Battle of Ideas

Against the Europhobes, against the Euro-capitalists: For a workers’ united Europe

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

There are two basic lines of possible working class policy in relation to the European Union.

The first advocates building on what the bourgeoisie has created and uniting the working class across the EU to fight the bourgeoisie for democratic and social reform and, in the course of doing that, building towards socialist transformation by working-class revolution on a European scale.

Such an approach does not imply backing what the dominant capitalists and their servants do, or the way that they do it.

Working-class socialist policy and Europe.

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The three versions of Brexit

Author: 

Harry Glass

In the forthcoming European Union (EU) referendum, the question on the ballot paper will be “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

The duty of the revolutionary left is to weigh up these concrete alternatives from the perspective of the working class internationally — its global interests, its European interests and lastly the specific impacts for workers in the UK.

The idea of a left exit from the EU is not just fanciful, it is utterly delusional.

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Soft left "breaks" under Brexit pressure

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Left-wing writer Paul Mason has joined the push for Britain to block migrant workers from Europe. Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson, and former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, have made similar calls. There is talk in some Labour left circles of swinging over to a similar line.

Left-wing writer Paul Mason has joined the push for Britain to block migrant workers from Europe. Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson, and former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, have made similar calls.

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For a united states of Europe!

Leon Trotsky argued for a United States of Europe in "The Peace Programme" of 1915. Excerpts:


The economic unification of Europe, which offers colossal advantages to producer and consumer alike, in general to the whole cultural development, becomes the revolutionary task of the European proletariat in its struggle against imperialist protectionism and its instrument militarism.

The United States of Europe - without monarchies, standing armies and secret diplomacy - is therefore the most important integral part of the proletarian peace programme.

Leon Trotsky argued for a United States of Europe in "The Peace Programme" of 1915.

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Connolly, the rise of Irish labour and Home Rule

Author: 

Michael Johnson

By January 1908, Connolly finally had an organ of his own once again, when he founded The Harp as the newspaper of the Irish Socialist Federation (ISF) in the USA.

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

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

Author: 

Paul Hampton

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

Download pdf or read online here.

The revolutionary left once had reputable politics towards Europe, an inheritance from Trotsky that was not finally dispensed with until the early 1970s. The story of how the British revolutionary left went from an independent working-class stance to accommodation with chauvinism and Stalinist “socialist-in-one-country” deserves to be better known.

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Third Camp politics from the 1930s to the 21st century: an interview

Author: 

Phyllis and Julius Jacobson, interviewed by Kent Worcester

An interview with Phyllis and Julius Jacobson has just been published on the website of the US socialist magazine New Politics. Click here to read it online.

Early-90s interviews with the US socialist veterans Phyllis and Julius Jacobson about their activity in the SWP, the Workers' Party, the ISL, and after.

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The life and politics of James Connolly

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson's series on the life and politics of James Connolly has been serialised in Solidarity.

All of the editions of the series so far are listed below:

Michael Johnson's series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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The mirage of the "internationalist no"

Author: 

Martin Thomas

From Solidarity 3/12, 12 September 2002


Even if a strong internationalist campaign for "no" were theoretically possible, it certainly will not happen.

At the Socialist Alliance National Council on 7 September, John Rees of the SWP said flatly and clearly that he wanted a "no" campaign run in unity with "other left forces", including, by name, the Communist Party of Britain. The Communist Party has a long, long tradition of British nationalism - on Europe especially.

Even if a strong internationalist campaign for "no" to the EU were theoretically possible, it certainly will not happen.

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Hal Draper on Israel/Palestine (1954)

Author: 

Hal Draper

In the summer of 1954, the American “third camp” Trotskyist group the Independent Socialist League (ISL) invited Clovis Maksoud, a Lebanese-American Arab nationalist and socialist then studying in London, to publish an article in their newspaper Labor Action setting out “the position of the Arab socialists on Israel”.

Hal Draper sets out his perspective on Israel/Palestine in articles from Labor Action in 1954.

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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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James Connolly: Home Rule and the Gaelic Revival

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.


Connolly's period in Dublin coincided with the period of the Gaelic Revival, and the rediscovery (and re-invention) of Ireland's historical, literary and cultural past. It also led to a deepening of Connolly's understanding of Irish history and the Irish national question, establishing some themes which, in various form, would be present throughout his political life.

