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Noxious election campaign stirs up racist divisions


This general election has been the one most dominated by immigration since 1979. Consider the two most important incidents of the past week.

Michael Foot’s nationalist spirit lives on in Greece's government


The hypocrisy of the British media can still surprise. Look at the warmth with which they bade farewell to Michael Foot when he died last week, after they had vilified him while he was leader of the Labour Party between 1980 and 1983.

Greece's fight sheds light on a wider crisis in Europe


At one level, the Greek crisis is a familiar tale of market blackmail and bullying. Through giving up its own currency and joining the euro, Greece attached itself to one of the world’s major economies, Germany.

A new debt crisis stalks capitalism


Remember the Third World debt crisis of the 1970s and 1980s? The First World debt crisis of the 2000s and 2010s may make it look like a tea party.

The British economy's worst drop since 1921


The future course of the British and the world economies are shrouded in obscurity. But figures released last week give us a proper measure of the magnitude of what has already happened.

Copenhagen deal exposes the real climate culprits


The United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen last month proved to be a historic watershed. This isn’t because of what it achieved.

A Tobin Tax won’t solve the problem


Is the Tobin Tax on international financial transfers an idea whose time has come? It has been endorsed by the United Nations, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Financial Services Authority chair Lord Turner, and now the European Union (EU).

Labour’s policies boost the racists


The sneaking feeling of sympathy that I felt for Gordon Brown when he was ambushed and coshed by the Sun attack machine over Afghanistan didn’t survive the appalling speech he made about immigration on Thursday of last week.

Business as usual as crisis continues


If A contemporary Rip Van Winkle, awakening from three years’ sleep, took a walk down Wall Street last week, he might imagine that nothing had changed.

Polarisation across Europe brings left votes


The media have been gloating about the plight of the left in the wake of the German federal elections a fortnight ago. "A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of socialism’s slow collapse", announced the New York Times last week.

G20: a bigger tent but no answers


Probably the most important thing about the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last week was that it is the third time it has met in the past year. What was a relatively marginal international body seems to be morphing into a significant institution.

Missile defence: Obama won’t drop US domination


Is Barack Obama’s decision to cancel the deployment of missile defence in central and eastern Europe another sign of how the US has been weakened by the Iraq disaster? In a very obvious sense, yes.

Justification for Afghan war is collapsing


A large chunk of the already ramshackle case for the Western military occupation of Afghanistan has now collapsed.

Crisis is not over for world leaders


Less than a year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the banks are back. Puffed up with profits, they are flexing their muscles again.

US right is telling unhealthy lies


The wonderful people who brought you the invasion of Iraq certainly took Joseph Goebbels’ principle of "the bigger the lie the better" to heart.

Remembering Jerry Cohen


This has been a bad summer for left wing intellectuals. The radical political economists Giovanni Arrighi and Peter Gowan died within a few days of one another in June. And then last week the socialist philosopher GA "Jerry" Cohen died suddenly at the age of 68.

Banks go back to bubble bonuses


Can you believe the banks? While the world economic crisis has deep underlying causes, it was precipitated by the collapse of the credit bubble that had been inflated by major banks in a frenzy of borrowing and lending.

Afghan war brings political fallout


FURTHER EVIDENCE has appeared this past week about how corrupt British politics is. No, this isn’t about MPs on the take or reporters phonetapping. It’s about Afghanistan.

New challenges in South Africa


I’ve just returned from spending a fortnight in South Africa. It was my first visit since the early 1990s. A lot has happened since then.

Electoral reform, crisis and the left


After the Second World War the Labour and Tory parties completely dominated British politics, sharing around 96 percent of the popular vote between them. According to some opinion polls, they will be lucky to get more than half the total vote in this week’s European elections.

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