24 April 2004
From the Victorian era till the 1960s gays and lesbians were persecuted by the state. Police officers regularly entrapped and arrested gay men. In that repressive climate, most gays and lesbians hid their sexual orientation. Over the last three decades the worst legal restrictions and discriminations have ended. The level of popular prejudice against gays and lesbians is much reduced. Today every major TV and radio soap has gay or lesbian storylines, with sympathetic characters.
17 April 2004
"We hold these truths to be self evident. All men are created equal." So declares the American Declaration of Independence. Half the world replies yes, but what about women? Formal equality was part of the ideology of early capitalism. More importantly, the birth of the modern socialist movement made women's equality a feature of all progressive thought.
10 April 2004
The Russian Revolution of October 1917 was greeted across the world with enormous popular enthusiasm. In the midst of the bloody slaughter of the First World War the workers' and soldiers' councils had taken control of the country. The new soviet government took Russia out of the war, instituting far-reaching reforms. Factory committees took over enterprises. The peasants won the land. Legislation gave women the most advanced freedoms anywhere in the world.
03 April 2004
There are two fundamental reasons why socialism has to be international. Both rise from the nature of capitalism. The first is very simple and material. One of capitalism's historic achievements has been the formation of a world market. If we think about our own everyday lives, it is immediately apparent that we depend on the products of the world.
27 March 2004
In the 1840s famine struck Britain's colony in Ireland. The British government enforced the export of food from Ireland. One and a half million people died from starvation, and a million and a half emigrated.
20 March 2004
At the heart of capitalism is an ongoing class struggle between capital and labour. That is the ABC of Marxism. But the alphabet has more than three letters. Class domination in capitalism is interwoven with many other sorts of human oppression. These provide a basis for divisions among the exploited. Disadvantaged groups have been held down on the grounds of being "different", and they in turn have fought back.
13 March 2004
Socialism depends on workers overcoming the divisions within their own ranks. The most virulent of these divisions is racism, in all its forms. The racism of Hitler and the Nazis produced the organised mass murder of millions of Jews and Gypsies in the 1940s. What is racism?