Battle of Ideas

Afghanistan and the left, 2021

The disaster in Afghanistan makes it even more urgent for the left to recognise that in conflicts between big powers like the USA, and reactionary forces which conflict with those big powers without to any degree fighting for national-liberation or democracy, it is possible and indeed mandatory for socialists to support neither side. We instead fight for the "third camp" of the working class and the oppressed, against both the big powers and forces like the Taliban, even if that "third camp" is at present weak and undeveloped.

Honour and learn from the Grunwick strike!

20 August 2021 was the 45th anniversary of the start of one of the most important struggles in British working-class history, the two-year strike by Grunwick film-processing workers in North West London. Below we republish an overview of the strike and its significance written by Jean Lane in 1998, with a short introduction from 2012. The kind of lessons Jean highlighted in 1998, from the strike's magnificence but also its galling defeat, were still relevant in 2012 and are relevant today.

Fidel Castro's legacy: Cuba as a class society

Pablo Velasco and Sacha Ismail review Cuba since the revolution of 1959: A Critical Assessment, by Cuban-American socialist Sam Farber.

The 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro and his 26 July Movement to power was a bourgeois revolution which smashed Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship, but replaced it with their own Bonapartist regime.

Half driven by US hostility and half by choice, this government opted to become a Stalinist state in 1961, adopting the model of the USSR and similar states.

The Satanic Verses, thirty years on

Last month saw the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

Rushdie’s sprawling novel defies summary: interlinking stories meld scurrilous fantasies, dark humour and cutting political satire directed not only at Islam, but British racism and Indian immigrants’ attempts to adapt. It is an honest attempt to deal with the warping pressures of racism, religion and cultural dislocation.

Stand with Myanmar's workers

One cannot overstate the heroism of the Myanmar union movement right now in the fight against the military dictatorship, nor the horror of the military’s ongoing crimes against humanity.”

So wrote Andrew Tillett-Saks, a US union organiser working in Myanmar, on 19 March. (See Tillett-Saks' Twitter for regular English-language updates.)

There is now a steady flow of killings by the regime. Current estimates in the international media, which Burmese activists say are too low, are around 250.

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