Battle of Ideas

How to fight left anti-semitism (audio)

For post-debate comment see Cathy Nugent's article here

Director of Progress Richard Angell debates Cathy Nugent, editor of Solidarity newspaper in this Workers' Liberty London Forum.

How should the labour movement tackle anti-Semitism within its own ranks? As debate over left wing anti-Semitism has intensified in recent weeks, different solutions and answers have been proposed.

Director of Progress Richard Angell debates Cathy Nugent, editor of Solidarity newspaper in this Workers' Liberty London Forum.

Issues and Campaigns: 

James Connolly, Irish nationalism and the socialist republic

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Building on the ideas of John Leslie (of the Social Democratic Federation) in his 1897 pamphlet Erin’s Hope, Connolly claimed that the essence of the national question in Ireland was a battle over “fundamentally different ideas on the vital question of property in land”. Between, on the one hand, a supposed Irish “primitive communism” and, on the other, an “alien social system” of private ownership.

The fourth part of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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Art versus Propaganda: the films of Ken Loach (1997)

Author: 

Clive Bradley
Art versus Propaganda Clive Bradley looks at the films of Ken Loach (1997)

[Throughout this article, I am using the word "propaganda" in its neutral sense, to mean politically educative material.]

What does it mean to make socialist films in contemporary Britain?What is the relationship between art and propaganda in modern cinema? The work of Ken Loach, one of Britain's leading film-makers, hinges around these questions. The tension between art and propaganda,* drama and politics, runs through his films.

Pro-Palestine or anti-Israel? The basic difference between AWL and the conventional Left on the Middle East (2004)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Dave Osler's letter (Solidarity 3/51) offers an opportunity to restate our position on the Jewish-Arab conflict.


If Dave Osler thinks - and it seems he does - that any of us approach this question as Israeli nationalists, an outline of our position is sorely needed.

Pro-Palestine or anti-Israel? The basic difference between AWL and the conventional Left on the Middle East.

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The mirage of the "internationalist no"

Author: 

Martin Thomas

From Solidarity 3/12, 12 September 2002


Even if a strong internationalist campaign for "no" were theoretically possible, it certainly will not happen.

At the Socialist Alliance National Council on 7 September, John Rees of the SWP said flatly and clearly that he wanted a "no" campaign run in unity with "other left forces", including, by name, the Communist Party of Britain. The Communist Party has a long, long tradition of British nationalism - on Europe especially.

Even if a strong internationalist campaign for "no" to the EU were theoretically possible, it certainly will not happen.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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“Peak stuff”? Time for socialism!

Author: 

Colin Foster

Steve Howard, a manager at Ikea, says: “In the west, we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff... peak home furnishings”.

Other people studying retail markets have come up with similar ideas. Kevin Jenkins, a manager at the Visa credit-card company, says: “We increasingly see a trend for consumers to spend more on experiences rather than on products”.

Lorna Hall, a market researcher, says: “People are interested in servicing a lifestyle rather than buying stuff”.

Even under capitalist bombardment, a lot of people recognise a better life comes more through shared experiences, which can’t be bought, than through competitively consuming more “stuff”.

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Higher university fees and private providers

The government’s Higher Education White Paper, released on Monday 16 May, is a clear ideological attack on students, workers, and universities as public institutions. Here are our initial responses.

Free Education is “value for money”

One of things we keep hearing about from the government is that universities need to be “value for money”. This value will come from bringing in more “choice” for students in where and what they study.

The government’s Higher Education White Paper is a clear ideological attack on students, workers, and universities as public institutions.

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Leaving principles for later?

Author: 

Martin Thomas

At the Lutte Ouvriere fete on 14-16 May, we met comrades from IZAR (Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist Left), a group expelled in 2015 from the “Mandelite” (Fourth International) organisation in Spain because they called for a stance more independent from the leadership of Podemos, the new broad leftish party.

The following critique is part of a document published by IZAR with sympathisers in France, the USA, Germany, Greece, and Italy.

