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Showing posts from May, 2013

Dr Grigoris Lambrakis

In April 1963, Grigoris Lambrakis laid a wreath at the feet of Lord Byron, whose statue is to be found near Hyde Park Corner in London. He had walked about 80 kilometres, all the way from the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston, carrying his banner marked “ELLAS” (Greece), as part of CND’s annual Easter March.

A few weeks later, on 27 May, Lambrakis was murdered in public, in Thessaloniki, in the north of Greece. These dramatic events were captured in Costa-Gavras’s acclaimed film “Z”, which takes its title from the first letter of the Greek word Zi, meaning “he lives”. “Z” appeared in graffiti all over Athens.

Dr Lambrakis’s public stand for peace and against oppression continues to resonate in Greece and beyond. He inaugurated the first Marathon March for Peace, carrying the same ELLAS banner he had raised in England. In Greece, he marched alone initially, it seems, defying an official ban on the event. Later, thousands joined him, defying the ban.

Bertrand Russell wr…

Why we need a political campaign to reinstate the NHS

This extract is from the forthcoming publication by Prof Allyson M Pollock and David Price on the future of the national health service for the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class).

This blog first appeared on Left Foot Forward on 25 March 2013.

At 2.36 on the afternoon of Tuesday 27 March, 2012 the Health and Social Care Bill 2011, repealing the legal foundations of the NHS in England, was given royal assent and became law.

Campaigning groups, NHS staff and professional organisations had fought for nearly 2 years against what must count as one of the most regressive pieces of UK legislation of the last 60 years.

That the bill became law in the end is testimony not to our robust democratic processes but to the autocratic power of government. The coalition came to office in May 2010 on a manifesto promising no further top-down reform of the NHS, and then promptly did the opposite.

The bill passed into law without an electoral mandate because no major political party or parliamentary…

Ayşe Berktay, Turkey

Ayse Berktay, friend of the Russell Foundation for many years, has now been acknowledged by PEN America and awarded the 2013 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write prize. Here is here acceptance speech, written in prison in Turkey, where she has been held without bail since October 2011 (see Spokesman issues 115, 119, 120)

STATUS: On Trial
Ayşe Berktay is a translator, scholar, author, and cultural and women’s rights activist. Her publications include History and Society: New Perspectives, 2008, and The Ottoman Empire and the World Around with Suraiya Faroqhi; and she is the editor of Women and Men in the 75th Year of the Turkish Republic. Her translations include The Imperial Harm: Gender and Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1520-1656 by Leslie Penn Pierce; and The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922 (New Approaches to European History) by Donald Quataert.

Over the past decade, Ayşe conducted work at the History Trust, where she was part of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Board on Human Rights; the Wom…