Jun 02 2015

WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE TALK ABOUT GALLIPOLI

E&L is posting this  article, written by New Zealander, Rory MacKinnon, about the tragic Gallipoli Campaign  launched just over a century ago on 25th April, 1915.

 

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Today I will be speaking primarily about the New Zealand perspective rather than the Australian or Turkish one, because it’s the history I’m most familiar with. I won’t be trying to convince anyone that the soldiers at Gallipoli were bad people, or challenging their reputation for carrying out impossible orders in nightmarish conditions, and I won’t be arguing that what they saw and did should be forgotten.

I will be talking about the suffering and damage that the campaign wreaked on New Zealand’s people, so massively out of proportion with any perceived reward, and I’ll talk a little about how people look for meaning in such a crisis and how political institutions turned a betrayal of the public’s trust to their advantage.
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Apr 03 2015

THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP – THE TTIP OF THE PACIFIC

Cynthia Phinney of Labor Notes (USA) writes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she dubs the “NAFTA of the Pacific”. However, we in Europe will also be able to recognise it as the ‘TTIP of the Pacific’.

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SHOWDOWN NEARS ON FAST TRACKING OF THE BIGGEST FREE TRADE DEAL YET 

This spring the battle is coming to a head over several threatened trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a “NAFTA of the Pacific.”

President Obama announced in this year’s State of the Union address that he would ask Congress to grant him fast-track authority for trade agreements with Asia and Europe. The announcement unleashed a torrent of lobbying in favor of Obama’s request, and galvanized fair trade activists against it.

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Feb 24 2015

PROMOTING REPUBLICANISM

Murdo Ritchie (RCN) wrote the following article for  supporters of the Republican Socialist alliance. It was first also posted on Murdo’s blog  at  http://murdoritchie.blog.co.uk/2015/02/13/promoting-republicanism-20090169/.

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PROMOTING REPUBLICANISM

Thomas Paine - republican internationalist in England, USA and France

Thomas Paine – republican internationalist in England, USA and France

The advocacy of socialist republicanism has very few precedents in the United Kingdom. While many organisations can make claims to republicanism, in most cases this has been rarely developed and has often seemed like it was added on as an extra to more immediately pressing concerns. It should be no real surprise that an anti-political, economic reductionism (economism), or a separatism that sought an end to London rule, and many other perspectives have used the term emptying it of any real understanding or meaning.

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Feb 12 2014

THE SNP AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

Eric Chester (RCN) outlines some of the problems that the SNP government’s White Paper Independence-Lite proposals would pose for genuine Scottish self-determination.

Matin Carney, Governor of the Bank of England outlines Scotland's future financial and fiscal subjection under  sterling

Matin Carney, Governor of the Bank of England outlines Scotland’s future financial and fiscal subjection under sterling

As the referendum campaign unfolds, it becomes increasingly obvious that Alex Salmond and the SNP have no interest in a truly independent Scotland. Instead, a ‘yes’ vote is a vote to authorize Salmond to engage in a series of confidential negotiations that will strip an allegedly ‘independent’ Scotland of much of its powers, while binding it as a subordinate entity to the UK, the United States and the European Union. This underlying reality has become even clearer after the recent debates concerning the sterling zone and the Bank of England.

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Feb 01 2014

ALEX SALMOND AND THE WRITTEN CONSTITUTION

Murdo Ritchie, a new member of the RCN, writes about the political significance of the issue of a written constitution raised the SNP government’s White Paper.

 

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon present the SNP government's 'White Paper' to a press conference

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon present the SNP government’s ‘White Paper’ to a press conference

 

Although the First Minister has abandoned the SNP’s commitments to referenda on a future independent Scotland’s membership of NATO and the European Union as well as continuing the current monarch as head-of-state, he has remained quite firm on the importance of a written constitution for a future Scotland.  Indeed he has emphasised this policy more strenuously than many others.  It may be the single most important policy proposal he has made.  It is central to a full and proper understanding of the importance of the White Paper (1).

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Nov 15 2012

GENUINE SELF-DETERMINATION MEANS ACTING AS REPUBLICANS NOW

Allan Armstrong will be introducing the workshop on Republicanism at the Radical Independence Conference in Glasgow on November 24th, along with Neil Davidson of the SWP, Graham McIver of Solidarity, and a speaker from Republic Scotland. He has been asked by the conference organisers to prepare an outline of his talk, so that those attending are better prepared for the workshop discussions. Here is Allan’s contribution. The full list of workshops and other conference arrangements can be found at:- http://radicalindependence.org/

The Left’s usual approach to the monarchy

Most people understand a republic to be a state without a monarch. When socialists are asked why they oppose the British monarchy, they usually concentrate their criticism on the antiquated class structure this upholds; and the high cost of maintaining such a parasitic institution, especially now the rest of us face austerity.

However, the UK is a constitutional monarchy [1]. This means the queen exerts little power in her own rightThe fragility of royal political influence was shown over the Windsors’ inept handling of the ‘Princess Di Affair’ in 1997. Yes, the royal family enjoys obscene privileges in terms of property, income and status, but these are rewards given for its role in supporting and promoting the interests of a wider British ruling class.

Far more important than the royal family itself, is the political system it fronts.  Despite the existence of a parliamentary democracy centred on Westminster, with its devolved offspring at Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont, we still face very real political constraints.  These lie in the state’s profoundly anti-democratic Crown Powers.

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