Spectre Feature Articles 2001


The government of Israel has officially and formally declared the Palestinian Authority and its president Yasser Arafat to be enemy, and instructed the armed forces under its command to actively and aggressively pursue the war by land, and sea.   This is not a random happening. In fact, it is the logical culmination of the policies undertaken by Ariel Sharon ever since he assumed power in February. Adam Keller looks at the events which led to war.

Katie Sierra is a 15-year-old school student who has been suspended and persecuted for taking a stand against Bush’s war. We publish the latest from Katie and her attorney, and suggest how  you can help.

The enormous antiwar demonstration in London in November and others like it are an inspiration for progressive people in Islamic countries and a great help in their resistance to fundamentalism’s appeal. The existence of anti-war demos in the west and their support by non-Muslim people is undermining the propaganda of the Muslim fundamentalists, writes Hari al-Khazzaf.


News From Japan. Though  Japan's government is sending its troops to join Bush's war, its long-divided labour movement is taking a big step to unite to fight the big business restructuring which plans to wipe out hundreds of thousands of jobs in the immediate future, writes John Manning

The European Union: A Critical Guide. This review of Steve McGiffen’s book appeared in Dusnieuws, the magazine of the anarchist collective EuroDusnie which is based in Leiden, the Netherlands. It is translated from the original Dutch.


Anti-Islamic feelings, whipped up by the Lega Nord and other centre-right forces alongside sections of the Catholic Church, and claims of an 'Islamic invasion', raise the question of whether
the Italian state is a truly secular state. Rinella Cere examines 'Islamophobia' in the Italian media before and since September 11th

Today, U.S.-imposed drug policy is sowing the seeds of a violent storm in Bolivia that, although entirely preventable, is leading toward a rebellion that the hypocrites in Washington will later label as "terrorist" even as U.S. policy creates the phenomenon. Al Giordano of Narco-News, which tracks the US’ bogus “war on drugs”, reports.


Spectre has covered events since September 11th extensively. Here is a selection of the material we have published, together with the new cartoon from the Contagion Media Group


The European Union: A Critical Guide. An introduction to the book by its author, and Spectre editor, Steve McGiffen , with selected extracts

The Carlyle Group. Alfred Mendes looks at a single US investment corporation and asks some pertinent questions about democracy, terrorism and power.

This speech by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, on the present international situation, the economic and world crisis and its impact on Cuba, was presented on television on November 2, 2001


Death penalty in the U.S.A. "Muenda" reports from Texas where death row is home to more than 450 condemned men and women.

Though  Japan's government is sending its troops to join Bush's war, its long-divided labour movement is taking a big step to unite to fight the big business restructuring which plans to wipe out hundreds of thousands of jobs in the immediate future, writes John Manning.

Right now, the city of Kabul is confronting an even more tragic situation than before. American bombing over the city makes an unbearable atmosphere, as a huge black cloud spreading all over Kabul. Explosions are heard all around. It's a city of mourning. From a letter to the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan

The Women's Caucus for Gender Justice, a human rights group, presented a petition, signed by numerous organisations and individuals, to the United Nations in New York on Wednesday, 30 October. Reprinted here.


The PDS was one of the big winners in the recent Berlin city elections. With 22.6 % of the vote (an increase of 4.9 %) and 33 seats in the city parliament it achieved its best result since reunification. Here, the PDS analyse why

Since Pierre Rousset sent us his “postcard from the Philippines” last May, a number of developments have occurred. The fusion which he discusses has indeed, as he feared, failed, with the Revolutionary Workers’ party dividing along regional and political lines. Felisa Sanchez, who recently visited Europe and spoke to Spectre, is a member of the Mindanao organisation which has now broken away from the group in the Visayas region at the centre of the archipelago.

