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International school examines the century's central problems of history, politics and culture

By the, 31 January 1998

The International Summer School held in early January by the International Committee of the Fourth International and the Socialist Equality Party of Australia represented a milestone in the revival of classical Marxism. Entitled "Marxism and the Fundamental Problems of the Twentieth Century," the school, held in Sydney from January 3 to 10, was the first such international symposium organized by the world Trotskyist movement.

Unrest in Indonesia

By Peter Symonds, 31 January 1998

Plans by the Suharto regime for a voluntary three-month freeze on repayments of more than US$65 billion in private debt received a cool reception at a meeting of international bankers in Singapore on January 27.

The politics of illusion

By the Editorial Board, 31 January 1998

Last Tuesday's State of the Union address, given by Bill Clinton to a joint session of Congress, was an exercise in both political deception and self-delusion. Neither Clinton nor his Republican opponents addressed themselves to the deepening social crisis in America or the spreading impact of the financial collapse sweeping Asia.

France: Popularity of Socialist prime minister plummets

By Richard Tyler, 30 January 1998

Just seven months after taking office, French Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has seen his popularity plummet by 22 percent. Two opinion polls published this week showed his ratings falling below the 50 percent mark for the first time.

Why are the critics lauding Titanic? 

By David Walsh, 30 January 1998

There are few excuses for those critics who are singing the praises of James Cameron’s Titanic. It is a bad piece of work—poorly scripted, poorly acted, poorly directed. If it weren’t for the hundreds of millions of dollars involved in its production and distribution, and the accompanying media hoopla, one could safely ignore the film. 

Warnings mount of 1930s-style deflation

By the Editorial Board, 30 January 1998

The new year has opened with a series of warnings by bankers, economists and capitalist politicians that the Asian currency crisis is the harbinger of global deflation and depression on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

Wag the Dog: Not everyone is fooled 

By David Walsh, 30 January 1998

Wag the Dog is a funny and pointed film about American political life, with remarkable relevance to contemporary events.

New York Times cites World Socialist Web Site coverage of Asian crisis 

By , 29 January 1998

A recent article in the New York Times took note of The International Workers Bulletin’s coverage, as presented on the World Socialist Web Site, of the economic crisis in Asia. Entitled: “Tracking the Asian Economic Crisis” and appearing in the Business section on January 19, the article listed 17 web sites that provide news and analysis on the topic. With the exception of the IWB, the sites listed were those of major capitalist publications, banks, government agencies and educational institutions. 

Massive job cuts announced 

By Larry Roberts, 29 January 1998

Over the past several weeks one major corporation after another has announced large-scale job cuts, destroying the jobs of tens of thousands of workers. In addition to the magnitude of the cutbacks—18,000 at AT&T and 9,700 at Raytheon, for example—the wave of corporate downsizing has engulfed virtually every sector of the economy, from telecommunications and defense to retail trade, computers and banking. 

Japan's finance minister resigns  

By Mike Head, 29 January 1998

On January 27 Japan's finance minister, Hiroshi Mitsuzuka, became the third top official forced to quit Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's cabinet since it was reshuffled last September. 

Gingrich, Clinton and Iraq 

By Martin McLaughlin, 27 January 1998

On the eve of the State of the Union speech, with the media baying at Clinton's heels and congressmen of both parties openly discussing impeachment or forced resignation, House Speaker Newt Gingrich gave an unqualified endorsement to White House action in one critical sphere: the impending military assault on Iraq.

Fidel and the Pope

By Bill Vann, 27 January 1998

The extraordinary reception accorded Pope John Paul II during his visit to Cuba was a measure of Fidel Castro's desperation to reach an accommodation with Washington and an end to the 36-year-old US economic embargo against the island nation.

What was left unsaid 

By , 27 January 1998

Hillary Clinton's appearance on Tuesday morning's Today show was the most explicit reference so far by a Clinton defender to the political forces which are seeking to undermine or oust the administration. Mrs. Clinton described the scandal-mongering over her husband's relations with Monica Lewinsky as "an effort to undo the results of the last two elections."    She continued, "The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it, is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband.... I'm very concerned about the tactics that are being used and the kind of intense political agenda at work here."    Referring to independent counsel Kenneth Starr, she added, "We get a politically motivated prosecutor who is allied with the right-wing opponents of my husband.... It is just a very unfortunate turn of events that we are using the criminal justice system to try to achieve political ends in this country."    Even more important than these statements, however, is what Mrs. Clinton left unsaid. Nowhere did she refer to the substance of the "intense political agenda" which underlies the attack on the Clinton administration from the extreme right wing. Nowhere did she spell out the "political ends"--other than the removal of Bill Clinton--which are at issue. Nowhere did she identify any of these "right-wing opponents."    On the face of it, this is an astonishing omission. The wife of the president of the United States decries a right-wing conspiracy of enormous proportions, one which surely poses a threat to the viability of democratic processes in America. Yet she refuses to discuss the matter any further. Instead, after raising the issue of political agendas, Mrs. Clinton was compelled to fall back on purely personal motives, concluding, "Now do I wish we didn't live in a time where people were so malicious and evil-minded? Of course."    It is not, however, a question merely of subjective hatred, but of powerful and objective social forces which are finding their reflection in this degrading political scandal. The forces seeking Clinton's ouster want to press ahead more systematically and ferociously with the destruction of social programs, the elimination of all taxation on wealth, and the unrestrained use of American military power around the world. Such policies inevitably take on the character of a conspiracy against democratic rights, because they are deeply anti-popular and opposed by the vast majority of the American people.    Mrs. Clinton had no choice but to flee this subject after raising it, because the Clinton administration has itself implemented much of the right-wing agenda, from elimination of welfare, to persecuting immigrants, to military confrontation with Iraq. Clinton's political posture from the time he entered the White House--and well before--has been to accommodate himself to the right-wing policies demanded by big business, while sugar-coating them with liberal rhetoric and tears of sympathy.    For all the viciousness of the infighting, the conflict between Clinton and his right-wing opponents is a struggle within the ruling class over the political direction of the state. Even if it costs them the White House, the Clintons dare not raise issues which would begin to lift the veil on the real social and political structure of America and could arouse the masses of working people to intervene in the crisis as an independent force fighting for its own interests.  

