War and Terror

A feminist speaks from inside Afghanistan

Demonstrations started in the first week of full Taliban rule, particularly in Herat in the west of Afghanistan and in Kabul and other major cities. In these cities at least women before the collapse of the old government had some basic rights, like having jobs and going to school and university.

"Against this barbarism, we fight for socialism" - our statement after 9/11

Workers' Liberty published this on 14 September 2001. Against the barbarism of the New York massacre, we fight for socialism To use civilian planes, full of people, to attack buildings full of civilians, mostly ordinary workers, is a crime against humanity, whatever the supposed aims. What cause could the hijackers have been serving when they massacre thousands of workers in New York? Not "anti-imperialism" in any rational sense - whatever anyone may pretend or imagine - but only rage against the modern world. Only on the basis of a dehumanised, backward-looking world-view could they have...

Afghanistan, the Taliban and the British left: lessons from 2001

Everyone on the left is saying that the current disaster in Afghanistan shows that no-one should rely on US militarism to deal with the danger of Islamist militarism like the Taliban's. And that's true. No-one on the left is claiming that the Taliban taking Kabul is a victory for liberation, anti-imperialism, or self-determination. Right again: it isn't. It's a result which threatens to crush all women's rights and almost all personal liberties, let along collective civil rights, for the people of Afghanistan's cities especially. But then why did a large chunk of the left implicitly or...

Reading on Afghanistan

• Disaster in Afghanistan: how the Taliban won (August 2021) • A disastrous invasion and a disastrous withdrawal (August 2021) • Afghanistan, the left, and the "third camp" (August 2021) • Timeline 1921-2021 • Support Afghan women against the Taliban (August 2021) • Afghanistan and the shape of the 20th century: how Afghanistan ended up where it is now, and its significance as an epitome of the role of Stalinism in the shape of the 20th century (March 2002) • Socialists and the 1979-89 war: the theoretical arguments used by many on the left to justify support or semi-support for the Russian...

The G7: resistance in Cornwall

More photos below article My trip to Cornwall to demonstrate around the G7 summit (11-13 June) felt a bit like a set of concentric circles: I was part of and helping to cohere a delegation of Workers’ Liberty supporters and friends; we were seeking to imbue socialist politics, internationalism, and a working-class orientation into the wider anti-G7 movement; and that movement was challenging the G7 and the politics they represent. It was only en route towards the most southwesterly tip of this island, cutting through the darkening fog in a car-share with newly-acquainted comrades — and...

Who's lying about the Uyghurs? Socialist Action covers for repression in China

The Socialist Action group has republished an article by Max Blumenthal, a US “left-wing” conspiracy theorist and apologist for Stalinism, seeking to undermine the idea the Chinese state is committing human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang/East Turkestan. They praise Blumenthal and his article in an introductory article which is itself quite extensive. Socialist Action is small but has a certain influence in the Labour left. It is also well-entrenched in the offices of various influential people. Its origins are Trotskyist but nowadays its politics are crudely Stalinist. In...

Rape as a weapon of war

Pietro da Corona's 17th century painting depicts "the rape of the Sabine women" by the early Roman armies. But rape in war is also much more modern. Christina Lamb has been a journalist reporting from war zones for over thirty years. Her book Our Bodies Their Battlefield: What War Has Done To Women, published by William Collins in 2020, traces the struggle to get rape recognised as a war crime. When Lamb began to submit copy to editors, telling the largely unreported evidence of survivors who told her their stories, her editors would reply that it would be too shocking for their readers to put...

To defeat salafi-jihadism, rebuild hope

Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were killed by Usman Khan on 30 November on London Bridge in an attack which has been claimed by Al Qaida as its own. About the similar but larger massacre, in Manchester, in the run-up to the 2017 election, we wrote: “Cults of death run through the history of fascism. The Spanish Falangists (part of Franco’s forces) had the slogan Viva la Muerte, Long Live Death. “For the death cult to reach the pitch of suicide attacks on randomly chosen civilians... (world-wide, more often what the Islamists see as the wrong sort of Muslims than non-Muslims) requires a...

Diary of an engineer: You’ll probably deserve it?

On Mondays my cohort attends college. The building is made of slick modern metal and glass, and built on the site of the battle of Orgreave. The Economist magazine described its construction as “a promising attempt… to tackle an ancient and ridiculous class divide” by getting Boeing and Rolls Royce to invest in working-class children’s education. Over the road is the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, hosting buildings dedicated to factory automation and nuclear research. My class is twelve men and three women, aged 17-30. Our Health and Safety Trainer is a 30-40 year old Brummy called “P...

Prevent database revealed

UK police have a secret database with details of thousands of people referred to “Prevent”, the government’s supposed “anti-radicalisation” programme, it was revealed on 6 October by the Guardian, via human rights group Liberty. The National Police Prevent Case Management (PCM) database is accessible to all UK police forces and the home office, and contains personal details and reasons for “referral” of all those referred. People referred are not notified, and so have no (straightforward) rights to due process. The stated aim of Prevent is to prevent “radicalisation” which is at risk of...

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