The explosion at the factory of AZF in Toulouse was so powerful that the population and the town will always remain marked by the memory of it.  At the time of writing the figures are 29 dead and more than 50 people critically injured with thousands of others suffering minor injuries or now out of danger. Frédéric Borras reports on the aftermath of the tragedy

The Socialist Party of the Netherlands is the only Dutch parliamentary political party to have spoken out in opposition to Bush and Blair’s war. Read the SPNL statement

“The international struggle to end terrorism is aimed at capturing the
suspect terrorist group and bringing them to justice. This cannot be achieved by overthrowing a regime, by waging military attacks, or by seizing a few terrorist leaders.” John Manning reports on the Japanese Communist Party assessment

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) calls for mass-uprising to thwart the plans of the internal and external enemies of Afghanistan. "The peace and justice-loving people of the world will be on the side of the Afghan people".


Since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, there has been a concerted effort on the part of hard-line Cuban émigrés in Miami and their political allies in Washington to describe Cuba as part of an 'international terrorist network' We publish a point-by-point response to the allegations to demonstrate that they lack any credible evidence and that they conveniently ignore and distort the facts.

Unspeakable acts of violence were committed on September 11. The perpetrators of the horrific attack of September 11 must be brought to justice, using the instruments of domestic and international law. The unconscionable slaughter demands prosecution. But bombing a desperately poor country under the yoke of a repressive regime is a wrongheaded response. Three arguments against the war, by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

we reproduce the text of  a letter sent this week by the Japanese Communist Party to the world's heads of government urging them to stop the war and proceed to the extradition and fair trial, through the United Nations, of suspects charged with the September 11 attack. The JCP concentrates on rational and legal action through established procedure and opposes violence from whichever side it comes.  They also take bin Laden's publicly stated support for the action as sufficient to seek extradition.

The Anti-War Committee of Students in Solidarity at the University of Pittsburgh in the US aren’t swallowing any of it. To help you not to choke over your breakfast dose of the increasingly wacky phenomenon known as the “mainstream” press, we present their handy guide to The Top Five Lies About the War

Read New Internationalist's Website ReviewSpectre named Website of the Month in New Internationalist magazine. Read NI's online review


The 11th September incident has had a devastating effect on the politics of different trends in Pakistan. It has polarized the politics of each group to an extent never seen before. Farooq Tariq,

General Secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan,

Noam Chomsky gives his first thoughts on hearing of the US/British bomb attacks on Afghanistan.

The Dresden Appeal of the Party of Democratic Socialism, Germany, adopted at the 2nd Session of the 7th PDS Congress on 7 October, 2001

- Peace and Security in Freedom and Justice

Ronnie Gilbert, a former member of the Weavers and now an activist with peace group Women in Black, watches history repeat itself.     

Watch out for Jackboots and Swagger Stick:The Office of Homeland Security will initially be run by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who got in trouble a few years ago for praising the efficiency of the Third Reich's civilian administration. Al Martin reports

Many of you will be following the courageous life and death struggle currently taking place in the Turkish prisons. In Spain prisoners have recently launched an initiative in support of the Turkish prison struggle and in support of their own 3 demands.an initiative supported by prisoners in France, Greece and by Basque and Kurdish prisoners . Read Article


On the tenth anniversary of the military coup in Haiti, as an international 'war on terrorism' is declared, the Haiti Support Group is repeating its calls for the deportation back to Haiti of terrorist FRAPH leader, Toto Constant.

Weekly News Review : EU arrest warrant another blow to freedom


“This has nothing to do even with revenge. It is at a far lower moral level even than that.” - Noam Chomsky was interviewed this week by Radio B92, Belgrade. This is what he said

"Can there be any hope left after having listened, hardly 36 hours ago to the speech made by the President before Congress?" - Fidel Castro Ruz, September 22, 2001 - Speech by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba

The United States of America is the last industrialised country to employ the death penalty. A few years ago Manon van den Berg found out about a scheme to exchange letters with prisoners awaiting execution in the United States. She began to exchange letters with a young Texan prisoner who was eventually, after many years on death row, executed. Spectre spoke to her about her experiences and her feelings about capital punishment. .

