By Tom Castle
Nelson Mandela is a hero to all those who have struggled for freedom, for black liberation and for revolutionaries the world over. He was hounded and imprisoned for almost half a lifetime by the apartheid regime, in close collaboration with the imperialist powers led by the US and Britain. In death he is rightly receive tributes from across the world, even including entirely hypocritical ones from the likes of Obama and Cameron.
Every socialist and progressive person will mourn today for the loss of Nelson Mandela.
The struggle he waged was against the greatest inhumanity to afflict the post-war world: the existence of a state where black people were treated as little more than cattle, racially segregated in every aspect of life, confined by pass laws, forcibly removed from traditional homelands, imprisoned, beaten and often killed, denied any democratic voice, banned from protest, forbidden to marry as they chose, under-educated through the ‘Bantu education’ system, subject to discriminatory taxes and denied South African citizenship including the right to a passport.
By Bridget Robertson
Rising energy bills mean that a quarter of the population of Britain now has to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on energy, at the same time as energy company profits have increased by 77 per cent in one year alone.
This has meant thousands of households are being forced to choose between heating and eating as the Tory assault on living standards takes its toll. However, for the vulnerable the consequences are even more serious. Last winter 31 000 people died prematurely, with around a third of those deaths attributable to living in a cold home.
By Nicky Dempsey
The battle over austerity is moving into a new phase. Encouraged by talk of recovery a number of disputes have broken out across a wide variety of sectors, on pay, jobs, pensions and against privatisation.
By Jane West
The decision of the United States to fly two B-52 bombers unannounced through Chinese strategic airspace was nothing less than a calculated, and extremely dangerous, act of aggression against China, further whipping up tensions in the East China Sea.
The B-52 fly-through was directly aimed at toughening up Japan’s stance vis-a-vis China. Two Japanese airlines that had previously agreed to inform China of flights over the disputed Diaoyu islands withdrew this agreement following the US action.
The remarks by former Labour Home Secretary, David Blunkett, alleging that the ‘behaviour’ of incoming Roma migrants in Sheffield could lead to violent inter-community clashes and even riots have been seized on to whip up a further round of racism and anti-immigrant scape-goating.
By Jennifer Nash
On Saturday 150 students from more than 50 campuses attended the Student Assembly Against Austerity to discuss ideas and actions to take forward the struggle against austerity nationally and on campuses. Upbeat, energetic, optimistic – students are ready for action against austerity and to play our part in the upturn of struggle.
The event was one of the biggest gatherings of the student anti-austerity movement since the height of the student fight back against tripling tuition fees and the scrapping of EMA in 2010.
Revolution and Counter-revolution in the Middle East
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.
By Paul Roberts
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.
British politics took an unpleasant dog-whistle turn this week as Cameron attempted to shift attention from his government’s abject economic failure with the tried and tested diversionary tactic of blaming ‘immigration’.
By Frances Davis
Sinn Féin have correctly condemned attempts of anti-Good Friday Agreement unionists to push through an anti-peace process bill in Stormont this week – and hit out at the fact that the latest stage of the bill’s progress was backed by the SDLP.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness commented: ‘by supporting TUV legislation against former prisoners the SDLP have thrown the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement out of Stormont’s windows’.
The struggle against austerity in Britain has moved up a gear.
The recent anti-bedroom tax protests were very broad-based geographically and in layers of support. The campaigns against local hospital closures are also gaining widespread support and are increasingly coordinated.
In the furore over the Tories’ retreat on the Leveson enquiry one thing is clear: the Tories are bound hand and foot to the media moguls that own Fleet St and the pundits and hacks that do their bidding.
The one thing it is not about is ‘press freedom’, thrown about hysterically in recent days by those defending the absolute right of the media to decide for itself what level of lying, prying and spying should be deemed acceptable.
With Egypt intermittently rocked by weeks of violence the conditions necessary for a successful military coup are advancing.
Imperialism and its allies are exploiting mounting social instability to raise the prospect of removing President Mohamed Morsi with the military returning to power.
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Revolution and Counter-revolution in the Middle East by Socialist_Action
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