Michael Johnson continues a series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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It is time to stand up for socialism!

Author: 

Editorial

All in all, Labour didn't do too badly in the 5 May elections.

Everything was weighted against them. The media had its own anti-Labour agenda and tried to force events into its own pre-set patterns. It spent much of its time discussing Jeremy Corbyn and who liked him and didn't like him.

The Labour Party leaders should launch a great campaign against the policies and values of Toryism and for the central ethos of the labour movement and the socialist working class: solidarity.

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How to fight left anti-semitism (audio)

For post-debate comment see Cathy Nugent's article here

Director of Progress Richard Angell debates Cathy Nugent, editor of Solidarity newspaper in this Workers' Liberty London Forum.

How should the labour movement tackle anti-Semitism within its own ranks? As debate over left wing anti-Semitism has intensified in recent weeks, different solutions and answers have been proposed.

Director of Progress Richard Angell debates Cathy Nugent, editor of Solidarity newspaper in this Workers' Liberty London Forum.

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James Connolly, Irish nationalism and the socialist republic

Author: 

Michael Johnson

Building on the ideas of John Leslie (of the Social Democratic Federation) in his 1897 pamphlet Erin’s Hope, Connolly claimed that the essence of the national question in Ireland was a battle over “fundamentally different ideas on the vital question of property in land”. Between, on the one hand, a supposed Irish “primitive communism” and, on the other, an “alien social system” of private ownership.

The fourth part of Michael Johnson’s series on the life and politics of James Connolly.

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Art versus Propaganda: the films of Ken Loach (1997)

Author: 

Clive Bradley
Art versus Propaganda Clive Bradley looks at the films of Ken Loach (1997)

[Throughout this article, I am using the word "propaganda" in its neutral sense, to mean politically educative material.]

What does it mean to make socialist films in contemporary Britain?What is the relationship between art and propaganda in modern cinema? The work of Ken Loach, one of Britain's leading film-makers, hinges around these questions. The tension between art and propaganda,* drama and politics, runs through his films.

Pro-Palestine or anti-Israel? The basic difference between AWL and the conventional Left on the Middle East (2004)

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Dave Osler's letter (Solidarity 3/51) offers an opportunity to restate our position on the Jewish-Arab conflict.


If Dave Osler thinks - and it seems he does - that any of us approach this question as Israeli nationalists, an outline of our position is sorely needed.

Pro-Palestine or anti-Israel? The basic difference between AWL and the conventional Left on the Middle East.

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“Peak stuff”? Time for socialism!

Author: 

Colin Foster

Steve Howard, a manager at Ikea, says: “In the west, we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff... peak home furnishings”.

Other people studying retail markets have come up with similar ideas. Kevin Jenkins, a manager at the Visa credit-card company, says: “We increasingly see a trend for consumers to spend more on experiences rather than on products”.

Lorna Hall, a market researcher, says: “People are interested in servicing a lifestyle rather than buying stuff”.

Even under capitalist bombardment, a lot of people recognise a better life comes more through shared experiences, which can’t be bought, than through competitively consuming more “stuff”.

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Higher university fees and private providers

The government’s Higher Education White Paper, released on Monday 16 May, is a clear ideological attack on students, workers, and universities as public institutions. Here are our initial responses.

Free Education is “value for money”

One of things we keep hearing about from the government is that universities need to be “value for money”. This value will come from bringing in more “choice” for students in where and what they study.

The government’s Higher Education White Paper is a clear ideological attack on students, workers, and universities as public institutions.

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Leaving principles for later?

Author: 

Martin Thomas

At the Lutte Ouvriere fete on 14-16 May, we met comrades from IZAR (Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist Left), a group expelled in 2015 from the “Mandelite” (Fourth International) organisation in Spain because they called for a stance more independent from the leadership of Podemos, the new broad leftish party.

The following critique is part of a document published by IZAR with sympathisers in France, the USA, Germany, Greece, and Italy.

A critique produced by IZAR (Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist Left), a group expelled in 2015 from the “Mandelite” Fourth International organisation in Spain because they called for a stance more independent from the leadership of Podemos, of attempts to build "broad parties".

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