Invent the Future

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

Over the coming weeks, I will be publishing a series of articles regarding the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, or Soviet Union). Although a distance of more than 25 years separates us from that fateful day in 1991 when the USSR ceased to exist, the left’s understanding of the Soviet collapse is still limited and many of the important themes are poorly understood. 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 […]

us-vs-china

This article first appeared in the Morning Star on 23 October 2017. Manchester University Press RRP £22.50 China’s rise is the most significant development in modern history since the collapse of the Soviet Union. For most readers of this newspaper, it is a profoundly positive advance: hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, and China has been transformed from a technologically backward and underdeveloped country into a global powerhouse. Increasingly it is a world leader in environmental preservation and in the pursuit of a new type of globalisation based on cooperation and shared prosperity. Not everyone is pleased […]

russrev

This article first appeared in the Morning Star on 19 July 2017. In this compact book of just over 200 pages, Geoffrey Swain does a surprisingly good job of presenting a historical overview of the October Revolution – the defining event of the 20th century, the centenary of which we celebrate this year. The writing is necessarily dense, but not to the point of impenetrability, and most readers will find something of value here, although many Morning Star readers will undoubtedly find some things to disagree with. Swain offers two key ideas that are relatively controversial in terms of mainstream […]

jezchavez

He hates racism of all kinds. Actually genuinely hates it, not just pretending. He’s done more against it than any of us, working to support oppressed communities, taking asylum cases to the Home Office, campaigning tirelessly on behalf of the victims of racism, xenophobia and religious discrimination. He hates war. Again, he’s done more against it than the vast majority of us. Wouldn’t it be good if the person making the final decision about whether to bomb a country was the same person that can be heard in Trafalgar Square shouting “No war for oil”? He wants to save the […]

humans

Tories resorting to xenophobia It’s difficult to imagine an election campaign less imaginative and effective than the one the Conservative Party has been waging. Conversely, Labour’s campaign has been both convincing and compelling. Even in the eyes of many Labour MPs, Jeremy Corbyn was “unelectable and undesirable” just a couple of months ago, and yet, with just a few days to go until polling day, Labour are closing the gap on the Tories. When the election was announced, the YouGov poll had the Conservatives on 44 percent to Labour’s 23 percent. The most recent YouGov poll (at the time of […]

corbadams_qhqp7a

Theresa May must have thought that calling a snap general election was a political masterstroke. A landslide victory promised to give her government some legitimacy and shore up support for a hard Brexit that emphasised xenophobia over economic sense. Furthermore, a Tory landslide would make it very difficult for Jeremy Corbyn to continue as leader of the Labour Party, and therefore could well put an end to Corbyn’s project of turning Labour into a vehicle for the interests of ordinary people. Such an outcome could kill meaningful parliamentary opposition for a generation. Unfortunately for May’s plan, Labour is waging an […]

che my brother

This is a slightly expanded version of an article that appeared in the Morning Star on 15 May 2017. Given the number of biographies of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara that have been published in the 50 years since his assassination, many authors would probably struggle to find anything original to write about. Che’s youngest brother Juan Martín Guevara, however, is able to offer an unparalleled insight into the family life, background, influences and early experiences that helped to form the legendary revolutionary. Such is the stated purpose of the book: to take Che down from the cross; ”to get people to […]

This article first appeared on Telesur. The limitations of progressive governments within a capitalist system are reasonably well known. While an economic system based on private property of the means of production remains in place, any national government has to protect that private property – and the exploitation of labour that goes with it. However, politics is not simple, and within the broad framework of parliamentary democracy there can be considerable variation in policy based on the composition of a specific government. To give an extreme example, Rafael Caldera and Hugo Chávez occupied the same official political space – the […]

Reunification

This is a slightly edited version of an article that appeared on RT Op-Edge on 23 April 2017. In recent days, the US administration has been recklessly issuing threats against North Korea, escalating tensions and creating a potentially catastrophic situation in East Asia. Ridiculously, many people in the west are worried about the situation not because of Trump’s insane militarism but that of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Such thinking is irrational and ahistorical, and is rooted largely in mass media deception and good old-fashioned yellow-peril racism. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has invaded and bombed not a […]

fidel-crowd

Fidel Castro Alejandro Ruz will be forever remembered as the pre-eminent leader of the Cuban Revolution; its chief strategist and charismatic comandante; a deeply principled, courageous, compassionate and intelligent human being; a guerrilla and a statesman; a relentless fighter against exploitation, oppression and injustice. But we should be careful not to treat him as some kind of museum relic or historical curiosity. One can study the life of Genghis Khan for the sake of general interest, without expecting to harvest lessons with direct application to modern political life; however, Fidel operated in the current political era: the era of the […]

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