Battle of Ideas

Labour needs new policy of solidarity with migrants

Author: 

Theodora Polenta and Hugh Edwards

Jeremy Corbyn has said he will defend freedom of movement in the negotiations around Brexit. He has declared: “I have visited the camps in Calais and Dunkirk, which are in an appalling state. Those people are in a very perilous situation. They are all humans, to whom we must reach out the hand of friendship and support”. He has called for Britain to admit more refugees.

A Pan European solidarity movement, internationalist and anti-imperialist, will be built only if each anti-racist movement in each country wins battles against the policy of forcible exclusion of refugees at their “national borders”.

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Owen Smith slanders AWL with antisemitism charge

Author: 

Ross Bradshaw, Yoni Higgsmith, Barry Finger, Eric Lee and Jason Schulman

During a recent televised debate Owen Smith linked the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty to left antisemitism. This claim has gained some currency, despite Workers’ Liberty’s thirty-year record of fighting left (and other forms of) antisemitism.

To consider the AWL to be a source of antisemitism in the labour movement is staggeringly ignorant.

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Marxism and the Jewish Question

It is one of the ironies of politics. Trotskyism, in most of its post-Trotsky mutations, embraces an "anti-Zionism" that in practice is nothing less than a comprehensive hostility to most Jews alive; yet Trotskyism in Trotsky's time and after was a movement in which people of Jewish origin played - and play - a massive part.

It is one of the ironies of politics. Trotskyism, in most of its post-Trotsky mutations, embraces an "anti-Zionism" that in practice is nothing less than a comprehensive hostility to most Jews alive; yet Trotskyism in Trotsky's time and after was a movement in which people of Jewish origin played - and play - a massive part.

Around the world: 

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On the History of Trotskyism: 52 Articles on Aspects of Trotskyism

Author: 

Paul Hampton/Sean Matgamna/Max Shachtman/Natalia Trotsky
23 pieces on the history of Trotskyism

Our New Book: Can socialism make sense?

Author: 

Paul Hampton

This is a review of the new book by Workers' Liberty Can socialism make sense?

A review of Can Socialism Make Sense? by Sean Matgamna.

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Changing attitudes, changing the world

Author: 

Peter Tatchell

The 1967 Sexual Offences Act (which partially decriminalised sex between men in private) was a very partial limited reform but nevertheless progress all the same. However, many Labour MPs opposed that legislation and as far as I know no trade unions supported it.

Peter Tatchell spoke at Workers’ Liberty’s Ideas for Freedom event about the struggle to win the labour movement to recognition of LGBT rights.

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The real reasons why Keith Vaz is “not fit” to be an MP

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

“To choose Wembley Stadium, which is where the Champions League final takes place and where only rock stars perform, shows how special Narendra Modi is to all of us... MPs have just had a pay rise and because I am so excited about this event I will donate my pay rise for November for this great function.”
Keith Vaz, 2015

Keith Vaz is not fit to be a Labour MP. But that has nothing to do with the current media controversy and everything to do with his disgraceful political record.

Issues and Campaigns: 

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June 1945: Dropping in on Comrade Einstein

Author: 

Jeanne and Pete Morgan
Two American Trotskyists visited Albert Einstein at Princeton University.

Recent while driving through Princeton, New Jersey, we stopped briefly to talk with Professor Einstein.

During the short conversation we quickly came to the point i.e. his opinions on certain Marxist teachings, and asked whether or not the Professor recognized the class struggle. After that,
part of the conversation went about as follows:

Einstein: Yes. of course. The German and English and American capitalists have also caused this war. And fascism everywhere is very possible... very possible.

We: In America also?

Einstein: Yes. In America.

Revolutionary versus “democratic socialism”? A reply to Luke Akehurst on "entryism"

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

An October 2015 article by Luke Akehurst, a prominent and combative Labour right winger who recently failed to be elected to the party's NEC, was recently drawn to my attention. The article, published on the LabourList website, was about “entryism”, by which Akehurst means the presence of a revolutionary socialist group like Workers’ Liberty within the Labour Party. It has renewed relevance during the current events.

A reply to prominent Labour right winger Luke Akehurst's October 2015 article on LabourList.

Marxist Theory and History: 

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On the "social strike": a response to Plan C

Author: 

Daniel Randall

For a response to this article by the anarchist blogger "Cautiously Pessimistic", click here.

For a further response from Daniel Randall, click here.

Plan C comrades have told us they also plan a collective response, which we will link to once it is published.

