FLOODS, FAMINES, hurricanes - such wild and unpredictable weather patterns seem to have got more common over the last few decades. And there is a growing body of evidence that points to the increasing impact of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution as the cause. The latest report of the way capitalist society threatens people and the planet we live on came this week from a team of scientists working for the United Nations.
A POLITICAL show trial of 87 people began in Johannesburg this week. The accused face serious charges arising from demonstrations against privatisation and for the right to basic services.
THE GOVERNMENT recently published a draft bill that proposes tough new laws for people with mental health problems. The measures include giving psychiatrists new powers to force people in the community to undergo compulsory treatment such as injections.
THE European Social Forum, which takes place in Florence, Italy, in November, promises to be one of the most exciting political events for years. Thousands of activists, from across Europe and from a range of political backgrounds, will be discussing how we can create a better world.
OPPOSITION TO a US attack on Iraq is mounting daily. Some commentators suggest Bush and his chief cheerleader, Tony Blair, can brush it aside. It would be foolish to underestimate either the arrogance of the warmongers in the White House or their determination to devastate the people of Iraq.
BRAZIL HAS become the latest victim of the economic crisis that began in Argentina and is now spreading throughout Latin America. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was forced to issue its largest ever single loan last week to Brazil.
THE BATTLE of Lewisham, which took place 25 years ago this month, was a decisive turning point in the fight against the Nazis in Britain. On 13 August 1977 over 10,000 people-black and white, old and young, women and men-joined together to physically confront the Nazis and stop them from marching. The battle showed how the Nazis could be driven off the streets and it marked the beginning of a mass campaign to smash the Nazis.
THE REACTION of the press and mainstream politicians to the magnificent anti-Nazi demonstration, however, was a disgrace. They did not condemn the Nazis or heavy policing, but blamed all the violence on the anti-fascists. Labour Party leaders made disgusting statements.
EVERY DAY 25,000 people die directly from starvation. Many thousands more die from diseases because their bodies are weakened by malnutrition. The multinationals and bankers wreck the economies of countries in Africa and Asia where those people starve. But there are firms which are also directly responsible for who lives and who dies, who eats and who wastes away.
GEORGE W Bush and Tony Blair are gearing up for a bloody war against Iraq as early as this October. These plans threaten to split society from top to bottom. The latest US war plan was leaked last week. It involves blasting Iraq with bombing raids and cruise missiles, causing civilian casualties and destruction on an unimaginable scale.
WHILE the US and Britain prepare to use vast resources for war, 14 million people in southern Africa have been left to starve. People in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are particularly affected. Politicians claim that the suffering is because of drought or "African corruption". In truth people are dying because they are the subjects of a crazed mass social experiment: take a poor society, let the market rip, and see what happens. Far from showering prosperity on Africa, the market prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have produced bigger mounds of corpses.
A mass Europe-wide movement against privatisation and war is set to be launched in November. Tens of thousands of trade unionists and activists are preparing to gather at the European Social Forum (ESF) in Florence, Italy, to plan resistance. Many different groups are supporting the event.
THE EUROPEAN Social Forum will be an important rallying point for activists in the anti-capitalist movement. But it is also likely to reflect growing divisions over strategy. These divisions were already evident at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in February.
"ANOTHER world is possible" is the ringing declaration of the anti-capitalist movement. For us this other world can only be socialism, a society based on production for need not profit. But what will this socialism look like?
SIX MONTHS ago left wingers like Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn MP looked very lonely figures in the Labour Party. They were barely tolerated by the leadership as quaint reminders of a long-gone era when people thought capitalism could actually be done away with and privatisation was a swear word.
LABOUR WAS the biggest party after the 1929 general elections, and Ramsay MacDonald became prime minister. But as slump hit the world the Labour government turned on its own supporters and imposed harsh austerity measures. The Labour cabinet accepted a range of brutal cuts but eventually balked at what MacDonald wanted, and in 1931 he formed a government with the Tories.
"DON'T PANIC, don't panic!" say George W Bush and Tony Blair, like the Corporal Joneses of a Dad's Army standing guard over the world's stockmarkets. They try to reassure people that, despite weeks of chaos on the stockmarkets, their economies are fundamentally sound. This was exactly what US president Herbert Hoover said in October 1929, days before the Wall Street Crash plunged the world into a decade of misery and conflict.
IN AMERICA we say, "Don't let friends drive drunk." There is a drunk at the wheel of American foreign policy. Friends of America must stand up and stop the madness, and take away the key driving the American machine towards war.
THE FIRST bombing from the air took place in 1911. Almost inevitably, given the history of European imperialism, it was a bloody massacre to put down colonial revolt. The Italian lieutenant Giulio Cavotti dropped four bombs on Arabs near Tripoli in north Africa who had fought back against Italian troops.
SOCIALISTS hope capitalism will collapse, paving the way for socialism. That was the gist of what Lord Meghnad Desai, a former economics adviser to chancellor Gordon Brown, had to say in a debate last week. The truth is that socialists don't believe socialism will automatically rise from the wreckage of capitalism. Nor do we leap for joy at recession, slump or capitalist crisis.