Did the hijackers do in the U.S. economy, too? No - the economy was a wreck before this horrible tragedy. More than one million jobs have been terminated so far this year (through August), and with the stock market going crazy, there’s no end in sight. Statement from Socialist Party [USA] Chicago


The WTC bombing is surrounded by questions of intelligence, and its failures, serious suspicions about the role of the intelligence community, not to mention a lack of intelligence by commentators and political leaders. We need to apply our own intelligence to the actual problem - abuse of power, argues Grattan Healy.

A few hours after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the Bush administration concluded without supporting evidence, that "Ousmane bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organisation were prime suspects". But who, asks Michel Chossudovsky, is Ousmane bin Laden?

Three days after the mass murder in New York, Chicago Jewish-based organisation Not In My Name (NIMN) took to the streets with a message of hope. Cindy Levitt was part of it.

The Women's Coalition for Peace picket the US Embassy in Tel-Aviv - Friday 21st September, 2001.


The anti-capitalist left throughout the world has added its voice to the near-universal condemnation of the terrorist outrage in New York City which has left thousands dead. See Weekly News Review Special Report

Background reading to the WTC attack

2nd Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference "Building Links for Global Resistance" Radical socialists in Australia succeeded, three years ago, in organising a conference bringing together anti-capitalist forces from across the Asia-Pacific region. Now they want to do it again.


What really happened in Genoa?  Well, Ian Kitching was there, but he’s not sure, either

The progressive, internationalist case against the EU’s single currency, and Britain’s possible membership of it.
We review a pamphlet by Caroline Lucas and Mike Woodin

Mat Coward's lunch breaks, visits to the toilet, public parks and other threats to competitiveness  and productivity.

Some 3500 heavily armed NATO troops have entered Macedonia with a mandate to "disarm the Albanian rebels"... the evidence amply confirms that the "National Liberation Army" has been armed, equipped and financed by Washington. NATO's ultimate goal is to protect rather than disarm the terrorists, weaken and disable the Macedonian Security Forces and install a protectorate under direct military rule. The US-EU brokered "peace" agreement constitutes an act of surrender and submission to the NATO aggressor. By
Michel Chossudovsky

24th July

A couple of weeks ago we carried a brief report about the electoral successes of our friends in the Labour Party Pakistan. Now LPP General Secretary Farooq Tariq has sent us a fuller account of the elections, including explaini ngthe labyrinthine system for local election introduced, under pressure from foreign donors concerned for their image, by the military regime

15th JULY

"The illegal methods employed in bringing Milosevic to The Hague fit well the new system of global justice, with Sharon treated as a respectable leader and Suharto exempt from prosecution for war crimes, and only the Godfather's targets subject to New World Order 'law.' " Edward S. Herman reports

British Debate Racism and Anti-Immigrant Hysteria - In April, on the same day that a Dutch lorry driver was found guilty of causing the deaths of 58 Chinese people who were attempting to travel to Britain, US journalist David Bacon interviewed Sabi Dalu and Jude Woodward of the U.K.National Assembly Against Racism

Last week a petition signed by a majority of 'reformist' MPs in the Islamic Parliament called on the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to appoint several women as ministers in his next government. But history will judge the situation of Iranian women in these first years of the 21st century, not on the basis of how many women amongst elite Islamic families, were  holding ministerial  posts, but on the plight  majority of Iranian women. Report from the
Women's Committee of Workers Left Unity- Iran ,

"Hope is very much alive in the world, that the movement to emancipate the individual and the whole was not destroyed by the misdirection and the collapse of the great Soviet attempt but has cleaned and is correcting itself" See Letters Page

8th JULY

In July, 2001, Chinese economist Han Deqiang visited the European Parliament at the invitation of the Green Group, to participate in a workshop entitled China’s Accession to the WTO: Alternative Voices. We publish an edited version of his speech.

