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latest news

 CWI 11th World Congress
Upheaval of traditional European political framework

12/02/2016: Workers’ fury at austerity and capitalist system will find more expression

  CWI, Europe

Ireland North
Hundreds protest against manufacturing destruction

12/02/2016: Union movement should step up call for nationalisation of threatened factories

  Ireland North

 11th CWI World Congress
A World in turmoil

11/02/2016: Renewed economic crisis, wars, political polarisation & class struggle perspectives

  Africa, Asia, CWI, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, US, World Economy

Hong Kong
‘Fishball Revolution’!

10/02/2016: Brutal policing must be condemned

  Hong Kong

Ethiopia
Hunger and deadly repression

09/02/2016: Crisis for imperialism and a fight-back from below

  Africa

Greece
Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions

09/02/2016: All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

  Greece

Africa
New political storms and mass struggles

08/02/2016: Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

  Africa

Spain
A break in the political establishment

07/02/2016: December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

  Spain

US
#Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country

06/02/2016: Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

  US

Brazil
Devastating outbreak of Zika virus

04/02/2016: Another healthcare system failure

  Brazil

Pakistan
PIA strike continues despite state repression

04/02/2016: Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

  Pakistan

US
Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie

03/02/2016: “It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

  US

Japan
Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”

03/02/2016: Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

  Japan

 Greece
Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory

02/02/2016: Solidarity campaign needed!

  Greece, Solidarity

World Economy
Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters

02/02/2016: Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

  World Economy

Egypt
Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising

01/02/2016: Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

  Egypt

India
Justice for Rohit Vemula

31/01/2016: Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

  India, US

Britain
Fractured politics

29/01/2016: A volatile mix

  Britain

Tunisia
Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests

22/01/2016: Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

  Tunisia

China
Kidnapping and TV show-trials

21/01/2016: “China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

  China

Venezuela
Right-wing landslide

20/01/2016: First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

  Venezuela

Leningrad
‘Hero City’

19/01/2016: 900 days of siege in World War Two

  History, Russia

Britain
Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed

19/01/2016: Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

  Britain

US
Socialist response to State of the Union 2016

15/01/2016: Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

  US

 South Africa
Campus workers strike against outsourcing

14/01/2016: For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

  Africa, Solidarity, South Africa

Britain
Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum

12/01/2016: Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

  Britain

Scotland
Politicians have a choice

11/01/2016: Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

  Scotland

Sweden/Denmark
Closing borders

07/01/2016: The EU’s nightmare continues

  Denmark, Sweden

 Pakistan
Nestle workers solidarity campaign update

06/01/2016: Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

  Pakistan, Solidarity

 Taiwan
Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike

05/01/2016: Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

  Solidarity, Taiwan

China 2015
A year of unnatural disasters

04/01/2016: Corruption, poor oversight and chase for profits, maim thousands

  China

Arthur Miller

Death of a dissenter

www.socialistworld.net, 21/02/2005
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Arthur Miller, the American playwright, died on 9 February, aged 89, having battled with cancer, pneumonia and a heart condition.

Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool

Tributes were carried in the international media. Newspapers as far apart as the New York Times, the Boston Herald, the Daily News, in addition to the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Observer, were compelled to recognise Miller’s eminence in his field. It was a life that had seen the Wall Street crash, World War Two, the Holocaust, and the McCarthy era.

Miller was a literary colossus who penned some of the most revealing insights into the corruption of corporate practices and the concept of the ’American Dream’. Death of a Salesman, View from the Bridge, The Crucible and All My Sons, are just some of his works which are now classics.

Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915, the son of a prosperous garment manufacturer whose business was a casualty of the Great Depression of 1929-31. This experience fuelled his instinctive radicalism and began his politicisation.

Miller worked in a warehouse after graduating from high school until he saved enough money to move to the University of Michigan where he studied journalism and playwriting.

Success

After the outbreak of World War Two, Miller moved to New York to pursue his writing. His first successful play, staged on Broadway in 1947, was All My Sons which dealt with a corrupt arms manufacturer, whose selling of faulty aircraft parts to the US air force during the war led to the death of servicemen.

