Socialist Worker

A radical left challenge breaks out of the ghetto

Issue No. 1951

Every reader of Socialist Worker should set themselves a simple task over the coming days and weeks — to ask every one of our friends, neighbours, class and workmates to join Respect.

Respect has come from nowhere to become the fourth force in British politics. It has broken free of the confines which kept the left ghettoised from much of everyday life.

The continuing poison being spewed out by New Labour’s leaders and their acolytes against Respect is proof of how much they fear a new radical challenge centred in Labour’s traditional heartlands.

What none of these people can admit is that in east London, Birmingham Sparkbrook, Preston and Tottenham, Respect pulled together all those that New Labour has simply written off.

Our aim should be to create a Respect organisation in every neighbourhood. Respect needs to be a living presence in every campaign, community, trade union and student body. We need to follow the lead from our successful areas and break from old habits where the left is happy talking simply to itself.

The challenge has never been greater — but the prize within our grasp has never been richer.


Economy

Is there a recession around the corner?

All is not well with the economy. And after an election campaign from Labour which put a huge amount of emphasis on how stable the economy has been, this may come as a shock to supporters of Gordon Brown.

“The short-term economic outlook is darkening,” says the Economist. Prices are rising at an increasing rate, with a jump from 1.6 percent in February to 1.9 percent in March.That is the highest inflation figure in almost seven years. The housing market is also slowing down with the possibility of a slump that could ruin many families.

This week the Monetary Policy Committee decided not to increase interest rates from 4.75 percent. But this freeze has more to do with the impression Britain wants to give of its economy than the facts.With export orders for the past three months the most disappointing since the autumn of 2003, big business will be less likely to invest in a slowing economy.

All of this makes Brown’s great economy look a little shaky — and will certainly bring out questions of trust and accountability.


Bush in Russia

Double standards on spreading ‘democracy’

During his visit to Russia this week George Bush said, “No good purpose is served by stirring up fears and exploiting old rivalries.

“All the nations that border Russia will benefit from the spread of democratic values, and so will Russia itself. Stable, prosperous democracies are good neighbours.”

It’s a little hard to take him seriously when you think of how the US has interfered with its neighbours. The US backed a coup in Chile when it decided it didn’t like the democratically elected president in 1973.

Then there’s the embargo on Cuba and the US government’s backing of the right wing opposition in Venezuela. It’s another case of “do as I say, not as I do” from Bush.


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What We Think
Sat 14 May 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1951
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