In January, 2000, dozens of freelance reporters from across the Americas, Europe and Asia went on strike against Pacifica Network News (PNN) to protest a wave of censorship engulfing the nation's oldest, listener-sponsored radio network. This labor action is part of a broader, national effort involving thousands to save Pacifica from an elite, corporate-style take-over from the top. Noam Chomsky comments

"We think it is time that we, the American people, declare our independence from the control of the military industrial complex which is now moving to create a new arms race in space" See letters page

29th JUNE

In June, a hundred young Americans gathered in Florida to talk about how to democratise their country.  Ted Glick reports

John Manning argues that the statement by the Swedish Left Party condemning the violence at the recent Gothenborg summit should be seriously considered by all the Left and particularly by those who have been resisting, or answering back police brutality. Go to John Manning's letter

21st JUNE

The Swedish Left Party issue statement which strongly condemns the violence and terror which targeted Gothenburg on the 14 -16th June 2001. Reprinted here

Bibbi Vega is a member of the youth wing of the Swedish Left Party. Like many young Left Party activists she is critical of her party’s response to the riots, accusing them of being overly concerned by their image in the media. Read her response here

Washington's covert war in Macedonia aims to consolidate America's sphere of influence in southeastern Europe. At stake is the strategic Bulgaria-Macedonia-Albania transport, communications and oil pipeline "corridor" which links the Black Sea to the Adriatic coast. Macedonia stands at the strategic crossroads of the oil pipeline corridor. Michel Chossudovsky explains.

14th JUNE

On June 11 in the US progressive magazine The Nation, former left writer Christopher Hitchens wrote a brief article continuing his justification of NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia two years ago. Hitchens’ article appeared in The Nation on June 11. The next day we received the following comment from Edward S. Herman and David Peterson.

In pursuing its goal of opening the occupied territories to unlimited Jewish settlement, the Sharon regime in Israel has undertaken escalating and unlimited violence to cow the Palestinians into submission. In this dire situation, Palestinian and Israeli human rights and peace organisations meeting in east Jerusalem on May 21st issued an unprecedented joint appeal to the ‘international community’, which we reproduce here.  The meeting took place just after Israel deployed F-16 warplanes, a significant escalation of the violence.

7th JUNE

A large part of the US Plan Colombia is focused on the eradication of illegal coca crops by aerial fumigation carried out by the recently bolstered Colombian National Police (CNP), and the three newly created Counter-Narcotics Battalions of the Colombian Army. US State Department spray planes, protected by US Blackhawk ground attack helicopters, fumigate large areas with poisonous chemicals that destroy the coca as well as many other crops. However, the implementation of this part of Plan Colombia has far-reaching consequences that, so far, have received little attention. Liam Craig-Best and Rowan Shingler report. 

1st JUNE

No Kindergarten. Diana Sutton from the International Save the Children Alliance looks at child labour, South and North

In the Netherlands child labour is visibly on the rise. Dutch Socialist Party Chairman Jan Marijnissen argues against this exploitation of children.

Pulling over 8 million, the Japanese Communists doubled their vote and representation in the July 1998 elections. John Manning writes about the history and importance of the JCP, in Asia and the world

On the reconstruction of the left. Esko Seppänen, MEP, of the Finnish Left Alliance, argues for a wholesale rethink of socialist values.

FROM MAY, 2001

South African Dot Keet, a Fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam and Research Associate of the Alternative Information and Development Center (AIDC) in Cape Town, discusses fighting poverty in the least developed countries..

Pauliina Murto-Lehtinen, representative of the Left Alliance of Finland in the secretariat of the European Parliament’s United Left Group, introduces the party’s programme..

The Workers' Party, Ireland, on its campaign against the Treaty of Nice..

Alfred Mendes discusses the power and continued influence of money-elites in post-war Europe

As the killing and wounding in the occupied territories continues we publish a petition from 350 Israeli intellectuals demanding international intervention...

The Swedish Left Party's deputy leader recently addressed a gathering of NATO ambassadors in Stockholm on the subject of war and peace. Published here is the text of his speech...

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman discuss workers' rights in the USA and the need to defy corporate domination...

Iran's presidential elections are scheduled for June 8th but not everyone sees Khatani as the hope of the Iranian people in the face of theocratic oppression...

Features from 2002

Features from 2003-04