Slavery

Democratic Deficit USA

Author

Barrie Hardy

North Carolina’s 12th District was said to be the most gerrymandered in America. Until 2017 it was a long, straggling, narrow strip, at points extremely narrow. One critic quipped that a two hour drive down its length with both car doors open would endanger the lives of most people in the district.

Blues Power

Author

Barrie Hardy

Right-wing politicians always have great difficulty trying to get support from anyone with artistic integrity. In the Thatcher era, when numerous talented musicians sang up for the Labour cause under the banner of Red Wedge, all the Tories could cobble together were talentless tosh like Vince Hill, Jim Davidson and Mrs Mopp. Similarly, the Trump Presidency from the world of showbiz have been decidedly threadbare.

Creativity in the face of cruelty and oppression

Author

Matt Kinsella

Shortlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize, Washington Black is the story of George Washington Black, a child slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados.

The book continues the theme of author Esi Edugyan’s previous novel, Half Blood Blues, which features Hiero, a black musician sent to Sachsenhausen. Both stories centre on how human creativity persists in the face of cruelty and oppression.

Trump and Charlottesville

Author

Dan Katz

After hundreds of far right activists marched on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on 12 August US President, Donald Trump, condemned both sides. In other words he placed Nazi sympathisers who chanted antisemitic slogans on the same moral level as the anti-racist black and white youth who rallied against them.

Darcus Howe on Black Power

A new TV drama — Guerilla — tells the story of the British Black Panthers. Long-time black and left activist Darcus Howe, who recently died, was a founder member of the group and consultant for the show. In this interview from 1995 Howe discussed the politics of “black power” with Dan Katz.


DH: The Panthers have been grossly misrepresented in political circles. They were an intensely revolutionary organisation, the largest non-establishment political party ever to exist in America — larger than the Communist Party or any left-wing group.

Challenging the “lost cause” myth

Author

Bas Hardy

The American Civil War casts a long shadow over America history. Anyone doubting its pernicious legacy need only note that all of the states of the former Confederacy except Virginia voted for Trump. However it would be a mistake to believe that the white population of this region have alway acted en bloc as rabid racists.

A soundtrack for the movement against Trump

Author

Bas Hardy

Found dead people in the forest Tallahatchie River and lakes
The whole wide world is wonderin’
What’s wrong with the United States

What’s wrong indeed! Lyrics from the Staples Singer’s Freedom Highway recorded twenty five years ago still resonate. It’s now the closing track on the second solo album of Rhiannon Giddens.

Scapegoating Jews for the slave trade?

Author

Dan Katz

There was a lot of Jewish support for the US Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

Martin Luther King spoke out against anti-Semitism:

“How could there be anti- Semitism among Negroes when our Jewish friends have demonstrated their commitment to the principle of tolerance and brotherhood…

“It would be impossible to record the contribution that the Jewish people have made toward the Negro’s struggle for freedom — it has been so great.” (1965)

Comments on the US Civil War

Author

Mark Osborn

Consider this sentence from an advert for a recent AWL public meeting on Sacha Ismail’s pamphlet, Workers Against Slavery: “When the war began, both sides, North and South, said they would preserve slavery. What changed? One thing was mass action by the slaves themselves, forcing their way into the conflict and helping to transform it into a battle against slavery.”

“Bottom rail on top this time”: the American Civil War and after

Author

Sacha Ismail

9 April was the 150th anniversary of the surrender of the South in the American Civil War. In this speech given at recent AWL public meetings, Sacha Ismail explains why that war and what came after are so important.


The American Civil War is not dry, dusty history. It is relevant to the inspiring protests against racism going on in the United States now. The US of today — a capitalist democracy, but one deeply racist and unequal even by the standards of capitalism — was created by revolution, but also the betrayal of that revolution.

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