Stock exchanges in Britain and the USA have been on the slide over the past few days. The reason is not hard to seek. The FTSE has been spooked by bank shares collapsing. Barclays, for instance, saw 25% of its share price shaved off in one hour last Friday (16.01.09). This was the day after the bank announced 2,100 job losses. It’s starting to look like the time back in October when it seemed that banks such as Barclays and the Bank of Scotland (now HBOS) that had been in existence for hundreds of years would be destroyed by a share collapse in a matter of hours.

He is the hero of the hour, the man who, if we are to believe the media, single-handedly has saved the world financial system from meltdown. When all around were panicking and in despair, here was a man who kept his head and threw billions of pounds at the banks, a veritable 21st century miracle! That man is Gordon Brown, a man who dances to the tune of the bankers and capitalists, not the workers who voted Labour into power.

Sooner or later the financial tsunami will run into the sand, but in its wake the real economy will be left in recession. The immediate crisis will have abated, but the sludge, mud, sewage and devastation lasts much longer. They're still mopping up the mud from the 2007 floods… how long will the recession last and how deep will it go?

Now a policy of wage restraint during a serious financial crisis is, sooner or later a finished recipe for an intensification of the class struggle in Britain. Already the strike figures for this year - before the recent financial meltdown - have outstripped last year's figures

Winston Churchill is one of the most famous figures in British history and the official approach is that it would be unpatriotic not to admire him. The purpose of this article is to draw aside the veils of myth and legend which establishment historians and fawning admirers have spun around him and look at the real Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. The facts reveal a different man altogether.

In the early hours of this morning (08.10.08), the government and the financial authorities have finally agreed an ambitious plan to save the banks. They present the £50bn bail-out as decisive action to stop the rot. In fact their hands were forced, and there’s no sign that it will stem the panic on UK stock markets in any case.

On Wednesday around 100 people gathered in Bolívar Hall in London to attend what was a very successful launch of the English language edition of Alan Woods' latest book, Reformism or Revolution - A Reply to Heinz Dieterich. The debate revealed that as capitalism world enters into a deep crisis, the ideas of genuine socialism are alive and well. Now is the time to spread the ideas of revolutionary socialism. (Including the audio file of Alan Woods' speech).

Back in 1976 the Lucas Aerospace Company in Britain was preparing to sack 20% of its 18,000-strong workforce. The Shop Stewards approached their members for technically viable means of using the existing equipment and human expertise to make socially useful products instead of weapons. The result was a 6-volume document which revealed that workers have the know-how to run industry. What was lacking was the capital. For that you need to expropriate the capitalists.

Today Trades Councils in Britain have been consciously relegated to the sidelines by the trade union bureaucracy, but in this article, written at the time of the struggle against the Heath government's ill-fated Industrial Relations Act [1971] Dudley Edwards outlined the history of the trades councils in Britain and pointed to their potentially vital role.

For ten years Gordon Brown has been mouthing the phrase "no return to boom and bust". Now we see it is meaningless, as the British economy slides into recession, possibly the worst for decades.

The British National Health Service was set up sixty years ago, officially on July 5th 1948. It was the result of years of struggle on the part of the working class for a free universal health service. At its height it was as close as you could get to a communist principle under capitalism. Over the years the capitalists have been working hard to drag us back to the dark days when the poor could not afford decent healthcare.

Pressures have been building up in British society. High house prices, fuel and food price increases and pay restraint and cuts particularly in the public sector are all having a huge effect on workers. It's obvious that there's going to be a change and the longer it is delayed the worse the storm is when it eventually breaks.

This article was originally published in 1971 in the Militant International Reviewunder the title Marxism and the Pilkington Strike – A lesson from history. The Pilkington glassworks had entered into dispute and had come up against the problem of the stifling control of the bureaucracy over their union, the GMWU. The Socialist Worker advised the workers to leave and set up a new union. The Marxist tendency, gathered around the Militant, advised against this and events later confirmed the correctness of this position.

British capitalism is in big trouble. The official annual inflation rate has hit 3.3%, its highest level for 16 years. The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has been forced to send a letter to the Chancellor of Exchequer, Alastair Darling, to explain why the Bank has been unable to keep inflation from rising at more than 2%, which is the target set by the government for the Bank.