global warming is, to state the obvious, a global problem. The environment and
climate are everywhere. It is also inextricably linked to the global political economy:
the way the world is run.
A consequence of greenhouse
gas emissions, human-induced global warming is, by definition, a systemic
crisis, a crisis of capitalism. Even the measurements for the amount of carbon
in the atmosphere are comparisons with pre-industrial levels – the dawn of the 18th
century industrial revolution and mass production driven by fossil fuels.
Report after report has
detailed the interconnectedness of the environment and human activity, and the
need for far-reaching action on this existential threat. Summit after summit
claims success. In reality, however, the progress has been glacial.
Eighty years ago, the major powers plunged
humanity into the horror of world war. Despite the contending claims this was,
at root, a struggle for markets, and economic and political dominance. In a
shortened version of an article first published in Socialism Today No.131, PETER
TAAFFE looks at the background to the war and the responsibility of socialists
total number of victims of the second world war dwarfed even the carnage of the
first. Estimates of the number of casualties suggest some 60 million died, 20
million soldiers and 40 million civilians. Many civilians died of disease,
starvation, massacres, bombing and deliberate genocide. The now-disappeared ‘Soviet Union’ lost around 27 million, just under half of
all the casualties in the war.
At a time of a
growing school funding crisis the recent victory at Southampton’s Valentine
Primary, which won a two-year freeze on budget cuts through an injection of
£1.6 million by Southampton council, is an important example of what can be
Sunday 21 July over 200 delegates at a special conference of the Socialist
Party in England and Wales voted overwhelmingly, 83.2% to 16.8%, (173-35), to
sponsor an international conference to reconstitute the Committee for a Workers’
International (CWI – the international organisation of which the Socialist
Party is part).
Peterloo: witnesses to a massacre
By Polyp, Eva Schlunke and Robert Poole
Published by New Internationalist, 2019, £11.99
Reviewed by Kevin Parslow
When peaceful protesters were slain in St Peter’s Fields,
Manchester, on 16 August 1819, the first media reports were articles in The
Times and then the radical Manchester Observer, which gave the massacre its
name, ‘Peter-loo’ – to echo the battle of Waterloo. Major Dyneley of the 15th
Hussars Regiment dubbed it the ‘battle of Manchester’. Later accounts were
accompanied by illustrations, notably those of cartoonist George Cruikshank. He
illustrated The Political House that Jack Built, by satirist William Hone, and
depicted the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry’s brutal assault on the crowd.
By Kate Hunter
Published by Fledgling Press, 2019, £9.99
Reviewed by Heather Rawling
Set during the first world war, Common Cause continues
the story of Iza, a skilled compositor in Edinburgh (see Women in the Workplace
1910, a review of The Caseroom, in Socialism Today 218, May 2018). Kate Hunter has
placed the story around real events and trade union struggles with her in-depth
knowledge of the print industry. As with her first novel, there are graphic
descriptions of working-class life – the poverty, overcrowding and disease, as
well as the feeling of community and common cause. The characters are sketchy
as the author prioritises recounting the events.
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