Battle of Ideas

The partition of India and the Indian bourgeoisie

Author: 

Colin De Silva

In August 1947, when  Britain left India, the country was partitioned, creating independent Dominions of India and Pakistan (now Pakistan and Bangladesh). In the process the provinces of Bengal and Punjab were also split. This article from 1947, by Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) Trotskyist Colin De Silva, discusses the stance on partition by the main bourgeois political groups in India — the Congress Party and the Muslim League. A terrible rupture and violence followed partition when 10-12 million people were displaced along religious lines.

This article from 1947, by Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) Trotskyist Colin De Silva, discusses the stance on partition by the main bourgeois political groups in India — the Congress Party and the Muslim League. A terrible rupture and violence followed partition when 10-12 million people were displaced along religious lines.

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The new opposition in the post-Mandelite Fourth International

Author: 

Martin Thomas

1. How the Fourth International's world view was shattered in 1989-91

Since the 1990s, the "Fourth International" has become more and more like a loosely-Marxist think-tank, or association of think-tanks, geared to left social democracy.

"Fourth International" here refers to the international network associated with the ideas of Ernest Mandel, otherwise called "USFI" or "United Secretariat of the Fourth International", though it ceased to have a leading body called "United Secretariat" as long ago as 2003.

Review of the new grouping involving Socialist Action (USA), A&R (France), and other groups.

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Trotskyism after the collapse of Stalinism: an open letter to Ernest Mandel (1992)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Comrade Ernest Mandel: Certain of your critics — James P Cannon reasonably in the 1950s, the degenerate sectarians (Healy, Lambert) ridiculously in the 1960s — named the “Fourth International” current you lead “Pabloism”.

The truth, however, is that you, comrade Mandel, are the representative leader of post-Trotsky “Trotskyism”. If it is to be given a special “ism”, then it must be “Mandelism”.

"You, comrade Mandel, are the representative leader of post-Trotsky 'Trotskyism'..."

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Stop the "anti-prostitute" vigilantes! (1994)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

LEAVE ASIDE for the moment the question of
whether or not they should do such a thing. What hap-
pens when you set a gang of men - any men - to roam the
streets as vigilantes, harassing, bullying, and intimidating
prostitute women?

They will soon be harassing, bullying, and intimidating
women who are not prostitutes - women who by their gait,
clothes, make-up, or behaviour, or where they happen to
be on a street or in a neighbourhood, look to the gang of
men "like prostitutes".

What happens when you set a gang of men - any men - to roam the streets as vigilantes, harassing, bullying, and intimidating prostitute women?

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Trump: the unpredictable face of neoliberalism

Author: 

Andrew Gamble

Martin Thomas spoke to Andrew Gamble about the character of the Trump government. Andrew Gamble is a Professor in Politics at the University of Sheffield and the author of many books on political economy. [The interview was recorded at the end of July, before the North Korea crisis blew up]

MT: Since the 1940s the world markets have been structured by a series of institutions: the WTO, the IMF, the G20, the G7, NATO. The USA has been central to all of these. Is Trump going to blow them up?

Andrew Gamble: "Trump pivots from one faction to another, and plays them off against one another, leading to erratic policy-making."

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The Left in Disarray: Introduction

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

The introduction to the book The Left in Disarray, published June 2017.


“Tell the truth and shame the devil”

“To face reality squarely; not to seek the line of least resistance; to call things by their right names; to speak the truth, no matter how bitter it may be; not to fear obstacles; to be true in little things as in big ones; to base one’s programme on the logic of the class struggle; to be bold when the hour for action arrives — these are the rules.” Leon Trotsky

The introduction from a new book about the left by Sean Matgamna.

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Jackie Walker's questionable allies

Author: 

Dale Street

“Anti-Semitism is a crime. Anti-Zionism is a duty” read the banner in front of the stage at Jackie Walker’s performance of her one-person show “The Lynching” at the Edinburgh Fringe in early August.

Walker is currently facing Labour Party disciplinary charges over allegations of antisemitism. She describes her play as “the one-woman show about a real-life witch-hunt: an attempt to destroy Jeremy Corbyn and an entire political movement.”

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has failed to tackle antisemitism in its own ranks.

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Defend Jackie Walker? Not like this! Antisemitism and the left

Author: 

Ruth Willis

The most informative thing about the recent controversy in Momentum — around comments made by Vice-Chair Jackie Walker at an antisemitism training event — has been less the words Jackie Walker herself said, and more the comments made by some of those who have rallied to her defence.

Racist antisemitism has been a shocking feature of debates among leftists over the removal of Jackie Walker as Vice-Chair of Momentum.

