Oppression

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.

Marxism and oppression

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Marxists are sometimes accussed of being dismissive of oppression, preferring to emphasise the importance of class. Sara Bennett explains why socialists argue for working class unity as the best way to combat, and ultimately abolish, all forms of oppression

Forty five years ago being gay in Britain was a criminal offence. Today there is a good chance we could see gay marriage legalised by the government before the end of its term in office. This is just one example of many huge strides forward we have achieved in the fight against oppression, whether of LGBT people, women, black people or other oppressed groups.

Dancing to the wrong tune

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In recent times Islamophobia has started to creep into art and theatre, including pieces by artists who have previously produced progressive and pioneering work. This is part of a corrosive trend that has led to some mainstream liberal commentators to pander to anti-Muslim racism.

From the 1980s onwards Australian-born choreographer Lloyd Newson, with his physical theatre company DV8, has created groundbreaking work. He has challenged the boundaries of dance, both in form and in content, and made work that was both overtly political and artistically cutting-edge.

Sex and the German Revolution

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As part of LGBT history month, Colin Wilson looks at the how the German Revolution of 1918 led to significant new freedoms for lesbians and gays, and the role played by Communists

Germany's looming defeat in the First World War meant political crisis. In November 1918 the fleet mutinied and revolution began. The Kaiser - the German emperor - fled to Holland and a republic was proclaimed, beginning a period of radicalisation that was to last until 1923. But, while they had started a revolution, German workers never took the decisive final step of seizing power, as the Russian working class had done in October 1917.

Implanting oppression

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It hasn't been a great winter for the breast implant industry. First the French company Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) was discovered to be using industrial instead of medical grade silicon to fill its implants.

Now surgeons from the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons want to ban advertising of cosmetic surgery altogether. It is extraordinary that it has taken them so long to notice that there's an ethical problem with surgery being offered with BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free) and the sickening "yummy mummy makeover" packages of surgery for women shortly after they've given birth, or those particularly aimed at newly-divorced older women.

Don't blame religion

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Where do homophobia and transphobia come from? Many people point to religion as the root cause. But the belief that religion is to blame is a reworking of an old argument first fought out in the 1840s.

Then as now there was an argument about where awful ideas come from and how we can change them. It was not Richard Dawkins who first said that "religion is the root of all evil" but the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. It was against Feuerbach's ideas that Marx and Engels first formulated their ideas of historical materialism.

How can we end oppression?

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Emma Davis looks at how socialists understand oppression

We live in a society blighted by oppression. This February, David Cameron gave a speech about the country's supposed problems with immigration and diversity - on the same day the racist English Defence League took to the streets in Luton to intimidate Muslims. Despite significant gains over the past century women earn an average of 17 percent less than men. Homophobic and transphobic attacks are on the rise.

However we dress, wherever we go...

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Women's dress keeps hitting the headlines and not because of fashion shows either.

At the beginning of April, the French government decreed that all women had to expose their bodies more as the new law against wearing the veil came into effect. Then a few weeks later, a Toronto policeman was telling students to avoid dressing like a "slut" if they wanted to avoid getting raped. In other words, they should cover up more. And thus the "slut walk" protests were born. In the same week Kenneth Clarke pitched in with the view that some rapes are less serious than others and that men who admit to rape should get reduced sentences.

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