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The government’s Equalities Review

11th June 2006 Socialist Action 0

First published: 11 June 2006

The upturn of struggle in the imperialist countries after World War II, accelerating for a decade after 1968, brought more into the light of day the real oppressions and discrimination that existed beneath the illusory proclamations of equal rights by capitalist society. The actual facts of inequality of pay and job opportunities for women compared to men, of legal discrimination against women, of discriminatory moral codes, of pervasive racism, of discrimination against gays and lesbians, the shameful exclusion and discrimination against disabled people and many of the real facts of society were openly discussed. More systematic struggles began to be waged against them. The rise of the international women’s liberation movement, of the black struggle, and of the fight for gay and lesbian rights, were among the most powerful manifestations of this.

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Marxists.org – a superb resource

27th May 2006 Socialist Action 0

First published: 27 May 2006

One of the effects of the quarter century of victories of international capitalism after 1979 was that it became significantly harder to obtain Marxist works. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 the Collected Works of Marx and Engels rose hugely in price and it took over a decade for the series to be completed. The Collected Works of Lenin disappeared and are expensive to acquire even second hand. Trotsky’s works went up significantly in price. The stream of publication and translation of lesser known Marxist writers that had appeared from the late 1960s onwards largely dried up.

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The most typical form of falsification

24th May 2006 Socialist Action 0

First published: 24 May 2006

The most typical form of falsification in political argument is not actually to invent or falsify facts – although that, of course, is far from unknown. It is to rip individual facts out of context and to distort their weight  compared to other facts – not infrequently by entirely suppressing the latter. Or as Lenin noted in Statistics and Sociology: ‘The most widely used, and most fallacious, method in the realm of social phenomena is to tear out individual minor facts and juggle with examples.’

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China and the death penalty

24th May 2006 Socialist Action 0

First published: 24 May 2006

An earlier article (‘The US Gulag’ – 22 May) pointed out that in terms of the relative size of their populations the US has six times as many people in prison as China, and that it is clear from the statistics of ethnic composition of those imprisoned that this greater rate of imprisonment in the US specifically hits racial minorities. In short the US has not only an extremely large scale but also a racist gulag. Knowledge of such data is obviously extremely relevant to judging the lack of credibility to be given to US government protestations concerning its supposed commitment to human rights, as opposed to economic and military self-interest, in criticising China.

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The US gulag

22nd May 2006 Socialist Action 0

First published: 22 May 2006

One of the most frequent intellectual tricks of apologists for imperialism is to attempt to confine the study of the human and political rights record of the imperialist countries to the situation only within their own borders. By their nature, many of the greatest crimes of imperialism were carried outside the borders of the individual imperialist states themselves – the extermination of the every original inhabitant of the Caribbean following the Spanish conquest, the transportation of 12 million people in the slave trade and the deaths of many millions in it, the death of at least 20 million people in famines in British-ruled India while grain continued to be exported by the British authorities, a million deaths in the Great Famine in Ireland after 1846 while food imports were kept out by British imposed tariffs, the death of every single original inhabitant of Tasmania, systematically genocidal policies against native Americans in various US states, the killing by the US of 3 million people in Vietnam, the killing of up to 100,000 people by US and British forces in Iraq, etc.

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The Times and Venezuela

19th May 2006 Socialist Action 0

First published: 19 May 2006

On 19 May The Times ran an article by Aleksander Boyd attacking the Mayor of London’s invitation to president Chávez of Venezuela to visit City Hall in London: ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner with Red Ken?’ This was part of The Times’ campaign against Chávez visting. Boyd writes on the website www.vcrisis.com. Readers may therefore be very interested to know the views of Boyd as these will aid them in judging the content of The Times’ campaign and who they chose to write on the issue.

In his editor’s note on his website, Boyd stated: ‘Yesterday I had a conversation with someone about Venezuela and its problems. Given the peculiar characteristics of our crisis, my interlocutor asked “what’s the solution then?” And I replied: “when elected politicians treat one as an animal, how on earth can be expected that one behaves like a gentleman? The solution in my view is clear and simple: violence.’