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For eighteen days, from July 20 to August 7, a group of workers at the Vestas wind turbine factory at Newport, on the Isle of Wight, on the south coast of England, held a sit-in at the plant. The occupation was part of a continuing campaign to prevent the closure of the plant by the Danish-owned company, Vestas Wind Systems, and the loss of about 625 jobs.
The group left the premises, to the cheers of hundreds of supporters, just before bailiffs were due to enforce a court order to remove them. A picket of the factory continues at the time of writing, and a national day of solidarity activities has been called for Sept. 17.
Of all the problems and contradictions that have afflicted the radical movement since the time of Marx, those pertaining to the dialectics of organization has proven to be the most difficult and perplexing of them all. Leftist groups and radical tendencies of various sorts have come and gone over the years, but the effort to develop revolutionary organizations on the basis of the insights of dialectical philosophy remains a task to be done.
Radical change is never accepted easily. With the current discussion on health care reform, we have an opportunity to dismantle three basic dysfunctional tenets of the current system.
The first tenet is that access to health care is a privilege and not a basic human need that our society as a whole values for everyone. Second, for most people, access to health care services is dependent on a person’s employment status. And third, insurance companies and employers are in control of the kinds of health care to which we have access.
Racism, Class and Profiling
Author’s note: The arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates speaks to the question of race and class in America. In terms of the media and pundit response, it also speaks to the absurdity of personalization and thus the substitution, in this case, of Gates’s socioeconomic status for the social question of “race” in the United States.
There are “two worlds” in each country, the “rulers” and the “ruled” or to put it more concretely, between workers and non-workers. Never, in my lifetime, has the divide between workers and non-workers in the U.S. been as vast as it is during the current economic crisis. The working class is bearing the brunt of the crisis, yet how much of their actual voice are we hearing in the political debate about the economy?
The upheaval in Iran has shaken up Iranian and even regional politics. Not since the Palestinian Intifada of 1987 has the Middle East seen such a massive and persistent grassroots mobilization. At the same time, the Iranian upheaval is also the product of deep divisions inside the nation’s dominant classes.
A year after its publication, the new Persian translation of Marx’s Capital has sold out in Iran and is undergoing a reprint. Translator Hassan Mortazavi explains why he felt compelled to translate Capital anew, years after the publication of Iraj Eskandari’s translation in 1973.
The French CGT union’s racist expulsion of African immigrants from its offices reveals deep contradictions inside the labor movement.
On Wednesday, June 24, a terrible event took place in Paris: Hundreds of Africans sans papiers (undocumented immigrants) who had occupied the Bourse de Travail for over a year were evicted and pushed onto the street with their belongings. These workers had taken refuge in the Bourse du Travail, a union-run employment service, because they have no work permits and hope to secure legalization.
’This place is a thousand times worse than Guantanamo’
Excerpts from a report on the torture of students arrested At Tehran University from Akhbar Rooz
Translator’s note: During the early morning hours of June 15, 2009, The dormitory of Tehran University was attacked by Iranian security forces and plainclothes policemen. Five students were killed and many were arrested. Below is a report which describes the ordeal of the arrested students.
The blatant theft of the June elections has touched off the biggest crisis for the Islamic Republic of Iran in over two decades. Large sectors of the Iranian people have come into the streets to protest, especially youth, women, and intellectuals. Already, the population is beginning to lose its fear, at least in major cities like Isfahan, Tabriz, and Shiraz, and especially Tehran, where protestors have repeatedly confronted the fundamentalist Basiji militia, in some cases driving them off the streets.
The Sichuan earthquake is very terrible; it killed so many people within a brief second, especially many students of middle schools and primary schools, and even some kindergartens. You can imagine how deeply many families are damaged under the policy of population control. The number of victims is increasing every day. The official figure is about 50,000, but most of people in China do not think so.
The German Ideology (1845), often seen as the most materialistic of Marx’s early writings, has been taken up mostly by structuralist and orthodox Marxists, but this work is especially important in terms of understanding Marx’s views on gender and the family to Marxist-Humanists as well.
“Far from expressing a sequence of never-ending progression, the Hegelian dialectic lets retrogression appear as translucent as progression and indeed makes it very nearly inevitable if one ever tries to escape regression by mere faith.”—Raya Dunayevskaya (1)
It may seem ironic that a moment so typified by the crisis of capital calls for a serious critique of the crisis on the Left; however, in the present moment it has become impossible to take on the crisis of existing society without facing the limitations found in prevailing leftist responses to it.