Battle of Ideas

Socialism, Republicanism and Clericalism in 1940s Ireland

Author: 

No name: possibly Mat Merrigan
The fact that the radical bourgeoisie is the ruling class, confuses and disorients 26 County Irish workers, who devoted a lifetime of struggle and sacrifice to the ending of imperialist rule.

Ed's note, 1947:
From an Irish comrade, living in Dublin,
we have received the following account of
the problems facing the revolutionists of
that country. We print below extracts from
his interesting letter.

Bourgeois Pride.

Author: 

John Keats
John Keats pours scorn on the pretensions and pride of a bourgeoisie which lives by mean and inhuman exploitation.

In every age the left, before it can do anything else, has to debunk the pretensions of those who hold the social and political power. This is especially true when the ruling class is prosperous, triumphant and confident. The British capitalist class was very confident indeed in the first decades of the 19th century, when Britain was becoming the “workshop of the world”, was mistress of the Seas, and had recently conquered the French Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte. It's bourgeoisie was puffed up with pride.

Support the Corbyn campaign - fight for working-class politics and socialism

Author: 

Editorial

The huge support for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for Labour leader is a reminder that what seems like an overwhelmingly dominant right-wing “consensus” in bourgeois politics can be limited and unstable. It shows that large numbers of people, including working-class and young people, want a politics that is different to, to the left of, the consensus of neo-liberalism — that the “market” must rule, the welfare state must be cut back, and getting rich is the best thing to aspire to in life.

Being "anti-austerity" is not enough. We should argue explicitly for a political project based on working-class struggle and replacing capitalism with socialism.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Corbyn: Seize the chance the left now has!

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

In the three months since the general election hundreds of thousands of people have joined the Labour Party, the party that lost the election.

If Jeremy Corbyn wins, it won't be the end but the beginning of the fight.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

The two Trotskyisms

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

This month marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the murder of Leon Trotsky by an agent of the Stalinist USSR’s secret police. Next month, Workers’ Liberty will publish a second volume of documents from the movement which kept alive and developed the revolutionary socialist politics Trotsky fought for. Just before Trotsky’s death, the American Trotskyist organisation split after a dispute triggered by Stalin’s invasion of Poland. The majority was led by James P Cannon, the minority by Max Shachtman.

This month marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the murder of Leon Trotsky by an agent of the Stalinist USSR’s secret police. Next month Workers’ Liberty will publish a second volume of documents from the movement which kept alive and developed the revolutionary socialist politics Trotsky fought for.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

The Last Time the Labour MPs Revolted Against Party Democracy

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

AT ITS SCARBOROUGH conference in 1960, the Labour Party voted in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament by Britain.

This decision had tremendous implications for British politics, for it opened a fundamental breach in Labour-Tory foreign and 'defence' policy bipartisanship, one of the pillars on which class collaboration rests and on which depends the possibility of orderly changes in party government at Westminster.

In 1960 the Labour left won the party to British unilateral nuclear disarmament, and then buckled under the big right wing counter-attact that followed.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Why the Times hates democracy – and Jeremy Corbyn

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

The Times is establishing itself as the leading advocate of direct action to stop Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour Party, or leading it for long.

Its regular anti-Corbyn editorial diatribes have included a call for Labour MPs to overthrow Corbyn if he is elected, and now (18 August) a call to suspend the election on grounds of supposed irregularities.

The Times newspaper argues that Jeremy Corbyn should not be allowed to become Labour Party leader - and justifies itself on grounds of democracy!

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

"How to fight elections" - the story of a class-struggle socialist Labour Party election campaign, in Wallasey, 1987

How to fight elections is the story of Labour's election campaign in Wallasey, Merseyside, in 1987, when sacked shipyard worker and Workers' Liberty supporter Lol Duffy came within 300 votes of unseating Tory minister Linda Chalker - despite a virulent campaign by the press and sabotage by the right wing of the Labour Party. In addition to the story of the campaign, pictures and a roundtable discussion between key participants, this 2001 edition includes an introduction on the lessons as we saw them then.

Workers' Liberty's 1987 pamphlet telling the story of that year's election campaign in Wallasey, Merseyside, in which revolutionary socialist worker Lol Duffy came within 300 votes of defeating Tory minister Linda Chalker.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Police Hound Trotskyists In Northern Ireland (1943)

LONDON, Jan. 9 (By Mail)—The vicious police
regime of Northern Ireland has opened a campaign
of terrorization and repression against the Irish
Trotskyists, members of the Ulster section of the
Workers' International League. One comrade has been
blacklisted by the Belfast employers, another has been
deported to Southern Ireland, while a third has been
thrown in jail upon trumped-up accusations obviously
inspired by the Stalinists.
The first victim of this campaign was a comrade

Police and Stalinists against Northern Ireland Trotskyists during World War Two

The Downfall of "Dev": Irish Trotskyists on the 1948 26 County Election

After 15 years, the Fianna Fail party of de Valera
came to an inglorious end in Eire and its famous
leader was put out of office. Several of our friends and
comrades in Dublin and Belfast have written to us
about the recent general election in Ireland and its
significance. Here we have put together extracts from
these various letters to give our readers a clearer pic-
ture of precisely what did happen.
The policy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party,
Irish Section of the Fourth International, was to lend

The Downfall of "Dev" in the 1948 26 County General Election. Irish Trotskyists commented in the US weekly "Labor Action".

