Battle of Ideas

100 years of jazz on record

Author: 

Jim Denham

It was fortunate for both jazz and the phonograph industry that their emergence co-incided: the improvisational music that is jazz was caught in its early days by the phonograph, and jazz repaid the industry a million times over in sales of music that owed its existence to early jazz.

Is the fact that the first jazz records were made by five white guys a practical demonstration of racism, even in the foremost art-form developed by African-Americans?

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4. The Comintern and the Fourth International

The nascent Russian workers’ state survived beleaguered the civil war and resulting economic collapse, but saw capitalism stabilise and the immediate possibilities of workers’ revolution recede across Europe. Lenin and Trotsky sought to reorient the Communist Parties through their joint work in the Communist International, particularly at the Third (July 1921) and Fourth (November 1922) Congresses.

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Left anti-semitism: racism as anti-racism (1984)

Author: 

Clive Bradley and Martin Thomas
A review by Clive Bradley of Steve Cohen's, 'That's funny, you don't look anti-Semitic', and a comment by Martin Thomas.

Both published in Socialist Organiser, summer 1984.

***

'That's funny, you don't look anti-Semitic', by Steve Cohen, an anti-racist analysis of Left anti-semitism (Beyond the Pale collective, £2)

This book should be read and re-read by everyone active on the left. For years, the left - revolutionary or otherwise - has glibly held up its hands in horror at the very idea that it might be anti-Semitic. Anti-semitism is rarely mentioned except as an afterthought to ward off criticism from Zionists.

The democracy of others

Author: 

Martin Thomas

“No-one combats freedom; at most they combat the freedom of others”, wrote Karl Marx sarcastically, in an article defending the freedom of the press. For a long time now, in politics, “democracy” has had the same status.

In the turmoil around the revolutions of 1848 Engels and Marx came to understand that a formal, merely-political democracy was possible, which would preserve the rule of profiteers and of profit in economic life.

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Ritzy Living Wage campaign: “unleashing passion and creativity”

A socialist who works at the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema in Brixton, South London spoke to Solidarity about the Ritzy workers' Living Wage struggle (in a personal capacity).

An interview with a Ritzy worker, from the previous wave of Picturehouse cinema strikes in 2014.

Trade Unions: 

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The Soviets and Democracy

Author: 

Maurice Spector*
What separated Trotsky from Stalin was not a matter of tempo of economic development but principle. State planning could be properly and creatively applied only under conditions of Soviet democracy

IMMEDIATELY AFTER the accession of Hitler, Trotsky wrote that the issue presenting itself to the masses was no longer Bolshevism versus Fascism but Fascism versus Democracy. Our subsequent critique of the Popular Front might make it appear that we had perversely abandoned this view when Moscow adopted it. That would be a complete misunderstanding. We rejected the whole conception of the Popular Front precisely because it was  impotent to combat fascism.

Lenin and the Russian Revolution

WL 3/28

Author: 

Andrew Hornung and John O'Mahony

Read online (below), or download pdf (see "attachment").

Who was Lenin? He led the workers of the Tsarist Russian Empire to make the most profound revolution in history in 1917. He was the leader of the Russian Bolshevik Party, without which the workers would have been defeated.



Who was Lenin? He led the workers of the Tsarist Russian Empire to make the most profound revolution in history in 1917. He was the leader of the Russian Bolshevik Party, without which the workers would have been defeated.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Trump: neoliberalism with a white nationalist face

Arun Gupta (from Jacobin magazine) interviewed Marxist academic Leo Panitch about Trump’s economic agenda, his relationship to transnational elites, and how neoliberalism’s crisis could mean revitalization for the left.


AG: Are there positive outcomes from this election?

An interview by Arun Gupta from Jacobin magazine with Marxist academic Leo Panitch about Trump’s agenda

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Labour: vote against Article 50!

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Theresa May has at last (on 17 January) made one thing about her Brexit: she plans to pull Britain out of the European single market, because staying in requires freedom of movement for workers.

Labour should defend existing freedoms of movement — and vote for keeping economic barriers suppressed, too.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

The commercialised politics of uno vale uno

Author: 

Hugh Edwards
Italy's 5-Star movement online decision-making structure was invention of business man founder and has been used to institute centralised control.

"...The weekly meetings with hundreds of people and lively discussions and debate where the members confronted each other democratically are over now.

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.

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How Our Flag Came To Be Red

THE red flag was not always the symbol
of revolutionary socialism. It was first
introduced in Paris through the Riot Law
of the 21 October 1791. A National Guard
was armed for the purpose of suppressing
any disturbances or rioting that might
occur. That Guard had to display at such
times a red flag as a signal that the author-
ities wanted the rebels to cease rioting
otherwise blood would be shed. Only
once was the red flag used in such a sense.
When the sans culottes (who were the

This account of the red flag, a translation from the Jewish Social Democrat, appeared in the British De Leonist monthly. The Socialist, in January 1916.

We have fed you all for a thousand years

Author: 

Unknown
"We have fed you all for a thousand years". Dating from the early part of the 20th Century, this powerful working class verse originates in the USA.

We have fed you all for a thousand years,
And you hail us still unfed.
Tho' there's never a dollar of all your wealth
But marks the workers' dead.

We have yielded our best to give you rest,
And you lie on crimson wool;
For if blood be the price on all your wealth.
Good God, we have paid in full!

There's never a mine blown skyward now
But we're buried alive for you;
There's never a wreck drifts shore ward now
But we are its ghastly crew.

Socialist ideas can beat Trump

Author: 

Editorial
Only a resurgent labour movement, fighting boldly and unequivocally for a different world-view, and a different world, of co-operation and solidarity, can turn the tables. Not a bland, moderate, liberal defence of the status quo.

Donald Trump, who becomes US president on 20 January, threatens to push the USA, and maybe more of the world, back decades on women’s rights, ethnic minority rights, migrant rights, and civil liberties. He threatens to batter and marginalise the long-beleaguered US trade-union movement.

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

Author: 

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.

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Sam Bottone, 1926-2016

Author: 

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

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.

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

Author: 

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.

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