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Ireland North
Martin McGuinness - from IRA leader to Stormont minister

29/03/2017: The IRA campaign, the ‘peace process’ and the working class

  Ireland North

Greece
H&M workers score victory against management plans

28/03/2017: Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

  Greece

 Solidarity
#JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success

28/03/2017: Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

  Solidarity

Russia/Belarus
A week-end of mass protests

27/03/2017: New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

  Russia

Hong Kong
Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship

27/03/2017: Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

  Hong Kong

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

24/03/2017: Unite against terror, racism and war

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

22/03/2017: Class struggle can build real left force

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

21/03/2017: Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

18/03/2017: SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

  Scotland

Brazil
National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

17/03/2017: For a one-day general strike as the next step

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

17/03/2017: Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

16/03/2017: Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

  Netherlands

Yemen
Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies

16/03/2017: International campaign needed to force companies to pay

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

14/03/2017: Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

14/03/2017: Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

13/03/2017: Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

12/03/2017: Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

10/03/2017: Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

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 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

09/03/2017: International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

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 Spain
Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike

08/03/2017: ‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

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Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

08/03/2017: Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

  Pakistan

 International Women’s Day 2017
A century on from the Russian Revolution

06/03/2017: Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

  Women

Britain
Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

06/03/2017: Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

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Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

04/03/2017: Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

03/03/2017: Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

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US
Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress

02/03/2017: Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

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Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017: What is behind Trump's attack?

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Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

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Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

Book Review

‘A Very British Ending’

www.socialistworld.net, 07/01/2017
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Novelisation of attempts to undermine and overthrow Wilson’s Labour government

Review by Tony Saunois

Rarely does a political spy novel contain so much historical fact, as opposed to fiction, and written in such a gripping manner as Edward Wilson’s ‘A Very British Ending’. Like Wilson’s other novels, this one, first published in 2015, makes no attempt to mask the author’s own socialist political sympathies. For reasons that are self-evident his novels have received scant coverage in the press and media. They have simply buried it.

This story charts the drama of events which unfolded in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s centred on the attempts of the security services to undermine and overthrow Harold Wilson’s Labour government. It is portrayed through the eyes of William Catesby, a dissident MI6 agent – SIS – and his boss Henry Bone who struggle to thwart the plots and coup against Wilson.  Throughout the narrative the struggle between the right pro-capitalist wing of the Labour leadership and the socialist left is portrayed with historical accuracy.

The story begins with Catesbury - at the end of the second world war - assassinating a former Nazi commander attempting to flee captivity with the assistance of the US secret service - the CIA. Harold Wilson, in 1947, as Head of the board of Trade had overseen the selling of Rolls Royce engines to the USSR despite the agreement being made prior to Wilson’s appointment. Wilson was warned by Attlee and Stafford Cripps at the time that this could well become a poisoned chalice later. Indeed it did as Wilson was never forgiven by the CIA or sections of the British security services for allowing the deal to go ahead. Later he resigned from the Labour cabinet in protest at the introduction of prescription charges which was linked to opposition to increased defence expenditure. For these reasons, he was viewed with extreme suspicion by them. In fact, as the book reveals, Wilson was never trusted and was suspected of being a Soviet agent.

Labour politician, Hugh Gaitskill, the favoured candidate of the right-wing, the capitalists and the CIA and MI5/6, died at an early age, vacating the Labour leadership. This paved the way for Wilson to be elected and defeat George Brown. The real class nature of the Labour right-wing is well portrayed in the novel. In one chapter a house party is hosted by Gaitskill – or “Gaiters” as his friends called him- in 1956 in a leafy Hampstead suburb.  Present at the party is Kit Fournier, CIA agent and labour attaché at the US London Embassy together with other friends from the ruling elite of capitalist society. “The house was bursting with refined British voices and urbane British elegance…They (the CIA) were grooming the non-socialist pro-American wing of the Labour Party for power – an Oxbridge led elite that felt comfortable within the traditional ruling circles of Britain. There was no way that Washington was going to let its unsinkable aircraft carrier be taken over by mutineers…” observed Catesby.  As Militant was attacked by the Labour Party right-wing in the late 1970s and 1980s we published a pamphlet exposing the links between Dennis Healey and Labour's right-wing with the CIA.

Plots and intrigues

The novel runs through the subsequent elections which Labour won in 1964, 1966 and again in 1974 under Harold Wilson's leadership. Here the campaign of plots and intrigues by the state machine and sections of the ruling class is fully depicted in the novel. The background to these events is a massive upsurge in the class struggle and strikes.

