On 16 August 1819 tens of thousands of working men and women demonstrated at a place known as St Peter’s Field in Manchester, demanding reform and the repeal of the Corn Laws. The yeomanry and then hussars were ordered to attack, killing eighteen people and injuring more than four hundred. With the recent memory of the Battle of Waterloo, this slaughter went down in history as Peterloo. Shelley reacted with one of the earliest works of socialist literature, his famous ballad “The Mask of Anarchy.” This month we mark the 200th anniversary of those events and of Shelley’s great poem.
It is a reflection of where we are as a society, and where the balance of power exists between employers and workers, that legislation is needed to stop employers stealing this money from those it is intended for. The contempt in which the working class are held by sections of the ruling class is also exposed, as some politicians will actually vote against this bill, while others have to be lobbied and put under pressure to vote for it. Occasionally the politicians are forced into a compromise and have to vote against their own class interest.
The biennial delegate conference of the ICTU is being held in Dublin on 2, 3 and 4 July. It will debate and formulate policy and goals for member-unions for the next couple of years.
There is no doubt that falling union density and the high age profile of the membership are serious concerns for unions. Major changes are needed to reverse this trend.
It is often claimed that the “War on Drugs” has failed, and that in response the use of illegal drugs should be permitted.
There are several serious issues with this thesis, the first being the question of what evidence exists that there has been a “war on drugs.” In fact the evidence suggests the opposite: that what has existed since the 1960s has been a war of drugs, used against the working class, in the service of monopoly capitalism.
On 14 June women throughout Switzerland took to the streets in a national women’s strike. It took place to coincide with negotiations at the International Labour Conference in Geneva on international rules for tackling violence and harassment at work.
In spite of lurid headlines about his private life, Boris Johnson remains the man most likely to be Britain’s next prime minister.
Tousled hair, pompous accent, indiscreet and bullying behaviour, not to mention taking part in egregious self-promoting photo opportunities—yet nothing appears to damage his popularity among the Tory faithful. There is often, though, a perception beyond the Conservative Party membership that “Bojo,” as he is sometimes called, is something of a clown and therefore not to be taken seriously.
Any such reading would be a mistake.
The recent CPI national school on 21–23 June began with the national chairperson giving a good introduction, which was followed by a brief talk on Irish history, with a different slant on the roles played by the state and its allies the church and its sycophantic followers.
Questions were posed to the audience about how we can change the tide of political discourse and about recent phenomena
By any relevant psephological indices, it is absolutely clear that Sinn Féin did exceedingly poorly—perhaps disastrously—in the recent local and European elections; and the results have clearly precipitated some reflective introspection by various party members.
Failing to see the irony, the Government and Fianna Fáil voted—on World Refugee Day, of all days!—to send fourteen members of the army’s Ranger Wing (Ireland’s SAS) to war in Mali.
The minister for defence, Paul Kehoe, told the Dáil that the country was a victim of “terrorism,” and we must play our part.
Mali is not just some poor country plagued by “terrorism.” It’s worse: it’s a poor country plagued by imperialism.
On Saturday 22 June, Christy Moore unveiled a plaque to the socialist republican Frank Conroy, a Kildare man killed in 1936 while fighting with the International Brigades in the Spanish war against fascism.
Courbet painted The Stone-Breakers in his home town of Ornans, in eastern France, in 1849. He was thirty years old. Marx and Engels had published the Communist Manifesto the previous year, which stated as its opening fanfare: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,” and “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other—Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.” This is the defining insight of the middle of the nineteenth century.
The spoils of economic war How the United States and Saudi Arabia profit from sanctions on Venezuela and Iran
The United States has been playing the role of the world’s economic bully. So far it has imposed sanctions against Afghanistan, Belarus, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Crimea, Cuba, Cyprus, Eritrea, Haïti, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.