August 2004


The self-indulgence of bourgeois consumer boycotts

1 August 2004 Dear Subcomandauntie, In between my bizarre double-life as a financial adviser and Marxist guerrilla, I regularly go jogging and clubbing. Such a lifestyle makes a decent pair of trainers essential. How can I protect my little pinkies in trendy, reliable footwear without wearing expensive branded shoes stitched together by mainly Third-World women or child workers for a few pence a day? Yours, Dancing Queen, Leeds

Spoiling for Choice

1 August 2004 The Labour-Tory market model for extending choice in the NHS will inevitably result in a dramatic decline in service-user equity. Here Marian Barnes outlines reforms that would benefit everybody.

Spoiling for choice

1 August 2004 Choice, if Labour and the Tories are to be believed, is in danger of becoming like motherhood and apple pie: no right-thinking person could possibly be against it. If you raise questions about choice you are quickly condemned as a supporter of the old Stalinist-type "command and control" economy. Choice in public services is, however, a problematic concept.

Slaying the racist dragon

1 August 2004 Billy Bragg celebrates the contribution of the flag of St George and the England football team in furthering the cause of multiculturalism.

Britain toes Washington line in Latin America

1 August 2004 The UK government's policy of ending direct aid to Latin America received fresh confirmation last month in a report published by the Department for International Development (DfID). Increasingly, British aid for the continent will be directed through the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Local Democracy Italian style

1 August 2004 Hilary Wainwright savours the political and cultural dolce vita in the Adriatic town of Grottammare.

Creative occupation

1 August 2004 Protest doesn't have to be po-faced. Black-clad posturing and worthy hand-wringing are all well and good, but sometimes you just want to dance. "Creative occupation" is party as protest - be it dancing on the motorway or raving on the tube. It creates spaces for individual and communal expression in defiance of global McMonoculture. Everyone's invited

The election results dissected

1 August 2004 Jim Jepps analyses results for the left in June's European elections

Notes from the West Bank: July 2004

1 August 2004 The impact of the proposed 650 km "security wall" being constructed by Israel inside the occupied West Bank has finally captured international attention. In late June the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that certain sections of the wall should be rerouted; and by mid-July, the International Court of Justice's opinion that the wall contravenes international and humanitarian law was overwhelmingly endorsed by a UN General Assembly vote. But less is known about the ongoing grass-roots Palestinian campaign against the wall - and the role that village women play.

The illusion of choice

1 August 2004 The trouble with staging a war of aggression is that in order to win public support, it must be dressed up as a war of defence. And to do that governments have to lie and invent threats that don't exist. But eventually the truth comes out.

Conservatives block reform of the Labour Party

1 August 2004 Trade unionists and socialists set up the original Labour Representation Committee (LRC) on 27 February 1900. From that event the Labour Party was born. The launch of a new LRC at the TUC's central London headquarters Congress House on 3 July 2004 was billed as "the most significant initiative on the Labour left for a generation". But is it a case of "the Labour left", or "what is left of Labour"?

Respect is diverse, transparent and open to all

1 August 2004 The success of Respect and the Greens in June shows there's a constituency out there that will vote for an alternative left, anti-war space. Had the left vote been unified, its message to the general public would have been more credible. A big left vote could have encouraged the trade unions to break open more political funds, and could have also galvanised the left inside Labour.

There is no way forward for a coalition

1 August 2004 The Greens are a small party, with no mega sponsors and no state funding. We have to work quite hard for each vote we get, but that effort means a great deal to the people who give us their votes.

Off-message at the World Bank

1 August 2004 A World Bank internal report has urged that the institution should cease investing in fossil-fuel projects. Sadly, the bank is unlikely to act accordingly.

Showdown time in Venezuela

1 August 2004 Hugo Chávez faces a test of his own devising as Venezuelans are given the opportunity to endorse or end his presidency.

Shanties into plough-sharing

1 August 2004 David Raby is impressed by the first moves to make a new model of development in Venezuela

Nuisance neighbour laws used to silence protesters

1 August 2004 Nine people were in court last month, facing charges brought in accordance with the Anti-Social Behaviour Act after they held a peaceful protest outside offices belonging to US bulldozer manufacturer Caterpillar.