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.
IN THE past people selling Socialist Worker would sometimes be told, "Get back to Russia." Today it would be more appropriate to turn this taunt on vendors of the Financial Times as Russia's suffering shows the horrors of market capitalism. But it is still important for revolutionaries to understand what happened in Russia. How could the revolutionary hope of 1917 to be turned into dictatorship by 1930?
SATURATION media coverage of the queen's Golden jubilee is under way. Amidst the pageantry the monarchy is presented as a part of the unbroken tradition unifying the nation.
DOES THE rise of the far right mean we all have to shut up and unite behind New Labour? Certainly that is what people like TUC leader John Monks are suggesting. There are cynical figures in New Labour and the unions who see the threat of the far right as a useful tool to shore up declining support for the government and to beat down those who want to break to the left.
"ASYLUM-VILLAGE invaded." "We just can't keep them out." These are just some of the scare stories over asylum seekers that have recently appeared in the British press. Below we expose the myths and argue why refugees should be welcome in Britain.
THE MAIN explanation in the media for 11 September is that it was a product of irrational fundamentalism. How would you answer this?
MILLIONS OF young people are living through the great exam nightmare this week. Around 1.2 million schoolchildren aged seven, 11 and 14 were sitting the SAT exams. Hundreds of thousands more students were sitting GCSE mock exams and GCSEs, and more still have taken AS and A-level exams.
THE spiralling cost of finding somewhere to live in London was a key issue behind Tuesday's strike by council workers in the capital. Local councils are effectively blocked from building new homes by New Labour's determination to continue Tory attacks on council housing. So many workers are desperately trying to buy houses.
THE LEVEL of crime is exaggerated by politicians and the media. But crime and fear of crime are real. Of course, the TV and papers generally ignore the crimes committed by big business. And we rarely hear about the daily routine of crime committed in the City by financiers and businessmen.
IN AN ordinary street, a family goes from tree to tree, looking through sealed bags of rubbish for something to eat. With quick fingers they open the bags, check the contents and take something out.
HITLER HAD been in power for 12 months. The strongest working class movement in the world lay shattered beneath his feet. Fascists were gaining ground across Europe. The world was mired in economic slump, which brought with it mass unemployment and wage cuts.
FASCISTS ARE not just right wing Tories or repulsive racists who scapegoat immigrants. Fascists aim to smash democracy and break all forms of working class organisation.
ISRAEL'S WAR on the Palestinians is spreading convulsions across the Arab world. Popular outrage from Morocco, on the Atlantic coast of North Africa, to Jordan, in the heart of the Middle East, is pouring out against the US and Israel. More worrying for the corrupt rulers of the Arab regimes, anger on university campuses and on the streets is turning against them too. This is all taking place in a region which the world's most powerful state, the US, sees as vital to its global domination.