history

Muhammad Ali — a free Black man

Everyone has a story about Muhammad Ali. For me it was as a young Black high school student in Detroit. I had already seen the wrongs of imperialism and its wars — and of course the racism Blacks faced in Detroit.

Ali as a Black man and Muslim was a powerful symbol of courage. His willingness to give up his boxing career in the 1960s to stand with the Vietnamese against the US government waging war on them reflected the stirrings of militant Black pride growing in Detroit.

'I Just Wanted to Be Free': The radical reverberations of Muhammad Ali

The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people's minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier, George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war.

But it's the reverberations that we have to understand in order to see Muhammad Ali as what he remains: the most important athlete to ever live. It's the reverberations that are our best defense against real-time efforts to pull out his political teeth and turn him into a harmless icon suitable for mass consumption.

Western Sahara liberation leader dies


Mohamed Abdelaziz. Photo: An Phoblacht.

Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), died on May 31, following a long illness.

Puerto Rico: Debt crisis comes to a head as humanitarian crisis worsens

Last year, Puerto Rico's governor announced it simply did not have the money to repay its US$72 billion debt — on bonds owed mainly to US financiers.

On May 2, the US's Caribbean colony defaulted on $400 million that was due on that day. A further $2 billion is due on June 1.

Three things you should know about Marxism and ecology

John Bellamy Foster is the editor of US-based Marxist journal Monthly Review. His most recent book, written with Paul Burkett, is Marx and the Earth: An Anti-Critique (Brill, 2016). The French magazine La Revue du Projet asked him to reply to three questions on ecology and Marxism. A translated version below is reprinted, slightly abridged, from Climate & Capitalism.

Leon Trotsky and the battle for democracy in the USSR

Leon Trotsky
By Paul Le Blanc
Reaktion Books, 2015
224 pp, $39.99
Trotsky & the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy
By Thomas M. Twiss
Brill, 2014
502 pp., $205.00

Leon Trotsky was one of the central leaders of the Russian Revolution. As the organiser and Commissar of the Red Army that saved the Soviet power and as the leading light of the struggle against Stalinism, he is surely one of the great heroic — and tragic — figures of the 20th century.

A crucial account of lost voices from the French resistance

Fighters in the Shadow: A New History of the French Resistance
By Robert Gildea
Faber & Faber Press, London
593 pages, 2015

Upon his inauguration on May 16, 2007, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and paid homage to 35 anti-fascist resistance fighters shot by the occupying Nazis in August 1944, just before Paris was liberated.

He also read the last letter of Guy Moquet, a 17-year-old Communist, to his parents on the eve of his execution by the occupiers in 1941 along with 26 other Communist resisters.

"Us" — a poem


Elizabeth Jarrett.

Well here it is 2016
Yet we are still ruled under an illegal regime
It's time for a change in
Histories what's, when's and how's

What they say was once discovered is invaded now
We don't want recognition in the constitution
For being recognised is not the solution

What we need is this current government’s dissolution

Superbly written and acted, Trumbo offers a partial look at Hollywood's red scare

Trumbo
Starring Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane & Helen Mirren
Directed by Jay Roach
In cinemas now

Communist Parties around the world, despite their Stalinist degenerations, won mass support in the period during and after World War II, even in the homeland of imperialism — the United States. Among the industries in which the Communist Party of USA had influence was Hollywood.

The movie industry was a dream machine, a factory churning out cultural product. Dalton Trumbo, a CPUSA member, achieved stellar status and great wealth in the 1940s writing hits for the studios.

Behind Eritrea's oppressive regime — why refugees flee

Eritrea, a small country in the horn of Africa, generally receives little attention in the international media. But in recent years there have been occasional reports of mass drownings of Eritrean refugees in the Mediterranean.

As of June 2015, there were 383,869 refugees from Eritrea registered with the UNHCR. There were also 60,157 asylum seekers who had applied for refugee status.

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