Battle of Ideas

Articles on Greece and Syriza

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

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Marxists, ecology and the fight against dangerous climate change: two documents

The first of these documents was passed at the Alliance for Workers' Liberty conference in 2008, in the midst of a very fruitful period of discussion and activity around these issues for our organisation.

The second was passed at the last AWL conference but one, in 2013. Note the change of position on nuclear power.

Climate change and socialist politics (AWL conference October 2008)

Two documents, from the 2008 and 2013 Workers' Liberty conferences.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Campaign for free speech on university campuses!

Below is a model motion for students to put to their students unions and for consideration at NUS conference.

This students union believes

There is a rise in meetings, debates and publications being suppressed on campus, whether by campus authorities, the state or student unions.
In one particularly alarming case, Birkbeck College management closed a conference because a far-right racist group threatened to protest.

This student union further believes

Model motion for free speech on campus.

Charlie Hebdo and the politics of anti-imperialism

Author: 

Barry Finger

"Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction." (Bill Donohue, Catholic League)

"Now, I think there’s a critical difference between solidarity with the journalists who were attacked, refusing to concede anything to the idea that journalists are somehow “legitimate targets,” and solidarity with what is frankly a racist publication." (Richard Seymour, Lenin’s Tomb)

US socialist Barry Finger contributes to the debate around the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the left's attitude to political Islam.

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Borotba: charlatanism masquerading as socialism

Author: 

Dale Street

Introduction

“Hah, hah! Everybody is laughing at Borotba now!” read a comment posted beneath one of the articles translated below, after last November’s sham elections in the Lugansk and Donetsk ‘People’s Republics’ had reinforced right-wing control of the two ‘People’s Republics’.

In Britain, however, Borotba is still treated as a credible organisation and a reliable source of information – above all by the “Solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance” (SARU) campaign and by the various organisations affiliated to it.

Borotba's Stalinist politics: articles from the Ukrainian left.

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Discussing the issues behind the rise of the left in Greece

A group of young socialist activists from Britain are going on a delegation to Greece between 23 and 26 January, to be there during the election. Six of the delegation members took part in the dayschool which London Workers' Liberty held on 18 January, alongside a good size group of other young people, to discuss the political issues behind Greece's dramatic political situation.

A report of the dayschool on Greece held by Workers' Liberty on 18 January.

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Resolution on Greece (January 2015)

We want the left-wing party Syriza to win the Greek elections on 25 January. What else should socialists say?

The following resolution on Greece was written and passed at the Workers' Liberty national committee on 17 January. (See the resolution we published in January 2013, when the period of intense, even pre-revolutionary, struggles in Greece had not yet clearly come to an end.)

A resolution on the situation in Greece passed at the Workers' Liberty national committee on 17 January, eight days before the Greek election.

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The issues after Charlie Hebdo

Author: 

Yves Coleman

This article will not deal in detail with the facts about the two murderous attacks, on 7 January at the headquarters of the weekly Charlie Hebdo and on 9 January in a Parisian kosher supermarket, which have been widely explained in the media; but with some of the problems and discussions inside the radical left and anarchist circles

Most of the left and the anarchist groups, in France, as in other countries, have adopted one of two opposite and wrong attitudes.

A French socialist writes: The left has not been able to clearly denounce the Islamist murders in Paris without either overstressing the importance of Islamophobia, or overstressing the reactionary character of Islam...

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Finance and the "other exploitation"

Review of Costas Lapavitsas: Profiting without producing, Verso 2013


Capitalist exploitation is not just by the boss extracting from the worker, in return for a meagre more-or-less “living wage”, an expansible value-added which may be something like three times what’s paid out in wages.

It also comes from making working-class households pay interest on debts which they run up, often on disadvantageous terms, because of their relative poverty and relative lack of power in the markets.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Back to basics in the unions!

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

The most explosive and inspiring flashes of class struggle in Britain in the three years since the defeat of the public sector pensions dispute have not been national-level pitched battles between large employers and/or the government, and one or several big unions, but local-scale struggles, usually over pay.

Outsourced cleaners at the University of London and SOAS have won significant victories, bringing the workers nearer to parity with their directly employed colleagues’ sick pay, holiday entitlement, and pension arrangements.

How can revolutionary socialists in the labour movement help workplace struggles, spread them, catalyse new ones, give them a political perspective?