Reflections of a Black American Soldier In World War Two

Author: 

Bill Horton
Reflections, in the form of a poem, of a black soldier of the still-segregated US Army. It appeared in the Trotskyist paper The Militant, New York, 11 Nov 1944.

I'm just a Negro soldier
Fighting for "Democracy,"
A thing I've often heard of
But very seldom see.

In the South I was just a "nigger"
On whom the boss man kept close track
To see that I grew no bigger
Than the clothes upon my back.

In the North, of course, it's different,
That is, they had a different name
For Jim-Crow it was segregation
But it amounts to just the same.

Yet I must be patriotic
Must not grumble or complain
But must fight for some "four freedoms"
On which I'll have no claim.

James Bloodworth is wrong about Jeremy Corbyn

James Bloodworth, editor of the Left Foot Forward blog and previously a member of Workers' Liberty, has written an article arguing against the left supporting Jeremy Corbyn. Sacha Ismail replies.

James Bloodworth makes the only possible left-wing case against support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign – and is still wrong.

Corbyn is wrong on some things, but the class-struggle left must back his campaign.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

What a packed rally in Croydon tells you about the Corbyn campaign

Author: 

Sacha Ismail


(Overspill meeting at Ruskin House, Croydon)

I was slightly late for the meeting Croydon Trades Council held for the Jeremy Corbyn campaign on 4 August (“privatised trains”, joked Corbyn, who was even later than me). By the time I got there, the hall at the back of Ruskin House was full, as was the garden next to it, with more people inside the main building – perhaps just short of five hundred in all.

Five hundred people attended a South London rally for Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign organised by Croydon Trades Council.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

The problem with Bernie Sanders

Author: 

Eric Lee

The Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is probably the most exciting development in US politics since the 1930s.  And it's not a coincidence that both the resurgent left of that decade and the Sanders phenomenon have followed the spectacular economic crashes of 1929 and 2008.
 

Sanders campaign for the presidential nomination is an inspiration. But it needs a strategy for building a left political organisation.

Publications: 

Around the world: 

Report of RS21 meeting on Europe and Q&A

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Eighty people attended the London public meeting on Europe held by the socialist organisation RS21 on 15 July. RS21 should be congratulated for organising the event; the class-struggle left needs much more debate on these issues.

A report of the 15 July discussion on the European Union held by the socialist organisation RS21, and a Q&A based on it.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Around the world: 

Corbyn and the Middle East: the hypocrisy of the right, a challenge for the left

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

The controversy sparked, or ramped up, by Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance on Channel 4 News on 13 July raises important issues for the left.

(You can watch it on the Channel 4 website here.)

What should the left say about Jeremy Corbyn's softness on Islamists like Hamas and Hesbollah?

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Around the world: 

Articles on Greece and Syriza


Oxi still means oxi! Theodora Polenta, 15th July, 2015

Solidarity with Greece, and with the Greek workers and left! Sacha Ismail, 9th July

Greek left mobilises for “no” on 5 July Theodora Polenta, 3 July, 2015

Greece: rescue? At what price? Theodora Polenta, 24 June, 2015

A collection of articles on Greece going back to July 2014, with a link to older articles.

Around the world: 

Ukrainian socialists set up "Social Movement"

Author: 

Dale Street
New organisation says it wants "an alliance of the working class and (progressive) intellectuals.”

In mid-June a meeting of Ukrainian socialists in Kiev founded a new left-wing party, “Social Movement” (SM). According to an interview with some of its leading members, published on the website of the Russian Socialist Movement:

Activists from five of Ukraine’s biggest cities attended the meeting: Kiev, Odessa, Cherkass, Dnepropetrovsk and Krivy Rog. Politically, they ranged from “moderate social-democrats” to “radical Marxists”.

Independent Working-Class Education: a world to win

Author: 

Max Munday

Hosted by educationalists and labour movement activists at Northern College on the last weekend of May, the IWCE's "A World To Win" was an excellent event which discussed key moments in the development of trade unionism in this country - from the Combination Acts to modern blacklisting, violent rioting in 1700s Liverpool to the GMB organising in ASDA.

The IWCE project aims to bring Marxism and working-class history back into the labour movement.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

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