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latest news

 World Perspectives
A turbulent period in history

27/11/2014: Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

  CWI

Britain
Right wing, populist UKIP wins second Parliament seat

26/11/2014: Labour’s pro-austerity ‘opposition’ no alternative

  Britain

South Africa
Metalworkers’ union expelled from COSATU

25/11/2014: Rebuild the trade union movement on socialist principles!

  Africa, South Africa

Catalonia
9 November “consultation” on independence

22/11/2014: Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

  Spain

Greece
Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company

21/11/2014: Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

  Greece

Israel-Palestine
Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks

19/11/2014: New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

  Israel / Palestine

US
Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society

19/11/2014: Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

  US

 Video
Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests

18/11/2014: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

  Ireland Republic, Video

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’

18/11/2014: Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

  Hong Kong

 Video
Water tax revolt continues in Ireland

17/11/2014: Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

  Ireland Republic, Video

Indonesia
"New Hope" president faces intense pressures

16/11/2014: Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

  Indonesia

Ukraine
Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions

15/11/2014: Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

  Ukraine

Scotland
SNP government announces £500 million cuts

14/11/2014: Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

  Scotland

Afghanistan
British combat troops pull out

13/11/2014: A legacy of death and destruction

  Afghanistan, Britain, US

 Germany
Highly politicised train drivers’ strike

12/11/2014: Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

  Germany, Solidarity

Greece
Mayors refuse to make job cuts

12/11/2014: Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

  Greece

Britain
Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event

11/11/2014: Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

  Britain

Belgium
Massive demonstration in Brussels

10/11/2014: Shows anger against austerity

  Belgium

Northern Ireland
20 years after the ceasefires

10/11/2014: In 1994, the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries called ceasefires. Four years later the Good Friday agreement was declared to mark the end of the ‘Troubles’…

  Ireland Republic

Review
Environmental disaster and the need to change everything

09/11/2014: “This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

  Environment, Review

Germany
25 years since November 9

09/11/2014: Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

  Germany

Canada
Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election

08/11/2014: NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

  Canada

Elections in Brazil

07/11/2014: Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

  Brazil

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution

07/11/2014: November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

  Russia

Europe
Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November

06/11/2014: Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

  Europe, Greece, Sweden

Canada
Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack

05/11/2014: Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

  Canada

Ireland
Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance

04/11/2014: How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

  Ireland Republic

Book review
The Jihadis Return

04/11/2014: Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

  Middle East, Review

South Africa
Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions

03/11/2014: For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

  South Africa

Britain
Come to Socialism 2014

03/11/2014: Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

  Britain

  Ireland
’Abortion Pill Train’ video

02/11/2014: Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

Italy
Renzi government faces mounting opposition

01/11/2014: A one-day strike of all workers is needed

  Italy

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



Europe

 video

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery, 20/11/2014

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A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

NEWS

Britain: Right wing, populist UKIP wins second Parliament seat
26/11/2014, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (England & Wales):
Labour’s pro-austerity ‘opposition’ no alternative

South Africa: Metalworkers’ union expelled from COSATU
25/11/2014, WASP Reporters:
Rebuild the trade union movement on socialist principles!

Catalonia: 9 November “consultation” on independence
22/11/2014, Rob MacDonald Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) Barcelona:
Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

Greece: Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company
21/11/2014, Xekinima Reporters:
Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery
20/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Mass boycott will defeat water charges

US: Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society
19/11/2014, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative:
Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

Video: Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests
18/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

Venezuela: Scarcity and speculation - whose fault is it?
18/11/2014, Gabriela Sánchez. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Who is sabotaging who?

