Tony Phillips

1956: The World in Revolt

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1956 was a year of change across the world. The apparently stable international order imposed by the victorious powers at the end of the Second World War was challenged by a series of dramatic revolts. This book provides an excellent survey of the key events from Budapest to Cairo and Algiers to Montgomery, Alabama.

Author Simon Hall brings their impact home with lively and inspiring blow by blow accounts and portraits of key personalities such as Rosa Parks, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Imre Nagy.

Outsider in the White House

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This Socialist Senator’s campaign to be president shows that the appetite for a left wing alternative to establishment neoliberal politics is as strong in the US as it is in Britain, Greece and Spain.

Sanders has repeatedly managed to get elected as a democratic socialist, not for either the Democratic or Republican parties. His politics were shaped by participation in the civil rights and anti Vietnam war movements of the 1960s.

His hero is Eugene Debs, a socialist who ran for president from prison, having been jailed for opposing participation in the First World War.

Economics after Capitalism

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Any book which argues that “capitalism doesn’t work and alternatives are possible” should be welcomed by revolutionary socialists.

The author Derek Wall, a leading member of the left in the Green Party, surveys the various strands of anti-capitalism around the world and looks at how capitalism can be replaced.

Wall begins with insider critics of neoliberalism such as George Soros and Joseph Stiglitz rightly pointing out that “they act as a vaccine against the virus of anti-capitalist protest”.

Enemy on the Euphrates

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Imperial power lands troops near Basra. Imperial power seizes control of oil supplies. Imperial power brutally crushes opposition. Imperial power imposes puppet government based on one religious group. This was Iraq, then known as Mesopotamia, between 1914 and 1920.

This fascinating book describes these events culminating in the biggest anti-colonial revolt faced by Britain during the 20th century. Defeating the revolution was its biggest military action between 1918 and 1939.

Unity in action; Role of the individual

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Unity in action

Charlie Kimber's explanation of why immigration does not lower wages was excellent (Socialist Review, March 2014).

If immigrants are supposed to lower wages, then you would expect the offshoring of work overseas to do so as well. But my experience is that this also isn't the case.

In 2000 we were outsourced with the specific intention of moving the majority of our work to India, ie we were subcontracted and offshored, working for our previous employer as an account.

It was not looking good.

Dispatches from the workplace

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We live in times of great opportunities for the left. Wide layers of workers and activists around us are demanding increasingly sophisticated explanations and arguments about the way forward.

As a socialist and union activist I have build up a good political relationship with many people I work with. The kind of rigorous socialist analysis provided by the re-launched Socialist Review is a big help in pulling these people to the left.

One young union activist asked for a copy as soon as she saw the cover of the September issue at a union meeting. Having visited Bolivia and Argentina as part of a workers' delegation last year she is also impressed by the Latin American coverage.

To Merge or Not to Merge

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While I agree with John Appleyard (Letters, April SR) on the motives of the trade union bureaucracy in supporting union mergers, it does not follow that militants should always oppose them.

Our criteria for supporting or opposing a particular merger should be how far it helps to overcome sectionalism within a particular industry and strengthen workers' confidence and ability to fight. Just as trade union leaders support mergers for their own purposes, they also exploit the existence of more than one union in an industry to try to undermine the fight, as we saw with the GMB leadership over pensions recently.

Contributions to Another World

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Review of 'The Social Europe We Need', editor Robin Blackburn, Spokesman £9.99

The welfare state is under attack across Europe. Pensions, benefits for the poor and unemployed have been cut back and the whole basis on which they are provided has been brought into question. Simultaneously this is being accompanied by the wholesale privatisation of health, education and other social services.

Age Concern

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The TUC is finally fighting back in defence of pensions, says Tony Phillips.

The TUC call for a day of action in defence of pensions on 18 February could be the beginning of a more general fight against New Labour's recent attacks. The government has announced that some of the changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme will come into force as early as April this year. That has forced Unison, which represents 800,000 local government workers but whose leadership is one of the most pro-Labour, to promise action. Its consultative ballot was overwhelmingly in favour of national strike action on 21 March.

Brutal and Corrupt

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Review of 'IOU', Noreena Hertz, Fourth Estate £16.99

The plight of the developing world is the greatest crime of 21st century capitalism. The majority of the people of the world endure desperate and deepening poverty with all hope of keeping up, let alone catching up with the west, a distant dream.

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