Movements

Class war in the USA

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This September marked the third year of the deepening global financial crisis. It also marked the emergence of a fresh wave of resistance to global corporate greed, the now international movement "Occupy Wall Street".

What started out as 150 activists occupying the privately owned Zuccotti park in Wall Street in mid-September has turned into the permanent occupation of the renamed "Liberty Plaza". The occupation's main slogan, "We are the 99 percent", has caught the imagination of people around the globe.

On 15 October the demonstration in Times Square in New York swelled to over 100,000. The protests have drawn inspiration from the revolutions across the Arab world - in particular, the occupation of Tahrir Square in Egypt which helped to bring down the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.

Making a stand with Iran's Green Movement

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In 2009 a mass movement was born in the streets of Iran, mobilising millions in opposition to the disputed re-election of President Ahmadinejad. Jack Farmer and Peyman Jafari spoke to author Hamid Dabashi about being an opponent of both the Iranian regime and Western imperialism


You have described the Green Movement in Iran that emerged after the 2009 presidential elections as a civil rights movement, rather than an attempt to overthrow the whole political order. Do you think the Green Movement will eventually have to pose a fundamental political challenge to the regime?

Revolt reigns in Spain

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On Friday 20 May there were at least 160 camps in cities and towns all over Spain following demonstrations the previous Sunday "against bankers and politicians" and for "real democracy". In solidarity there have also been pickets outside Spanish embassies all over Europe.

The "15 May Movement", as it has become known, was organised principally through social networks and by non-aligned collectives, some already active over housing or against the banks. Although the camps involve mainly young people, they have received widespread support from people of all ages. The movement coincided with local elections and when the camps were declared illegal by the Central Electoral Board - they were deemed as interfering with the voting process - tens of thousands flocked to their defence and the authorities were forced to retreat.

Organise to win - politics, leadership and the movement

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The student protests and actions against corporate tax-dodgers have posed the question of how best to organise a movement against government cuts and fees. Mark L Thomas argues that coordinated activity and open political discussion are vital to the resistance.

One argument that has gained a new lease of life in the student revolt and the campaigns against corporate tax-dodgers is that the best way to organise resistance to the cuts is through loose, decentralised and "leaderless" networks that allow for the greatest spontaneous expression of activity.

Revolutionary Lessons: Should we aim to smash the state?

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Can students challenge the state? Jack Farmer explores the issues.

As the "Day X" student protests unfolded before Christmas, a series of impressions were left in their wake: the sight of teenagers chanting and charging around central London; the smell of placards burning in the freezing air; the sound of breaking glass.

1989-2009: civil rights, women's liberation - the power of mass movements

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Twenty years ago popular mass movements brought down the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe. Such movements are the crucial vehicles of social transformation and the sole means through which capitalism can be surpassed.

There is a key reason for their importance. Only through their actual experiences within mass movements can great numbers of working people develop the potential to challenge existing society.

Through the processes of mass movements, people can radically change and develop their personal and social capacities, their social relationships, their visions and understandings of the present and the future. This quality - of self-transformation through popular struggle - gives mass movements their central importance in socialist thinking.

The Challenge for the Anti-War Movement

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Recent events make it even more important for anti-war protesters to take to the streets, argues Lindsey German.

July 7 2005 will be remembered for the terrible bombings which killed more than 50 people on the London transport system. The date was not random. For while innocent people going to work were blown to pieces by four separate bombs, 400 miles away in Gleneagles the G8 leaders, led by Bush and Blair, were surrounded and protected by the highest levels of security, including 1,300 Metropolitan police.

Far Right: Left Pole of Attraction

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The growth of the anti-war movement means greater forces to deal with the dangers from the far right.

Two contradictory moods are sweeping Britain. There is the enormous movement against the war on Iraq. Not only has there been the biggest anti-war demonstration the country has ever seen, but the global anti-capitalist mood that emerged after Seattle has been getting a wide echo within the movement, feeding into the first real political student movement for years and creating a wide sense of solidarity with the firefighters' strikes at the end of last year.

State of Discontent

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A mass movement's strategy towards the state is vital to its success.

The huge wave of anti-war protests on 15 February were an astonishing demonstration of just how formidable a movement of resistance to imperialism is now developing around the world. But we should have no illusions about the power of our enemies. Politically, Tony Blair has never been weaker. But he still presides over a state that has formidable coercive power.

Unity in Diversity

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The movement against neoliberalism and war must be built, but so too must the revolutionary Marxist current within it.

The 2000s are proving to be a new era of mass movements. This is most spectacularly reflected in the international campaigns against global capitalism and against the 'war on terrorism'. Of necessity, these movements unite a wide range of political forces in common action. The anti-capitalist movement prides itself on its unity in diversity. The second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre brought together a very wide spectrum that extended from French and Brazilian social democrats to revolutionary socialists and autonomists.

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