Battle of Ideas

Scottish independence will weaken global ruling class?

Author: 

Dale Street

Oh dear.

The magazine “Critique” – formerly a “Journal of Soviet Studies and Socialist Theory” with a specific focus on Stalinism, but now an all-round “Journal of Socialist Theory” – has decided to back independence for Scotland!

“Critique” has always prided itself on having a better grasp of Marxism, a deeper understanding of the nature of the transitional epoch, a clearer analysis of the decline of the law of value, and a more profound insight into the application of the Marxist method and political economy than the rest of the left.

Critique magazine, self-styled sophisticated Marxists, backs independence for Scotland.

Around the world: 

Lenin: The collapse of the Second International

Lenin's analysis of the collapse of the Socialist International at the outbreak of war in 1914



Lenin's analysis of the collapse of the Socialist International at the outbreak of war in 1914


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9



PART 1

Marxist Theory and History: 

The Poverty of Anti-Zionism [1992]

Author: 

Brigitte Stora
The difference between criticising Israel and supporting the Palestinian demand for their own state, and backing Arab nationalist or Islamist demands for the destruction and abolition of Israel, must be kept clear amidst the present outrage against Israel. This 1992 article, from the French Trotskyist journal 'Critique Communiste' discusses the issues.

Between condemnation of Israel's conduct in the war that may now be concluding and denial of Israel's right to exist there is logically, politically and morally a very wide gap. However, those who deny Israel's right to exist frequently succeed in blurring that distinction.

The Collapse of The Socialist International in 1914

AT their Convention in Paris two weeks before the outbreak of the catastrophe, the French Socialists insisted on pledging all branches of the International to revolutionary action in case of a mobilization. They were thinking chiefly of the German Social Democracy. The radicalism of the French Socialists in matters of foreign policy was rooted not so much in international as national interests. The events of the War have now definitely confirmed what was clear o many then.

This is chapter 7 of Leon Trotsky's The War And The International, 1914

Scotland: for a democratic federal republic!

What we say about the Scottish independence issue.

Written in 2009

Blink once, and the momentum for Scottish independence looks like a steamroller travelling faster and faster downhill. Blink a second time, and it looks quite different.

In 1969-71 large oil and gas reserves were discovered offshore from Scotland. The Scottish National Party boomed rapidly, reaching 30.4% of Scottish votes in the October 1974 general election. Its vote has bounced up and down since then, but since 1988 it has been almost always above or close to 20% in UK general elections.

Around the world: 

Priests Who Don't Believe in God (1993)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

"Must The Priest Believe?" — in God! — would, I thought, as my eye first flicked over the programme page, be a satire or a skit.

But no, it was a serious edition of Joan Bakewell's "Heart of the Matter", provoked by the case of a Church of England priest, Anthony Freeman, unfrocked for publishing a book explaining why he no longer believes in God.

There are quite a number of Church of England priests who do not believe in God....

Marxist Theory and History: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

When priests rule: An Irish horror story all workers should learn from

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

An 81 year old retired Irish cardinal, Desmond Connell, has gone to the High Court in Dublin for a writ to stop his successor as Archbishop of Dublin from handing over church files on paedophile priests to a state-organised inquiry into clerical abuse of children.

The Catholic people of Ireland are now once again, in the grotesque Cardinal Connell affair, being unpleasantly reminded of what rule by priests, bishops, and cardinals sometimes has meant for them.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Another Yalta conference

Author: 

Another Yalta conference

Less than two months ago Richard Brenner (Workers Power) and Alan Freeman (Socialist Action) were feted in the Hotel Yalta-Intourist by assorted Russian fascists and ultra-nationalists at a conference about Ukraine. The same initiative, meeting again this weekend, will apparently be without them.

Second meeting of the so-called "anti-fascist" - in reality pro-Russian imperialist - conference.

Around the world: 

Black slavery in North America

Author: 

George Novack

History is rich in examples of the revival of institutions appropriate to more primitive civilizations in advanced societies. Mankind is infinitely ingenious in adapting old cultural forms to new uses under the changed conditions of a new social order. Like a thrifty housewife, humanity hesitates to discard familiar acquisitions, however outmoded; it prefers to store them in attics or cellars in the hope of finding a use for them in the future. The history of economics, no less than the history of philosophy, religion, and politics, shows that such expectations are often realized.