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’
18/11/2014, chinaworker.info:
Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

Video: Water tax revolt continues in Ireland
17/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

Indonesia: "New Hope" president faces intense pressures
16/11/2014, Iyan, CWI Malaysia:
Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

Scotland: SNP government announces £500 million cuts
14/11/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

Afghanistan: British combat troops pull out
13/11/2014, Niall Mulholland, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
A legacy of death and destruction

Germany: Highly politicised train drivers’ strike
12/11/2014, Sascha Stanicic, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

Greece: Mayors refuse to make job cuts
12/11/2014, Eleni Mitsou, Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

Britain: Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event
11/11/2014, Sarah Sachs Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

Belgium: Massive demonstration in Brussels
10/11/2014, Geert Cool, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Shows anger against austerity

Review: Environmental disaster and the need to change everything
09/11/2014, Bill Hopwood, from the November 2014 edition of Socialism Today:
“This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

Canada: Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election
08/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Toronto:
NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

Europe: Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November
06/11/2014, Anti-fascist organiser, Stockholm:
Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

Canada: Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack
05/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporters, Canada:
Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

Book review: The Jihadis Return
04/11/2014, Reviewed by Paul Gerrard, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

South Africa: Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions
03/11/2014, Moses Mayekiso, WASP President and Numsa founding general secretary (elected while on trail for treason in 1987):
For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

Britain: Come to Socialism 2014
03/11/2014, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialism 2014 organising team:
Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

Ireland: ’Abortion Pill Train’ video
02/11/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

Italy: Renzi government faces mounting opposition
01/11/2014, Giuliano Brunetti, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
A one-day strike of all workers is needed

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
27/11/2014, International Secretariat of the CWI :
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Ireland: Lies and distortions against community protests, the AAA and the Socialist Party
21/11/2014, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) reporters:
Government and Water Charges completely undermined

Israel-Palestine: Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks
19/11/2014, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM):
New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

Ukraine: Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions
15/11/2014, Rob Jones, CWI Moscow:
Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

Northern Ireland: 20 years after the ceasefires
10/11/2014, Ciaran Mulholland, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
In 1994, the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries called ceasefires. Four years later the Good Friday agreement was declared to mark the end of the ‘Troubles’…

Germany: 25 years since November 9
09/11/2014, By Robert Bechert, CWI, who was living in Berlin in 1989:
Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

Elections in Brazil
07/11/2014, Andre Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution
07/11/2014, Clare Doyle, CWI:
November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

Ireland: Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance
04/11/2014, Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

Kurdistan: Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads
31/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

A ‘third industrial revolution’
28/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
New technological innovations are having a huge impact on the capitalist system, a subject explored in a new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society.

Britain: Anniversary of first issue of Militant newspaper
24/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, from this week’s Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
50 years of socialist ideas and workers’ struggle

Spain: Death knells of "Transition" regime
23/10/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Catalonia; ’Podemos’, and the left

Kazakhstan: Brutal repression in imperialism’s interests
20/10/2014, Mike Whale, Secretary of Campaign Kazakhstan (first published in October 2014 issue of Socialism Today):
Workers pay the price for crony capitalism

Is the US promoting a “colour revolution” in Hong Kong?
18/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Beijing’s scare propaganda doesn’t stand up to examination

Britain: Workers need a pay rise - how can we pay for it?
17/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
End poverty, inequality and capitalism

Ireland: Byelection triumph marks turning point in anti-austerity struggle
14/10/2014, Eddie McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Paul Murphy wins parliamentary seat as 100,000 march against water charges

Middle East: US-led policy of air attacks on Islamic State lies in ruins
13/10/2014, Tony Saunois, CWI:
As battle for Kobane rages, IS forces make major gains in Iraq

Ireland: Paul Murphy elected to Irish parliament in stunning byelection victory
12/10/2014, socialistworld.net:
Anti-Austerity Alliance victory shocks political establishment, reflects mass revolt against water charges and austerity

South Africa: "A workers’ party must emerge"
11/10/2014, John Malanga, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa):
Dire position of South African capitalism and inequality adds momentum towards creation of workers’ party

Israel/Palestine: After the Gaza war
07/10/2014, Shahar Benhorin, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
No justice for Palestinians and no peace for the region - For a socialist solution!

Hong Kong: Pro-regime thugs attack protesters
06/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
Organise democratic defence committees to repel attacks and kick out CY Leung’s government!

Kurdistan: The battle for Kobanê
02/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Regional war poses new challenges for struggle for Kurdish self-determination

Iraq /Syria: US-led bombings will worsen divisions
01/10/2014, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Stop imperialist slaughter!

Hong Kong: Massive anti-government protests after attempted police crackdown
30/09/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Anger over police violence fuels spontaneous “umbrella revolution” and growing strike movement