AN OLD slogan in anti-racist movements in Britain is "we're over here because you were over there". Rozina Visram shows how true that is. From the beginning, Asian migration to Britain is entwined with the way Britain established and built its empire. Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter for trade to the Governor and Company of Merchants of London in 1600, founding the East India Company. And it was the company's ventures which sparked the first movement of people between South Asia and Britain.
ONE VIEW held by socialists often bewilders many people. That is the contention that the state machine in capitalist society serves the interests of the ruling class and cannot be used for a move to socialism. "But", some people insist, "you will always need the police. However much you dislike them, they do a necessary job. Without them there would be complete chaos."
TENS OF thousands of trade unionists and anti-capitalist activists will be meeting at the European Social Forum (ESF) in Florence, Italy, between 7 and 10 November.
NIALL MORTON is a postal worker who works in the Mallusk post office in North Belfast. He led a walkout of postal workers in protest at the murder by Loyalists of a young Catholic worker, Danny McColgan, earlier this year.
ONE SINNER come to repentance is worth 99 righteous men, says the Bible. One economist who used to be at the centre of running the supposedly "free" market system can provide criticisms of its functioning even more damning than those who have never trusted it.
READER Peter Norcliffe raised an important issue in a letter to Socialist Worker last week. He questioned the paper for being too negative about all bosses. "There are", Peter wrote, "also hard working, considerate companies and organisations which strike a good balance between looking after their workers and the local environment, and can still make a profit."
SATPAL RAM has finally gained his freedom after a 16- year ordeal in jail.
A JUBILANT crowd carried five men shoulder high from London's Pentonville jail. "Arise ye workers" read the banner at the centre of the celebrations. The date was 26 July 1972, and the words on the banner were no mere slogan. The "Pentonville Five" were trade unionists -dockers -jailed five days earlier for deyfing anti-union laws. Strikes had swept the country in response. They forced the courts into a humiliating climbdown, and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Tory government of the day. The strikers defied their union leaders and Labour Party leaders, who denounced the struggle. Derek Watkins, one of the five jailed dockers, spoke to Socialist Worker as he waited for police to t
ONE OF the most popular arguments against socialism is that people are just too selfish for it to work. It is claimed that socialists are unrealistic dreamers for imagining that things will change overnight and people work together for the common good without being made to.
ON 5 JULY 1948 queues formed outside doctors' surgeries and hospitals across Britain. It was the first day of the new National Health Service. Hundreds of thousands of working class people who had never been able to afford proper medical treatment finally had access to basic services.
IN TWO weeks one of the biggest and most exciting gatherings of socialists in Europe will take place at the Marxism 2002 event in central London. Several thousand people attended last year's event.
ONE WAY the defenders of capitalism try to discredit socialism is by claiming it would destroy individuality and reduce everything to a dull conformity. By contrast they give the impression that capitalism provides people with varied, exciting lives.
NO ONE can have missed the fact that the World Cup is taking place. The tournament will mean different things to different people. Some will simply enjoy the games as a sporting event. It will be a chance to briefly escape from the normal routines of life. Others, corporations like Nike and Adidas, the businesses who dub themselves "official World Cup sponsors", and the giant media companies have a very different outlook.
IN 1897, 46,000 plumed and scrubbed troops marched through London to mark Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. They were drawn from an empire that included over a quarter of the world's people. There was a camel corps from India, the Dyak police from Borneo, Muslim zaptiehs in their red fezzes, soldiers from Fiji, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Zanzibar and many more.
FOR MOST people the idea of revolution is closely associated with violence. This message is hammered home in school textbooks, and historical novels and documentaries. There you will find gruesome descriptions of the "reign of terror" of 1793 during the French Revolution.
MAINSTREAM historians argue that the British working class has always accepted capitalism, and prefers family life to fighting back. This is one of the themes running through Simon Schama's History of Britain, currently being shown on TV. The Great Unrest gives the lie to these claims.
THE THREAT of war between India and Pakistan has brought the horror of nuclear destruction back to the world. Leaders from both countries have spoken openly about the obscenity of "first strikes" or "second strikes", and their willingness to use nuclear warheads. A nuclear exchange between the two countries, with a combined population of 1.2 billion people, could kill ten million people in minutes. They are not the only states willing to use nuclear weapons.
THE RICH and powerful always want to put us off the idea of revolution. They have consciously promoted the argument that in Russia the revolution led to terror and dictatorship, that Lenin led to Stalin. This idea has been encouraged for decades and by a wide range of people. Writers who supported the old Stalinist rulers of Russia continually promoted the argument that Lenin led to Stalin.
MANY PEOPLE have heard about the great revolution in France in 1789. But they think nothing much happened in Britain at that time. This is not true. The events inspired political and economic revolution in Britain and led to the birth of a new class. Eighteenth century Britain was shaped by the revolution that took place in England much earlier, in the 1640s.
NEW LABOUR claims that being hard on refugees and immigrants "is not racist". The Sun newspaper repeated this argument when it praised the government's tough asylum policy last week. Many of those who disagree with the Sun nevertheless echo some of these arguments.