Red Reading: Spectrezine’s latest picks from recent publications

DUTCH SOCIALISTS ON EU: Europe's most successful EU-critical left party, the Socialist Party of the Netherlands, has recently published a major statement on Europe. "European cooperation has already brought us many benefits, for example in the areas of human rights and of our prosperity," write Harry van Bommel and Niels de Heij. "That does not mean that it is always good or that cooperation in all areas offers added value. The outcome of the referendum on the European Constitution demonstrated that a clear majority holds the European Union as it is now in little esteem, and that there was a need for a broad social discussion over Europe and the role of the Netherlands within it. This paper is intended to contribute to such a debate by making proposals for a more democratic, slimmed down, balanced and affordable EU, as well as a fruitful European agricultural policy." You can read it here
ANOTHER EUROPE? Another Dutch take on the future of the EU is Willem Bos's Another Europe is Possible: Ideas for a New Europe. The Constitutional Treaty, which the German EU Presidency is now determined to put back on the agenda, presents market solutions as the only viable ones for a Europe, further threatening the continent’s already eroded welfare systems. Europe needs democratisation, argues Bos

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: Red Pepper editor Hilary Wainwright attended the World Social Forum in Nairobi and will report in next month's edition. In the meantime her take on the event can be read here. Or read Adam Ma’anit’s WSF blog
AFRICAN STRUGGLES, GLOBAL STRUGGLES: An important statement to emerge from the Forum was "African Struggles, Global Struggles" from the Social Movements Assembly
DUTCH POLICY IN AFRICA: The Netherlands has a reputation as a progressive force in development policy. But is this justified? In "Dutch Policy and Post-Independence Fragility in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique", David Sogge questiosn the rosy view, asking how "one of globalisation’s winners relate(s) to some of its losers?" Sogge argues that while "For decades the Netherlands has proclaimed its commitment to peace, security, equitable growth and decent governance in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique" it has at the same time been "committed to serving other powerful interests, global business and international financial institutions. Global relations affecting these three battered and still crippled states illustrate tendencies whereby the Dutch, among other rich countries, continue papering over the gaps between policy and practice, aims and outcomes."
LOBSTER MAGAZINE: Apologies to Robin Ramsay and all at Lobster magazine. Robin sent us Lobster 52, the Winter 2006/7 edition some time ago but various things have intervened and we have only just got around to looking at the mag. Lobster's central concern is the activity of state security services. It appears twice yearly. This edition focuses on "fishing expeditions" – speculative raids on 'suspected terrorists' – which author Tom Pendry fears may be the result of "politically motivated media campaigns" resulting both in blatant breaches of human rights and the waste of public money which might be better employed elsewhere, even by the police. Pendry broadens this into an interesting look at various aspects of the 'war on terror'. As well as much of what Lobster refers to as "tittle tattle" about recent and current developments, this issue carries a number of book reviews, historical material, Robin Ramsay on "Blair and America" ("Blair forst went to America in 1986 and returned from his six-week freebie a convinced supporter of the nuclear deterrent.") and Corinne Souza on "Corporate and State PR" Subs cost £6 in the Uk, £9 in Europe, and £10 beyond.
DEBT: Skeletons in the Cupboard: Illegitimate Debt Claims of the G7 is a study on debt relief which reveals that G7 governments knowingly lent money to corrupt and repressive regimes. The report argues that many of the loans were intended to promote business abroad for G7 companies in "unviable projects," and calls for the complete cancellation of billions of dollars of this "odious debt."
GRAMSCI: Unravelling Gramsci: Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Political Economy by Adam Morton will be published on 27th March by Pluto Press, marking the 70th anniversary of the death of this great revolutionary thinker. It makes extensive use of Antonio Gramsci’s writings, including his much-overlooked pre-prison journalism, prison letters, as well as his prison notebooks, to provide a fresh approach to understanding his contemporary relevance in the current neoliberal world order. Adam Morton examines in detail the themes of hegemony, passive revolution and uneven development to provide a useful way of analysing the contemporary global political economy, the project of neoliberalism, processes of state formation, and practices of resistance. The book explores the theoretical and practical limitations of how Gramsci’s ideas can be used today, offering a broad insight into state formation and the international factors shaping hegemony within a capitalist framework.
ISLIP: Islip Unity Group Political Newsletter, Vol.16, No.2 for February 2007 contains articles on gambling, the demise of the US dollar, China's satellite-zapping fun and games, and the bizaare attempt by british fascists to set up a "trade union".
MILITARY FAMILIES AGAINST THE WAR:Britain now has its own much-needed organisation of "Military families Against the War" "Our sons and daughters were sent to fight in a war based on lies. 132 British service people have now died in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Over half a million Iraqis have died. The overwhelming majority of US, British and Iraqi citizens want the troops out now. Yet Bush is sending more troops to Baghdad for an offensive that threatens to spill over into the south - further endangering the lives of British troops." There's much more on the website.
IMPEACH BUSH: "Impeachment by the People" is the title of an article by leading progressive US historian Howard Zinn, published recently in The Progressive "Courage is in short supply in Washington, D.C," complains Zinn, whose People's History of the United States remains the best single-volume history of the US available. "The realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos. But all we hear in the nation's capital, which is the source of those catastrophes, is a whimper from the Democratic Party, muttering and nattering about 'unity' and 'bipartisanship,' in a situation that calls for bold action to immediately reverse the present course."