Theory & History

In their own words

Quiet diplomacy

“The new American ambassador in Damascus, Robert Ford, has been quietly reaching out to Mr. [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad to urge him to stop firing on his people.” New York Times, March 26.

Simpson and his donkey: the radical truth

Anzac Day has long been less about remembrance of the people slaughtered in wars for Australia’s capitalist class and their foreign friends and more about creating a culture of blind nationalism and militarism. Particularly since the beginning of the “war on terror” in 2001, the deification of the digger, militarism and nationalism have been ramped up by the Howard, Rudd and Gillard governments.

What is a human life 'worth'?

If someone approached you and offered you $1 million to let him kill you, would you accept? What if the price was $2 million? $5 million?

Most people would probably say that there is no price at which they would sell their life. But that doesn’t prevent businesses and governments from setting a dollar value on our lives.

Heresy at the Herald: capitalism may not be perfect

It was almost unheard of. Last month, a Fairfax business writer hinted that capitalism - at least, the Australian capitalism that we all know and love - might be not quite perfect. Something, Stuart Washington wrote on February 7, is “broken” in Australia’s “pricing system”, and “I believe failures in pricing are posing grave dangers to what we know as capitalism”.

A Bolshevik in Brisbane

The People’s Train
By Tom Keneally
Vintage 2009

Life in Russia at the start of the 20th century under Tsar Nicholas II was intolerable for the mass of workers and peasants. An intense period of capitalist expansion and development, especially over the 1890s, had transformed Russia socially and economically. The predominantly peasant population, living a semi-feudal and impoverished existence, was the primary source of labour for the new industrial districts.

The 1917 Russian Revolution and 21st century socialism

[The following is an abridged version of a talk presented to a Sydney Direct Action forum on November 6. Doug Lorimer is a member of the national executive of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.]

'Managers' find US economy refuses to behave

Official interest rates in the United States have been held almost to zero for nearly two years. In mainstream economic theory, low interest is a “stimulus” measure. The idea is that businesses are more willing to borrow and expand their operations when interest rates are low.

NSW Labor: suicide rather than annoy the wealthy

NSW Labor is on the nose with voters, like never before. In October, according to Newspoll, it became the most unpopular ALP government there has ever been in Australia, with only 23% support. When Labor lost government in Victoria last year, it suffered a uniform swing of about 6%. In NSW, election analysts are predicting double that, or more.

Vietnam's long fight for liberation and socialism

(This article is based on talks presented to Brisbane and Sydney seminars on Vietnam on September 18 and 25. Chitts is a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and a founder of Stand Fast, the organisation of military veterans campaigning against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

Asia Solidarity website: a gold mine of information on struggles

In the Indonesia News Digest 31, August 16-23 there are more than 70 news items covering a wide range of issues relating to struggles for social justice and full democracy in Indonesia. The items are listed under categories such as issues, actions, demos, protests, Aceh, West Papua, human rights & law, freedom of expression & press, politics & political parties, electoral commission & elections, environment & natural disasters, health & education, women & gender, graft & corruption, war on terror, ethnic & religious conflicts, Islam & religion, land disputes & evictions, legislation & parliament, armed forces & defence, judiciary & legal system, police & law enforcement, criminal justice & prison system as well as analysis & opinion.