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The meaning behind the Venezuelan election

Author: 

Argument pour la lutte sociale

On Sunday 30 July, so-called elections took place to a so-called Constituent Assembly in Venezuela. It is important, for the future, the revolution, and democracy, not to fool ourselves about the meanings of the words being used here.

Maduro's victory does not represent the preservation of the "gains of socialism".

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Russian Revolution: when workers took power

A new book from Workers' Liberty, published April 2017.

Prices include postage, for bulk order prices (5 copies and above) please contact the office on office@workersliberty.org to arrange postage.

Orders from the UK

Retelling the story of the Russian Revolution and its degeneration, and the Marxist analysis, in the light of recent research. Buy online here.

The Labour Party in perspective (1996)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

"The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class parties. They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement...

A survey of the history of the Labour Party - and of Marxists' efforts in relation to it - up to the eve of Tony Blair taking office and dramatically restructuring the party, in 1997.

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Atomic Energy: for Barbarism or Socialism? A Socialist Manifesto From the Dawn of the Nuclear Age

A comprehensive Trotskyist response to the new age which opened with the American atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. It was published in Labor Action, New York, at the end of 1945.


"The impact of the bomb was so terrific that practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death by the tremendous heat and pressure engendered by the blast." - From a Tokyo broadcast describing the result of the atomic bomb dropped by a Superfortress on Hiroshima.

A comprehensive Trotskyist response to the new age which opened with the American atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. It was published in Labor Action, New York, at the end of 1945.

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Is The Time Ripe For The Slogan ‘The United States Of Europe’ ? (June 1923)

Author: 

Leon Trotsky
Is The Time Ripe For The Slogan ‘The United States Of Europe'? Trotsky in June 1923

The motor force driving to war was this, that the capitalist forces of production had outgrown the framework of European national states. Germany had set herself the task of “organizing” Europe, i.e., of uniting economically the European continent under her own control, in order then seriously to set about contending with Britain for world power. France’s aim was to dismember Germany.

Germany 1953: Workers rise against Stalinist rule. Workers' Liberty 3/40:

In June 1953, workers revolted against Stalinist rule in East Germany. We republish here analysis of the uprising by the “Third Camp” Trotskyists of the Independent Socialist League.

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Does the labour movement need a Marxist educationalist group like the AWL?

An examination of the role of a Marxist “Fighting Educationalist Group” in the class struggle and in the transformation of existing labour movements.

Click here for other discussion of the same issue.


“It is necessary to find the particular link in the chain which must be grasped with all one’s strength in order to keep the whole chain in place and prepare to move on resolutely to the next link.”

V I Lenin

An examination of the role of a Marxist “Fighting Educationalist Group” in the class struggle and in the transformation of existing labour movements.

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Bob Carnegie: four decades in the workers’ movement: Workers' Liberty 3/56

Bob Carnegie has been active on the left and in the labour movement in Brisbane, Australia, for nearly four decades.

Bob Carnegie, currently secretary of the Queensland branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, which organises dockworkers and seafarers, has been active in the labour movement and the left, mostly in Brisbane, Australia, for nearly four decades. This issue of Workers’ Liberty pulls together interviews done with Bob during a speaking tour he did in England in May 2015, and at various times in Brisbane, with other material, to tell the story of the big workers’ struggles Bob has been involved in or led, and his political odyssey.

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Europe: the Stalinist roots of the “left exit” myth [Workers' Liberty 3/54]

Author: 

Paul Hampton

Workers' Liberty 3/54: Europe: the Stalinist roots of the “left exit” myth

Download pdf or read online here.

The story of how the British revolutionary left went from an independent working-class stance to accommodation with chauvinism

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Another Day: British Socialists Meet For European Unification (1949)

The British Center of the Socialist Movement for the United States of Europe, in its London conference, October 22-23, attended by delegates or observers from local Labor Parties, the Independent Labor Party, the Commonwealth and Fabian Societies, as well as several unions and
pence organizations, produced a series of resolutions which are of importance to the world socialist movement.

Report of Conference of the Socialist Movement for the United States of Europe, 1949.

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The Bolsheviks and democracy

Author: 

Martin Thomas

A discussion of Samuel Farber's book "Before Stalinism", Polity Press, 1990.

Sam Farber, justly respected for his critical Marxist writings on Cuba, sums up his attitude in this book by quoting Victor Serge, an anarchist who rallied to the Bolsheviks after October 1917, became an activist in the Left Opposition, and then parted ways with Trotsky over his, Serge’s, rejection of Trotsky’s criticisms of the POUM in the Spanish Civil War.

Why "the Bolsheviks should have been more democratic" is beside the mark as an explanation for the Stalinist counter-revolution in Russia

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