Solidarity 042, 3 December 2003

Master and Commander

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, said Christopher Hitchens, are set where two worlds meet. The first is the large and political world of "the long struggle between imperial and Georgian Britain and Jacobin and Bonapartist France". This "astonishing global tumult" stretched across the late 18th and early 19th centuries and might be thought of as the real First World War.

Culture and Reviews: 


No Sweat conference

By Alison Brown

150 anti-sweatshop activists met in Sheffield on 29-30 November to debate, discuss and consider future campaigning priorities.

Students and trade unionists listened as Mick Duncan from No Sweat and Neil Kearney, a leader of the international garment workers' union, ITGFWU, opened the event. Mick stressed the need to build campaigning unity between the trade union movement and anti-capitalist youth and students. Mick advocated a sharp, clear focus on working class self-organisation and support for international workers' struggles.

Issues and Campaigns: 


Iraqi workers organise

Alex Gordon, a member of the executive of the rail union RMT, spoke to Solidarity
(This is a longer version of the interview than printed in Solidarity 3/42)
I don't claim to be any kind of expert on Iraq. I don't speak Arabic or Kurdish. But five of us from various trade unions - the RMT, the Fire Brigades Union, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, and National Union of Journalists - went to Baghad at the beginning of October for five days.

Around the world: 


Break the rule of profit!

In the mid 14th century, about 30 or 40 million people died in Europe in the Black Death. That was when most people lived constantly on the edge of hunger; low technology and productivity made it impossible to escape that; and no-one understood how to prevent or cure such diseases.

Issues and Campaigns: 


How Russian Marxism began


Sean Matgamna

Click here for the series on The Roots of Bolshevism of which this article is part

By Sean Matgamna

The October Revolution of 1917 seemed to many observers to be an attempt to stand Marxism on its head.

Those who said that included George Valentinovich Plekhanov and Pavel Borisovich Axelrod, the founders of the Russian Marxist movement, and Karl Kautsky, the most authoritative Marxist of the Second International (1889-1914).

How did Marxism come to achieve its first triumph in capitalistically-undeveloped Russia?


Marxist Theory and History: 

Majority in Israel and Palestine for "two states"

A poll published on 23 November showed 56% of Palestinians and 53% of Israelis in favour of the "two-states" terms of the Geneva Accords.

The Geneva plan, published some weeks ago and officially launched on 1 December, proposes an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, with the border roughly along the 1967 lines.

Around the world: 


Tube workers in three disputes

London Underground workers are due to take industrial action on 9-10 December over safety on the Tube and privatisation of its infrastructure.

The biggest Tube union, the RMT, is demanding 24-hourly inspection of all Tube track; immediate introduction of speed restrictions wherever track defects are discovered; and all track, signalling and rolling-stock maintenance work to be carried out by qualified London Underground employees.

Trade Unions: