Why the big four banks should be nationalised

Earlier this year, US and European banks — the ones that were too big to fail — settled US$18 billion worth of fines with regulators.

These fines were for money laundering activities, breaching sanctions violations, and manipulating the Libor (London interbank offered rate). The Libor is used to set interest rates on about US$800 trillion of borrowings and derivative contracts.

No Fracking Way

Fortnightly campaign meeting

Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)

Event date: 
Wed, 03/12/2014 - 6:00pm
Event time: 
Wed, 03/12/2014 - 6:00pm

Protest Toro AGM

Toro Energy are behind plans to open a network of uranium mines across two lake systems in WA. Come along and help hand out information to investors about why Toro Energy and uranium are bad investments.

QV1, 250 St Georges Tce, Perth

Organised by Uranium Free WA

Event date: 
Thu, 27/11/2014 - 9:30am
Event time: 
Thu, 27/11/2014 - 9:30am

Britain: Marxist seminar brings together European left

How does capitalism survive? This was the question that greeted the 11th annual Historical Materialism conference in London. Held from November 6 to 9 at the Vernon Square Campus, it was a four-day long broad marriage of global leftist activists and academics run by the Marxist journal of the same name.

Posed as a simple question, it quickly developed into as many answers and narratives as there are positions within the left.

Mumia: Real threat not Ebola, but capitalist health care

When Thomas Eric Duncan died on October 8, shortly after his arrival from Liberia, west Africa, the Ebola crisis burst onto millions of news screens in the United States, generating deep levels of fear and xenophobia.

To be sure, Ebola is a serious health concern, for it has a 70% mortality rate. But, to beat back the fear, public officials have been playing down the threats posed by the virus, often armed with little more than hope and false confidence.

For politics, often more imagery than reality, is a poor barrier against the seriousness of viruses, disease and death.

Mark Steel: Deriding Russell Brand and his views is now compulsory by law

This week, by law, I have to deride Russell Brand as a self-obsessed, annoying idiot.

No article or comment on Twitter can legally be written now unless it does this, so by the weekend the Sunday magazine recipes will go, “Goose and marmalade paella, serves six ― unless one of the six is Russell Brand in which case he can make his own dinner as he’s such a rebel I suppose he doesn’t agree with ovens”.

South Africa: COSATU expels metal workers over independent stance

It is arguably the most important political development of South Africa’s post-1994 era. In the early hours of November 8, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), was expelled from South Africa’s largest union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

The political significance of NUMSA’s expulsion derives from three key, interrelated areas of impact.

ANC-led alliance

Letter from the US: Elections mark further rightward shift

The November 4 congressional mid-term elections in the US reflect the further shift to the right in capitalist politics.

The obvious aspect of this is the fact that the Republicans won control of the Senate, increased their majority in the House, and won more state governorships.

There has been speculation in the media about how this result came about.

Belgium: Huge march marks start of social resistance

Images of rioting protesters and burning cars in Brussels were published in mainstream media across the globe on November 7.

The previous day’s protest in Brussels did end in violent clashes, with 50 injured and 30 arrested, but it was the spirited but peaceful demonstration of 120,000 Belgians that was the key aspect of the day.

Heaven or Hell? Books look back on the German Democratic Republic

Stasi Hell or Workers’ Paradise? Socialism in the German Democratic Republic ― What Can We Learn From It?
John Green & Bruni de la Motte
Artery Publications, 2009
50 pp., $7.25
Red Love: The Story of an East German Family
Maxim Leo
Pushkin Press, 2013
272 pp., $31.60

The German Democratic Republic (GDR) disappeared a quarter of a century ago after 41 years’ existence. The East German state is mostly remembered as “Stasiland”, as Anna Funder’s history of its secret police is called.

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