Opinion

Tired of Weighting

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The rising cost of living and shortages of labour means London's workers now have more industrial power.

On the face of it the issue of London weighting payments is not all that thrilling. Nevertheless, it has helped add a bit more spice to the recent upsurge of rank and file militancy which has managed to send the mainstream press into such a lather.

Move Over, Darling

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Is your pension at risk? Yes, minister.

You would either need to have a very short memory or a tremendously blinkered New Labour kind of mindset to regard the latest crisis in the pensions industry as not worth getting all that worked up about. When a whole series of the biggest firms in the country suddenly announce that they are pulling out of 'final salary' pension schemes--because they claim they can no longer afford the payouts--and the top man at the National Association of Pension Funds starts talking about people having to work on to the age of 72, some of us might start to get a bit nervous.

Hegemony and Harmony?

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Despite its military dominance the US still has reason to fear its rivals.

Is there only one imperialism left? That is the question many people are asking as the US prepares to launch another war against Iraq.

It's fashionable to speak of a 'unipolar' world, in which the US is the 'great hegemon', its 'empire' unchallenged like that of Rome 2,000 years ago. In reality things are not that simple. The multiple war criminal Henry Kissinger certainly has his doubts. He wrote after the Gulf War and the collapse of the USSR:

It's Not a Dream--It's Possible

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The work of Studs Terkel lets ordinary Americans speak for themselves.

The working class has its historians too. Sometimes in the great debates about historical changes you miss the voices of people describing ordinary lives. After all, the sweep of history is as much about experience, about living through things, as it is about forces and events that shape us. In his great study 'The Making of the English Working Class', EP Thompson's preface was far reaching in its modest comment that 'I do not see class as a "structure", not even as a "category", but as something which in fact happens in human relationships...

A Different US and Them

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It's working class Americans we side with, not their government.

One of the most common accusations against those of us who are against this 'war on terrorism' is that we are anti-American--that we have a knee-jerk opposition to all that the US says and does because we hate the place the people and all things American.

This I find very strange, as in the various anti-war rallies and meetings I have attended, plus the wide variety of anti-war articles I have read, I have seen very little evidence of this anti-Americanism. Hostility to the Bush regime? Yes. Hostility to US foreign policy? Yes. Hostility to the large US corporations? Yes.

Going Nowhere Fast

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The rail unions have built up some powerful muscle they can flex.

When Stephen Byers was spotted in a Westminster canteen just before Xmas, deep in talks with Mick Rix of Aslef, eyebrows were raised all round. We were all under the impression that trade unions had been virtually airbrushed out of the frame. Now here was one apparently on the best of terms with the transport secretary. One interpretation might be that, with the railways in particular, the government has dug itself into such a hole that it needs every bit of help it can get to winch itself out again.

Argentina: Taste of our Power

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Can workers take control in Argentina? Chris Harman examines the evidence.

Mass demonstrations dispose of two presidents in as many weeks. A star performer for the IMF-World Bank Washington consensus circus, Cavallo, is forced to flee the economics ministry. A leader of the largest political party warns of the danger of civil war. Such has been the picture in Argentina since the end of December. Yet much of the western media give the impression that these events are of marginal interest. They are happening a long way away, we are told, in a 'developing country' or an 'emerging economy', very different to western Europe, North America or Japan.

A Land Fit for Heroes

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Why the British ruling class like nothing better than a complete failure.

Across a vast white expanse a single figure appears as a dot on the horizon. As the man comes closer, you notice he is puffing at a pipe, while the other hand is buried deep in the pocket of his coat. Hours later he stands in front of you. Removing the pipe from his white-flecked mouth, he speaks: 'Hello, old chap; don't happen to know the latest Test score at the Oval do you?'

Torture US Style

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The treatment of Afghan prisoners shows the brutal face of US imperialism.

So there we have it! A 'war against terrorism' turns out not to be a war at all. A 'war of precision' turns out to be a war of totally indiscriminate killing, and a 'war for civilised values' ends up with the most brutal and uncivilised treatment of the enemy.

Somehow it is meant to be the opponents of the war who got it all wrong. All those who thought it a civilising mission are apparently in the clear, despite the evidence in front of their very own eyes.

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