Nationalism

Economic crisis and job losses: who's to blame?

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Nationalism is always a dead end for the working class movement, argues Martin Smith, after the wildcat strikes that demanded "British jobs for British workers"

Two things became abundantly clear when standing on the picket line outside the Lindsey oil refinery in Immingham. It was the second day of the wildcat strike and for the first time since the economic crisis started there was a whiff of the class struggle we have witnessed across the Channel in Europe.

Letter from Spain

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As the Spanish state goes on the offensive against the Basque left and ETA, Manel Ros reports on developments since the ETA ceasefire ended in June.

In October 23 leading members of Batasuna, the main organisation of the Basque left, were arrested after leaving a secret meeting. They were detained and accused of belonging to ETA, the armed Basque organisation that struggles for independence - 17 were incarcerated, while the rest are awaiting trial.

Nothing to Reclaim

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Billy Bragg's quest for a "new England" may well be a waste of time, says Martin Smith. Review of 'The Progressive Patriot', Billy Bragg, Bantham Press £17.99

Musician and political activist Billy Bragg has just brought out his first book, The Progressive Patriot: A Search for Belonging. His family history and the politically honest account of the Anti Nazi League (ANL) and Rock Against Racism's (RAR) fight against the Nazis in the 1970s makes interesting reading. But The Progressive Patriot is not a biography - it's a polemic, one which aims to reconcile patriotism with a radical left tradition.

Empire Day Reloaded?

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What Gordon Brown's 'British Day' chooses to celebrate will not be as important as what it chooses to hide.

My dad shared his birthday, 24 May, with Queen Victoria. It was designated Empire Day, and when he was a child in the 1920s and 1930s school children held parades and celebrations of the British Empire, on which famously at the time the sun never set. I was reminded of this with all the talk about a 'British Day' proposed by Gordon Brown, when one suggestion was that this could be a resurrected Empire Day.

The Culture of Discontent

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What is "Britishness"?

So David Blunkett has decided, like Norman Tebbit before him, that immigrants should be tested for their responsiveness to British cultural values! In Tebbit's case, the key test was cricket. A British person was a man (note!) who knew his cricket, who understood the world of cork on willow, and the deep significance of taking tea and cream scones on the village green.

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