Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Socialist Worker Oct 7th

Socialist Worker has a good agitational cover: 'Revealed - The Price of Replacing Trident. £76 BILLION. The real cost of Brown's new nukes'. And poses what could be done with that money. A moment of praise for getting the vital Brown connection in, it's getting ready for the future. And I'm pretty sure that I saw a rolled-up copy of this paper in one of the photos of the protest against Jack Straw and his views on talking to women wearing the veil in Blackburn, which the R4 news yesterday said had been organised by Respect and attracted 70 people. There's a web-only story about Jack Straw, calling for his resignation here.

On the theme of Respect, with Alan Thornett's revelations of how small the membership of Respect is now (just over 2100) in my mind, there's a nice little emphasis on Respect activities. There's a story about victories in Tower Hamlets against housing privatisations, showing connections between these campaigns and Respect. There's also a p14 column about Student Respect successes.

Other stories of interest include Charlie Kimber in the centre-pages writing about being 'Inside the Labour Bubble' at the Conference. Not that interesting, except for the emphasis on the way that arguments in and around the Labour Party are creating opportunities for an alternative to Labour, in particular that there Respect 'has a serious chance to grow' (but has he seen the membership statistics?) and comrade Kimber finishes with:
"The 50,000 who demonstrated outside the Labour conference before it began, and those who have taken part in similar mobilisations must discuss how to shape a political force outside Labour."
I love that must. Yes we must, but how? Never mind the expected exaggeration.

There's also a piece by 3 members of Sinistra Critica current in Rifondazione Comunista. They talk about a crisis in the Italian far-left and especially in the anti-war movement. After 3 million on the streets in February 2003 the protest was down to a 1000 demanding the withdrawal of Italian troops, provided by tiny unrepresentative groups in Rome (but the fall in Britain from 2 million to 35,000 should be recalled) and boycotted by trade unionists and RC. Tavola della Pace organised to support Italian participation in the UN force sent to Lebanon in August. There seems to be an argument in the antiwar movement, centred on a leftwing activist priest Alex Zanotelli and perhaps a regroupment to come; but the crisis also affects RC after it entrered the government and Fausto Bertinotti became leader of the lower house. RC is towing the government line. SC has organised internal opposition, but its leadership have drawn back from creating a crisis for the government over Italian troops in Afghanistan. The direction of this article is that a split with RC will be inevitaable; 'If not now, when'. Hmm, I wonder how far this view extends beyond supporters of the IST in RC.

There's a good history of Robin Hood by Judy Cox (drawing on her excellent pamphlet) emphasising the class revolt and subversive aspect of the story, but sadly missing out on the 1950s British TV version, famously a vehicle for exiles from American TV McCarthyism.

On the backpage SW records the 6.5m vote for Heloisa Helena in Brazil. Sean Purdy has criticisms of the P-Sol campaign, its moralism and emphasis on Heloisa's personal qualities. He finishes with the need for honest and democratic discussion of the campaign and 'democratic structures'. Hmm, wonder where else that could be applied!
(Oct 13th: additionally I've just seen theYouTube footage of Alan Thornett speaking as the fraternal international representative of Socialist Resistance at the SSP conference refering with much applause to this article and the SWP drawing lesson about charismatic leaders and whether this came from expeience north or south of the border. Ho ho. see

And finally, there's a letter from East London accusing Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas of saying British workers are being undercut by migrant workers, a dangerous game that can only benefit the BNP. Hmm.


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