Thursday, August 24, 2006

Socialist Worker Aug 26th 2006

Socialist Worker (#2015 Aug 26th)continues its focus on imperialism and the struggle against it with an exciting 'The Power of the Masses' lead about an exclusive report (they are very keen on 'exclusive reports') by Simon Assaf and Guy Smallman from Lebanon, emphasising the mass scale and popular unity of resistance to the Israelis. But SW also provides a warning: 'US and its allies try to regain lost ground', re-emphasising that the conflict was a 'proxy war' against Iran and Syria, quoting Seymour Hersh.

Simon Assaf has a page of reportage on 'Freedom from below' about popular solidarity for Hizbollah. Good, but effect spoiled by a tendentious piece by Guyt Smallman suggesting that a dairy plant was bombed for a small economic motivation. But the centre-page reportage makes up for it: 'The Battle of Aita Al-Shaab' is excellent and the interview between John Rees and Sameh Naguib from Cairo interesting and important.

Other things:
Alex Callinicos on Polish and other East European migrants. Callinicos makes the case for the traditional Marxist view that what is going on is the typical 'divide and rule' policy of the bosses. He refers to the bosses as 'split', which is true but the term sets up misleading images of unity as necessary; instead, on this as with most other things the ruling class has different approaches and strategies reflecting different interests. 'Split' maybe comes from conceptualising bourgeois politics as the mirror-image of the rhetoric of Marxist politics. Callinicos does point up the contradictions of the situation, in which both unemployment and employment are rising and which is precisely why there are different strategies. The column does end on the welcome note of migrant workers organising themselves and a strike by strawberry pickers.

Dave Sherry finishes his series on the struggles of the seventies: 'Political Lessons for the rank and file', which succinctly deals with the reasons why the rank-and-file movement fell apart in the face of the social contract; but he ends with the usual 'witnessing the birth of a new movement that can transform the unions' and possibility of a revival of class struggle, we 'don't yet have struggles on the scale of the early 1970s, but the general political mood is much more favourable than it was 30 years ago'. Okay, but just to note that the SWP has been predicting the return of class struggle for the last 20 years, do they have any sense of their own history?

Letters: in view of the strong and I think somewhat dishonest support for Tommy Sheridan the letters page includes a couple of anti-Sheridan letters: good on yer editor, although one has a distinctly misleading heading, 'SSP's turn to the grotesque' should have been 'Tommy's turn to the grotesque' to catch its flavour.

Bob Light praises Almodovar: hurrah!

And the backpage is devoted to Scotland, pushing the Sheridan cause and the Sept 3rd meeting to set up a new rival organisation. Mike Gonzalez gives a political contextualization, sounds good unless you think about what is based on. A 'debate' column, somewhat mistitled as the debate is rather one-sided.


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