Solidarity 128, 6 March 2008

Free speech now!

Adam Elliot-Cooper

On 21 February, around 100 students from the University of Nottingham and the local area took to the campus grounds in a demonstration demanding their basic democratic right to free speech.

The demonstration followed a number of recent protests at the University where this right had been denied. One of these involved the arrest of a member of the Palestinian Society for “breach of the peace”. The University authorities had called the police while he was protesting peacefully against the abuse of human rights in Palestine.

Learning more in 32 hours than in 32 ordinary months

Tom Unterrainer

It’s very simple. We want to see social change in the world in which we live. We want to see this social change because we are human beings who have ideas. We think, we talk, we discuss, and when we’re done thinking and talking and discussing, well then, we feel that these things are vacuous unless we then act on the principle that we think, talk and discuss about. This is as much a part of a university education as anything else. - - Jack Weinberg, Berkeley Free Speech Campaigner

Barefaced exploitation by the super-rich

Rolls Royce
Martin Thomas

Review of Who Runs Britain? How the Super Rich are Changing our Lives by Robert Peston (Hodder and Stoughton)

“No nation”, Frederick Engels once wrote, “will put up with production conducted by trusts [i.e. big, industry-dominating cartels], with so barefaced an exploitation of the community by a small band of dividend-mongers...

Orwell’s antidote to politician speak

Peter Burton

It’s over 60 years since Orwell wrote the essay Politics and the English Language —yet its warnings are as relevant now as they were then. Orwell argued that the decline of the English language as a useful tool reflected the political conditions of his time. But it was an inexorable process. He thought the abuse could be stopped. He believed journalists had a particular responsibility amongst writers to show their dissatisfaction.

Left unity in the 1890s

Cathy Nugent

From the mid-1890s, British socialists tried to unite under one umbrella. Tom Mann, as Secretary of the Independent Labour Party, was at the centre of the negotiations and debates that took place between the ILP and the Social Democratic Federation. These moves, popular with the members, were scuppered by the leaderships, mainly that of the ILP.

Gaza: the dead ends of Olmert and of Hamas

Israeli socialist

The catastrophic escalation [of the Israeli army in Gaza] comes after a long period of struggling between Israel’s military and Hamas. Due to its commitment to the US imperialism and its loyalty to the Bush administration which carries forward the Road Map plan, Israel refused to acknowledge the Islamic rule in Gaza strip and accept the Hamas proposal for Hudna, ceasefire, which meant recognition of Hamas rule.

Once again on “troops out now”

David Broder

The minority argue that the only principled line on the conflict, and only chance to build independent working-class forces, is to stand sharply opposed to US-UK intervention in the region as well as Islamism. In contrast, the majority argue that we should acquiesce to the occupation of Iraq, since if we demanded that the troops leave and they did, Islamist militias would win out and crush democratic space in Iraq.