China's recently concluded "two sessions," the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, reaffirmed China's strategic medium term goal to create a "moderately prosperous society in all respects" by 2020. But "moderately prosperous" is a specifically Chinese term. To give a clearer idea internationally of what achieving this would mean, it is enlightening to give a global comparison for China's goal of "moderate prosperity."
Tories in Brexit disarray- allies come to their rescue
Government strategy is in disarray on the primary question of Brexit. It has not survived first contact with the EU and European Parliament negotiators.
By Robin Jackson
Israel has suffered some serious reverses in international opinion as a result of its wars on Gaza in 2008/9 and 2014, illegal settlements in the West Bank, displacement of Palestinians in Jerusalem, apartheid-style internal discrimination and Netanyahu’s refusal to compromise or entertain meaningful negotiations. Its supporters are attempting to launch a counteroffensive. At the centre of this has been the attempt to silence expression of support for Palestine by conflating criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism.
By Stephen Bell
The bombing of a Syrian airfield by US President Trump represents a further escalation of the US military presence in the Middle East. It is immediately unclear whether this represents a one-off, or the start of a campaign against Syria. US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley said ‘We are prepared to do more, but we hope it will not be necessary’. The action was taken without UN authorisation, or US Congressional debate.
By Jane West
There are two distinct projects in Britain to drive down the living standards of the working class and so drive up profits. One is the project of European Union big capital, which is to drive down the share of the economy that goes to the working class and raise profits, through slow attrition meaning a permanent squeeze on public spending, reducing the welfare state and wage decline or low growth. The other is the Brexit project which is an immediate and ferocious assault on living standards, trade union rights and public services.
First published: Summer 1991
A potential change of government from one party to another is a fairly routine matter in British politics. But what underlies the decline of the present Tory government, and the evident inability of the Labour Party to present any convincing alternative, is something more fundamental. Britain is approaching one of those great turning points in political history which have so far occurred roughly only once a century, which imply a shift in the entire party political system, that is in the form of bourgeois political hegemony.
Since the English bourgeois revolution of 1642–49 there have been only four crises of equivalent scale – 1688 with the ‘Glorious Revolution’, 1783 with the turning point after the American War of Independence, 1832 and the passing of the first Reform Act, and 1886 with the fatal split in the Liberal Party over Irish Home rule. In order to grasp the scale and nature of what is unfolding in British politics today it is therefore valuable to step back from immediate issues and consider the general course of British political history.
First published: April 1991 The Gulf War, the largest military offensive waged by imperialism since Vietnam, is one of those events which is so great in its impact that it clarifies not only immediate events but the entire historical course of which it is a part. The Gulf War both confirmed the analysis of world politics presented by Socialist Action in the last years – the new phase of imperialism, the new era of North-South wars, and the emboldening of imperialism due to the events in Eastern Europe – and at the same time, as with every major event, has deepened and extended that analysis. Socialist Action was able to play a role in the fight against the war out of all proportion to its circulation because it was prepared for it, and the course of world politics of which it is a part.
First published: April 1991 The Gulf War was an overwhelming military victory for the United States. But what relation of international class forces did it create? And what conclusions flow for the coming class struggles?
On the military level the Gulf War was an overwhelming victory for the United States. In one sense this was inevitable. That the superior armed force of the imperialism, above all US imperialism, cannot be defeated by purely conventional military confrontation was a standard point made during the heyday of the colonial liberation movements of the 1950s and 1960s – it was the backbone of the military ideas of Mao-Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara, the African liberation movements against the Portuguese empire or in the struggle against Ian Smith’s ‘Rhodesia’. The original idea was that the imperialist enemy could not be defeated on the purely military level but had to be ground down by prolonged social mobilisation to which military action was subordinate – it was no accident that the NLF’s major military offensives during the Vietnam war coincided with US presidential election years. Only at the final stage, when the imperialist enemy had been ground down by political and social mobilisation, and localised armed action on that basis, could relatively conventional military struggle be engaged with a chance of success.
First published: May 1990
The importance of the events in Eastern Europe in 1989 are equalled only by those of 1914, 1917, 1933, and 1943 – the key turning points in the history of the working class movement in the twentieth century. The events of 1989 will recompose the international working class movement from its top to its foundations. They place on the agenda the most fundamental question of socialism itself – that is the relation of the struggle of the working class against capitalism to the future of the whole of humanity.The fundamental starting point of Marxism is that the future of humanity, and today probably the survival of its previous civilisation, rests on the advancement of the working class movement and its struggle for socialism. If capitalism continues its development this will not lead to a peaceful and liberal order, slowly progressing into a better world, but to rapacious violence and the destruction of the achievements of human civilisation.
First published: May 1990The return of the ballot box in several key Latin American countries (a rarity in the last ten years) has been hailed as the return of democracy in the continent.This is less than half the truth. While some of the most vicious dictatorships have gone, in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, and others have either been severely weakened or thrown into total disarray as in Paraguay and Haiti, this ‘democratic’ wave has not touched the decisive countries in Central America such as Guatemala and El Salvador, and the policies of the new civilian governments are determined by strict limitations imposed by the outgoing military and the utterly capitulating character of the parties coming to office. Besides, the ‘democracy’ that has been introduced is severely faulty, to put it mildly.
In the 1960s a major debate took place on the British Left concerning the overall development of English history. The major contributions were Perry Anderson’s Origins of the Present Crisis and EP Thompson’s The Peculiarities of the English. One figure was however strangely absent in the discussion: Karl Marx himself. Yet Marx’s writings are probably the most striking, original and coherent of all on English history. On the 100th anniversary of his death, JOHN ROSS therefore re-examines Marx’s writings on the development of English history.
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