Saturday, January 07, 2006

Socialist Worker 1982 Jan 7th 2006

Socialist Worker starts the year with the story about MI6 being present at the interrogation via physical and psychological torture of Pakistanis in Greece and names Nicholas Langman as the agent concerned. This is a story well-covered by left-wing blogs and the author of one of the most prominent (and excellent) Richard Seymour ( contributes a story on this angle and Anindya Bhattacharyya takes up the documents from Craig Murray.

Alex Callinicos's column takes up the growing media challenge to Bush in the US over both the international and domestic aspects of the 'war on terror' and the growing atmosphere of sleaze around Jack Abramoff. Callinicos's conclusion: Bush has been weakened, but question is, who will benefit?

Simon Assaf gives a useful account of the atrocious Egyptian police attacks on and killing of 27 Sudanese refugees.

There's news of a delegation, including Respect members, from Sheffield to eathquake devastated Kashmir. They met the chair of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front which wants to see Kashmir as an independent and secular state.

Fergus Alexander reports from Hong Kong about the protests against the WTO before Christmas, while Charlie Kimber provides an overview of the outcomes, which is really mostly a piece by Martin Khor (

The Letters page continues a debate about Respect and the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill started by China Mieville saying he didn't think Respect did support this Bill. Ger Francis writes in to correct him and support the legislation.

Ian Birchall does an excellent brief account of the political develpments and impact of 1956, linking to the London Socialist Historians conference on 1956 in early February.

Kerri Parke and Kevin Ovenden consider the continued existence of racism. They give the standard account of racism as developing alongside the transatlantic slave system, but say it more typically justifies itself on cultural grounds. Anti-Muslim racism, which they take to be equivalent to 'Islamophobia' is both obviously a justification for the 'war on terror' and a racial category. Beneath it all is the need for immigrant labour to do low paid, dirty jobs. Marx is quoted on the division and artificial antagonism between Irish and English workers and this is taken as showing the heart of modern continuing racism: the attempt to divide workers along racial lines. They deny any material advantage from racism for whites, so it is presented as a feeling of competition and mild differences. The government wants migrant workers, but doesn't want them as part of a collective working class movement, so migrant workers are kept under restrictions and that is justified by 'some form of racial ideology'. This is all part of the policy of neo-liberal governments: 'a race to the bottom for all workers in the globalised economy'. The Irish Ferries strike was an inspiring example of a fightback against that divisive racism, but so are political campaigns like the antiwar movement.

And finally the backpage gives an enthusiastic account of the election victory for Evo Morales in Bolivia, and a more distanced analytical piece warning od dangers and the continuing role of the movement from below.


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