Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Socialist Worker August 9th

This Socialist Worker (#2113 August 9th) leads on the massive energy price rises and calls for a windfall tax on profits as a first step towards nationalization, which is obviously connected to the People Before Profit Charter. And maybe a harbinger of the future is a story about Edinburgh council building houses.

Alex Callinicos's column is on 'What's behind the return of the Tories' starts with the big Observer Review piece, 'So are we all Tories now?' (it must be summer). Labour decline and Tory revival have happened before , but this is very different from the late '70s, in which Thather marked a sea-change - Cameron marks consistency. There isn't a tide of reaction, more 'weary contempt'. Callinicos sees two processes. The first is the familiar downturn in Labour fortunes as it betrays tradtional voters. The second is a steady decline in Labour roots, with membership down to 176,891. The impact according to Callinicos is ambiguous and I find Callinicos himself being ambiguous - pointing to reactionary pressues and a 'marked rise in worker combativity' - strikes 'mark an important step forward for workers after the defeats of the 1980s and 1990s' (still seems limited to me). 'Everything is still to play for' - but it's a long time that that hasn't been something like that

Vladimir Unkovski-Korica from a Serbian socialist organization Marks21 on 'Serbia's nationalist forces in disarray'. I don't know anything about this group, but its politics seem perfectly compatible with the International Socialist Tendency. The analysis says Karadzic's arrest marks a downturn for Serbian nationalist politics, especially with the small numbers who demonstrated in protest, even though there is massive anger about the hypocrisy of the West. The nationalists have been seen as the 'social' opponents of neo-liberalism, so now there is space for radical left politics - an anti-NATO campaign (with involvement of Macedonians and Greeks) to be launched in the autumn, building up the protests at the forthcoming NATO 60th anniversary in Strasbourg.

Simon Basketter & Simon Assaf have the centrespread on 'Oil there was and will be blood', with a nice map and graph in the print edition. Yes, the oil industry is important and nasty. Simon Assaf also writes on 'Multinationals' scramble fuel new conflicts' focussed on the econmoic and military impact on Africa.

Dalia Said Mostafa provides a good appreciation of the Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine who died in July. There's also an interview with Harold Rosen about his time in the CP in the 1930s (originally published in 2004)

And to mark the Olympics there is also Chris Bambery writing about the politics of sport and it commodification in 'Race to the Bottom'.



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