Márquez's magical world offers hope for the real one.
Gabriel García Márquez's memoirs, or at the least the first volume of them, will be published in early November. It's a strange piece of autobiography, because Márquez has already become a kind of legend. His status as a writer must be unique - he has become almost indistinguishable from the world he has created and the people in it. The Gabriel he writes about, and the Colombia in which he grows up, both seem very familiar and very immediate.
There's more to the US than Bush and McCarthy.
When I first became a socialist one thing that I never signed up to was knee-jerk anti-Americanism. There was a lot of it around on the left. There were all those who had a love affair with the USSR. For them everything Russian (from show trials to forced collectivisation) was good and everything American (from Hollywood movies to rock and roll) was bad.
I never bought into this. The glories of Stalinism simply passed me by - I could not equate socialism with this stifling, oppressive, undemocratic and rigid world behind the Iron Curtain.
The defeat of Mick Rix has important lessons - but not those the Blairites would have us believe.
The unexpected departure of Mick Rix as leader of the train drivers' union, Aslef, is a bit of a one-off in that it goes against the broad trend which still dominates in union elections. A week before the upset in Aslef, left candidates virtually swept the board in votes on the PCS civil service union national executive. And not long after, a leading Blairite and member of Labour's national executive, John Keggie, was ousted as deputy general secretary of the Royal Mail section of the CWU.
What happens when social democracy fails to deliver concessions?
There is strange idea going round much of the far left internationally. It is that because capitalism can no longer afford reforms that improve the life of the mass of people, reformism as a powerful ideology within the workers' movement is dead. From this it is said to follow that the old argument over reform or revolution is no longer relevant.
ER's visit to the Congo was revealing in unintended ways.
ER recently took a holiday from the urban nightmare of Chicago on the verge of collapse. Doctors Carter and Kovac, the intense and melancholy leads, went off instead to taste (briefly) the more tangible violence of the Congo, in the episode called 'Kisangani'.
Tony Blair tells it like it isn't to Pat Stack.
I have never been to Barbados before, so I was really looking forward to seeing the beautiful scenery, tasting the local rum and meeting the Blairs.
The enchanting Cherie greeted me - television just doesn't do her justice, she really does have lips. I was brought into a spacious room where the PM was sitting in a cool summer shirt and a pair of neatly pressed jeans. An electric guitar sat in one corner of the room, and there were family portraits all over the place.
Campbell‘s departure is unlikely to halt the repackaging of privatisation.
With the ’dodgy dossiers‘ on Iraq in tatters and indeed the entire Blairite project heading for meltdown, now might be a useful point to turn attention to how the government‘s case for privatisation is being repackaged. Just like the war, it continues to be advocated at every available turn, despite overwhelming opposition from the general public.
Our definition of neoliberalism has profound effects on our solutions.
One concept will be much used at the European Social Forum in Paris next month - ‘neoliberalism‘. Some will use it as a synonym for the system of international capitalism, some for the present phase of that system (often also referred to as ’globalisation‘), and some for a particular economic arrangement chosen by governments.