Oppression

Moonstone

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This short, beautiful novel tells the story of Máni Steinn Karlsson, a movie-obsessed teenager living with his one ancient relative in an attic in the centre of Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1918. Máni Steinn, translated as Moonstone, roams the small town looking for the odd jobs available to a boy who struggles to read and planning which film he will see next in either of the two cinemas.

Capitalism, alienation and the family

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In the second part of her two-part series on the family, Canadian socialist Susan Rosenthal explains how families can trap men, women and children in violent and abusive relations.

Stripping the romantic veneer from the typical family reveals two people who are socialised to be opposites, crammed in a box, subjected to falling living standards, rising debt and social insecurity. They are expected to raise children, who have lots of needs, and to do this with no outside support. Add bouts of unemployment, injury, or illness. Add some dependent relatives. Then make it difficult for these people to leave. Insist that they solve their own problems, and if they cannot, then it must be their fault or their partner’s fault.

Debating the sex industry

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An influential book by Melissa Gira Grant, Playing the Whore, has opened a debate about the nature of sex work, criminalisation and moralism.

The debate about sex work has received much attention recently, and Melissa Gira Grant’s book, Playing the Whore, has been acclaimed for offering new insights into the discussions about the sex industry. Although there are some aspects of Grant’s arguments that socialists would welcome, there is much to disagree with in this book.

New spin on same old story

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Ken Olende demolishes the new arguments put forward by liberal commentators about the "dangers" of immigration, and the intellectual cover they give to right wing ideas over race.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson's programme, The Truth About Immigration, was the latest step in a concerted attempt to redefine the "liberal" agenda on immigration.

Two recent books, Britain's Dream by David Goodhart and Exodus by Paul Collier, try to stake the same ground with more intellectual clout. Both are dreadful and shallow.

Goodhart is director of the Demos think-tank and former editor of Prospect magazine. Collier is an Oxford professor and former advisor to the World Bank. All three deploy similar arguments in favour of controlled immigration.

Time to celebrate LGBT history

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Schools OUT was founded 40 years ago to campaign on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues in education. Sue Caldwell spoke to Tony Fenwick, a co-founder, about the fight against homophobia and transphobia.


Can you tell us about the circumstances in which Schools OUT was launched in 1974 and the challenges you faced?

Schools OUT started as the Gay Teachers' Group after John Warburton was sacked from his school and banned from working for the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) for telling the truth.

Some students in his class had seen him coming out of a gay bar and they asked him if he was gay. He said that he was. That was it. It was enough to finish his teaching career in London.

Life out of the shadows

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Bayard Rustin was a key strategist in the US civil rights movement and the main organiser of the March on Washington. He was also gay and a communist. Josh Hollands celebrates his life and achievements.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for jobs and civil rights. Until recently it seemed as though one of its most important organisers would remain largely forgotten.

Bayard Rustin was a key strategist of the civil rights movement, as well as an adviser and mentor to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Historians have noted that it was Rustin who guided King to mass non-violent action to challenge the racist Jim Crow system.

Limits of Intersectionality

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A whole series of new and renewed groups, protests and movements have appeared in response to the "new sexism" - personified by raunch culture popular on campus - that are increasingly defining themselves as feminist. Some of those involved with these movements are drawn to the ideas of "intersectionality", which attempt to explain how race, gender and class oppressions "intersect" and influence each other.

Engels revisited

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There has been a recent resurgence in writers about women's oppression looking to Marx and Engels for answers, with some arguing he crudely emphasised class at the expense of oppression. Here, Sally Campbell looks at the claims of those writers and defends Engels from the critics

There is a common assertion that Marxism as a set of ideas does not or cannot account for oppression. Some argue, for example, that Marxism is a form of economic determinism that reduces all the complexity of human interaction down to production; because we see workers' revolution as the solution, we see all other struggles - against racism or gender oppression - as subordinate to the struggle in the workplace.

This comes from the right - they want to attack revolutionary ideas, full stop.

Putting the politics back into Pride

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As World Pride arrives in London, Ellie May looks at its radical roots, considers what has changed since the Stonewall riots in 1969 and asks how we strengthen the struggle for LGBT equality today

World Pride 2012 will see an expected one million people gather in central London to celebrate all things LGBT. But the Pride parades as we know them are a far cry from the first gay pride demonstrations held in the US in the early 1970s.

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