National liberation

Martyred for Irish liberation

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There is a long history of Irish workers organising alongside their English comrades and of anti-Irish feeling dividing the working class. One hundred and fifty years ago three Irish men were hanged by the British state on trumped up murder charges. Delia Hutchings tells the story of these Manchester Martyrs.

On 23 November 1867 Michael O’Brien, Michael Larkin and William Allen were hanged. They had been found guilty of murdering British police officer Sergeant Charles Brett while taking part in an audacious plan to free two leading Irish Nationalists from a police van. They are known as the Manchester Martyrs.

On 11 September 1867 Thomas Kelly and Timothy Deasy were arrested for loitering in Manchester. It was several days before the Manchester police realised that they were holding the leadership of the International Republican Brotherhood — the Fenians.

Generation Yes

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The Scottish referendum provided a unique opportunity for young people in Scotland to get involved in politics.

Despite the defeat on 18 September, the grassroots nature of the Yes campaign has meant that these activists are not going away. The youth of Scotland is politicised, angry and already fighting for a better world. Thousands of young people were at meetings and on the streets discussing how to scrap Trident, end austerity and protect free education.

Scotland: There's no going back

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Scotland

The No camp may have won the referendum, but the working class anger that drove the Yes campaign is here to stay. Iain Ferguson reflects on the movement and its fall-out.

As the Scottish independence referendum result was announced on the morning of 19 September, a sigh of relief could be heard from every section of the British and global political elite.

Catalonia marches towards independence

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En lluita, Barcelona

On 11 September, Catalan National Day, 1.8 million people gathered in the centre of Barcelona to form a gigantic “V” symbolising their desire to vote on independence.

This was the third year running of massive protests, each bigger than the previous ones. The constitutional set-up of 1978, based on a pact with elements of the former Franco dictatorship, is now in danger of crashing down.

The Catalan government, headed by the conservative nationalist CiU, has scheduled 9 November as the day for the independence referendum.

Lenin, Luxemburg and the War

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Lenin's critical response to Rosa Luxemburg's Junius pamphlet

Rosa Luxemburg's First World War Junius pamphlet, written in prison and so vividly described by Sally Campbell in February's Socialist Review, was arguably the greatest anti-war statement of the last century.

Its haunting theme, socialism or barbarism, prophetically cast its shadow over the 20th century and continues to do so now.

Regime crisis in Spain

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Spain has seen increasing calls for independence for Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, alongside strikes and protests. Joel Sans Molas argues that economic turmoil and austerity are creating the biggest political crisis in the country since the overthrow of Franco's regime 35 years ago

The economic crisis in the Spanish state continues to deepen, intertwined with a political crisis of ever greater dimensions. The conservative Popular Party (PP) government is under pressure on all fronts: economic, political and social.

Algeria's bitter struggle for freedom

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Fifty years since Algerian independence Ian Birchall looks at the uprising that forced the French to leave

In July 1962 Algeria achieved independence after a bitter war lasting over seven years. Some 300,000 Algerians died to win their nation's freedom. The war was fought brutally on both sides, but the need for a violent independence struggle was deeply rooted in the violence French imperialism had imposed on Algeria for over a century. As philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, "It is not their violence, but ours, turned back."

Champion of the Wretched

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Fifty years ago this month Algerian psychoanalyst and revolutionary Frantz Fanon died - just as his most famous book, The Wretched of the Earth, was published. Leo Zeilig looks back at Fanon's extraordinary life and the lessons his groundbreaking work has for us today

Frantz Fanon was born in Martinique in 1925; thirty six years later he was buried in Algeria. In his short life he became one of the greatest proponents of Algeria's extraordinary revolution.

N is for national liberation

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"Imagine there's no countries," sang John Lennon. "Nothing to fight or die for." It's a sentiment that any socialist would identify with.

How it sticks in the throat to hear Gordon Brown drone on about planting the union jack while he deports asylum seekers and sends more troops to occupy foreign lands.

So if we're so down on nationalism, why do we make it a point of principle to stand side by side with national liberation movements?

On one level the answer seems obvious. We wouldn't dream of saying "England for the English", but "Iraq for the Iraqis" is an excellent slogan in the anti-war movement.

Algeria: torture last time

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When Algerian journalist Henri Alleg published his account of being tortured at the hands of the French colonial regime it became an instant bestseller. Ian Birchall tells us why the book is still as relevant today as it was 50 years ago during the Algerian War of Independence.

More than 50 years ago France was fighting a vicious colonial war in Algeria. The enemy were so-called "terrorists", North African Muslims who wanted national independence. Many episodes from that war have striking parallels with the world today.

Henri Alleg was editor of Alger Républicain, the only daily newspaper in Algeria to oppose the French colonial regime, and a member of the Algerian Communist Party. In 1955 Alger Républicain was banned and the following year it was decided to intern most of its contributors. Alleg went into hiding.

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