Opinion

The fog machine of war

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Workers fought the fascists in the Spanish Civil War

Hilary Benn's much lauded speech for war on Syria needs to be challenged, not just for promoting imperialism, but for using anti-fascist rhetoric to sow confusion on the left.

Hilary Benn proclaimed, “We are faced by fascists — not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us… They hold our democracy — the means by which we will make our decision tonight — in contempt.” He continued, “they need to be defeated. It is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists, trade unionists and others joined the International Brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco. It is why this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini. It is why our party [has] always been defined by our internationalism.”

Students: detonators of struggle

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 
Student struggle

During the last 100 years universities have shifted from training grounds of the ruling class to become significant sites of struggle.

The number of people going to universities has significantly expanded as capitalism requires a highly trained workforce. Many students will go on to work in the public sector or take up jobs in call centres, shops and fast food restaurants.

Students when studying are not part of the working class. They do not have to sell their labour power, face the discipline of the workplace and they have greater time to discuss ideas.

'Damn the Dardanelles!'

Issue section: 
Author: 

In December 1915 the evacuation of allied troops from the Dardanelles straits in the Ottoman Empire finally began. A century on Steve Guy looks at the significance of the allies' failed Gallipoli campaign.

A century ago allied troops retreated, defeated, from the shores of Turkey after the eight-month Dardanelles campaign. The allies — Britain, France and Russia — had wanted to carve up the Ottoman Empire — Turkey, the Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia (Iraq and Syria) and the area south of the Caucasus mountain range.

The British and French wanted Mesopotamia, which was known to be rich in oil deposits, while Russia wanted Constantinople, which would give it unfettered access to the Mediterranean.

Little joy in being your own boss

Issue section: 

A rise in the numbers of self-employed people in Britain raises interesting questions for Marxists about the changing nature of the working class.

Self-employment in Britain is at its highest level in four decades, comprising one in six people in the workforce. About half of the employment expansion since the recession can be explained by its growth.

Has there been an explosion of entrepreneurialism, perhaps made up of the kind of hi-tech start-ups that cluster around “silicon roundabout” in east London? Or are people simply being pushed into more precarious forms of work by employers keen to reduce tax bills, and avoid offering sick pay and other benefits?

Joe Hill ain't never died

Issue section: 
Author: 

On 19 November 1915 Joe Hill was executed by the State of Utah on trumped up charges. Dave Gibson reminds us of the power of Hill's organising and songwriting skills at a time of upheaval in US politics.

When Alfred Hayes wrote the words “Joe Hill Ain’t Never Died” in a poem about Joe Hill’s murder, he could never have imagined that this would still be true a century later.

Paul Robeson popularised Hayes’s poem, now set to music. So did Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. Other writers have celebrated Hill’s life and exposed the injustice of his judicial murder through historical accounts, novels, plays and film.

The American Corbyn?

Issue section: 
Author: 

Self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders has gathered unprecedented support in the US presidential primaries. Lewis Nielsen looks at how significant a shift Sanders' success represents.

Is Bernie Sanders the American Jeremy Corbyn? Both are grey haired political veterans, until recently unheard of outside the left circles of their respective parties, who have taken mainstream politics by storm with their election campaigns.

Most importantly Sanders, like Corbyn, represents a rejection of the neoliberal consensus.

Revolts after slavery

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Colonial oppression continued after the abolition of slavery - and so did the struggles against it. Brian Richardson commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica.

We are encouraged to believe that history is made by Great White Men. It is they who are responsible for the rise and fall of civilisations, for technological advances and the development of art and culture. Black people are generally restricted to walk on parts.

That was quite literally the case in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning biopic Lincoln. At the outset two black soldiers are seen pleading with their leader to abolish slavery. There is no sense of them fighting for their own emancipation.

Letter from Germany

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Christine Buchholz, socialist MP and member of die Linke, reports on the refugee "crisis" in Germany.

As new refugees have reached Germany over the past few weeks there has been a very positive response from many ordinary people. The government did not provide the support refugees needed, so people mobilised to fill the gap.

Members of die Linke have been part of this — greeting refugees, supporting the initiatives in different cities to give them a proper welcome, decent housing and a supply of food.

Pages

Subscribe to Opinion