Patriotism

He's a right royal knockout

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10 September. Write that date in your diary NOW. If you can afford it, book a holiday; if you can't, stock up with sick-bags. You will need them because on that day the Invictus Games will begin. You have been warned.

If you believe the hype, these "Games" were the brainchild of Prince Harry, but in reality they are a copy of the "Warrior Games" held in Colorado last year. Men - there are no female "heroes" apparently - who have been mutilated in the NeoCons' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have a run around and a kick about.

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.

Fighting the war on the home front

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The claim of national unity during the First World War is a myth. The reality, argues Chris Fuller, was huge levels of repression by the British ruling class and a largely untold history of resistance.

The carnage of the First World War has been seen by many commentators as different from any conflict that went before. In fact there were hints as to how terrible a war between the rival imperial powers of the early 20th century might be. At the battle of Omdurman in 1898 the British had deployed the Maxim gun for the first time and slaughtered 10,800 Sudanese rebels. However, the war mindset was still that of the "cavalry charge"; few people envisaged the scale of the horror that was 1914-18.

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.

Shot for a Purpose

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A history of American war films

Darryl F Zanuck's 'The Longest Day' was very much a Nato film. It was made during the 1961 Berlin Wall crisis and reflected the US's need of its European allies in the Cold War with Russia. The film went out of its way to show the British, French, German and American experience of the D-Day landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944. The Allies were shown working together and those 'decent' Germans who had fought bravely and were not Nazi fanatics were rehabilitated. There was, of course, no mention of the Russian contribution to the defeat of the Nazis.

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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