We have just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the liberation from fascism. Exactly 60 years ago the leadership of the German Wehrmacht signed the capitulation. Yesterday in the former concentration camp (KZ) of Mauthausen and in Vienna thousands of people showed their opposition to war and to fascism.

Today marks the end of the Trade Union Congress in Blackpool. It was a Congress that reflected the mood not seen since the hey-days of the miners' strike of 1984-85. Since that time, we have had a decade and a half of "new realism" and policies of (class) "collaboration" or "partnership", epitomised by the likes of Sir Ken Jackson, ex-general secretary of the AEEU. Now a wind of change has hit the trade union movement.

Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ, was one of several left union leaders to be newly elected to the TUC General Council. Socialist Appeal spoke to him at the recent TUC Conference.

Some of our readers will perhaps remember the inauguration of the right-wing coalition government in Austria in February 2000. For the first time since 1970 the Social Democratic Party was not part of the federal government. The new government was formed by Wolfgang Schüssel of the conservative Peoples’ Party and Jörg Haider, the leader of the Freedom Party. This led to a big movement of Austrian “civil society” and a wave of international protests starting with the tops of the EU. Many on the left saw the threat of fascism because of the participation of the Freedom Party in this new bourgeois government.

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