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Opinion

Is there life outside Labour?

In our continuing series on left strategy, Chris Nineham from Counterfire responds to Laura Smith and John...

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What is Counterfire?

Counterfire is a socialist organisation committed to building the biggest possible movements against a system that is creating more and more crisis and misery.

Whether or not we get real change depends on wider struggles in society, it depends on mass movements, popular protests and on workers taking action.

We believe that this kind of popular opposition requires a dynamic extra-parliamentary left, rooted in workplaces, communities and colleges.

We also believe that these struggles are connected. Racism, sexism and all oppressions are a product of a society based on the exploitation of workpeople by a tiny minority of capitalists.

War, climate change and inequality are all symptoms of a chaotic system based on competition for profits.

In the process of helping to build resistance, Counterfire puts the case for a revolutionary socialism that ultimately seeks popular control of society and genuine liberation for all.

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Our members are actively involved in the protest movements and workers struggles around the country, and we are organising local Counterfire groups - currently online - to help build solidarity with struggles and popularise socialist ideas and analysis.

As well as putting on a wide range of debates, public meetings and other events around the country, we run one of the best read websites on the left which has scores of contributors and tens of thousands of readers every month and - in normal times - we distribute thousands of copies of the left's first free paper. 

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Trotsky in the Bronze Age

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Counterfire is a socialist organisation building the biggest possible movements against austerity, war and racism. We believe that change happens when working people get organised and fight for it. Politics is not only or mainly about what happens in parliament.

We have one of the best-read websites on the left with cutting edge news, analysis and socialist theory and we distribute thousands of copies of the left's first free paper.

Most importantly we are organising a dynamic extra-parliamentary left in every area of the country. We have local groups which meet (on Zoom for the time being) to discuss the political situation and organise and support local campaigns, strikes and protests.

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Socialist Explainers

Whoever is behind the tragic Boston bombings, such carnage is routine in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, argues Lindsey German

The bombing in Boston is a tragedy, and everyone should condemn the actions of people who have destroyed the lives of people enjoying themselves watching the marathon.

But last week in Afghanistan a US airstrike killed eleven children and several women. This Afghan bombing is only one of many that are killing civilians every week.

In Iraq bombs go off in crowded areas regularly. A wave of bombings across the country yesterday left at least 75 Iraqis dead.

And in Syria too, there is a daily repetition of carnage that is killing countless civilians.

Judged by the media coverage, it is hard not to conclude that western lives are valued much more highly than those of people in Afghanistan or the Middle East, and that bombs in the middle of major US cities are regarded as more newsworthy than those in the Afghan countryside or in Baghdad.

When commentators and journalists empathise with the victims of the Boston bomb, many will wonder why they give hardly a passing thought for those other victims who were also caught in the middle of their everyday lives, enjoying themselves in the sunshine, shopping in markets or celebrating weddings.

The general rule seems to be 'out of sight, out of mind'.

But the mayhem wreaked by western intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and elsewhere is not out of the minds of the millions who witness it and live with it every day. Nor is it forgotten by those in the west who opposed these policies and predicted they would create more terrorism, not less.

It is unclear who was responsible for the Boston bombs, with the reports suggesting either a group from the Middle East, or home grown right wing extremists marking Patriot Day.

That hasn't stopped right wing commentators (step forward Fox News' commentator) from blaming the Muslims and from Muslims worldwide expressing fears that this new attack would lead to further scapegoating and racism towards them.

Terrorism is now routinely blamed on Muslims even though most Muslims are as horrified by such attacks as anyone else. And even though the most serious terror attack in Europe in recent years was from a right wing extremist in Norway trying to advance his anti immigration and anti Muslim agenda.

Whatever the truth about this latest bombing, the continued refusal to acknowledge the widespread grievances against the US and its allies caused by the wars and US policies in the Middle East will lead to turmoil until political solutions are found.

That solution includes getting all foreign troops out of Afghanistan and the Middle East, ending discrimination against Muslims and supporting justice for the Palestinians.

Not coming any time soon, then?

First published on the Stop the War website