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Militant bourgeois

1st July 1996 Socialist Action 0

First published: July 1996

Some years ago the Financial Times ran an exceptionally instructive back page interview with Jean Marie Le Pen, the leader of the extreme right wing French National Front. It was instructive, not because of what it told the reader about Le Pen, but for what it reflected about the thinking of the Financial Times.

The article was entitled ‘Militant bourgeois’. The tone of the interview was precisely expressed by its title. It sought to foster toleration among the FT’s readers of Le Pen as a ‘militant’ representative of a ‘bourgeois’ political force – without, of course, endorsing his more obscurantist, racist and anti-semitic views. The approach was to create the kind of attitude to Le Pen among FT readers, that might have been found among militant car workers in the 1970s to a ‘communist’ shop steward – ‘we don’t agree with a lot of their ideas, but they are useful to have on our side in a fight with the class enemy.’

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Lessons of the Chinese economic reform, part 1

1st May 1996 Socialist Action 0

First published: May 1996

The most conclusive indictment of the economic policies which have devastated Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since 1989 and 1991 is their contrast with the spectacular success of the reform of the world’s second major centrally planned economy – China – a model now being increasingly applied in Vietnam and Cuba. China’s success shows that the suffering inflicted upon the peoples of Eastern Europe and the former USSR, under the guidance of the IMF, was totally unnecessary.

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Marxist theory and the British labour movement

1st April 1996 Socialist Action 0

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.

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The recomposition of the International Workers’ Movement, part 1

1st October 1995 Socialist Action 0

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.

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The recomposition of the International Workers’ Movement, part 2

1st October 1995 Socialist Action 0

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.