World Socialist Web Site Review: October 2003 issue now available

The October-December 2003 issue of the World Socialist Web Site Review is now out, making available in magazine format some of the most important articles from the WSWS over the past three months. The 72-page edition focuses on the ongoing US-led occupation of Iraq, its historical and economic roots and its implications for the Middle East, the United States and the world. It also features the Socialist Equality Party’s intervention into the California recall election and the ongoing debate in Australia over Aboriginal history.

The editorial, Why is Israel threatening to murder Arafat?, examines the background and political logic of the Sharon government’s declared intention to assassinate Yasser Arafat, the elected president of the Palestinian National Authority. It makes clear that the open embrace of the types of methods once used by the Nazis against Jews has only been possible because of the lead set by Washington in its own illegal invasion of Iraq.

“It is a measure of the debasement of the political atmosphere internationally that such a threat is made and no international institution or government answers it by vowing to hold the Zionist state assassins responsible, subjecting Sharon or any other Israeli official to arrest and criminal prosecution the moment they set foot abroad,” the editorial states.

The magazine includes “The political economy of American militarism,” a wide-ranging report delivered by WSWS International Editorial Board member Nick Beams to the WSWS and Socialist Equality Party conference “Political Lessons of the War on Iraq: the way forward for the international working class,” held on July 5-6 in Sydney, Australia. The report examines the political and economic agenda behind the US invasion of Iraq, and its roots in the historical contradictions of US and world capitalism. Beams reviews the foreign policy perspective contained in Bush’s National Security Strategy, released last September, and draws out how the September 11 attacks provided the opportunity for Washington to press ahead with an agenda of global domination developed long before 2001. Beams also examines the failure of the global antiwar demonstrations to prevent the Iraq war and advances an alternative socialist perspective.

Articles on the deepening US quagmire in Iraq probe the murder of Saddam Hussein’s sons and the gruesome display of their corpses; the role of the Iraqi Communist Party in the US puppet administration; the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, how Washington’s hostility to France is echoed in the op-ed columns of the New York Times.

A key section of the magazine features a Socialist Equality Party statement analysing the national and international significance of the California recall election. The statement explains why the SEP has called for a “no” vote on the recall, in order to strike a blow against the latest attempt by the Republican Party, acting in the interests of the corporate elite, to subvert the democratic process, while at the same time offering no support to the incumbent Democratic Party and urging a vote for the socialist candidate, John Christopher Burton. Running throughout the analysis is the inseparable connection between the policies of war abroad and social reaction at home pursued by both the major parties.

Two years after September 11, Bill Vann reviews the unanswered questions persisting about how the terrorist plot was able to proceed undetected by the US military-intelligence apparatus. Another article highlights the expansion of the police-state powers assumed by the Bush administration in the name of fighting a “war on terrorism”.

Several comments and statements survey the political fallout of the Iraq war in Europe: the shameless capitulation of the French, German and other European governments to the US occupation of Iraq; the lessons of the Hutton Inquiry and the crisis of the Blair government in Britain; and the intensification by European governments of their social attacks on working people, provoking mass strikes and protests in France.

In a section on Australia and Asia, the magazine includes Nick Beams’ review of Keith Windschuttle’s The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, laying the basis for a Marxist understanding of the agenda behind the book’s assault on historical truth. Also published is the SEP (Australia) statement calling for the immediate release of David Hicks and all the other detainees being held without trial at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay. Other articles examine the anti-democratic precedent set by the jailing of the leaders of the right-wing One Nation party; Australia’s colonial-style intervention into the Solomon Islands; and the series of threats and violent attacks by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) against members of the SEP in Sri Lanka.

In an important review, Ann Talbot reconsiders Jonathon Israel’s Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750, examining the seminal role played by Baruch Spinoza in the development of the ideas of the Enlightenment.

The arts review section features an essay by David Walsh, marking the deaths of Katharine Hepburn and Gregory Peck and exploring American cinema in the period of its heyday in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. A review and an interview touch on aspects of filmmaking in Italy and China.

The October-December 2003 WSWS Review provides, in an attractive and durable form, a sample of the political, economic, social and cultural analysis presented daily on the World Socialist Web Site. We encourage all our readers to purchase the new issue, become regular subscribers to the magazine, and send articles, comments and correspondence to the WSWS.

Current and back issues of the WSWS Review can be ordered through Mehring Books at sales@mehring.com in the US for $US5 per issue, sales@mehringbooks.co.uk in the UK for £2.50 per issue and mehring@ozemail.com.au in Australia for $A8.00 per issue. Annual subscriptions (four issues) are available for $US30 in the US, £12 in Britain and $A35 in Australia.