Solidarity 136, 24 July 2008

Us and them

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 9:03 Author: Rosalind Robson

Is there ever a point to examining the lives of the idle super-rich. Do we really need to know about the hyper-disfunctionality of their family life? Wait a minute — isn’t that the question they usually ask about us plebians?

Whatever. Savage Grace looks at the lives of Brooks Baeckelands (heir to a fortune made by his grandfather, the inventor of “bakelite”), wife Barbara and son Tony. Little Tony, who grows up to stab his multiple-abusive mother. Little Tony who was left to take care of his often suicidal mother, because his father ran off with Tony’s girlfriend. Nice.

Socialists and Barack Obama

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 8:55 Author: Malik Miah

The following article is by Malik Miah, one of the editors of the US socialist magazine Against the Current. We print it in the interests of debate and to relate to an issue that extends beyond the American left. We invite our readers to write contributions to this discussion.

Now that Illinois Senator Barack Obama has become the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, what does it say about US civil society? What stance should progressives and socialists take?

Ideas for Freedom 2008: Traditions and Tasks

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 8:54 Author: Duncan Morrison

“It is the specific duty of the leaders to gain an ever clearer understanding of the theoretical problems, to free themselves more and more from the influence of traditional phrases inherited from the old conception of the world, and constantly to keep in mind that socialism, having become a science, demands the same treatment as every other science — it must be studied.” (Friedrich Engels, The Peasant War in Germany)

One hundred and sixty people attended Workers’ Liberty’s annual Ideas for Freedom event on 11-13 July. It was a vibrant and youthful affair.

Review of "Global emergency" by Roy Wilkes

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 8:51 Author: Paul Vernadsky

In "Global Emergency: the Battle Against Climate Change", Roy Wilkes, a supporter of the International Socialist Group and with it George Galloway's Respect Renewal project, argues that climate change is a product of the epoch of capitalism and that it is no accident that the commodities which have come to epitomise capital in the modern era, the car and the aeroplane, are based on fossil fuels.

Coal-fired power? No thanks!

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 8:49 Author: Elliot Robinson

The fight to prevent dangerous and runaway climate change means that the energy regime in modern capitalism cannot be a matter of indifference to socialists. The pressure point now is the drive by power generation companies to build a new wave of coal-fired power stations.

There are plans for seven new coal-fired power stations in the UK (and many others in Europe), starting with Kingsnorth in Kent. In August environmental campaigners will set up a “Climate Camp” near this site to protest at the programme. Elliott Robinson examines the background.

Radovan Karadzic: The politics of ethnic chauvinism

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 8:32 Author: Editorial, Solidarity, 21 August, 2008

The capture in Belgrade of Radovan Karadzic, who bears political responsibility for the murder of many thousands of Bosnian Muslim civilians in the mid-1990s, undoubtedly reflects the “turn to the west” of the current Serbian government. He had been living and working in Belgrade, protected by other Serb nationalists.

It is good that he has been captured and good that he will be punished. The pity is that the relatives of his victims in Bosnia won’t have the chance to hang this mass murderer!

Are the unions getting tough on Labour?

Submitted by cathy n on 25 August, 2008 - 8:30 Author: Editorial, Solidarity, 21 August, 2008

At the Labour Party National Policy Forum starting on 24 July [2008], the unions want to get a “Warwick 2”, a second version of the list of concessions obtained by them at a Policy Forum in summer 2004, in the run-up to the 2005 general election.

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