"This is the beginning of the rebirth of the left in the Middle East." That is how a Lebanese socialist describes the atmosphere surrounding a major anti-capitalist conference taking place next week. For many, Beirut summons up images of shootings, kidnappings and seemingly endless civil war.
'The thought would turn my stomach. I will not talk to people who murder indiscriminately." That is how then Tory prime minister John Major responded in parliament on 1 November 1993 to suggestions that his government should talk to representatives of the IRA. Similar words about "not conceding to terrorists" came from every British prime minister in the previous two decades of conflict in Northern Ireland. But as Major spoke eight years ago, his government was already in secret discussions with IRA leaders.
"IT IS the paper's general policy not to cover marches." That was what the Guardian newspaper admitted this week, explaining why it hadn't covered the huge 50,000-strong protest against the war in London two weeks ago.
WE WANT the bombing of Afghanistan stopped. Our members were devastated by the events of 11 September. There were 343 firefighters among those who lost their lives. We do not want that tragedy to be followed by another tragedy.
"THERE IS a stunned atmosphere in the plant. Some of the workers have been there all their working lives. Almost everyone in Burnley has some connection with Michelin. It was the place to work."
"In a Western democracy if you lose touch with your people then you lose elections. In a monarchy you lose your head." The words were those of Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US. Revolution usually seems to most people a distant prospect. It is easy to conclude that all that we can do is resign ourselves to what exists, at most pushing for marginal reforms.
SOCIALIST WORKER is proud of the role we are playing in helping to build opposition to Bush and Blair's war. We have thrown all our resources into ensuring posters, placards and stickers carrying the anti-war message are out across Britain. We hope our readers share our pride in Socialist Worker's role in carrying the facts and arguments to challenge the warmongers' lies, and in arming people with the arguments, reports and analysis to build the movement.
"MR BLAIR made the extraordinary admission that the West was in danger of losing the propaganda war. A senior aide conceded that Osama Bin Laden's broadcast had found a receptive audience in the Middle East." That was the Guardian reporting on Tony Blair's tour of the Middle East last week.
WESTERN powers have intervened in the Middle East for over 200 years. Here are just some of the key events in this bloody history of imperialist intervention in the region:
"MY MUM used to tell us about life under Thatcher in the 1980s, when hundreds of jobs went every day and half of industry went to the wall. I could only imagine what that was like-until now."
THE LEADERS of the world's richest countries are just over two weeks away from a meeting aimed at pumping more money out of the poorest people across the globe. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is due to meet in Qatar, a despotic regime in the Middle East, in the second week of November.
ANYONE WHO listened to the debate in parliament on 8 October about the war in Afghanistan would have been struck immediately by one fact-nobody spoke clearly for an immediate end to the attacks by the US and Britain. A handful of MPs raised serious questions about the war aims, details of the attacks and what should happen next. But nobody said the war was wrong in principle.
"WE WERE just herded out onto the streets." So said Jeanette Dearden, one of 700 workers at two Viasystems factories on Tyneside who have been thrown out of work.
The exchange between longstanding anti-war activist Tariq Ali and Peter Hain took place at a 200-strong fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference after Tony Blair delivered his speech.
Tony Blair summed up Labour's mission as, "Let us reorder this world," when he spoke at the Labour conference last week. He said the "international community" could sort out the world's problems. But when Blair talks of the "international community" he does not mean ordinary people showing solidarity with one another.
THE spectacular collapse of Railtrack ought to be the final nail in the coffin for privatisation. Shareholders were screaming for compensation this week. And Railtrack was threatening legal action to free up £350 million to hand to them.
TUBE DRIVERS in London were set to strike on Friday of this week in a dispute that should be a rallying point for everyone opposed to New Labour's privatisation plans for London Underground.
THE SOCIALIST Worker Appeal has shot up by over £14,000 in the last week. Our readers and supporters have raised a total of £75,332 so far. Every penny of this is being thrown into campaigning against the war, and the cuts and privatisation Blair is trying to sneak through.
"BLACK WEDNESDAY". That was the Mirror's banner headline last week as the scale of the job cuts sweeping Britain became clear. Behind the figures lie workers whose lives will be devastated as they are thrown on the dole. Thousands more workers will be terrified that they too could be caught in the jobs cull.
AS THE New McLabour conference pushed an agenda of war and privatisation, Socialist Worker responded by taking to the streets to support the Brighton protest against privatisation and for peace.