Thursday, February 02, 2006

Socialist Worker 1986 Feb 4th 2006

Socialist Worker (Feb 4th 2006) leads on 'Bring the Troops Home Now', in tune with the Stop the War vigils marking the death of the 100th British soldiers. Prominent quotes by Rose Gentle, George Galloway and John Rees. There's an inset by Chris Nineham(SWP Central Committee writing as National Officer Stop the War Coalition) headlined 'Chavez backs anti-war demo'. Nineham had called for a global day of protest against the occupation on March 18th at the WSF in Caracas and agreed by the activist assembly. The tone of 'aren't I (on your behalf) important' is established by his account of meeting with Hugo Chavez in an anti-war delegation. Would, say, Fidel Castro or even Che Guevara, giving back for an anti-war protest have made it onto the fron t-page of SW in a previous epoch?

There's more about the WSF from SW editor Chris Bambery in Caracas, with talk of revolution and fiesta and praise for Chavez, but a 'contradiction' in Chavez's praise for Lula and building an alliance with other Latin American countries, which Bambery thinks jarred with the mood of most participants. Bambery quotes Brice Bragato of P-Sol and someone from the MST calling for political parties. The MST guy says: "It's not enough to get on a bus and travel - you need someone to direct it and to say hen to get off", which must appeal very strongly to the SWP leadership.

Callinicos deals with the contradictions of Bush's programme of spreading democracy in the face of the electoral victory for Hamas last week, fifth in a sring of militant gains in the middle east. Callinicos points out that spreading democracy undermines US interests. Callinicos finishes with reference to Philip Bobbit (is it accurate to refer to him as a Democratic Party pundit?) saying democracy is really about rule of law, respect for private property; and Fareed Zakaria contrasting 'constitutional liberalism' to 'illiberal democracy'.

This is next to an interview with the Hamas MP for the northern Gaza Strip, Musheer al-Masri, with a good background explanation of the last few years. He traces Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) back to the Muslim Brotherhood until the intifada in 1987. Al-Masri finishesd by saying they will not abandon the struggle for their land.

After last weeks SW being a George Galloway free-zone he's back with a very positive story this week, presents him as the very active politican in the 'tribune of the people' mode and to justify his Big Brother appearance, acknowledgiung the criticism of friends, but saying it's a 'judgement call', and apologizing for not donig more to preare Respect's membership. Effective I think, but more cynically, it does much to disarm criticism of Galloway inside Respect.

There's a good centrepage article on Haiti, with lots of historical background by Andrew Taylor.

Saad N Jawad (of the Iraqi National Foundation Congress and a political scientist at the University of Baghdad) writes about 'An occupation in crisis', how the latest elections have deepened the US's problems, strengthened Iranian influence and although the resistance isn't unified and it can't (yet) drive out the US there has been a 'slight shift away from sectarianism' and a 'slow but gradual move toward a national movement'. Hmmm...

Something very surprising and interesting comes next: an extract from the preface to a new edition of Istvan Meszaros's Marx's Theory of Introduction. Such a difficult book! Meszaros does make the mistake of saying that believers in 'capitalist globalization' asuume its the solution and don't see crisis. That's just annoying. There's an introduction by Joseph Choonara, placing it first in the context of a debate with Althusser, presented as the most sophisiticated form of the distortion of Marxism that justified Stalinism, and secondly in a debate with those academics who just saw alientation as a 'prison', rather than seeing the possibility of new struggles that pose the possibility of transcending 'self-alienation' . And there's a reading list!


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