet another football crisis. Former England international and Sunderland player Adam Johnson was found guilty of grooming and engaging in sexual activity with a child.

Johnson had groomed the young girl via social media, exchanging over 830 WhatsApp messages with her. He admitted grooming and kissing the under-aged girl before the trial but after a court case he was additionally found guilty of sexual activity with a child. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

We got IDS with bold action

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If the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party suggested that politics can be unpredictable, the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) in a self-proclaimed stand for disabled people proves it.

Watching the former secretary of state for work and pensions tell Andrew Marr that the cuts are “hurting the most vulnerable” and that welfare cuts “are going too far” was more than surreal. This from a man who has steadfastly lied and denied his way around the true impact of welfare reform since 2010.

Cameron's Saudi friends

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Why do British governments grovel to the Saudi royal family? Is it because of our “shared values”, as the New Labour minister Kim Howells famously put it, or is it because they stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain and the United States in the Great War on Terror as various senior Tories continually insist?

Obviously neither of these claims is true. The real reason is shown quite dramatically by British arms sales to the Saudis. Over a three-month period towards the end of last year British arms sales grew from £9 million to more than £1 billion.

'It was as if you were cattle'

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The Contagious Diseases Acts were symbolic of bourgeois society's desire to control working class women's bodies, writes Diana Swingler. Let's celebrate the campaign that got them repealed

One hundred and fifty years ago the Contagious Diseases Acts, first imposed in port towns in 1864, were extended to civilian populations. They were met with one of the first successful women’s rights campaigns in British history, which has a resonance with the fight for women’s right to control their own bodies today.

Flamboyant rebel woman

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A century ago Constance Markievicz was preparing for the Irish Easter Rising. Mary Smith outlines the remarkable life of an upper class woman who was both a paramilitary leader and the first woman MP.

Countess Constance Markievicz was a brave and flamboyant rebel, a traitor to her upper class background and an uncompromising revolutionary for most of her life. Her extraordinary life also exemplifies a more general truth: namely that in revolutionary upheavals women come to the fore in the struggle and in the process challenge their own oppression and subordination.

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