Frances O’Grady is again at the front of the latest Chartist (November), and Coatesy on French anarchism and Algeria at the back.The left press certainly embraces a diversity of views.Some notes, from a personal standpoint.
- There are still ‘party papers’ in the UK. Notably Socialist Worker and the Socialist. They have reports on their campaigns and – in the case of the latter – some valuable reports on Trade Unions. Their primary objective is to ‘build’ their organisations.
- When they report on international issues their views reflect support for their satellite factions. Even their more serious publications, such as (SWP) International Socialism, follow this strategy. For all Alex Callinicos’ many merits and the virtues of his close associates such as “toffy nosed” (as his comrades call him) Sebastian, they have not escaped from the James Cannon ‘Building the Proletarian Party’ approach .
- The Morning Star is an important resource for information about unions and has some international news. Not everybody may agree with their stand on the EU, which some regard as little Britisher. Nor indeed the CPB’s inability to come to terms with its past.However the hard-core activists read the followingWeeklies:
- The Weekly Worker. Its international coverage, on Iran, Israel, and – at the moment – Tobias Abse’s articles on Italy, is on a par with journals like Le Monde Diplomatique. It is a real focus of serious Marxist debate.
- Solidarity. The AWL may not be everybody’s cup of tea. But they have a base in the workers’ movement and their paper is solid stuff. Their material on, for example Welfare Reform, is excellent. They publish some of the best articles about North Africa by Maghrebian socialists.Journals.
- Labour Briefing (LRB). The relaunched Briefing contains brilliant articles, such as a long article on decriminalising prostitution, one by Viento Sur on Spain, and developments in the Labour Party.
- Chartist (see above). Chartist is the point where democratic socialists of all kinds can express themselves.
- The Commune. A real effort at relaunching workers’ self-management.People may note that there is considerable cross-over between many papers (obviously we exclude the SWP and SP publications).Many of the same people write for the Weekly Worker, Briefing, Chartist, and so forth.These are the real democratic socialist media, based on activists and intellectuals, working together.Above all the publish writing by people who directly know what they are talking about.Read them!
Thursday, November 1, 2012