Invent the Future

"We must dare to invent the future" - Thomas Sankara

The recent high-profile summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held in Beijing at the beginning of September, has inspired some familiar accusations in the North American and West European press: China is the new colonial power in Africa; China is attempting to dominate African land and resources; Africa is becoming entangled in a Beijing-devised debt trap; Chinese investment in Africa only benefits China; and so on. This article addresses these accusations and concludes that they are based on shaky foundations; that China is by no means an imperialist power; that increasing Africa-China relations are of significant benefit to […]

NB. This is extracted (and updated) from a much longer article – Will the People’s Republic of China go the way of the USSR? – published on 31 May 2018. So long as socialism does not collapse in China, it will always hold its ground in the world. (Deng Xiaoping)1 The first of October marks the China’s National Day, the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. With China’s rise and its increasing importance to the global economy, China is a ‘hot topic’ in the world of politics and economics. And, after four decades of market-oriented […]

This article first appeared in the Morning Star on 23 August 2018. ALGIERS, Third World Capital is a fascinating, vibrant, endearing and engaging memoir, providing fresh insight into some important episodes of the second half of the 20th century. Elaine Mokhtefi, a white North American woman of Jewish heritage, became involved in politics at university, becoming an activist in the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), an organisation committed to global government and world peace. Moving to Paris in the 1950s, she was introduced to the Algerian liberation struggle via the emigre Algerian population in that city. An interpreter and organiser […]

This article first appeared on Telesur English on 15 June 2018. This week witnessed a historic step towards lasting peace in Korea. For the first time in history, the heads of state of the US and North Korea met face to face. The meeting appears to have laid the ground for ongoing top-level talks, and US president Donald Trump has announced that the joint war games conducted by the US and South Korea are on hold. Given that just a few months ago, Trump was threatening nuclear war against the DPRK and referring to its leader Kim Jong-un as “rocket […]

This series of articles attempts to unpick the fall of the Soviet Union, looking in depth at the economic, political, ideological and military factors. Why dig up these particular old bones? Because we must reflect on, and learn from, history. The world’s first socialist state no longer exists, and nor do the European people’s democracies that were its close allies. If mistakes were made, it’s crucial that they aren’t made again. Existing socialist states face many of the same external pressures that the Soviet Union faced; future socialist states almost certainly will too. Additionally, socialist states so far have had […]

So long as socialism does not collapse in China, it will always hold its ground in the world. (Deng Xiaoping)1 We should think of China’s communist regime quite differently from that of the USSR: it has, after all, succeeded where the Soviet Union failed. (Martin Jacques)2 This series has thus far explored in some detail the various factors – economic, political, ideological, military and cultural – that contributed to the collapse of the USSR and the dismantling of socialism in Europe. This final article in the series shifts perspective forwards to the present, asking what future socialism has in the […]

This article first appeared in the Morning Star on 24 May 2018. Kingslee Daley — more often known as Akala — is earning a reputation as one of Britain’s most important voices. On top of touring the world, releasing hip-hop albums, making documentaries for the BBC, campaigning on a range of issues, appearing on Question Time and running the Hip-hop Shakespeare Company, he has just published his first book. Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire is at once a memoir, a detailed sociological investigation of racism and a whistle-stop tour of global politics from London to Beijing, […]

A slightly modified version of this article first appeared in the Morning Star on 05 May 2018 (the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth). Sven-Eric Liedman’s new biography of Karl Marx aims to provide the reader with a nuanced and detailed account of the intellectual giant’s life and thought. Beyond the biographical outline and the coverage of the best-known aspects of Marx’s work (Capital, and The Communist Manifesto), Liedman also gives a fairly detailed description of Marx’s explorations in philosophy and the trajectory of his theoretical ideas. This, along with an examination of the intellectual relationship between Marx and Engels and […]

There can be no more tragic spectacle in the history of humanity than that of a defeated revolution. When the revolt of the slaves in Rome was defeated, thousands were nailed to crosses on the roadside. This should give us an idea of what a defeated revolution is… There was also the dreadful slaughter of workers after the defeat of the Paris Commune [in 1871]. This, too, should give us an idea of what a defeated revolution is. History teaches us that a defeated revolution has to pay an extraordinary toll in blood. The victorious ruling class demands payment for […]

A slightly modified version of this article first appeared in the Morning Star on 03 March 2018. Simon Hannah’s recently-released book ‘A Party with Socialists in it: a History of the Labour Left’ provides a timely, concise and very readable account of the ongoing struggle between left and right within Labour. The title is inspired by Tony Benn’s comment that “the Labour Party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it”, and the text charts the attempts of those socialists to promote their vision over the course of the past 118 years. This fight […]

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