Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
In his poem ‘If’, Rudyard Kipling famously presents the ability to treat the imposters Triumph and Disaster ‘just the same’ as a sign of maturity. But while the ability to maintain a cold indifference and a stiff upper lip might serve as the imperialist ideal, those of us seeking a more humane and compassionate society tend to take a different view. Defeats can cause suffering that is all too painful, while victories have been scarce of late, and so worth really celebrating.
Jeremy Corbyn’s candidacy for the Labour leadership has been a matter for real celebration for activists inside and outside the party because his campaign has electrified what was shaping up to be a depressingly constrained ‘debate’. Whatever the outcome, it’s clear he’s established that anti-austerity arguments have a wide resonance. That’s worth celebrating in itself.
Similarly, the ecstatic reaction of the bright yellow-clad anti-fracking campaigners, on hearing that Lancashire councillors had rejected Cuadrilla’s applications to frack, was a joy to behold. It was a testimony to the dedication, effort and commitment of a growing band of community protesters and environmentalists. If the applications had been allowed to proceed it would have meant a regular flow of HGVs around the narrow rural lanes close to where I grew up, and the drilling would have devastated the local landscape.
The council’s vote was an expression of democracy as it is meant to work. The political representatives understood the strength of local feeling, considered the arguments and reason won out. Of course, campaigners are well aware that the struggle hasn’t ended. Cuadrilla is likely to appeal, and the Tory government could yet overturn the decision. But should they do so, no one will be in any doubt that they are overthrowing the democratic will of local people.
Later that same week, the Greek people used their referendum to shout a decisive Oxi (no) to austerity, defying the Troika’s efforts to blackmail and humiliate them. But here, in the very birthplace of democracy, the idea that the will of the people had any sort of significance was essentially dismissed out of hand as an irrelevance.
Elected politicians were left in no doubt about where real political sovereignty lies in today’s Europe – not with national parliaments but with the institutions of finance capital. Disobey our wishes, and we’ll smash your banks and leave your country with nothing.
Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras may survive in office, but not in power, and only at the price of implementing many of the same measures the Greek people rejected. No doubt there’s a measure of relief among Greeks at the possible consequences of leaving the euro being avoided. But this is accompanied by a burning anger and resentment. If hopes are not to be raised only to be cruelly dashed, the left – not only in Greece but right across Europe – must start considering what deeper structural transformations are necessary for the interests of the people to finally triumph over the disaster of neoliberalism.
Connor Devine writes that whilst Brexit might be a car crash, we can't just side with an institution responsible for enforcing austerity.
Michael Coates reviews a new film revealing the shocking state of housing inequality in the UK.
The vicious media campaign against trans people is part bigotry, part strategy, writes Roz Kaveney
Jon Trickett MP reports on 'Dickensian' levels of poverty and hardship felt across the UK.
Natasha King busts some myths around the No Borders debate
He was once a radical icon, but now he's a mouthpiece for racism and nationalism. Time to get off stage, writes Michael Calderbank
Consensus seems to have shifted, but austerity is far from over. The chancellor has committed us to yet more years of misery while the rich get richer, writes Richard Seymour.
Frustrated at the idea of another royal wedding? You're not alone. Joana Ramiro argues we should stop idealising a fundamentally undemocratic institution.
Liberal elites are using Russian interference to minimise their own political failures, writes Matt Turner
Nick Dearden from Global Justice Now argues that after years of colonial domination and dodgy trade deals, the UK must make amends and support Zimbabwe in this uncertain time.
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism
Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists
Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson
As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win
The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution
Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.
‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny