Battle of Ideas

How the Stalinists killed workers' control in the 1936-37 Spanish Revolution


M Casanova

The workers took control of the factories. The revolution came from below. From above, in other words from the leadership of the workers’ parties, came only curbs. The decrees of the Taradellas government of the Generalitat on collectivisation, for example were only a tardy confirmation of an already established state of fact.

A leader of the Spanish Trotskyist movement during the 1936-37 revolution on how the Stalinists helped the ruling class undercut workers' control.


Marxist Theory and History: 

Sam Bottone, 1926-2016


New York Times

This obituary first appeared in the New York Times

Socialist activist, intellectual, and labor organizer Sam Bottone, 90, died on December 30, 2016 in Portland, OR of multiple chronic illnesses. Sam is survived by his wife of 42 years, Toni Propotnik, and his daughters Lisa and Andrea Bottone of Manhattan and Staten Island, children of his first marriage to the former Elsie Yacubovich.

Veteran of the "Third Camp" socialist left, Sam Bottone, has died, aged 90.

Marxist Theory and History: 

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John Reed: Soviets in Action: An Eyewitness Account of Working Class Democracy in the Russian Revolution


John Reed
The American Journalist John Reed describes what happened in the Russian workers revolution of 1917 and after.

Through all the chorus of abuse and misrepresentation directed against the Russian Soviets by the capitalist press there runs a voice shrill with a sort of panic, which cries: ‘There is no government in Russia! There is no organisation among the Russian workers! It will not work! It will not work!’

There is method in the slander.

Race and language: an exchange between Ernest Rice McKinney and Hal Draper (1950)


Ernest Rice McKinney and Hal Draper
Race and language: an exchange between Ernest Rice McKinney and Hal Draper (1950)

To the Editor:

In Susan Green's article in LABOR ACTION of January 30 one may read the following expressions "white Negress,"' "Negress," "while Negress," and "educated Negress." Four places in which "Negress" is used and it is not caught by anybody: editor, assistant editor or proof reader.

Can Labour resist the anti-migrant pressure?


Sacha Ismail

How will the left-wing leadership of the Labour Party respond to the growth of right-wing, anti-immigrant populism in many countries and to increasingly vocal calls for Labour to concede to an anti-migrant agenda? The picture is confused.

Right-wing Labour MPs want Labour to adds its voice to those telling workers that the problems they face are caused by immigration.


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


Labor Action
Report of Conference of the Socialist Movement for the United States of Europe, 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 Par-
ties, the Independent Labor Party,
the Commonwealth and Fabian So-
cieties, as well as several unions and
pence organizations, produced a series
of resolutions which are of import-
ance to the world socialist movement.
The resolution on "Political Rela-
tions Between Europe, Britain, the
Commonwealth and Empire" point up

Response to Ed Maltby on "The Two Trotskyisms"


Steve Bloom

I would not expect to see birds splashing
in a fountain on this cold autumn day.
But there they are.
And they are more than one.

Steve Bloom, “Meditations”

First let me thank Ed Maltby and others who have offered critical comments regarding my review of The Two Trotskyisms for their seriousness and honest attempt to investigate real questions. I am, therefore, choosing to jump into the conversation again. I think each round gets us a bit closer to the collective understanding we all require to move forward.

Steve Bloom continues the debate about "The Two Trotskyisms"

Marxist Theory and History: 

The Red Flag


Jim Connell
The Red Flag was written in 1889 by Jim Connell, an old Fenian, during a train journey between Charing Cross and New Cross Gate.

The workers' flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead;
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold
Their life-blood dyed its every fold.


Then raise the scarlet standard high;
Beneath its folds we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

Look 'round, the Frenchman loves its blaze
The sturdy German chants its praise;
In Moscow's vaults its hymns are sung,
Chicago swells its surging song.

Independent Socialism and US 'Subversive' Lists: Hal Draper Testifies (1949)


Hal Draper
Hal Draper’s 1949 speech before the New York State Board of Regents opposing the inclusion of the Workers Party/Independent Socialist Leage in a list of 'subversive' organisations.