The political issues behind the Clinton scandal begin to emerge 

By Barry Grey, 27 January 1998

From the onset of the scandal that has shaken the Clinton administration, The International Workers Bulletin has focused its analysis on the intense struggle within the ruling class over the policies of the government that underlie the crisis, rather than the sexual allegations within which this struggle has been packaged for mass consumption.

Right-wing “dirty tricks” and the Clinton scandal 

By , 26 January 1998

The sex scandal that has rocked the Clinton Administration has all the hallmarks of a well-planned "dirty tricks" conspiracy, involving individuals with long-standing links to neo-fascist elements within and on the fringes of the Republican Party, covert operations specialists in the national security apparatus, and right-wing propagandists who hold powerful positions in the media. The curricula vitae and political agenda of these individuals have been largely ignored, if not actually covered up, in the mainstream media. 

Clinton crisis signals a further shift to the right 

By the Editorial Board, 26 January 1998

On the eve of the State of the Union address the Clinton administration remained engulfed in crisis. On Monday, with allegations of sexual misconduct, perjury and obstruction of justice continuing to dominate the airwaves, Clinton made a brief appearance and issued a terse denial of the charges against him. 

China: Economy 'extraordinarily precarious'

By the Editorial Board, 23 January 1998

The collapse of the Hong Kong-based investment bank, Peregrine Investment Holdings, has underscored the shaky state of the financial system, both in Hong Kong and China as a whole. Peregrine, one of the largest investment houses in Asia, specialized in dealing in so-called "red chips"--shares from mainland China traded in Hong Kong.

Indonesia: Cracks in the Suharto regime 

By , 23 January 1998

The Suharto government has agreed to severe austerity measures after the International Monetary Fund threatened to withhold credits from its $33 billion package, sending the Indonesian rupiah and share prices plunging. 

Thailand: PM pleads for changes to IMF terms

By the Editorial Board, 23 January 1998

The recently-installed Thai government headed by Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has issued an urgent appeal to the IMF to modify the terms of its $17.2 billion rescue package. Tough new controls on finance and high interest rates have led to a series of bankruptcies and a collapse in economic growth.

South Korea: Unions agree to impose IMF dictates

By , 23 January 1998

Even before assuming office, long-time South Korean opposition figure and now president-elect Kim Dae Jung confronts growing political opposition as job losses and bankruptcies mount.

Immigrant workers: Millions face expulsion

By , 23 January 1998

Millions of migrant workers throughout Asia are among the hardest hit by the economic crisis. As unemployment and poverty rise, governments are shamelessly playing the nationalist card.

Japan: A mounting debt crisis

By , 23 January 1998

At the center of the financial storm in Asia lies the region's largest economy, Japan. Mired in economic stagnation throughout much of the 1990s, the country's financial and banking system is burdened with massive levels of bad debts, the legacy of the collapse of share and property values in the late 1980s.

Whitewater, Paula Jones and the ultra-right 

By Martin McLaughlin, 22 January 1998

The latest stage in the Clinton political crisis, centered on his alleged sexual relations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, marks a coming together of the long-running Whitewater investigation and the lawsuit by Paula Jones. 

The Clinton crisis - the real political issues

By the the Editorial Board, 22 January 1998

In a bizarre and rapidly unfolding chain of events a sex scandal has mushroomed into a political crisis that threatens to topple the Clinton presidency. It is too early to predict whether Clinton will be forced out of office, nor is this by any means the most important question raised by the scandal. Of far greater significance is the political source of the scandal and what it reveals about the state of bourgeois democracy in the United States.

León Trotsky y el destino del socialismo en el Siglo XX

By , 17 January 1998

WSWS : Español

Castroism and the Politics of Petty-Bourgeois Nationalism

By Bill Van Auken, 7 January 1998

This lecture was delivered on January 7, 1998 to the International Summer School on Marxism and the Fundamental Problems of the 20th Century, organised by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) in Sydney, from January 3-10, 1998.

Stalinism in Eastern Europe: the Rise and Fall of the GDR

By Peter Schwarz, 6 January 1998

ICFI Secretary Peter Schwarz explains the historical origins of the East German state and demonstrates that Stalinism, not socialism, existed there.

The Significance and Implications of Globalisation

By Nick Beams, 4 January 1998

The globalisation of production has prepared a new period of social revolution. This is the inevitable outcome of the vast changes in the structure of world capitalist economy over the past two decades -- the culmination of processes stretching back over 200 years.

The Aesthetic Component of Socialism

By David Walsh, 3 January 1998

Art expresses things about life, about people and about oneself that are not revealed in political or scientific thought. To become whole, human beings require the truth about the world, and themselves, that art offers.