 At the time a section of the ruling class and the state machine were flirting with the idea of overthrowing the Wilson government by a military coup if necessary. The Times daily ran an editorial headlined “Is Britain heading for a military coup?” These events are brought centre stage in Wilson's novel. In the novel and in real life tanks and army divisions were deployed to Heathrow airport – without the Labour Minister of Defence being informed on two occasions. Northern Ireland, Catesby and Bone concluded, was being used as a training ground for operations in Britain.

 A retired general in the novel mobilises a secret “army” to be used to break a general strike and and to fake sabotage by the domestic “enemies of the state”. In real life, a retired General Walker organised such a force, as was reported at the time and covered in the Militant newspaper. Discussions within the clubs of the ruling elite and maverick sections of the “secret state” are well depicted in this novel centred on possible plans for a coup headed by a member of the royal family. As was subsequently revealed, at the time, Earl Mountbatten and “dissident” elements in the state machine had considered such options. As the unnamed press baron in the novel sates, “there is no constitutional problem involved. The oaths of allegiance taken by the military are to the Crown, not to elected members of parliament”.

At the time the ruling class in Britain held back from taking such a drastic step. However, there is no doubt that more maverick sections of them and sections of the state machine were considering such an option. However, the ruling class as a whole pulled the rug from under them as this was not in their interests at the time. This is reflected in the novel when the unnamed member of the Royal family storms out of the meeting.  The banker later does the same declaring to the army general present, “I am not taking orders from you”.

The election of Ted Heath as Conservative Prime Minister in 1970 and the bitter strikes and social upheavals also feature in the novel including the two miners’ strikes and three day week which ultimately ended with the defeat of Heath’s government and return of Labour under Harold Wilson to power in 1974.

The crisis in Britain is not the only drama drawn out in the stormy events of this period. The removal of Gough Whitlams’ Labour government in Australia, the military coup in Chile and many other events are all drawn into the drama of this novel.

Trotsky

Correctly Edward Wilson dismisses the idea propagated in Washington and elements in the British “secret state” that Harold Wilson was a Soviet agent. “He is not even a socialist let alone a Communist” comments Catesby, at one stage. In the novel, Catesby is rather too sympathetic towards Harold Wilson who although the candidate of the Labour left was not a socialist and whose government had attempted to introduce the anti-union ‘In Place of Strife’ legislation.

Significantly Edward Wilson challenges the idea of the CIA that the aim of the USSR was “world domination” as part of an international revolution. Significantly, Catesby even invokes Trotsky to refute these claims. “Caseby stared into the fire. The “Team B” Americans seemed unaware that Trotsky’s scheme for world revolution had been rejected long before Trotsky had been murdered with an ice axe. Since then, the Soviet Union had turned into a paranoid inward-looking state. Catesby reflected – and not for the first time – what would have happened if Trotsky had come to power instead of Stalin. And what role, thought Catesby, would he himself have played in such an alternative universe...?”

The novel covers the election of Margaret Thatcher and the defeat of Heath who the plotters regard as “unreliable” and “a queer”. Anticipating more recent trends the banker involved in the coup plot muses “what we will see in the future... is the privatisation of British foreign and military policy”.

This is a dramatic and highly enjoyable novel based on events that occurred at the time. Edward Wilson, a native of Baltimore, USA, served in the Vietnam War in the Special Forces unit.  Following this he renounced his US citizenship and eventually emigrated to Britain where he became a teacher and later a novelist.  Read this novel and you will not be disappointed. It will assist understanding how the British ruling class will react to defend its interests when they are threatened.

‘A Very British Ending’ by Edward Wilson, Published by Arcadiabooks Ltd. £8.99

 

 

 

 

 

 



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NEWS

Turkey: President Erdogan seeks dictatorial powers in April referendum
30/03/2017, Sosyalist Alternatif (CWI Turkey) Reporters :
Vote ‘NO’ gains momentum

Greece: H&M workers score victory against management plans
28/03/2017, Statement (slightly edited) by Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

Solidarity: #JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success
28/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

Russia/Belarus: A week-end of mass protests
27/03/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI Russia) Reporters:
New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

Hong Kong: Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship
27/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Ireland North: Martin McGuinness - from IRA leader to Stormont minister
29/03/2017, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
The IRA campaign, the ‘peace process’ and the working class

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray