In perspective column

Autonomous Developments

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Young people have been at the centre of momentous struggles this year. Jonny Jones argues that socialists should thow themselves into these struggles while pointing to the power of the working class

Many of the struggles which have rocked the world over the past 12 months have had young people at their heart. In part, this is down to the fact that they are less held back by ideological and economic constraints than those who have to worry about paying their mortgages and feeding their families. Their methods of struggle are inventive and dynamic, unencumbered by the slower moving, bureaucratic processes which they have come to identify with the trade union movement.

The legacy of September 11

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The 11 September terror attacks were used to justify the West's "war on terror". But what is the legacy of 9/11 today?

On the face of it, 9/11 appears to be the defining moment of the last decade. The attacks in New York provided a provocation against which the US, with Britain as a key ally, could prosecute what became known as the "war on terror". In reality, this was to be the execution of a strategy that had been discussed in Washington years before.

Workers and recession

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Jane Hardy takes issue with a new study which claims that workers haven't suffered too badly in the recession

A recent book edited by Paul Gregg and Jonathan Wadsworth claims to look at what has happened to employment in the UK during the recession. They puzzle about why Britain has had the biggest recession since the Second World War with a fall in GDP of 6 percent, while claiming that the loss of jobs has been relatively "benign".

Voices of the unheard

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Thirty years ago the Brixton riots heralded a wave of unrest in Britain's inner cities that terrified our rulers and helped forge black and white unity

"Molotov cocktails were thrown for the first time on mainland Britain. There had been no such event in England in living memory."

These words come from a police report into the Brixton riots of 1981. On 10-11 April 1981 massive riots exploded in Brixton, south London, and thousands of people fought running battles with police. Some in the popular media described the unrest as race riots. They were not. Black and white joined together to find a voice: they are part of the battles that forged multiracial Britain.

The state of the global economy

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Bankers and bosses appeared cheerful at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. But the state of the global economy remains precarious

Last month the global ruling class - the bankers, political leaders, the CEOs of top multinationals and their acolytes - met for the World Economic Forum at the luxurious Swiss ski resort in Davos.

Not just toleration, liberation

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LGBT history month was launched after the scrapping of the Tories' Section 28 legislation. But, six years on, Tory cuts will hit LGBT people hard.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month was launched in 2005 in Britain to coincide with the abolition of the Tories' infamous Section 28 legislation.

No one was ever prosecuted under this very nasty piece of opportunistic homophobic legislation. However, the fact that Section 28 of the Tories' Local Government Act of 1988 made it illegal for local authorities to "promote" homosexuality (ie to treat it as acceptable) was sufficient to intimidate local authorities and force teachers to shy away from openly discussing LGBT issues with students or each other.

Fuelling Islamophobia

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As austerity attacks bite, the threat posed by anti-Muslim racism is likely to grow.

The recent student protests have been an inspiration, but not everyone is happy about them.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as "Tommy Robinson", leader of the racist English Defence League (EDL), made his displeasure known at a demonstration in Peterborough in December. He described students as "dirty, stinking layabouts" and threatened to send EDL thugs to attack future student protests.

I rest my Casey

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Louise Casey, former Asbo tsar, is recommending that the government curtail the right to request a jury trial for some offences. Matt Foot exposes the injustices at the heart of Britain's justice system.

Governments come and go but tsars remain. Like some awful nightmare, the former anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) tsar, Louise Casey, has returned - this time as the commissioner for victims and witnesses. The Con-Dem government was quick to close all sorts of quangos (many useful), but has inexcusably promoted this unelected has-been as spokesperson for reform of the criminal justice system.

Doobie do or doobie don't?

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During last month's midterm elections in the US Californian voters narrowly rejected a proposal to legalise cannabis. But what does this mean for the policy of prohibition?

As voters across the US went to the polls last month for the midterm elections, Californians voted on whether cannabis should be made legal to buy, sell and grow in the state.

While the Proposition 19 vote failed, it was significant. Overall, 46 percent of voters called for legalisation, with 54 percent against. This was despite both the Democratic and Republican contenders for Congress opposing legalisation, and warnings that ending prohibition would be legally problematic as it would have clashed uncomfortably with federal law.

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