[Continued from Part 1] The virtuous circle of the Chinese economic reform As the consumer boom took off however, it had an increasing knock-on effect upon the state-owned industrial sectors of the [Read more]
First published: April 1996
Theoretical underdevelopment and the false counterposing of theory to practice has critically weakened the left in Britain. This majority British tradition has historically contrasted with the emphasis on the integration of theory and practice by the most advanced working class political currents internationally. The recomposition and renewal of the socialist left in Britain poses afresh the necessity of theoretical exchange and development.
First published: October 1995
The re-introduction of capitalism into eastern Europe in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, unleashed a carnival of reaction throughout the world; the advance of NATO into eastern Europe, starting with the bombing of Yugoslavia; the collapse of living standards throughout eastern Europe and the former USSR; the greatest rise of racism since the 1930s and the first serious attempts to start dismantling the welfare states in western Europe.
This course of events was predictable and predicted. The overthrow of the planned economies in eastern Europe and the break-up of the USSR changed the international relationship of class forces in favour of imperialism. The imperialist ruling classes consequently became, not more conciliatory, but vastly more aggressive – taking the offensive to secure their interests in the third world, in eastern Europe and against the working class within the imperialist states.
The critical issue today, is whether that imperialist offensive will be taken onto a new level by the restoration of capitalism in Russia. Four years after Yeltsin came to power that issue has still not been resolved.
The refusal to work out its line on the basis of the class character of the conflict has finally led the Fourth International to disaster in its line on the war in Yugoslavia.
The real situation in Yugoslavia is that German imperialism sponsored the break-up of the federation to create new capitalist states in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. The Serb minorities fought to remain part of the Yugoslav Federation – a non-capitalist state. The United States and German imperialism built up Croatian and Bosnian armies. NATO was moved into the area. Imperialism conducted a propaganda campaign, swallowed by most of the west European ‘left intelligentsia’, likening the Serbs to Hitler and then launched the massive aerial, missile and artillery bombardment of the Bosnian Serbs.
First published: October 1995
World War II, the fiftieth anniversary of which has been celebrated recently, set the entire framework for current world politics. It was incomparably the greatest armed conflict in human history. But it was also something more. It was the greatest class struggle in the twentieth century.
The first problem in approaching World War II is its sheer size. With fifty million dead – thirty million of them in eastern Europe – with war on three continents, with the greatest number of people under arms in human history, it bears the same sort of relation to a strike that the Himalayas do an anthill.
First published: July 1995
Since the Second World War the position of women in society has progressively advanced. The driving force of this was the mass entry of women into the workforce. But its consequences spread into all spheres of society – the education system, rights to divorce, abortion and contraception, equality legislation, legal, economic and property rights and the massive expansion of social provision via the welfare state. Today women face the first sustained attempt to roll back these gains, not by driving women out of the workforce, but by dismantling the welfare state.