History is rich in examples of the revival of institutions appropriate to more primitive civilizations in advanced societies - old cultural forms adapted to new uses under a new social order. Chattel slavery in America is a striking case in point.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

'Politically Correct'? Linguistic Stalinism!

Author: 

Jim Denham
As we were saying, in Socialist Organiser in 1991

A Labour-controlled council in the West Midlands recently decided to
ban a children's book from its libraries on grounds of racism.

The book, apparently, tells the adventures of a cheekly little monkey. The "racism" arises because the book's illustrations show the monkey dressed in a schoolboy's uniform: the good burghers of Sandwell decided that this would give offense to black people. A case, perhaps, of "racism" being in the eye of the beholder.

Trotsky's widow Broadcasts to the Russian Workers, 1956: "New Regime of Lies—But Stalin's Old Methods"

Author: 

Natalia Ivanovna Sedova, (widow of LeonTrotsky)
Text of the speech by Natalia Sedova Trotsky recorded in Mexico City and broadcast to Russia via Radio Liberation

This is Natalia Ivanovna Sedova, widow of Leon Davidovich Trotsky, speaking from Mexico City. J am addressing myself to the workers and peasants and, in the first place, to the young people in Soviet Russia. The present rulers, Khrushchev, Bulganin, Mikoyan and others, having inherited the Stalinist dictatorship, are conducting an intensive propaganda campaign so as to distract from themselves the powerful wave of dissatisfaction and hatred for the thieves of the victories of 'the proletarian revolution, a wave "which grew in your hearts.

Civilisation, Backwardness and Liberation (2003)

Author: 

By Sean Matgamna

What is the attitude of Marxists to "backward" and "underdeveloped" countries and peoples who are being assaulted, occupied, or colonised by a more advanced but predatory civilisation?

What is the attitude of Marxists to "backward" and "underdeveloped" countries and peoples who are being assaulted, occupied, or colonised by a more advanced but predatory civilisation?

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Let's discuss Ukraine crisis...

Author: 

AWL

Dear comrades,

As you will be aware, Workers Power and the Alliance for Workers' Liberty have taken radically different positions in relation to the current conflict in the south-east of Ukraine.

If we understand the position taken by Workers Power correctly, this can be summarised as:

The current situation in Ukraine has been “largely provoked by the aggression of the NATO and EU axis.”

The Kiev government “was handpicked by US and EU representatives and brought to power by the armed force of the fascist Svoboda and Right Sector militia.”

We have written to Workers' Power asking to debate our political differences

Around the world: 

Tom Cashman 1950-2014

Author: 

Bruce Robinson

Tom Cashman has died of a brain tumour aged 64. He was a life-long socialist and militant trade union activist, who had a long connection to the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and its predecessors.

Tom came from a family in Wallasey on Merseyside with Irish roots and labour movement involvement. He joined Workers’ Fight (precursor of the AWL) in 1973 while a student at Middlesex Polytechnic and subsequently recruited his brothers Mick, Tony and Peter and briefly his sister Liz.

Tom Cashman was a life-long socialist and militant trade unionist with a long connection to Workers' Liberty.

Publications: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Religion, LGBT rights and military regimes

Author: 

Kate Harris interviews Yemisi Ilesanmi

How did you get to where you are today as an LGBT activist and out bisexual woman?
It has been an interesting, tasking, journey towards self-awareness. It is also a journey that has involved studying society and finding my place in it. It is a continuous journey and one where I have to constantly remind myself that I have a right to be who I am in a world that is desperate to make me into what they would rather I be.

Yemisi Ilesanmi is a Nigerian campaigner for LGBT rights and author of the book Freedom to Love for All: Homosexuality is not un-African.

Publications: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trotsky's Last Letter to the Russian Workers

Author: 

Leon Trotsky

Greetings to the Soviet workers, collective farmers, soldiers of the Red Army and sailors of the Red Navy! Greetings from distant Mexico where I found refuge after the Stalinist clique had exiled me to Turkey and after the bourgeoisie had hounded me from country to country!

Letter written in May 1940 to be smuggled into Stalin's USSR

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

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.

The First World War: Swear You'll Never Forget (verse)

HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN YET?
For the world's events have rumbled on since those
gagged days,
Like traffic checked awhile at the crossing of the ways:
And the haunted gap in your minds has filled with

Do you remember the rats, and the stench Of corpses rotting in front of the front line trench?

Issues and Campaigns: 

Culture and Reviews: 

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