Socialist Worker

The only democrats they can live with

Issue No. 1894

A DIFFERENT election, a different result and a different response. Senior figures in the White House couldn't wait to pour abuse on Spanish voters for daring to kick out Bush and Blair's friend (and their equal in the lying stakes) Jose Maria Aznar.

A sad day for democracy and a victory for terrorism, they said. A week later came elections in the Central American country of El Salvador. The message from US officials couldn't be more different. There was no condemnation or accusation of voters appeasing terrorism.

Of course the winner in the election was not only pro-US, but the candidate of a party which was founded as the political wing of fascistic death squads. The Arena party won the election last Sunday after the US threatened to cut off all aid should people vote the centre left opposition in. Arena was founded by Robert D'Aubisson.

He was a graduate of the US's School of the Americas training camp, and unleashed an orgy of violence against trade unions, democrats and the left in the 1980s. El Salvador's archbishop was gunned down on the steps of his cathedral in 1980. That same year D'Aubisson's death squads raped and murdered four US nuns. By the end of the decade the violence had claimed 70,000 lives.

Helping to orchestrate the murder were figures such as John Negroponte (now Bush's ambassador to the United Nations), Richard Armitage (the deputy secretary of state) and Bush's 'human rights specialist' Elliot Abrams.


In this week - 170 YEARS AGO - 1834

REVOLUTIONARY socialist William Morris was born. He became a leading figure in the early working class movement in Britain. He was also a designer, artist, author and poet. He wrote the classic socialist work News from Nowhere.


And the living is easy

TENANTS IN Reigate, Surrey, were delighted to be offered council houses-until they found out the houses were over 200 miles away in an unemployment black spot.

They were offered a house in Easington, County Durham, an old pit village. Easington, described by the local council in Reigate as 'rural and scenic', is one of the areas crushed by the Tories' pit closure programme.

Thanks to Mike Hames for this story


Silvio knows the bombers

FEW PEOPLE in Spain would now claim that the Basque organisation ETA was responsible for the attacks on 11 March. But one Inside the System regular was still making this claim on Wednesday of last week.

Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, argued that 'Aznar called it right'. He went on to produce compelling evidence: 'Deep down inside, I cannot get rid of the doubt that ETA had some role.'


Sideways into trouble

MARLON Morgan, 17, is a menace to society. The black teenager was arrested for wearing his baseball cap sideways. His school in the US state of Arizona prohibits sideways baseball caps in its school dress code.

But white students wear their caps sideways with impunity, while he was jailed for several hours. During his incarceration students distributed 'Free Marlon' T-shirts in protest.


A classic cover-up

THE RECENT French ban on Muslim women wearing the hijab headscarf was based on the idea that such clothing is incompatible with European traditions.

But now a researcher from Exeter University has shown that veils were a feature of ancient Greece-supposedly the birthplace of European civilisation.


He's shroud of his country

THE SHROUD that was used to cover the embalmed body of Eva Peron, wife of the Argentinian dictator Juan Peron, has been sold at auction. Antonio Mata, chairman of the Argentinian national airline, made the ghoulish purchase for $195,000. He plans to give the shroud to the government as a national treasure.

The wealthy Eva Peron, known as Evita, gave handouts to the poor to help create a support base for her husband. A huge personality cult surrounded her after her early death. Antonio Mata is unlikely to receive acclaim from the poor of Argentina. The privatisation of the airline he runs led to over 1,000 workers being sacked and the company running up huge debts, while the new private bosses prospered.


Hopes shattered too

REMEMBER THE footage of Iraqis pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein as US troops arrived in Baghdad? Fares and Hamid are two of the Iraqis who did it. Last week a journalist asked them how they felt about the 'liberation' of Iraq. 'We're depressed and frustrated,' says Fares, 'We thought the coalition forces came here for reconstruction, for the prosperity of the people. It hasn't happened.'

Hamid says, 'The Americans should leave our country.' His friend Obeid's house was raided by US troops during the festival of Eid last year. As Hamid looked on, the troops ordered Obeid to take off his clothes, handcuffed him and rampaged through his family's house.

Obeid says, 'That wasn't done under Saddam. We were repressed, and now we're repressed again.'


Figure it out 5,445

The number of people serving life sentences in British prisons, revealed by the Prison Reform Trust. It is higher than the rest of the EU combined.


Who says?

'It was a war that was unjust. I don't want to give anything else to this country. I'm a nurse, my husband a fireman, and my daughter a teacher, but I want to contribute nothing else. This country is corrupt and it starts at the top.'

ANN LAWRENCE, mother of Marc, a British soldier killed in Iraq

'Desmond is still the publisher. He considers it to be a magazine of sexual relations.'

GEORGE ROJAS, head of the US media firm that owns Forum magazine after Richard Desmond claimed he sold off his porn magazine empire

'A company realises that its customers, who are predominantly white, tend to prefer to do business with white staff. Depending on how strong this preference is, it might be rational for a company to discriminate against black applicants on the basis that, for this reason alone, they tend to be less good at the job.'

MATT CAVANAGH, David Blunkett's special adviser on race gives his twisted version of 'equal opportunities'

'The law does not allow us to shoot unarmed people. But if we believed they were terrorists with a bomb it would have been different.'

BRIAN PADDICK, Metropolitan police commander on anti-war protesters who climbed Big Ben


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 27 Mar 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1894
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