Battle of Ideas

Our Trotsky

Author: 

Albert Glotzer
Speech by Albert Glotzer, representing the "Heterodox" Trotskyists of Max Shachtman's Workers Party at a memorial meeting in New York organised by James P. Cannon's "Orthodox" Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party in 1940.

The bloodstained assassin of the Kremlin and his jackal hordes of the GPU struck down our Leon Trotsky. By that murderous act they have wounded us in our hearts and in our minds. The loss of L.D. has shorn us of our friend, our comrade, our leader.

De Leon: a revolutionary pioneer

Author: 

Michéal MacEoin

Daniel De Leon (1852-1914) was a pioneer of the American socialist movement, educating a generation in the basics of class-struggle revolutionary politics.

Born in the Dutch colony of Curacao, off the coast of Venezuela, on 14 December 1852, he was educated in law in Germany and the Netherlands. He moved to the United States in 1874, finding work as a lecturer.

Daniel De Leon (1852-1914) was a pioneer of the American socialist movement, educating a generation in the basics of class-struggle revolutionary politics.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Another day: When Mussolini Hailed Stalin as a Fascist

Benito Mussolini addressed to Joseph Stalin last week the felicitations of one butcher to another. He wrote in his own paper, Popolo d'ltalia, that Stalin "had become a Fascist" and, in effect, that Stalin was doing more than any other to destroy the faith of the workers of the world in the Communist Movement.

Italian dictator Mussolini thanks Stalin for his purge of the last Old Bolsheviks and hails him as a fascist.

Marxist Theory and History: 

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How the Capitalist System Operates

Author: 

Max Shachtman
The foundations of capitalist society need close examination, so that we may see more clearly how this social system functions and in what direction it is moving.

The foundations of capitalist society need close examination, so that we may see more clearly how this social system functions and in what direction it is moving.

A Workers’ Government and Socialism (1946)

Author: 

Max Shachtman
The first step that a genuine Workers’ Government would take would be directed toward assuring continuous production so as to satisfy the needs of the people.

SOCIALISM, based upon the planned organization of production for use by means of the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, is the abolition of all classes and class differences.

“As an ideal, it would be a good thing to have socialism; but it is only an ideal which cannot be realized in practice.” This is said by many people who have a poor understanding not only of socialism but of capitalism as well. Let us see. Is socialism merely a noble ideal, or is it more than that – a practical possibility and urgent necessity?

My name is James Connolly, I didn’t come here to die!

Author: 

The Blarney Pilgrims
A rousing song about James Connolly, rebutting the myth that the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin set out to make of themselves a "Blood Sacrifice."

Marchin’ down Sackville Street starry plough  and high
Here comes the Citizen Army, the fist raised to the sky
Leading them was a mighty man with a mad rage in his eye
’My name is James Connolly, I didn’t come here to die.’
 
Chorus
But to fight for the rights of the workin’ class, the small farmer too,
To protect the proletariat from the bosses and the )scrues
So hold on to your rifles, boys, don’t give up the dream,
A republic for the working class, economic liberty
 

The PKK and Rojava

Author: 

Simon Nelson

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the movements it leads are the main forces resisting ISIS in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan). What is the PKK?

The PKK was founded in 1977 by a small group of students who had previously been involved in the banned Dev-Genç (Revolutionary Youth) organisation, one of several revolutionary organisations that formed in Turkey in the 1960s.

The "Kurdistan Workers' Party" (PKK) and the movements it leads are the main forces resisting ISIS on the ground in Syria. What is the PKK?

Publications: 

Around the world: 

"Support the Kurds, expose imperialism": an interview with revolutionary socialists in Turkey

Workers' Liberty has links with the Turkish organisation Marksist Tutum (English language site here, main Turkish site here). We interviewed them about the current conflicts in the Middle East.

What is your assessment of the Turkish government's policy with regards to ISIS?

An interview with Marksist Tutum about Turkey, the Kurds, ISIS and the US.

Around the world: 

Publications: 

The gist of the 1969 “Troops Out” dispute in the International Socialists

“Tactics contradict principles” — IS/SWP founder Tony Cliff (quoted by Ian Birchall, International Socialism no.127)

In August 1969, IS/SWP suddenly switched from raucous agitation for “British troops out” of Northern Ireland (on the spurious grounds that all the troops would ever do is back up the Orange sectarian regime) to de facto support for the troops as providing a “breathing space”.

The Trotskyist Tendency, forerunner of Workers’ Liberty, had criticised the earlier shallow “Troops Out” agitation, and now also criticised the de facto support for the troops.

In August 1969, IS/SWP suddenly switched from raucous agitation for “British troops out” of Northern Ireland (on the spurious grounds that all the troops would ever do is back up the Orange sectarian regime) to de facto support for the troops as providing a “breathing space”.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Why did the Trotskyists define "the war against Hitler" as an Imperialist war? (1942)

Author: 

Stanley Plastrik (aka Sherman Stanley, Henry Judd)
Why The Workers Party says USA is Imperialist in World War 2 *

The first anniversary of Pearl Harbor draws near and we are about to be showered with a deluge of propaganda reminding us of the treacherous attack made upon the Hawaiian naval base and the fact that an unwilling American government was, as a result, forced into the World War. This is a good time to discuss a term very often used in Labor Action; the term IMPERIALISM. Often we are asked by new readers of our paper, “You keep saying that this is an imperialist war; that every country (including America) is in it for imperialist purposes. Just what do you mean by that, EXACTLY?”
 

Irish Workers and the First World War

Author: 

Sean Matgamna
The First World War and the Irish workers who enlisted to fight in it.

“The trenches in France are healthier than the slums of Dublin”!
-British army recruiting poster,1916

The big, framed, multi-coloured certificate on our wall in Ennis, in the West of Ireland, puzzled me for a long time when I was very small.

What Socialists Want

Author: 

William Morris
A plain, straightforward statement by the great Marxian socialist William Morris of what revolutionary international socialists want and do not want.

Socialists no more than other people believe that persons are naturally equal: there are amongst men all varieties of disposition, and desires, and degrees of capacity; nevertheless these differences are inequalities are very much increased by the circumstances amongst which a man lives and by those that surrounded the lives of his parents: and these circumstances are more or less under the control of society, that is of the ordered arrangement of persons among which we live.

Culture, the Enlightenment and Eurocentrism: "The universality of Marx"

Author: 

Loren Goldner

(This article originally appeared in the US socialist journal New Politics in 1989, under the title "The universality of Marx")

A 1989 article by Loren Goldner, first published in the US socialist journal New Politics.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Should the left say: "Let the Kurds die!"?

Author: 

Dan Katz

Over a thousand Kurdish people gathered in Trafalgar Square, London, on Saturday 1 November, taking part in a day of international solidarity for the Kurds fighting ISIS (Daesh, "Islamic State") in Kobane.

Among the small number of people at the protest who were not Kurdish were a handful of representatives of the Socialist Party and SWP. Both these groups have a problem.

If "stop the bombing" immediately means "let the Kurds of Kobane die", socialists should not raise that slogan.

Around the world: 

Don't let the threat of ISIS make people forget Assad's crimes!

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad has offered the Western governments battling ISIS an alliance “to fight terrorism”.

But as the Independent's Kim Sengupta put it at the end of September, Assad is now fighting the “enemy he always wanted”.

The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad has offered the Western governments battling ISIS an alliance “to fight terrorism”.

Publications: 

Around the world: 

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