Does the concept of the "social strike", promoted by the left-wing group Plan C, have the capacity to overcome the current weakness of organised labour?

Marxist Theory and History: 

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Trade Unions: 

The left and non-violence - a reply to the Guardian

Author: 

Dan Katz

The Guardian (19 August) is horrified by a discussion which took place inside Momentum’s steering committee. Momentum’s aims had been discussed in the meeting, and it was proposed by some to remove a commitment to only non-violent methods. The text was amended and the promise of non-violence at all times removed.

The Guardian is trying to whip up a scandal about a discussion that took place in Momentum about violence and non-violence.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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The decline and rise of Australian nationalism

Author: 

Bob Carnegie and Martin Thomas

A discussion paper on nationalism and the Australian labour movement


The Australian labour movement, on the defensive, more and more tries to justify its complaints and demands in nationalist terms, rather than in terms of global concepts such as equality, solidarity, and worker rights.

The ACTU complains about "This intrinsically un-Australian budget from the Abbott Government...". It whines that "the employer groups want to send the most vulnerable workers backwards and that's un-Australian..."; that "cutting people's pay by $20 an hour on Anzac Day is un-Australian...".

Why the Australian labour movement should stop branding what it objects to as "un-Australian".

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What is a "Leninist sect"? Is AWL one?

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

In July 1990, Socialist Organiser, a forerunner of Solidarity, was banned by the Labour Party, apparently on the instigation of Frank Field MP, the same Frank Field who now floats the idea of Labour right-wingers contesting elections as “independent” against democratically selected candidates of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

A challenge to the ban at the 1990 Labour Party conference won a majority of Constituency Labour Party delegate votes, but failed to overturn it.

In 1990, Socialist Organiser was banned by the Labour Party, apparently on the instigation of Frank Field MP, the same Frank Field who now floats the idea of Labour right-wingers contesting elections as “independent” against democratically selected candidates of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

Publications: 

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On the insidiousness of Press TV

Author: 

Omar Raii
In a way getting angry at someone on the left appearing on Press TV is a bit like getting angry at England playing poorly in the World Cup. It’s a dreadful and appalling thing but it happens all the time.

In a way getting angry at someone on the left appearing on Press TV is a bit like getting angry at England playing poorly in the World Cup. It’s a dreadful and appalling thing but it happens all the time. And therefore I cannot legitimately claim to have been outraged when hearing that the Young Labour International Officer, Abdi-Aziz Suleiman of former NUS fame, spoke on Press TV to support Jeremy Corbyn. I must admit I was a little surprised that he was speaking to George Galloway who one would have thought had been discredited enough even for Press TV but I was clearly wrong.

What is Trotskyism?

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Click here for the debate around this contribution.

19th and 20th century socialism is a house of many rooms, cellars, attics, alcoves, and hidden chambers (not to speak of private chapels and “priest-holes”).

There are in it the utopian socialists of our pre-history reformists and revolutionists, parliamentarians and insurrectionists, “direct action” anarchists and union-building syndicalists, council communists and kibbutz-building utopian Zionists.

A fragmented tradition of revolutionary Marxism.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Rivers of rubbish: on the reputation on the left of AWL's predecessor, Socialist Organiser (1991)

Biblical scholars, I understand, have a terrible time of it working out what some of the long-vanished early Christian groups believed.

They have to rely on such chance survivals as the "Dead Sea Scrolls". Most of the rich history of the competing Christian groups in the later Roman Empire is lost: the victorious Catholic Christians entwined with the Roman and later states from the early 4th century onwards, suppressed their opponents and left little trace of them and their beliefs except for factional slanders and lies. Mostly we don't know what they believed.

We need a culture of honest criticism on the left, and an end to telling lies about other socialists.

Marxist Theory and History: 

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Who is Tom Watson?

Author: 

David Pendletone

Watson comes from a Stalinist-Labour bureaucracy background. He used to boast that his father had been expelled from school for writing pro-Cuba graffiti. On leaving school, Watson got a job in the Labour Party headquarters in Walworth Road. He then went to study Politics at Hull University in 1990; after initially eschewing student politics he became involved in the Labour Club and in 1992 became the Union President.

Watson has always been a machine-politician Stalinoid intriguer.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Connolly and the Unionists

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Part nine of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly. The rest of the series can be found here.


The prospect of the Third Home Rule Bill sparked a widespread mobilisation of Ulster Unionists in opposition to the measure, backed to the hilt by the Tory establishment who hoped to use Ulster to defeat Home Rule for Ireland as a whole.

Part nine of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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