Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Critical Reading: July

Egypt and the Arab Revolutions

Egypt’s recent election – and the defeat of the SCAF-backed counter-revolutionary candidate – marks a new stage in the Arab revolutions. Hossam El-Hamalawy in ‘Morsi, SCAF and the Revolutionary Left’ outlines the position of Egypt’s Revolutionary Socialists, and responds to their critics. Workers’ revolts will play a crucial part in the coming months – Anne Alexander’s ‘The growing social soul of Egypt’s democratic revolution’ is useful background reading. Phil Marfleet’s ‘Under Pressure’ considers the role of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Struggle continues throughout the region. Jonathan Maunder tries to ‘understand the nature of the Assad regime in Syria, the social and economic roots of the uprising, and assess the prospects for a workers’ movement to emerge which can provide an alternative to the regime and imperialist intervention’ in his article ‘The Syrian Crucible’ in the latest International Socialism journal, while Simon Assaf’s ‘A region transformed’ provides an overview of the revolutionary process.

Japan’s anti-nuclear movement

Japan’s ruling class is experiencing a political crisis, with the governing Democratic Party just this week having split over the question of raising a GST-style tax. The decision to re-start Japan’s nuclear power plants has inspired the biggest protest movement in a generation. These photos from the Wall Street Journal give a sense of the movement’s size and passion. Piers Williamson in Japan Focus reports on the largest demonstrations in half a century, while ISO member Dougal McNeill has analysed the movement in Japan for Overland Literary Journal. Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Diary’ from Fukushima for the London Review of Books details activist efforts on the ground.


Two important articles for arming ourselves with arguments as National pushes charter schools, league tables and further attacks on public education: David A. Love’s ‘Profiteering and Union Busting Repackaged as School Reform’ rips up right-wing claims advanced in the United States (thanks to the PPTA twitter feed for that one!) and Giovanni Tiso’s ‘The Wedge’ critiques a recent Metro article promoting league tables and middle-class panic over public schools.


Be sure to bookmark Michael Roberts’ blog The Next Recession, a great source of sober Marxist economic analysis.  Joseph Choonara and David McNally’s recent debate in the pages of International Socialism over the economics of the last few decades – and of their relevance for politics today – is essential reading for all activists, and repays careful study. Follow the debate here, here, and here.

Reproductive Rights and Sex Education

Dr Miriam Grossman’s recent bizarre claims on Close Up that oral sex causes cancer has put Family First’s reactionary and misogynist agenda back in the spot-light. For a very witty – and very thorough – take-down of the ‘family values’ hypocrites, see these posts at Ideologically Impure. ALRANZ – the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand – offers measured and reasoned commentary on reproductive rights in NZ, something you won’t find from Family First.