By Lisa-Jane Green
In Britain we are seeing the increasing ‘Americanisation’ of anti-choice tactics, with groups such as Abort67 (named after the year the Abortion Act was introduced and women in Britain were able to access safe, legal abortions) and 40 Days for Life are picketing and praying outside abortion clinics displaying provocative images and boasting about the women they turned away on their blogs. They are choosing to focus on women – often extremely vulnerable women – at clinics rather than involve themselves in evidence-based discussions in the media or in Parliament.
By Nicky Dempsey and Jane West
The announcement by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls that the Tories’ spending plans would be the ‘starting point’ for Labour’s own budget post-2015, and Ed Miliband’s endorsement of a continuing ‘benefit cap’, clarify the nature of the coming Labour government.
By Bridget Robertson
This week the British Parliament will vote on the shape of our energy system for the next 40 years. The vote will lay bare the deep divisions in the British bourgeoisie between those who accept that urgent and transformational change is needed in order to keep the planet inhabitable for humanity, and those prepared in the face of overwhelming evidence of climate change to further bolster vested interests of carbon industries.
By Jane West
This coming Saturday the racist English Defence League are calling demonstrations up and down the country - they are aiming to hold 70 separate events - exploiting the horror at the murder of soldier Lee Rigby to mobilise support for racism and Islamophobia.
by Nicky Dempsey
The DGB German trade union confederation has produced a manifesto which offers an internationalist answer to the crisis. It stands in sharp contrast to the bitter diet of xenophobia and racism which is being promoted across Europe.
By Paul Taylor
The launch of the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity in Sheffield on Wednesday 23 May saw nearly 400 people crammed in to the city centre venue. The meeting brought together the broadest spectrum of opponents to austerity yet seen in the city.
No one should underestimate the depth of the crisis now confronting the Tory Party, which has snow-balled from the moment in January that Cameron conceded to the Eurosceptic wing of his party and made a pledge for an in-out referendum on Europe if the Tories won in 2015.
This was an enormous miscalculation, undoing all the work that Cameron had done in turning the Tory Party towards the centreground in British politics with his mantra that ‘banging on’ about Europe had alienated the voters.
The murderous attack on a soldier in Woolwich yesterday was horrifying, and nothing justifies such a vile act. The only response that is appropriate – apart from expressing sympathy for the victim’s family and friends – is to isolate the approach of the perpetrators and for communities to stand together in condemnation of this attack, as Ken Livingstone spells out in the article we reproduce below.
By Paul Roberts
Syrian government forces are currently fighting in an important battle to retake control of Qusair, a town between Homs and the Lebanese border.
The government has over recent weeks broken the stalemate and developed impetus behind a series of military and political advances. If this momentum persists imperialism’s offensive will be significantly weakened. Hence it is determined to halt Syria’s current progress, so Israel has increased its direct attacks on Syria and there is a renewed drive for stepped up support to the opposition guerrilla forces.
Thousands marched in London yesterday (Saturday May 18) in defence of the NHS.
By Nicky Dempsey
The growing recognition that the 2015 election is Labour’s to lose has led to increasing rightwing pressures on the Labour leadership to maintain the essential thrust of ‘austerity’ policy.
The overwhelmingly Tory press focuses on the demand that Ed Miliband in particular commits to maintaining Tory spending plans.
Recent weeks have seen a clear up-tick in the struggle against austerity in Britain.
The nationwide response to the Bedroom Tax, a number of very significant demonstrations against hospital closures, a jump in size of pickets and protests called against other local cuts and the decisions by NUT/NASUWT to call a series of one day strikes are among the evidence for this. The movement against austerity and the cuts has begun to move up a gear for the first time since the student struggles of late 2010 and the 2011/12 pensions’ actions.
By Hassan Malik
The Book of Mormon opened last month having come to London on the back of nine Tony awards and rapturous New York reviews. Created by the team behind the successful South Park TV series, it features songs written by the composer from the irreverent Muppet musical Avenue Q.
It is marketed as a satire on the Mormon religion, which there is plenty of material about in the show. However, this is not the only target.
By Jennifer Nash
The annual national conference of the National Union of Students (NUS) last week resolved to stand on the sidelines while the Tories’ attacks on education go unchallenged. It threw out all proposals to fight the attacks on students and elected a new NUS leadership that endorsed this programme of selling students out.
Nicolás Maduro, the Chávista candidate, won yesterday’s Presidential election in Venezuela.
However, Venezuela’s right wing, which coordinates with the US, is determined to escalate its destabilisation campaign, so is refusing to accept the result.
The death of Margaret Thatcher is being shamelessly exploited by her Tory successors, including by awarding her an entirely inappropriate national funeral. This is all in the service of presenting the most divisive British Prime Minister of the 20th century as the most successful post-Churchill Tory leader, an electoral wizard, a paragon of statesmanship, the flame-bearer of liberty and ‘freedom’, a feminist icon and an innovative policy maker.
None are true.
The bellicose response by the US and others to the latest developments in North Korea is in no way a proportional response to any real threat from the small East Asian state, but an excuse for quite other military objectives.
The US used its known language of war – ‘a real and clear danger’ – to announce its decision to extend its advanced missile defence system to the Pacific island of Guam. As no one in their right mind believes that North Korea has the capacity to hit the US – or virtually anywhere very far from its own borders – with a nuclear-armed missile, this step has other purposes. The country in the US’s binoculars is not North Korea but rising China, and the Guam move is a further step in its announced ‘pivot’ to Asia aimed at militarily encircling China.
Venezuela’s Presidential election takes place in just over a week, with Chávismo, one of the most advanced political currents in the world, set to win once more under Nicolás Maduro. Given this, imperialism and its local allies are stepping up their campaign to discredit the expected result as part of their strategy to defeat Venezuela’s socialist revolution.
Next week will see the 15th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, described recently by Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness as ‘the single most important political agreement in our time’.
In his speech to the Dublin Commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, Martin McGuinness speaks of the Agreement as a turning point in Irish history, and resulting in a period in which republican objectives can be realised. He also warns against complacency and of the threats posed to the Good Friday Agreement by those who oppose equality and change.
Situating today's struggle for a united Ireland in the context of the revolutionary struggle of 1916 which ‘started a bush fire of decolonisation, which engulfed the British Empire', he spoke of the inspiration it inspired in ‘generations of people throughout the world who rose up against colonial rule'.
A recent by-election in Oise, just north of Paris, has underlined that the austerity policies of Hollande’s French Socialist Party government are not only leading to a collapse in its support, but also to a dangerous growth of the extreme right.
It should also be a wake up call for the anti-fascist movement in the country, which remains weak and divided.
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Colour leaflet, PDF 1.75MB
Drop cuts not bombs, colour leaflet, PDF 1.32MB