A critique produced by IZAR (Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist Left), a group expelled in 2015 from the “Mandelite” Fourth International organisation in Spain because they called for a stance more independent from the leadership of Podemos, of attempts to build "broad parties".

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What Yasser Arafat can teach socialists

When he died, Yasser Arafat left the Palestinian people facing the threat that the prospect of a viable independent Palestinian state, side by side with Israel, is disappearing into the mists of history’s lost possibilities.

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Against the Europhobes, against the Euro-capitalists: For a workers’ united Europe

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

There are two basic lines of possible working class policy in relation to the European Union.

The first advocates building on what the bourgeoisie has created and uniting the working class across the EU to fight the bourgeoisie for democratic and social reform and, in the course of doing that, building towards socialist transformation by working-class revolution on a European scale.

Such an approach does not imply backing what the dominant capitalists and their servants do, or the way that they do it.

Working-class socialist policy and Europe.

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It is time to stand up for socialism!

Author: 

Editorial

All in all, Labour didn't do too badly in the 5 May elections.

Everything was weighted against them. The media had its own anti-Labour agenda and tried to force events into its own pre-set patterns. It spent much of its time discussing Jeremy Corbyn and who liked him and didn't like him.

The Labour Party leaders should launch a great campaign against the policies and values of Toryism and for the central ethos of the labour movement and the socialist working class: solidarity.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

How to wipe out left-anti-Semitism

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Jackie Walker, a woman of mixed African-Jewish background, and vice-chair of the Labour Party's left-wing group, Momentum, has been suspended by the Labour Party on grounds of anti-semitism. The charge of anti-semitism is based on a fragment of a Facebook conversation from some months ago. Her anti-semitism consisted in the statement that Africa too had experienced a Holocaust.

We need to specify what left anti-semitism consists of, in order to debate, educate, and clarify.

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James Connolly: Home Rule and the Gaelic Revival

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.


Connolly's period in Dublin coincided with the period of the Gaelic Revival, and the rediscovery (and re-invention) of Ireland's historical, literary and cultural past. It also led to a deepening of Connolly's understanding of Irish history and the Irish national question, establishing some themes which, in various form, would be present throughout his political life.

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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Put socialism back on the agenda!

"You can't argue with facts," says the good old short-sighted adage.

Well, yes you can: you can put "the facts" in context and perspective; you can see "the facts" as "moments" in a living, permuting reality that will, more or less quickly, subvert "the facts" against which only yesterday no argument seemed possible, and throw up new facts.

We need to go to the labour movement and once more convince our own class that we don't have to live in this filthy system.

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Scottish left banging the nationalist drum

Author: 

Dale Street

In elections for the Scottish Parliament the SNP triumphed (although with six seats less than in 2011, and two seats short of an absolute majority). The Tory vote was up by 9%, doubling its number of seats. And Labour slumped down by 8%, costing it 13 seats and pushing it into third place.

Labour and trade union activists need to organise to block any attempt to push Scottish Labour to the right. And what passes itself off as the far left needs to wake up from its nationalist daydreaming, now manifesting itself in pro-Brexit campaigning, and return to a focus on class politics.

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For a united states of Europe!

Leon Trotsky argued for a United States of Europe in "The Peace Programme" of 1915. Excerpts:


The economic unification of Europe, which offers colossal advantages to producer and consumer alike, in general to the whole cultural development, becomes the revolutionary task of the European proletariat in its struggle against imperialist protectionism and its instrument militarism.

The United States of Europe - without monarchies, standing armies and secret diplomacy - is therefore the most important integral part of the proletarian peace programme.

Leon Trotsky argued for a United States of Europe in "The Peace Programme" of 1915.

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Livingstone, Labour and Anti-Semitism

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

On one level the sudden media outcry about Ken Livingstone’s anti-semitism is being used and fed by the Labour right, especially the stupid part of the right — and, of course, the Tories — to sabotage the Labour Party in the London mayoral and other local government elections and to discredit Jeremy Corbyn.

With Livingstone, the cesspool of pseudo-left “absolute anti-Zionism”, that is, anti-semitism, overflowed into mainstream politics. It gave the right and the Tories an easy target.

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