Opinion

Centenary of a genocide

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The Turkish president's attempts to detract attention from the centennial of the massacre of around 1.5 million Armenian looks set to fail. Ron Margulies recalls the genocide and its gradual unveiling.

The Turkish victory at Gallipoli is celebrated every year on its anniversary, 18 March. Not because it gave a bloody nose to the Winston Churchill, about whom Turks know and care little, but because it launched the career of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as great hero and “nation-builder” of modern Turkey.

How about a life in politics?

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Donny Gluckstein asks what the relationship is between “politics”, the state and radical social change, looking at reformist and revolutionary strategies as well as the rejection of it all in the form of anti-politics.

The foundations of mainstream politics are crumbling and the results are both exhilarating and troubling. Alongside the recent election victory of Syriza, and with Podemos topping Spanish polls, there is the frightening growth of the far-right in many European countries.

All white on the night

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The arts establishment struggled to explain the lack of black and Asian actors shortlisted for the British film industry’s Bafta awards last month.

Benedict Cumberbatch managed to stuff a foot in his mouth, saying, “As far as ‘coloured’ actors go, it gets really difficult in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities [in the US] than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change.” Of course, Hollywood’s Oscars didn’t show any sign of recognising the array of non-white talent either, with an equally unrepresentative crop.

An alternative for Scotland

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The radical left has a real opportunity to build on the referendum vote, argues Carlo Morelli, as neither the "austerity-lite" of the Labour Party nor the SNP's "one nation" addresses the needs of the working class.

The Scottish Independence referendum in September 2014 marked a watershed in Scottish politics. It created a dynamic change in Scottish politics and arguments as to the implications for the future. Central to this debate is the question of class, as it was the movement of the working class that determined both the outcome of the referendum and its consequences.

Greece: It didn't have to be this way

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The Troika has succeeded in imposing its will on the Syriza government for now, but other options were. And still are, available.

One of the most scathing responses to the deal struck between Greece’s radical left Syriza government and European finance ministers in February came from 92 year old Manolis Glezos. The former resistance fighter — famous for tearing the Swastika from the Acropolis in 1941 and now a Syriza MEP — compared the agreement to “renaming fish as meat”.

Stopping the German far right

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As new racist organisations target Muslims and immigrants, socialist MP Christine Buchholz outlines the tasks and the challenges for the anti-fascist and anti-racist movement in Germany

The far-right in Germany is undergoing a process of regroupment, both in parliament and on the streets. To the right of the ruling conservative party, the CDU, is the Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD). This is the German version of Ukip. The AfD has won more than 12 percent of the votes in some states following a racist election campaign which targeted Muslims. The party also gained a number of MEPs in the Euro elections.

Satire should spear the powerful

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The savage killing of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and journalists by terrorists in Paris is utterly contemptible, but not inexplicable. For me as a cartoonist this seemed to be horribly close to home. As the great cartoonist Joe Sacco commented immediately after the massacre, “This is my tribe”. Sadly, the ensuing media storm has done little to explain and a lot to foment division and put the blame upon “backward” Islam and Muslims in general.

The hero of New Orleans

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After hearing that hundreds of racists had joined in the lynching and mutilation of a black labourer, Robert Charles called on black people to take up arms in self-defence. John Newsinger tells his incredible story.

On 23 April 1899 Sam Hose, a black farm labourer, was lynched in Palmetto, Georgia, after killing his employer in self-defence. An excursion train was run from Atlanta carrying over a thousand people to watch the spectacle with the guard famously calling, “All aboard for the burning.” Even by the standards of the time (more than 80 black men and women were lynched in the US in 1899), Hose’s lynching was a brutal affair. His ears, fingers, face and genitalia were cut off in front of a jeering crowd of men, women and children.

Who do we vote for now?

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We need to build a credible unified left alternative to Labour that is rooted in the struggle of the working class.

Half a century ago the American Marxist Hal Draper wrote a piece entitled “Who’s Going To Be the Lesser Evil in 1968?” His argument was simple. The choice between the two main parties in the US — the Democrats and Republicans — was no real choice at all. That did not mean the parties were identical, merely that “they tend to act in the same way in essential respects, where fundamental needs of the system are concerned”.

Chained to austerity

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Despite slashing public spending, the coalition's economic medicine has failed. Now the economy is taking another turn for the worse.

According to the Greek legend Prometheus, who angered the gods by stealing fire from them, was chained to a rock to have his liver eaten away by an eagle. Each night the liver would grow back so when dawn broke the torture might begin again. So too the budget deficit. No matter the savagery that chancellor George Osborne perpetrates, it is still there the morning after.

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