Michael Bradley

Organising to resist

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The retreat by union leaders over the pensions struggle shaped last year. What are the prospects for a renewal of resistance in 2013? Socialist Review spoke to Michael Bradley, from the SWP's industrial office, about the prospects for strikes and how socialists in the unions should organise

2012 was dominated by the retreat over the pensions struggle. What do you think is the balance sheet of that experience and what lessons can we draw from it?

Classic read: Life and Fate

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Vasily Grossman

The new BBC adaptation of Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate for Radio 4 will give this important book a new audience. The novel centres on the life and death struggle at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942-3. The outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance as fighting raged in the city named for the Soviet dictator. As the Nazis approached the Eastern front they had carried out a genocidal war slaughtering millions of civilians, Red Army soldiers and Jews. The defeat of the German forces at Stalingrad was the beginning of the end for the Nazis.

Brown's Britain: the faultlines deepen

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Recent months have seen fierce industrial disputes, with workers challenging the government and the bosses. Michael Bradley argues that this resistance can shape a future fightback

Photo: Guy Smallman

We're moving into a new phase of the struggle. Over the last couple of years we have gone through several distinct stages. First was the onset of the recession in 2008 which effectively knocked sideways the pay revolt in the public sector. Secondly, after a series of horrible defeats like the job losses at Woolworths and Cowley, we saw the development of a movement of working class resistance.

Firebrand of Liberty

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Stephen V Ash, W W Norton, £15.99

The 1st and 2nd South Carolina regiments were some of the first black troops to go into action in the 1863 American Civil War.

Their bravery was to influence Lincoln's decision for the large scale recruitment of black soldiers. Almost 200,000 black troops were to fight for the union by the war's end.

Under the command of abolitionist Thomas Higginson, the black regiments occupied the Confederate town of Jacksonville hoping to hold it as a launch point for a campaign to bring the state back into union hands.

The crisis fuels discontent

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Global economic turmoil has led to food riots abroad and spiralling inflation in Britain. Michael Bradley and Judith Orr report on the growing resentment towards the crisis-ridden Labour government

Where did it all go wrong for Gordon Brown? Was it his failure to call a general election last October? Was it the attempt to impose a pay freeze? Was it the vote in parliament to extend detention without trial to 42 days? Just one year into Brown's premiership a recent Gallup poll showed Labour's popularity at its lowest ebb of support since Gallup first asked people to declare their voting intention in 1943. The government is in a crisis that appears out of control and the central issue that is derailing Brown is the economic crisis.

Architects of their own liberation

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Much has been written about the American Civil War, but less is known about the decisive role of black soldiers in the conflict. Michael Bradley unearths the role of free blacks and escaped slaves whose heroism helped secure victory against the Confederate South and ended slavery.

The American Civil War of 1861-65 was the world's first truly industrial conflict. It saw the mobilisation of huge economic resources and resulted in the death of some 600,000 people. Northern supporters of "free labour" fought the Southern planter elite to decide which system would dominate the country's future.

Can Things Only Get Better?

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The decision by Labour MPs to deny party members the chance to choose their new leader means Gordon Brown will take office at the end of June. Judith Orr looks at the problems he will face and the state of the Labour left, while Michael Bradley examines the response from the unions.

Gordon Brown's time has finally come. On 24 June he will take on the post he has coveted for over a decade. Brown quickly received some good press. The Mirror's headline was "A Leader Born to Serve Us", and there was a three point boost in the polls. The fact that there is a bit of a "Brown bounce" is not surprising. It could hardly be otherwise - he is replacing one of Britain's most unpopular prime ministers. There is a palpable relief that Tony Blair is finally going, and for some a desperate hope that "things can only get better".

The Barbarity Behind the Bombing

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Review of ’Dresden‘, Frederick Taylor, Bloomsbury £20

At the heart of Frederick Taylor‘s new book on the attack on Dresden lies a very simple argument: the bombing of Dresden was justified. For all the pages of new research a very old message lies beneath. It‘s the same message that was put across by Winston Churchill and ’Bomber‘ Harris, the man held chiefly responsible for the attack.

Civil Strife

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Review of 'Crossroads of Freedom', James M McPherson, Penguin £7.99

The first years of the 21st century, just like the second half of the 20th, have been dominated by the world's only remaining superpower - the United States. James McPherson has become the great chronicler of the birth pangs of the US, the American Civil War.

Twilight of the Gods

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Review of 'Berlin: The Downfall', Antony Beevor, Penguin £25.00

Antony Beevor's new book, 'Berlin', is a follow up to his bestseller 'Stalingrad'. The book outlines the last apocalyptic months of Hitler's Reich. Germany was all but destroyed under the weight of the Red Army's attack on Berlin. Stalin threw over 2.5 million men, 41,000 guns and more than 6,000 tanks into the campaign to seize the German capital.

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