On July 11, 1949, the Board of Regents of New York State held a hearing in Albany for the purpose of determining a list of "subversive organizations" in accordance with the Feinberg Law, passed by the state legislature to bar from the schools any teacher belonging to such an organization.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: 63 Heroic Days


JACQUES (1949)
The story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising told on its 6th anniversary in Labor Action, April 4 1949

There will be no memorial meet-
ings held in Warsaw this April to
commemorate the desperate uprisings
of the Jewish Ghetto that look place
on April 19, 1943. The 50,000 Jewish
workers still living at that time rep-
resented just ten per cent of those
who had been crushed together by
the Nazis into the wallcd-in ghetto
section of Warsaw in October, 1940.
The rest had been hunted down in
batches in the continual manhunt of
the SS (Hitler's stormtroops). to be
exterminated in the gas chambers of

Eugene Debs: The Day of the People (1919)


Eugene V. Debs
Eugene Victor Debs speaks for socialism, in January 1919

(Soon after Debs made this speech, Karl Liebnecht and Rosa Ruxemburg were murdered by German reactionaries)

Upon his release from the Kaiser’s bastile – the doors of which were torn from their hinges by the proletarian revolution – Karl Liebknecht, heroic leader of the rising hosts, exclaimed: “The Day of the People has arrived!” It was a magnificent challenge to the Junkers and an inspiring battle-cry to the aroused workers.

Labour should vote against Article 50



On 5 November Jeremy Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror that Labour will vote in Parliament against triggering “Article 50” — the formal procedure for Britain quitting the EU — unless the Tory government agrees to Labour’s “Brexit bottom line”.

That, he said, is mainly continued UK membership of the “single market”, within which customs duties and checks are abolished and trade regulations are uniform.

It will be good, not bad, if the government cannot pass “Article 50” through Parliament — that is, if Parliament, in one way or another, upholds the rights of migrant workers.


Around the world: 

The last speech of Bartolomeo Vanzetti


Bartolomeo Vanzetti

This is the famous last speech of Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the class-war prisoner who, alongside Nicolo Sacco, both of them Anarchists, died in the electric chair in August 1927. This speech despite its broken English, is so beautiful and moving that it falls naturally into verse form.

Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicolo Sacco, socialist-anarchists, were killed by the US state in August 1927 on trumped-up murder charges, after a long campaign to save their lives. This is Vanzetti's last speech.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Is Cuba socialist?

Fidel Castro


Paul Hampton and Bernard Regan

Paul Hampton of Workers' Liberty debated with Bernard Regan, a leading member of the Socialist Teachers' Alliance, at a London Workers' Liberty meeting.

More on Cuba here.


Paul Hampton argued that Cuba displays the essential characteristics of Stalinism

On New Year's Day 1959, the Cuban revolution triumphed, when guerrillas led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara drove out the hated dictator Batista after two years of struggle.

Paul Hampton of Workers' Liberty debated the nature of Cuba with Bernard Regan, a leading member of the Socialist Teachers' Alliance.

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Putin’s useful idiots: an update


Dale Street
Evidence that Borotba - once promoted by sections of the British left - were propagandists for Putin

“Workers Power” (now rebranded as “Red Flag”) hailed them as their “Ukrainian allies” and as “revolutionary socialists” who had taken the lead in “mobilising workers and youth on the streets to defy the neo-liberals and the fascist gangs.”

Scarcely a meeting of the “Campaign in Solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine” (SARU) took place without a Skype link to one of their members. They provided “the most moving contributions” to SARU meetings, which were “rightly met with a standing ovation”.

What is Islamic fundamentalism?

The term "Islamic fundamentalism" first became common during the Iranian revolution of 1978-79. The Western-backed Shah (who had been put in power by the CIA) was overthrown by an enormous popular revolt, one element in which, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, expressed itself through the largest traditional religion in the country, Shi'a Islam.

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Political Islam, Christian Fundamentalism, Marxism and the Left Today


Sean Matgamna

Click here for a range of articles that were part of the controversy sparked by the republication of this article


(Adapted from the introduction to Workers' Liberty 3/1: Marxism and Religion - January 2006)

Since Islamist terrorists attacked New York on 11 September 2001, religion, or concerns and interests expressed in religion, are at the centre of international politics to a degree without parallel for hundreds of years.

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