Revolution

China's revolution at 70: reality trumps myths

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Mao's revolution was not socialist

As China launches its official celebrations marking 70 years since the revolution of 1949, Adrian Budd looks at the longer context of what was a national revolution, far from any vision of communism.

On 1 October China was set to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Massive parades are organised, children will sing patriotic songs whose lyrics they have learned by heart but do not understand, military hardware has been polished. The multi-millionaires who run China will admire themselves in their new hand-made suits and dresses.

Algeria on fire

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In getting rid of their dictator of 20 years, Algerians showed the power they have. Chinedu Chukwudinma looks at the history of workers’ struggles and assesses the possibilities for the future.

Revolution has again struck North Africa as the mass protests in Algeria forced dictator Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign on 2 April. Despite this victory, Algerians have continued to demonstrate and are now demanding the removal of the entire regime.

Iran 1979: an opportunity squandered

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Forty years ago protests in Iran rolled over into a revolution. John Rose tells a tale of huge potential brutally suppressed.

The Iranian Revolution of February 1979 was one of the most startling events of the 20th century. This is true not just because of the almost total participation of the entire population in the active overthrow of the Shah, the dictatorial self-proclaimed monarch, but also because of the determination of the new regime to install what it described as an “Islamic Republic”.

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.

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