Editorial: Signs of life

Issue section: 

Heading into 2016 we are confronted with a world characterised by continuing war and chaos in the Middle East, a refugee crisis exacerbated by those wars, and a racist offensive at home feeding off both of these situations.

This issue of Socialist Review attempts to tackle all of these factors, and show how they are linked — as well as, crucially, suggesting how we can challenge them.

In an extensive interview, Simon Assaf describes the interplay of the imperialist and sub-imperialist powers converging over Syria (p10). In so doing he answers many of the questions that arise in the anti-war movement — why has Britain joined in the melee? How can ISIS be stopped? Is there any sign of the Arab Spring reawakening?

Events in the Middle East have made it doubly important that we have a thriving anti-war movement. One of the ways in which the right wing of the Labour Party and the media have attempted to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is by attacking the Stop the War Coalition. As Shaun Doherty argues (p14), we must defend Stop the War as a body which enompasses paople with different analyses, but which unites around simple slogans aimed at our own government.

Defence of Corbyn’s principles is a crucial task for socialists inside and outside the Labour Party, for the sake of the whole movement.

And a key priority must be beating back the Tories’ racist offensive. We have seen inspiring solidarity with refugees over the autumn, but we’ve also seen a huge rise in racist attacks on Muslims, especially since the Paris terror attacks in November. Saba Shiraz explains the implications of the Prevent agenda in the public sector, as well as the new Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (p18).

During the second half of 2015 we witnessed a shift in the level of confidence of people in Britain to fight. The Tories may have won the general election, but Corbyn’s election was a sign of something changing for the better.

Let’s ramp it up in 2016.