World Socialist Web Site Review: February-May 2006 issue now available

The February-May 2006 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 12 months. The 80-page edition contains significant material on the war in Iraq and the deepening political crisis in the US, as well as detailed commentary on key developments in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

The editorial in this issue is the Socialist Equality Party (US) statement announcing the party’s intention to run candidates for state and federal office in the 2006 mid-term elections. At the heart of the statement is the party’s internationalist outlook. It declares: “War, the attack on democratic rights, exploitation, unemployment, poverty and the destruction of the natural environment ... are world problems and require a global solution”.

The SEP campaign will directly challenge the big business parties of America’s ruling elite, the Democrats and Republicans, and provide leadership to all those opposing Washington’s policies.

The statement explains that the Bush administration, in the name of defending “freedom” against “terrorism”, has “erected the institutional and legal framework for a police state”, noting: “A nation whose revolutionary founders proclaimed the ‘inalienable rights’ of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is now led by a cabal of political gangsters who are attempting to abolish ‘the great writ’ of habeas corpus and are conducting massive and illegal spying operations against American citizens.

“The leaders of the American Revolution,” it continues, “proclaimed their ‘decent respect for the opinions of mankind.’ The present occupant of the White House and his henchmen unashamedly flaunt their contempt for international law and defend the use of torture. Whereas Lincoln appealed as president to the ‘better angels of our nature,’ the Bush administration appeals to the basest instincts of the most reactionary sections of the population.”

The statement urges WSWS readers and SEP supporters in America and throughout the world to actively support the SEP’s election campaign. At its centre will be the fight to mobilise workers and youth around the demand for the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan; the defense and expansion of democratic rights; the defense of jobs and an increase in living standards, social welfare and other basic needs.

The WSWS Review contains several reports on the deepening quagmire of the US-led war in Iraq, including an examination of last year’s stage-managed elections and the farcical Saddam Hussein trial. Other comments analyse the growing antiwar movement in the US, as well as the political conceptions behind the reactionary terror bomb campaign being conducted by Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq.

Among the material exploring the political and cultural crisis in the US is a powerful statement on Hurricane Katrina, and what it revealed about the state of American society. Also included is a detailed comment on the Terri Schiavo case by David North, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (US) and chairman of the International Editorial Board (IEB) of the World Socialist Web Site. North provides an overview of the case, which became a cause célèbre for extreme right-wing forces, including the Bush administration, and a focus for their efforts to undermine science and democratic secularism.

On Europe, the magazine contains crucial articles on the growing geo-political tensions across the continent, the significance of the German elections and the new Grand Coalition government, and a political statement opposing the Chirac-Villepin-Sarkozy government’s state of emergency in France to crush the uprising of impoverished youth in working class districts. Also included are articles exploring the social and political factors that produced the July 7 terrorist attack in London and a comment on the cold-blooded police execution of Charles de Menezes, an innocent worker, on a London subway on July 22.

This issue of the WSWS Review also features coverage of the presidential election campaign conducted by the SEP in Sri Lanka and two comments by its candidate Wije Dias, SEP general secretary: one on the first anniversary of the December 2004 Asian tsunami and the second on the recent eruption of race rioting in Australia, and the lessons to be drawn from the bitter and tragic experiences of the Sri Lankan working class. As well there are two insightful articles by WSWS staff writer John Chan, exploring the social and political factors behind the Chinese Communist Party’s revival of Confucianism and its marking of the death of “red capitalist”, Rong Yiren.

Other articles include an obituary on Pope John Paul II and an examination of the life of Rosa Parks and her role in the civil rights movement. On science the magazine features a major essay by Peter Symonds on the centenary of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Entitled “One hundred years since Einstein’s annus mirabilis”, Symonds’ article reviews the origins and significance of Einstein’s extraordinary insights, which revolutionised our conceptions of space and time and remain central pillars of modern physics.

The World Socialist Web Site Review concludes with several thought-provoking arts reviews. These include Joanne Laurier’s examination of the life and work of German artist Käthe Kollwitz, Ann Talbot’s defence of E.H. Gombrich’s book, A Little History of the World, and two film reviews by WSWS Arts editor David Walsh—Capote and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. IEB member Barry Grey also comments on the significance of British playwright Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize speech, which courageously exposed and challenged US militarism and the Bush administration.

The February-May 2006 World Socialist Web Site Review provides, in an attractive and durable form, just a small selection of the political, economic, social, scientific 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 to send articles, comments and correspondence to the WSWS.

Current and back issues of the World Socialist Web Site Review can be ordered through Mehring Books at $US5 per issue in the US, £2.50 per issue in the UK and $A8.00 per issue in Australia. Annual subscriptions (four issues) are available for $US30 in the US, £12 in Britain and $A35 in Australia.