Solidarity 106, 9 February 2007

Multiculturalism, racism and class in Britain today

By Camila Bassi Three phases mark the history of multiculturalism in Britain. The first starts after the period of immigration from the Commonwealth in the 1950s and 1960s. The newly emergent black and Asian populations occupied certain labour market positions, lived in particular areas and faced particular forms of racism. People from Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Caribbean were some of most oppressed and exploited sections of the working class (they had the worst working and housing conditions). In general terms, they have remained there and been at the sharpest edge of racial tensions...

Machiavellian lessons

Sofie Buckland reviews Notes on a Scandal From the moment the film opens with Judi Dench’s acerbic commentary on school life, you know there’s something not quite right about her character, Barbara Covett. A lonely, obsessional teacher facing the prospect of a long, empty retirement, her diary entries form the soundtrack to the film, relaying to the audience the conscious way she manipulates those she perceives as vulnerable. Her latest target is Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), the inexperienced new art teacher about to embark upon an affair with a 15 year old pupil. Next follows two hours of...

Abolish the House of Lords!

By Amina Saddiq Desperate to overcome the impression of being mired in financial corruption and political bankruptcy, the government is pressing ahead with reform of the House of Lords. House of Commons leader Jack Straw is pushing for a 50/50 elected/appointed second chamber, but the various possible ratios seem to be exciting a bizarre amount of controversy and enthusiasm among Labour MPs. Although a stronger elected element might be mildly preferable to a body totally stuffed with Blairite and Tory cronies (though only just if Straw gets his way and members are elected for fifteen year...

Chavez's Plans Favour Capital

By Paul Hampton Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has announced that his government’s planned takeover of the Orinoco belt oil fields and the nationalisation of the electricity sector will begin in May, though on terms favourable to capital. Chávez has been given the power to nationalise by an enabling law, passed by the National Assembly last week. Venezuela’s state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) will become the majority stakeholder in four projects in the Orinoco belt oil fields, with a minimum stake of 60%. The 3-4,000 workers who are currently employed by these companies will...

The end of the road for the Provos

"Ireland occupies a position among the nations of the earth unique - in the possession of what is known as a 'physical force party' - a party, that is to say, whose members are united upon no one point, and agree upon no single principle, except upon the use of physical force - [A party that] exalts into a principle that which the revolutionists of other countries have looked upon as a weapon - men as the only means of attaining it." — James Connolly, 1899 The special Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in Dublin, on January 27, 2007 decided, in principle, to recognise the reorganised Royal Ulster...

Teenage kicks?

Chris Leary reviews Skins Anticipating the televisual delights promised by all the promos of the new teen drama from E4 (the yoof digital channel from Channel 4), I sat down in front of the telly with my tin of cider. By the half way point I was curled up in a ball, knawing away at my fist in terror and fright, and at some point near the end, I just couldn't take it anymore and switched over to a repeat of Most Haunted. The trailers for Skins promised a wicked concoction of Hollyoaks and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Perhaps I should have known better. After all I do absolutely hate...

Machievellian Lessons

Sofie Buckland reviews Notes on a Scandal From the moment the film opens with Judi Dench's acerbic commentary on school life, you know there's something not quite right about her character, Barbara Covett. A lonely, obsessional teacher facing the prospect of a long, empty retirement, her diary entries form the soundtrack to the film, relaying to the audience the conscious way she manipulates those she perceives as vulnerable. Her latest target is Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), the inexperienced new art teacher about to embark upon an affair with a 15 year old pupil. Next follows two hours of...

No forced integration!

By Rhodri Evans The recent survey by Policy Exchange showed a rise of Islamic fervour

Abolish the House of Lords

By Amina Saddiq Desperate to overcome the impression of being mired in financial corruption and political bankruptcy, the government is pressing ahead with reform of the House of Lords. House of Commons leader Jack Straw is pushing for a 50/50 elected/appointed second chamber, but the various possible ratios seem to be exciting a bizarre amount of controversy and enthusiasm among Labour MPs. Although a stronger elected element might be mildly preferable to a body totally stuffed with Blairite and Tory cronies (though only just if Straw gets his way and members are elected for fifteen year...

My friend the tyrant

David Broder reviews The Last King of Scotland Kevin MacDonald's film charts the progress of Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), a young Scottish doctor who, by chance, becomes a close aide to 1970s Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). Attracted by Amin's charm, affection for Scotland and rhetoric for "a new Uganda", Nicholas leaves his post at an aid mission in the countryside and accepts the offer to become Amin's physician, a decision which brings him into close personal contact with the dictator. Drawn into the inner circle of a paranoid leader, Nicholas is appointed by Amin as a...

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