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Courageous and prophetic: Tony Benn in the early 80s

Mike Marqusee remembers one of the great modern communicators of the socialist cause It was inevitable that Tony Benn’s death would be met with tributes from the political establishment to the effect that they admired him even if they didn’t agree with him. But for those of us who did agree with him, his life… Read more

A party to dream of

Contending for the Living Red Pepper When the left alternative goes unvoiced, the real choices unposed, democracy is drained of content, writes Mike Marqusee. That’s why we need a new party of the left I’m one of the thousands who signed up to the Left Unity appeal issued by Ken Loach in March. I did… Read more

Looking at 2012: negations and affirmations

CONTENDING FOR THE LIVING Red Pepper, Feb-March 2012 2011 has been hailed in the media as a year of “protest” in the abstract, but it’s been more challenging and concrete than that. In defiance of received political wisdom, mass action in the streets returned with undeniable impact. Contests over space and the public domain became… Read more

UK election: democracy and inequality

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 11 April Like this year’s English Premier League, the coming British general election at least offers the excitement of an uncertain finish. But where the three top football clubs offer intriguing contrasts in tactics and styles, the three mainstream political parties are competing stolidly for the middle ground, with the… Read more

Whatever happened to the British Labour Party?

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 16 April Whatever happened to the British Labour Party? The organisation that built the welfare state and the National Health Service, that for generations provided (however incompletely) a political voice and some protection for the country’s working class majority, is now one of Europe’s most aggressive champions of neo-liberalism, the… Read more

Who speaks for the Jews? Livingstone and the Board of Deputies

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 5 March The news that the elected Mayor of London was to be suspended from office for a month at the direction of an appointed tribunal startled Londoners, partly because few had any idea that there existed a body with the power to overturn their democratic preference, and partly because… Read more

Labour’s long march to the right

International Socialism Journal, Summer 2001 John Rees is right, in International Socialism 90, to highlight the reactionary record of the Wilson-Callaghan government, and to warn against sentimentalising Labour governments of the past. But he tells only part of the story, and as a result his account of the changes in the Labour Party is incomplete…. Read more

No room for socialists in in Tony’s Labour Party

Socialist Outlook, February 2001 When I recently left the Labour Party, after twenty years of active membership, I was surprised at how few people asked me to explain myself. For comrades outside the party, it seemed a step that needed no explanation, and was indeed long overdue. For comrades remaining in the party, it seemed… Read more