April 2008


Italy’s defeated left tries to regroup

26 April 2008 No communists, no socialists, no pacifists, no greens, no 'no global' activists. An entire array of old and new political identities, which marked different stages in the development of the Italian left, have lost political representation in the space of one election, writes Paolo Gerbaudo

The troubles with food

25 April 2008 Food prices have soared over the past year. One might think that this would provide a welcome boost to the incomes of the world's poorest people, most of whom are farmers and farm workers. But it doesn't work that way, as Raj Patel explains

Colombia’s war in the Andes

23 April 2008 Colombia's long-running civil war spilled over the border to Ecuador in a raid against FARC guerrillas in March. Gerard Coffey reports on the aftermath

Dog whistles and guard dogs

18 April 2008 Oscar Reyes on the best course of action for London voters in the mayoral elections

Hope in dark times

16 April 2008 The peace agreement between the Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga achieves calm but not peace. Meanwhile, many Kenyans are trying to make peace themselves. Ewa Jasiewicz talks to some of those involved

Where next for Tibet?

15 April 2008 China promised human rights improvements to win the Olympics but Carole Reckinger says nothing will change once the eyes of the world are no longer watching

Wake up and smell the roses

15 April 2008 Campaigners are exposing the conditions that predominantly women workers suffer in Kenya to bring cheap cut flowers to western Europe, writes Siobhan McGuirk

Waiting for the barbarians

14 April 2008 The so-called War on Terror has created a global bonanza for the world of commercial military suppliers, writes Solomon Hughes in this exclusive extract from his new book War on Terror, Inc

The crisis of Italy’s political institutions: a view from inside government

13 April 2008 Paolo Ferrero was Minister of Social Solidarity in the Prodi Government. He describes here the difficulties of achieving radical reform in the face of a weak coalition, social conservatism and the crisis besetting Italy's weak political institutions

We must avoid being absorbed by the State

13 April 2008 Paolo Cacciari, a former Rifondazione MP, argues that the left should avoid being 'absorbed' by state institutions, and explains how citizens' associations can work to bring about a new left culture

Movements and left parties should keep a respectful distance

13 April 2008 Alessandra Mecozzi, International Secretary of FIOM, the Italian metalworkers union, reflects on the weakened state of the movements, including the trade union movement, and draws some harsh lessons

Against Veltrusconi: the challenges facing Italy’s ‘territorial’ social movements

13 April 2008 Italy has seen a recent wave of 'territorial' social movements, brought together by a crisis of political representation. In the face of an increasingly insecure society, and the appeal of more authoritarian demands, these movements still need to develop a mass base, argues Tommaso Fattori

Crossing the boundaries between social movements and political institutions

13 April 2008 The formation of a new radical left coalition, La Sinstra - L'Arcobaleno, is a political necessity for the forthcoming election. But attempting to win power is not enough, argues Anna Pizzo, social movement organising and participation remain crucial if politics is to be transformed

A new coalition may be the best hope for a weak left

13 April 2008 With the centre-left taking a rightward turn, and a fractious left increasingly losing its social base, the prospects for the Italian election look bleak, argues Luciana Castellina

The Italian left should appeal to the urban middle class

13 April 2008 Italy is a right-wing country, where the Vatican retains a strong influence and a majority of the population belong to the urban middle class. The left needs a new appeal to these sectors if it is to challenge Berlusconi, argues Paul Ginsborg

Walter Veltroni: projecting Italy as the ‘hub’ of neoliberal Europe

13 April 2008 Walter Veltroni is the main centre-left challenger to Berlusconi in Italy's general election. As leader of the Democratic Party, he rejects local and social movement campaigns in territorial autonomy and favours making Italy a military and industrial 'hub', writes Enzo Mangini

Balance sheet of the Prodi Government

13 April 2008 The Prodi government failed in its promises to rewrite Berlusconi's controversial labour laws, remunicipalise water and reverse Italy's militaristic international policies. The result is disillusionment with the left, writes Vittorio Longhi

1968 The mysterious chemistry of social change

6 April 2008 The last thing the legacy of 1968 needs is nostalgic commemoration, writes Mike Marqusee. Even as it was happening, it was being packaged for consumption. Nor should we celebrate it in the name of some abstract spirit of resistance. It was a year of contradictions and confusions, many of which continue to confront anyone who wants to take part in a movement for radical change

A red guide to Italian politics

3 April 2008 Italians have often led the way in creating a European left but now they face a crisis in the return of Silvio Berlusconi. Hilary Wainwright talked to a range of left activists as they prepared for the elections

Anti-semitism and the Israel lobby

3 April 2008 In this extract from his book, If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew, Mike Marqusee says that no one should be deterred from criticising the Israel lobby by charges of anti-semitism

Virgin on disaster

2 April 2008 Richard Branson believes biofuels are the answer to guilt-free flying. But there is growing evidence that they are a downward spiral to increasing carbon emissions. Jackie Jacobsen reports

Redrawing the map of US politics

2 April 2008 Barack Obama's campaign for the US presidency may still have a long way to go, but the levels of participation by African-American and young voters in this year's primaries have the potential to transform the shape of US politics. In particular, they could neutralise the racist 'southern strategy' that has produced such an inbuilt conservative bias since the 1960s. Frances Fox Piven and Lorraine C Minnite investigate

Greens on trial

2 April 2008 The Greens can justifiably claim to be the largest progressive party in the UK, but often meet with suspicion from the left. Are they given a fair hearing? Alex Nunns weighs the evidence

Nice smelling poo

2 April 2008 Dear Auntie, _ I'm a vegetarian who is fed up having to justify why I don't eat anything with a face on it. And it's the environmentalists who are also meat eaters who seem the most personally affronted by my choices. Do you have any suggestions how I can deal with this? _ Chickpea not chicken lover, Totnes

Offset standard is off target

2 April 2008 A new government 'kitemark' suggests that most carbon offset schemes are flawed, but fails to address the more fundamental problem of paying others to clean up after us, argues Kevin Smith

Under the knife

2 April 2008 With little public support for private healthcare, the proponents of marketisation are finding new ways to undermine the NHS. Stewart Player and Colin Leys investigate

Wrong man, wrong Europe

2 April 2008 Referendums killed off the EU Constitution, a 'blackmail' that Europe's elites will now avoid by forcing through the Lisbon Treaty without debate, writes Susan George. And Tony Blair is just the man some of them want to lead the way in this new Europe