This was followed by Death of a Salesman, which was acclaimed as a masterpiece, won the Pulitzer Prize and is now synonymous as Miller’s critique of the American Dream (or, if you’re Willy Loman, the American nightmare). It starred Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman and the then icon of the left, Elia Kazan, directed both plays. The two men subsequently played a baleful and crucial role in Miller’s later life.

Anti-communism

The House un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), originally set up by Congress to investigate Nazi activity in the US, turned to anti-communism under Richard Nixon’s leadership.

In the 1950s it became a tool of Senator Joe McCarthy’s rabid anti-communism, supported by right-wing republicans thirsting for revenge for Roosevelt’s New Deal. It tapped into a mood of anxiety, which was fuelled by the existence of Stalinist-dominated Eastern Europe and the emergence of communist China in 1949.

McCarthy’s witch-hunt targeted the motion picture industry as a so-called hot bed of sedition and communist sympathy. An atmosphere of fear and uncertainty swept post-war America. Hundreds of activists and radical liberals who had supported various peace campaigns which sprang up during and after the war were hauled in front of HUAC and asked the question: "Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party (CP)?"

If they took the Fifth Amendment, they were damned for contempt. If they answered yes, they had to apologise and give the names of friends and colleagues who had been at CP meetings. If no, they had to prove it. If they refused to name names they were in contempt of Congress, faced with jail and prevented from working in their own industry.

Appalled by this blatant violation of basic human rights, Arthur Miller began to write The Crucible, a play that would reflect the activities of HUAC. To research material he paid a visit to Salem, Massachusetts, the scene in 1692 of the most grotesque witch-hunt in American history. Ironically, it was while on his journey to Salem that he heard of Elia Kazan’s decision to collaborate with HUAC.

Kazan’s betrayal

In his biography, Time Bends, Miller describes Kazan’s attempt to justify his decision: ’Listening to him I grew frightened. There was a certain gloomy logic in what he was saying: unless he came clean he could never hope, in the height of his creative powers, to make another film in America, and he would probably not be given a passport to work abroad either.

’If the theatre remained open to him, it was not his primary interest anymore; he wanted to deepen his film life, that was where his heart lay, and he had been told in so many words by his old boss and friend Spyros Skouras, president of Twentieth Century Fox, that the company would not employ him unless he satisfied the Committee.... I was growing cooler with the thought that as unbelievable as it seemed, I could still be up for sacrifice if Kazan knew I attended meetings of the Communist Party writers years ago and had made a speech at one of them.’

Self-justifying

In the early 1950s, Kazan made On the Waterfront, a film about the Mafia controlling the stevedores’ union on the New York docks. Budd Schulberg, who wrote the book and the screenplay, and most of the principal actors, including the aforementioned Lee J Cobb, were ’friendly witnesses’, collaborators with HUAC. In his own biography Kazan conceded that he made the picture to show that if the circumstances demanded it, it was OK to betray your friends.

In response, Miller wrote The View from the Bridge, also set in New York’s dockland. In contrast to the lionisation of Brando’s character in Waterfront, it attacked the role of the stool pigeon Eddie Carbone for his act of betrayal.

Witch-hunted

In 1956, Arthur Miller’s name was projected onto the pages of the world’s popular press when he married Marilyn Monroe and was found guilty of contempt of Congress for refusing to name names to HUAC.

He describes his revulsion at the morals of HUAC when its then chair, right-wing senator Francis Walter, offered to drop the charge if he could persuade Monroe to be photographed shaking his hand. Miller and Monroe both refused.

According to Nicholas Hytner, director of the film adaptation of The Crucible, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Miller used to joke that, as a measure of the play’s timeless relevance, you could get an indicator of the level of international political persecution by counting the number of productions taking place around the world.

To demonstrate the truth of that observation, it was staged on Broadway just after the Patriot Act had been brought in.

