Issue 84 of INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISM JOURNAL Published Autumn 1999 Copyright © International Socialism
FROM DAGESTAN to Scotland, from the Balkans to Indonesia, the language of ethnic conflict has become the common coin of political debate, seemingly replacing earlier concepts like oppression and racism. Neil Davidson argues that looking at the world through the glass of ethnic division obscures real issues of oppression, disguising the ways in which ethnic characteristics are foisted on local populations by the Great Powers. Even when, as a result of oppression or social dislocation, such populations come to adopt the ethnic identity as their own, such definitions should not be uncritically accepted by the left since they obscure class divisions and power relations.
REFUGEES COMING to Europe have quickly found that the politics of ethnic characterisation can be little more than a cover for refurbished imperial racism, as Phil Marfleet shows in his study of the emerging ideology of the European Union's policy of 'Fortress Europe'. But Europe also has another face. Jim Wolfreys shows in impressive detail that the class struggles in France since the great public sector strikes of 1995 have transformed the political landscape, wounding the right and opening new opportunities for the left. Mike Gonzalez's interview with Tom Behan looks at Rifondazione, the reborn Italian Communist Party's attempt to fill the vacuum on the left.
THE INTERNATIONAL BRIGADES are one of the most famous examples of internationalism in working class history. Andy Durgan, historical adviser on Ken Loach's Land and Freedom, assesses their impact in the Spanish Civil War. John Molyneux replies to criticism of his assessment of modern art and Judy Cox welcomes Brian Manning's The Far Left in the English Revolution.
Editor: John Rees. Assistant editors: Alex Callinicos, Chris Harman, John Molyneux, Lindsey German, Colin Sparks, Mike Gonzalez, Peter Morgan, Ruth Brown, Mike Haynes, Judy Cox, Megan Trudell, Mark O'Brien, Rob Hoveman and Michael Lavalette.