Solidarity 158, 10 September 2009

Only revolution can end war

Extracts from an interview with Leon Trotsky by Sybil Vincent, of the London Daily Herald, March 18 1939

Question: Is a world war inevitable? If so, will it mean the end of the capitalist system?

Leon Trotsky on World War Two


Leon Trotsky


For the AWL, promoting and fighting for the political independence of the workers’ movement from ruling class ideology is what revolutionary socialism is all about. This is never more true than in times of war and conflict between groups of big capitalist powers.

We argue for working-class political independence from the ruling class of our “own” country and also the ruling class of the “enemy” country. We should recall that as September 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

Whose Robin Hood?


Darren Bedford reviews Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1

Mesrine is slick. Very slick. The film looks great, and successfully evokes its time and place (France in the late 1970s). Vincent Cassell brings his inimitable and indefinable cool — which is as off-kilter as his almost impossibly crooked nose — to the title role and make the character jump off the screen.

There’s a good balance of action and non-action scenes and the script is engaging. It’s a good film. Go and watch it. But you probably want a bit more from this review, particularly given that it’s in a revolutionary socialist newspaper. So here goes...

Book: “Terrorised” on all sides

“I remember my father trying to describe what the smoke at Auschwitz smelled like ... The closest he got was telling me it was ‘indescribable’ ... That’s exactly what the air in Lower Manhattan smelled like after Sept. 11.”

Feminism: Reclaim the night for whom?

A number of Reclaim the Night marches against violence against women will take place in the next year. The London march is planned for November. Jordan Savage reflects on her own experience of these marches and asks how socialist feminists can contribute to this important campaign.

Since its inception in the late 1970s, the “Reclaim the Night” movement has taken the form of evening marches, usually (but not always) for self-defining women only, in opposition to male violence against women.

LGBTQ: Smash the pink pound!


By Gemma Short

“We’re here, we’re queer, we can’t afford the beer”… the ticket price, or the time off work… Bank holiday weekend in Manchester, and Pride rolls in to fence off the “village”, colour everything (even the Union Jack) various shades of pink, and rake in ridiculous amounts of money.

Tower Hamlets College: Teachers are not city bankers!

These cuts fall in line with a tide of xenophobic government reforms around ESOL provision; part of the big fuzzy picture of “integration” that they like to contradict.

Here’s a struggle to be had out in the midst of tightening immigration controls, rising popularity of the extreme racist-right and let’s not forgot the big “excuse”, this bastard recession.

Tower Hamlets College: Students show solidarity!

Jan Ducky was coming to enrol on the Access to Higher Education — social science and humanities. Jan is from the Czech Republic and is currently working as a hospital cleaner part time. He decided not to cross the picket line and instead joined the protest.

Why did you decide not to cross the picket line?

Climate Camp: where now?


By Jordan Savage

Climate Camp 2009. Location: Blackheath. Target: Global Capitalism. The site for this year’s Climate Camp was chosen because there have been proposals for part of Blackheath to be adapted into a horse-racing track for the 2012 Olympics.

This would mean permanent loss of common land and destruction of one of London’s few green spaces. At the top of Lewisham Hill, Blackheath has a view of the City of London, always on the horizon, supposedly as a reminder to campers that the enemy, big business, is never far away.

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