The latest issue of the World Socialist Web Site's quarterly English-language magazine is now available. Containing selected commentary, reviews and correspondence from the site, the November 2000-January 2001 World Socialist Web Site Review focuses on the 2000 United States elections, providing powerful insights into the shifting grounds of American politics and the current state of American society.
A statement issued by the Socialist Equality Party of the US , The working class and the 2000 United States elections, analyses crucial political questions confronting workers, not only in the US, but internationally.
It identifies the most fundamental feature of US society as the growth of unprecedented levels of social inequality, pointing out that the “sudden shift in the focus of American politics”, namely, the attempt by both Bush and Gore to appeal to ordinary working people's concerns over health, education and social infrastructure, reveals “a deep-going nervousness within the political establishment... a response to shifts in popular moods which are developing beneath the surface of official political life, and which the two parties of big business have begun to sense, and fear.”
The SEP's statement examines the historical background to these political shifts. It establishes that the alienation of broad masses of the population from official politics and the two-party system is the product of a protracted process, which has created “an enormous political vacuum on the left”.
Under conditions where the stock market boom has been predicated upon the impoverishment of the working class, there is no longer any material basis for any bourgeois administration, whether Democrat or Republican, to implement a program of social reform. The statement predicts that, whatever the outcome of the election, masses of people will be driven into social and political struggle, and “thrust into a political trajectory leading to a break with the old parties and the construction of a new mass political party of the working class.”
Complementing the SEP's statement is a series of incisive articles examining different aspects of the US election campaign: the astonishingly apolitical record of Republican candidate George Bush, who, as WSWS Editorial Board member, Barry Grey draws out, “coasted aimlessly through the first four decades of his life”; the comments of Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman attacking the Constitutional principles of freedom of thought and expression and the separation of church and state; the pro-capitalist politics of the US Greens.
Another article by Barry Grey exposes the political role of the New York Times in fomenting the anti-China spy scare and witchhunt against the Taiwanese-born nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee. Grey pinpoints the Times' pivotal role in the context of its right wing political trajectory over the past eight years.
Other political developments covered in this issue of the Review include: the political significance of the “made in America” palace coup in Yugoslavia, which led to the downfall of Milosevic; the provocation by right wing forces within Israel that has resulted in a new bloody confrontation in the Middle East; the political roots of renewed fascist violence in Germany; the sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine, the Kursk, and the mounting conflicts within the Russian government and military that preceded it; the growing crisis of the Blair Labour government in Britain; the political issues behind the movement for “reconciliation” with the Aboriginal population in Australia.
Two major pieces from the Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International are also featured: the Socialist Equality Party's statement on the recent Sri Lankan elections: “A socialist program to end the war and social inequality” and a reply by Wije Dias, SEP General Secretary, to a supporter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, exposing the political dead-end of the program of national separatism.
Also included is a lecture delivered at a number of university campuses in Australia by WSWS Editorial Board member Nick Beams, entitled “Globalisation: the Socialist Perspective”. Basing himself on the analysis developed by Karl Marx, Beams undertakes an in-depth examination of the economic and historical processes underlying the globalisation of production over the past two decades and outlines a revolutionary socialist response to it.
From the World Socialist Web Site's highly popular Arts Review are Arts Editor David Walsh's searing critique of the recent US film, The Patriot; a moving obituary of one of Britain's finest actors, John Gielgud, and a review by Richard Phillips of a retrospective conducted at the Sydney Film Festival of the work of director Max Ophuls.
This issue also features two critical and penetrating book reviews: the first, of Peter Novick's The Holocast in American Life, which looks at changing American attitudes to the Nazi holocaust; the second, of Aid to Africa: So Much to Do, So Little Done, by Carol Lancaster, which sheets home the blame for poverty and economic backwardness in Africa, not to imperialist intervention, but to post-independence African governments.
Finally, the WSWS Review includes an assessment of the scientific advance represented in the mapping of the human genome.
The World Socialist Web Site Review is published in an attractive and durable format, and can be ordered through Mehring Books at firstname.lastname@example.org in the US, email@example.com in the UK and firstname.lastname@example.org in Australia. Annual subscriptions (for four issues) are available for $US30 in the US, 12 pounds in Britain and $A30 in Australia. Online purchases can be made at Mehring Books Online.