Disenchantment

During the 1990s, Miller expressed his disenchantment with the New York theatre by spending more time in Britain. In one of his last articles, he declares that the Broadway theatre has succumbed to glorious, glamorous show business.

He was right. Everything is about the bottom line. The theatre now parallels capitalism’s obsession with downsizing, delayering, streamlining, privatising, and other euphemisms for sacking workers or attacking wages and conditions.

Miller argued that his great plays would not now be staged on Broadway because they required ’too many people.’

Arthur Miller, while pronouncing and writing boldly about the political issues of the century, was explicitly political in his analysis of society but never joined a political party. David Mamet, director of Glengarry Glenross a film that parallels Salesman, in his New York Times tribute, suggests that there is an acceptance in Miller’s work that it is the ’human lot to try and fail’.

However, this is a profoundly pessimistic analysis. Whilst writing about the dark side of society, Arthur Miller constantly brought out and underlined humankind’s potential for nobility. To the end, he never lapsed into cynicism, or abandoned his vision of a more humane and just society.

Socialism

Socialists can refer to his work as a means of popularly explaining the evils of capitalism, but also explaining how such evils can be eliminated by the socialist transformation of society. On that score, Arthur Miller’s contribution to this debate remains priceless.

From The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party, cwi England and Wales



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NEWS

Ireland North: Hundreds protest against manufacturing destruction
12/02/2016, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Union movement should step up call for nationalisation of threatened factories

Hong Kong: ‘Fishball Revolution’!
10/02/2016, Eyewitness report from Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Brutal policing must be condemned

Ethiopia: Hunger and deadly repression
09/02/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
Crisis for imperialism and a fight-back from below

Greece: Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions
09/02/2016, Editorial from Xekinima, fortnightly newspaper of the CWI, Greece:
All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

US: #Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country
06/02/2016, Socialist Alternative, CWI in the USA:
Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

Brazil: Devastating outbreak of Zika virus
04/02/2016, Isabel Keppler, LSR (CWI Brazil):
Another healthcare system failure

Pakistan: PIA strike continues despite state repression
04/02/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah and Rukhsana Manzoor, Socialist Movement Pakistan, Lahore:
Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

US: Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie
03/02/2016, Joshua Koritz, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
“It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

Greece: Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory
02/02/2016, Xekinima (CWI Greece) Reporters:
Solidarity campaign needed!

Egypt: Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising
01/02/2016, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

India: Justice for Rohit Vemula
31/01/2016, socialistworld.net:
Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

Britain: Fractured politics
29/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, general secretary, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A volatile mix

Tunisia: Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests
22/01/2016, Al-Badil al-Ishtiraki, CWI in Tunisia:
Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

China: Kidnapping and TV show-trials
21/01/2016, chinaworker.info:
“China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

Britain: Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed
19/01/2016, Press statement from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

US: Socialist response to State of the Union 2016
15/01/2016, Socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

South Africa: Campus workers strike against outsourcing
14/01/2016, Workers & Socialist Party (WASP), Reporters:
For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

Britain: Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum
12/01/2016, John McInally Public and Commercial Services Union Vice-President (personal capacity), from The Socialist newspaper:
Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

Scotland: Politicians have a choice
11/01/2016, By Brian Smith and Jim McFarlane, Glasgow City Unison and Dundee City Unison branch secretaries (in a personal capacity) and Socialist Party Scotland:
Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

Sweden/Denmark: Closing borders
07/01/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
The EU’s nightmare continues

Pakistan: Nestle workers solidarity campaign update
06/01/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah SMP (CWI in Pakistan), Lahore:
Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

Taiwan: Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike
05/01/2016, CWI Taiwan Reporters (translated from The Socialist, journal of the CWI Taiwan):
Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

China 2015: A year of unnatural disasters
04/01/2016, chinaworker.info reporters:
Corruption, poor oversight and chase for profits, maim thousands

Britain: Corbyn’s supporters want resistance against the right
01/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Edited extracts from an article by Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, that will be published in the first 2016 issue of the Socialist (7 January).