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Trade Unions: 

A reply to Simon Hardy on Islamism and imperialism

Simon Hardy’s article criticising “The AWL on Islamism” avoids the wilder claims made against us, but it looks as if he has not read Sean Matgamna’s 2006 piece very thoroughly, or thought about it very hard.

Does Workers' Liberty ignore the role of imperialism in the rise of Islamism? Or does much of the British left reproduce a simplistic picture which blurs over Islamism's counter-revolutionary character?

Issues and Campaigns: 

What should socialists do in the General Election?

Author: 

Editorial

In the run up to the general election in May, Workers’ Liberty will be supporting the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory, which combines advocating a Labour government with using the election to boost working-class struggles and raise the profile of socialist ideas. We call on other socialists and labour movement militants, whatever your affiliation, to join the campaign.

The Tories remaining in office would be a disaster for the working class. Yet the only alternative government is Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, committed to a softer version of cuts and anti-migrant politics. What should socialists do?

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

University bans conference under pressure from far right

Author: 

Gerry Bates

The cancellation by Birkbeck University management of room bookings for a 13 December conference on "Institutional Islamophobia" should be condemned.

Following the bans on the Socialist Workers Party by Goldsmiths Students' Union and Edinburgh University Students' Association, and the attempt to ban the SWP in University of Sussex SU, this is yet another blow to freedom of speech and organisation on campuses.

Birkbeck University cancels room booking for an Islamist-organised conference under pressure from anti-Muslim far right.

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A “New Labor” in America?

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

Before the tragic discovery that she has a brain tumour, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis, the public figurehead of the CTU’s 2012 strike against the city’s Democratic mayor Rahm Emanuel, was preparing a mayoral campaign for next year’s election.

For anyone interested in building working-class power in America, the question of how to break through anti-union hostility amongst industrial workers in the South is a real one.

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Trade Unions: 

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The socialist answer to UKIP

Author: 

Editorial

Tory defector Douglas Carswell became UKIP’s first elected MP on 9 October, and another Tory defector, Mark Reckless, may win on 20 November in Rochester and Strood. We examine UKIP’s manifesto.

UKIP: “Migrants are a drain on UK resources, including benefits and NHS”

A socialist response to UKIP's mainfesto.

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Marxism and imperialism

Author: 

Martin Thomas

By the end of the 60s, what had once been “the pride” of Marxism — the theory of imperialism — had become a “tower of Babel”, in which not even Marxists knew any longer how to find their way. Giovanni Arrighi

Maybe the first big classical-Marxist statement on imperialism was by Karl Kautsky, in 1899, replying to Eduard Bernstein’s call for a “revision” of the perspective of Marx and Engels.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

'Trotskyism' in Wonderland: 'Workers Power' and Ukraine

Author: 

Dale Street

Events in Ukraine in 2014 divided the left in Britain, just as they divided the left internationally.

In Britain one the organisations most vociferous in arguing that the Maidan protests were dominated by fascists, culminated in a fascist-led coup, and then triggered a genocidal civil war against the forces of the anti-fascist resistance was Workers Power (WP).

A review of the literature on Ukraine produced by Workers Power, the British left group which has apologised most prolifically for Russian nationalism and imperialism.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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“If we burn, you burn with us”

Author: 

Daisy Thomas

“If we burn, you burn with us” — those were the fighting words that rallied support behind the symbol of the rebellion: The Mockingjay.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), when pushed to her limit, became the symbol of hope and change that Panem’s Districts were so dearly in need of. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ was 123 minutes of being on the edge of your seat, almost holding your breath to see what would unfold next. Even though I had read the books, I found that the cinematography, acting, and screenwriting were compelling enough for me lose myself in the narrative.

A review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

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Culture and Reviews: 

Israel: “an anti-democratic bill”

Author: 

Alternative Information Centre in Jerusalem

A bill defining Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people” was passed on Sunday 23 November by the Israeli cabinet, despite protests that this bill undermines the “democratic” character of Israel and discriminates against Israel’s Palestinian citizens, who comprise 20% of the population.

Fourteen ministers supported the bill while Justice Minister Livni and five ministers from the Yesh Atid party voted against.

A bill defining Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people” was passed on Sunday 23 November by the Israeli cabinet, despite protests that this bill undermines the “democratic” character of Israel and discriminates against Israel’s Palestinian citizens, who comprise 20% of the population.

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