Battle of Ideas

A W L confesses: We are Labour's Moderates!

Author: 

James Connolly
Nick Cohen writing in the Spectator says AWL is now the moderate faction in the Labour Party Left. We confess.

" The Alliance for Workers Liberty is…. resolutely anti-Stalinist ... Shachtmanite Trotskyism …. AWL, amid its totalitarian theory and regimented thinking ... has a record of honourable opposition to modern dictatorships, and has not joined the rest of the far left in supporting any secular or clerical variant of fascism as long as it is anti-Western. Naturally the heirs to .. Stalinism... hate it.. A secretive, ruthlessly disciplined Shachtmanite-Trotskyist-Marxist-Leninist sect, is now the voice of moderate Labour...."

Nick Cohen in the Spectator

Has the Left Lost Its Way? A Debate between Nick Cohen and Sean Matgamna

A Debate between Nick Cohen, author of "What's Left"? and Sean Matgamna, at the Workers' Liberty Summer School, Ideas for Freedom, June 30th 2007

Sean Matgamna
Nick Cohen
Summations [And on-line discussion]

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

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.

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. Then too the cry was that left-wingers were "a Leninist sect".

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

The last speech of Bartolomeo Vanzetti

Author: 

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: 

Fidel Castro's legacy: Cuba as a class society

A review of Cuban-American revolutionary Sam Farber's 2012 book "Cuba since the revolution of 1959: a critical assessment".

Pablo Velasco and Sacha Ismail review Cuba since the revolution of 1959: A Critical Assessment, by Sam Farber.


Around the world: 

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

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Experiences of the left

Author: 

Patrick Murphy, Lynne Moffat, Cathy Nugent and Janine Booth

Kosova and a union conference (1999)

Patrick Murphy

Friday, April 2

Arrive at the National Union of Teachers Conference in Brighton expecting a lively and constructive weekend. Teachers are deeply angry about the Green Paper proposals for performance related pay. Yet it is hard to think about anything but the unfolding crisis in Kosova. The previous week I had been to an involved discussion on the issue. This conflict is not reducible to the well-worn slogans — ‘the main enemy is at home’, ‘stop the war’, etc.

A selection of telling episodes over recent decades.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Jeremy Corbyn, Zionist?

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

There are a few on the radical wing of the “absolute anti-Zionist” left who have condemned Jeremy Corbyn’s politics on the Israel-Palestine question as “Zionist”. However the vast majority of Corbyn-supporting “anti-Zionists” have preferred to praise him as a great supporter of Palestinian rights.

There is hypocrisy and incoherence involved here. Many of the same people regularly condemn the positions advocated by Workers’ Liberty on this question as “Zionist”, pro-Israeli government, anti-Palestinian, etc, when in fact they are very similar to Corbyn’s.

What does Jeremy Corbyn actually say about Israel-Palestine?

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Around the world: 

Trump win was a revolt of the NCOs

Author: 

Barry Finger (New Politics)
The US Presidential election is the culmination of the long-standing economic and cultural grievances of white men from the rust-belt, whose factories have been asset stripped and sent abroad.

The US Presidential election is the culmination of the long-standing economic and cultural grievances of America’s non-commissioned officer class, a subclass largely composed of white men from the rust-belt, whose factories have been asset stripped and sent abroad and whose unions or small businesses, pensions and prospects have been decimated. They are not the poorest of the poor – not even the poorest of the white poor.

Labour should vote against Article 50

Author: 

Editorial

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.

Publications: 

Around the world: 

Is Cuba socialist?

Fidel Castro

Author: 

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.

Around the world: 

Blaming The Victims

Author: 

Marieme Helie-Lucas

The Algerian socialist-feminist Marieme Helie-Lucas responds to Deeya Khan's film Islam's Non-Believers, which was broadcast on ITV on 13 October.


For the past three decades, we have been witnessing the implementation in politics of the concept of perversity in psychology. Truly, this is a case study.

The Algerian socialist-feminist Marieme Helie-Lucas responds to Deeya Khan's film Islam's Non-Believers, broadcast on ITV on 13 October.

Culture and Reviews: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

John Reed: Soviets in Action: Working Class Democracy in the Russian Revolution

Author: 

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.

Vladimir Lenin: THE SOVIETS AT WORK The Problems of the Soviet Government (1918)

Author: 

Vladimir Lenin
In March 1918 Lenin described the work of the ruling soviets in Bolshevik Russia. It was published as a pamphlet by "Nicolai Lenin" in Britain by the De Leonite Socialist Labour Party in 1919.

Thanks to the peace obtained—in spite of its oppressiveness and all its insecurity—the Russian Soviet Republic is enabled for a certain time to concentrate its efforts on the most important and most difficult side of the Socialist revolution, the problem of organization.

This problem is presented clearly and precisely to the masses in the fourth section of the resolution adopted at the extraordinary Congress of the Soviets held at Moscow on March 16, 1918, the section which urges self-discipline of the workers and a merciless struggle against chaos and disorganization.

The economic consequences of Donald Trump

Author: 

Martin Thomas
Beyond domestic regression, President Trump may also disrupt the large trends which have allowed capitalist growth for 60 years.

Newly-elected US president Trump will surely hack back migrants', workers', women's, and civil rights; speed environmental destruction; and raise risks of war, especially with Iran. He may also disrupt the large trends which have allowed capitalist growth for 60-plus years.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

The left should not "Trumpify" itself!

Author: 

Michel Husson

On 23 January 2015, several days after being named as the Finance Minister of the new Greek government, Yanis Varoufakis answered questions from Channel Four. His first objective, he explained, was to take emergency steps to reduce the social effects of the crisis, and the third was to re-negotiate the debt. Between these two, and before even getting to the question of the debt, Varoufakis named as his target the system of oligarchy: “We are going to destroy the Greek oligarchy system”.

The idea that the left should develop its own "national sovereignty narrative" plays into the hands of the xenophobes.

Publications: 

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trump win shows a sick system

Author: 

Editorial

Donald Trump has won the US Presidential election.

He won by tapping into the reality of and the fear of poverty and failure among millions of working-class Americans.

He won by exploiting the deep racial divisions that have blighted the US for centuries. He attacked all Hispanic workers when calling Mexicans criminals and rapists. By scapegoating Muslims.

The necessity of remobilising the labour movement on socialist politics has just become many times more urgent.

Publications: 

Around the world: 

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