Review: Alexandra Kollontai
29/12/2015, Heather Rawling, from Socialism Today:
A life of socialist struggle

Review: Revisiting Animal Farm
27/12/2015, Andy Ford, from Socialism Today (Issue 192 October 2015):
Allegory of the terrible betrayal of the Russian revolution

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

CWI 11th World Congress: Upheaval of traditional European political framework
12/02/2016, Sarah Wrack, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ fury at austerity and capitalist system will find more expression

11th CWI World Congress: A World in turmoil
11/02/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Renewed economic crisis, wars, political polarisation & class struggle perspectives

Africa: New political storms and mass struggles
08/02/2016, CWI 11th World Congress Document:
Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

India: Rising class struggle reflects seething anger of working class
08/02/2016, Anand Kumar, from Dudiyora Horaata (Workers’ Struggle – newspaper of the CWI in India), Bangalore:
Is ‘Modimania’ on the wane?

World relations, economy and the class struggle
08/02/2016, Socialistworld.net:
CWI 11th World Congress document

Spain: A break in the political establishment
07/02/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI (article from issue 195 of ’Socialism Today’):
December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

Japan: Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”
03/02/2016, Carl Simmons, Kokusai Rentai (CWI in Japan):
Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

World Economy: Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters
02/02/2016, Lynn Walsh, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

Venezuela: Right-wing landslide
20/01/2016, Tony Saunois, from February edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

Leningrad: ‘Hero City’
19/01/2016, Clare Doyle (fuller version of a review article to be published in the February 2016 issue of Socialism Today):
900 days of siege in World War Two

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets
14/01/2016, Per-Åke Westerlund, with additional reporting by Vincent Kolo:
Setting the tone for 2016?

2016: Crisis-ridden capitalism will meet with bitter mood of resistance
05/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Socialist alternative is essential

Environment: A world of change
23/12/2015, Jess Spear, Socialist Alternative (CWI in USA):
Human beings have radically altered the Earth, adapting nature in the struggle to survive and thrive…

Venezuela: Elections – who won and who lost?
16/12/2015, Johan Rivas, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Victory for the right wing reflects popular discontent

Pakistan: Religious extremism, military operations and increased intolerance
15/12/2015, Khalid Bhatti SMP (CWI in Pakistan):
Revolutionary movement of the working class needs to finally defeat religious extremism and intolerance

Côte d’Ivoire : Ouattara reelected in a “frighteningly quiet” atmosphere
14/12/2015, CWI in Ivory Coast:
Dictatorship consolidating while opposition ridicules itself. Time to “turn the page”!

Environment: Socialism or ecological catastrophe
05/12/2015, Articles from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
25 years of hot air from establishment

World relations, economy and the class struggle
05/12/2015, CWI International Secretariat:
There has been a profound change in the world situation and world relations since the CWI’s last World Congress in 2010

Britain: After the vote in parliament to bomb Syria
04/12/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) reporters:
This crisis has revealed that Labour is essentially two parties in one

Britain: Syria vote reveals two Labour parties in one
02/12/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Fight for a party that stands against war and austerity

Scotland: Post-referendum, where is Scotland heading?
29/11/2015, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Mass struggle and socialism will challenge capitalist austerity

Environment: Socialist change not climate change
28/11/2015, Pete Dickenson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The growing threat of climate change and a socialist programme for the environment

Middle East: Bombing Syria won’t stop Isis
25/11/2015, Editorial of The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For workers’ unity against war, terrorism and racism

Hong Kong: Great result for socialist election campaign
25/11/2015, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Socialist Action’s Sally Tang Mei-ching lifts opposition vote to 33 percent

Turkey: Erdoğan’s Pyrrhic victory
20/11/2015, Nihat Boyraz, Sosyalist Alternatif (CWI in Turkey) - translation from an article originally written in Turkish for Sosyalist Alternatif magazine:
It is time to build a new united left force