Revolution

Malcolm X: The road to revolution

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This month marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of Malcolm X. Antony Hamilton looks at his life and politics.

Malcolm X is one of the great icons of the Black Power movement. He inspired a generation to resist racism “by any means necessary”. His life was a battle of ideas in which he responded to institutional racism and segregation with tactics that evolved alongside the struggle for civil rights. Speaking in January 1965, a month before his murder, Malcolm X warned of impending social upheaval and global revolution:

Bread, Freedom, Social Justice

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This much-anticipated and authoritative book by Anne Alexander and Mostafa Bassiouny tracks the role of the Egyptian working class movements in the 2011 Revolution. It is a closely argued, detailed and thorough examination of the dynamics of the revolution and the potential for workers to make a profound change in Egyptian society.

Alexander and Bassiouny begin with the definition of the Egyptian military — not a neutral body standing above society mediating between different interests, nor is it simply a charmed circle of personalities, but a brutal agent of class rule.

Do revolutions always fail?

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The counter-revolution in Egypt, together with the confused outcome of the upheavals in Ukraine, has revived the old argument that real popular power is impossible. John Molyneux explains why this is wrong.

The state of the world - with climate change, poverty, wars, racism and much else - is such that it is not easy for our rulers to persuade people that everything is alright. But they don't need to. All they need to do is persuade people that there is nothing they can do about it. This is why, when it comes to justifying capitalism, inequality and war, the mantra of: "But you can't change human nature" has always been popular with the powerful and drummed into the heads of ordinary people.

Sectarianism and the Arab revolutions

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What explains sectarian divisions such as the Shia-Sunni divide in the Middle East?
Lebanese socialist Bassem Chit rejects claims that sectarianism is a "pre-modern" force and argues it is rooted in the pattern of capitalist development and crisis in the region.

There is a growing debate over the role of religious sectarianism in the Middle East since the outbreak of the Arab Revolutions. Most writing on the issue deals with the question from a cultural perspective. One of the most striking examples of such an approach is the debate surrounding the supposedly Shia-Sunni divide, which many authors treat as an extension of a conflict over who should have assumed power following the death of the Prophet Mohammed in 632 CE.

The fate of two revolutions

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Mirfat Sulaiman reports from south Yemen on how the growing movement for independence from the north has been fuelled by the dashed hopes of the 2011 popular revolution.

In January 2011 Yemen witnessed the start of the biggest anti-government protests in the country's history. Following decades of dictatorial rule, the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt gave ordinary Yemenis confidence to demand an end to the unemployment, corruption and injustice that marked the dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Why Read... Lessons of October

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The year 1923 was a decisive year in the history of the international movement. It was the point at which the revolutionary movement sweeping Europe after the victory of the Bolsheviks in 1917 finally broke and began to ebb. And it was also the time at which the Soviet bureaucracy began to firmly consolidate its grip over Russian society.

Class, power and the state in the Arab Spring

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This month marks the third anniversary of the start of the Egyptian revolution. Simon Assaf examines some key lessons while Anne Alexander spoke to three Egyptian revolutionaries.

At the forefront of the Arab Spring were the movements that took to the streets in vast numbers. The revolutions drew in diverse social forces - workers organisations, youth movements, left wing parties, liberals as well as Islamists - that have over the past three years battled to put themselves at its head. The revolutions have revealed the shortcomings of the established opposition parties, as well as the ability of the state and old ruling classes to adapt and survive. They have thrown up powerful street movements, but also forces of sectarianism and reaction.

Tunisia: Revolution in the balance

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Fathi Chamkhi is a member of the Popular Front coalition, and Mokhtar Ben Hafsa is a school teacher and union activist. They spoke to Jaouhar Tonsy about the struggle for the Tunisian revolution.


The third anniversary of the Tunisian Revolution is marked by political gridlock and a crisis for the ruling Ennahda party, the Islamist government elected in the wake of the uprising. What form is this taking?

Ennahda has been weakened by waves of widespread protests and deep popular anger that have forced it into discussions with the other opposition parties over a future "non-political" government.

Workers and the Arab revolutions

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On the third anniversary of the Arab Spring the revolutions stand at a crossroads. Over the next three months Socialist Review will be exploring the politics and development of these popular revolts. Anne Alexander open this series with an assessment of the nascent workers' movements in Egypt and Tunisia.

"The Russian bourgeois revolution of 1905-07...was undoubtedly a real people's revolution, since the mass of the people, its majority, the very lowest social strata, crushed by oppression and exploitation, rose independently and placed on the entire course of the revolution the impress of their own demands, of their attempts to build in their own way a new society in place of the old society that was being destroyed."

(Lenin, The State and Revolution, 1918)

A revolutionary Brand

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The call for revolution by the comedian and actor Russell Brand in his interview with Jeremy Paxman has had a wide reasonance. Amy Leather looks at what this tells us about the radical mood in society today.

Most readers have probably seen the Youtube clip of Russell Brand taking on Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight. With over 10 million hits it has both resonated with the feelings of many people and sparked further debate.

It was refreshing to see someone not only challenging the mainstream consensus that there is "no alternative" to cuts and austerity but actually talking about the need for revolution on mainstream TV.

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