AWL

Today one class, the working class, lives by selling its labour power to another, the capitalist class which owns the means of production. Society is shaped by the capitalists' relentless drive to increase their wealth. Capitalism causes poverty, unemployment, the blighting of lives by overwork, imperialism, the destruction of the environment and much else.

Against the accumulated wealth and power of the capitalists, the working class has one weapon: solidarity.

The Alliance for Workers' Liberty aims to build solidarity through struggle so that the working class can overthrow capitalism. We want socialist revolution: collective ownership of industry and services, workers' control and a democracy much fuller than the present, with elected representatives recallable at any time and an end to bureaucrats' and managers' privileges.

We fight for the labour movement to break with "social partnership" and assert working-class interests militantly against the bosses.

Our priority is to work in the workplaces and trade unions, supporting workers' struggles, producing workplace bulletins, helping organise rank-and-file groups.

We stand for:

• Independent working-class representation in politics.
• A workers' government, based on and accountable to the labour movement.
• A workers' charter of trade union rights - to organise, to strike, to picket effectively, and to take solidarity action.
• Taxation of the rich to fund decent public services, homes, education and jobs for all.
• A workers' movement that fights all forms of oppression. Full equality for women and social provision to free women from the burden of housework. Free abortion on request. Full equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Black and white workers' unity against racism.
• Open borders.
• Global solidarity against global capital - workers everywhere have more in common with each other than with their capitalist or Stalinist rulers.
• Democracy at every level of society from the smallest workplace or community to global social organisation.
• Working-class solidarity in international politics: equal rights for all nations, against imperialists and predators big and small.
• Maximum left unity in action, and openness in debate!

If you agree with us, please take some copies of Solidarity to sell - and join us!<!--break-->

South Africa - workers defeat apartheid

A strike wave began in Durban in 1973 involving nearly 100,000
workers. It shook the racist apartheid regime (where only the white
minority could vote). Students played an important role, assisting
and doing research for workers.

From the early 80s, there was a massive upsurge in working class
struggle. On 1 May 1986, 1.5 million workers "stayed away" from work
to demand an official May Day holiday - the largest strike in South
African history.

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Fight for a workers' government

We work to reorganise and reorient the labour movement around a fight
for the objective of a workers' government, a government based on,
accountable to, and serving the organised working class.
We work to rally all trade unions and working-class organisations to
fight for - and to back election candidates committed to:

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Festival of the oppressed

Why does Workers' Liberty always talk about class? Are people not oppressed in other ways too? By sexism, racism, homophobia and other prejudices?

Yes, they are - which is why we see the fight for equality as an inseparable part of our socialism.

Look around the world and back through history, and you will see that the fortunes of the working class and of oppressed groups rise and fall together. From Iran under the Ayatollahs to apartheid South Africa to Stalin's Russia, regimes which crush workers enforce other oppressions too.

Why does Workers' Liberty always talk about class? Are people not oppressed in other ways too? By sexism, racism, homophobia and other prejudices?

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Who was August Bebel?

August Bebel (1840-1913) was the best-known
leader of the German Social-Democratic Party
(SPD: "social-democratic" then meant "Marxist")
and of the world workers' movement between
Engels' death in 1895 and World War One.
After his father died young, Bebel had to work to
support his family from the age of seven, but
managed to train as a wood-turner.
He became politically active as a member of the
German Workers' Association, led by Ferdinand
Lassalle, in 1863. He was won over to Marxism by

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Imperialism, nationalism and war

Today, the world is for the first time truly an "empire of
capital" - capitalism writ large. Capitalism is
more universal than ever before.

Marx dated the first beginnings of capitalist production as far back as the 14th century. With the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century, capitalism became much more widespread and dynamic. But until the late 20th century, in much of the world, capitalist production was still a small foreign-connected enclave within societies mostly organised around pre-capitalist production on the land.

What do Marxists say about imperialism, nationalism and war?

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Afghanistan

The Afghan Stalinist coup d'état of April 1978
had enormous consequences. It led to the Russian
invasion of Afghanistan on 25 December, 1979, and
then to a war in which six million Afghans were
made refugees, and millions more killed, before
the Russians eventually withdrew in disarray and
Afghanistan fell prey to Islamist militias.
Quite a few working class militants in Britain
who wanted to "tear the head off capitalism"
supported the Russian army in Afghanistan. That
was foolish. We opposed the invasion and called

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Who was Ta Thu Thau?

Ta Thu Thau (1906-45) was a leader of the once-strong Vietnamese
Trotskyist movement. Born into a poor family, he nevertheless managed
to gain a university place in Paris. (Vietnam was then ruled by
France). He joined the small French Trotskyist movement in 1929.
In 1930 the French government deported him back to Vietnam, and in
1931 he helped found the (illegal) Vietnamese Trotskyist movement. In
1933 a joint "workers' list", put together by the Trotskyists and the
(then not very numerous) Vietnamese Stalinists won two seats in the

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Solidarity with Iraqi workers

The AWL opposed the US-led war against Iraq in March-April 2003. We
did so because of the record and nature of American and British
imperialism.
We were opposed to the Ba'thist dictatorship in Iraq, and welcomed
the fall of that regime; but we wanted it overthrown by the working
class and peoples of Iraq.
The AWL helped build the anti-war movement. We intervened in the
movement with the slogan "No to war, No to Saddam" and the
perspective of a "third camp" - the camp of the working class,

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Israel-Palestine: two nations, two states!

AWL campaigns for the right of the Palestinian people to set up an
independent state of its own, side by side with Israel, and the
provision of sufficient aid and compensation to allow the
Palestinians to develop their society. In other words: two nations,
two states.

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Who is Yanar Mohammed?

Yanar Mohammed was born in Baghdad in 1960, and trained as an
architect there. Resenting the Ba'thist dictatorship, but not yet
politically active, she moved to Canada in 1995.

There, she became politically active in the Worker-communist Party of
Iraq and a campaign called Defence of Iraqi Women's Rights.
In 2004, after the US/UK invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein, she
re-established the campaign - under the new name Organisation of
Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) - in Baghdad.

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For a united Workers' Europe! Against British nationalism!

Through the European Union (EU), Europe's capitalist states have
moved slowly, bureaucratically, and clumsily towards the European
unity which democrats and socialists have considered necessary for
over a century.

This limited European integration is reversible only by regression to
economic chaos and war. Socialists should not propose to roll history
backwards to the old Europe of walled-off bourgeois states and
alliances!

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Why is workers' revolution necessary?

For many, the term "revolution" evokes images of
a Stalinist-led army descending on them to create
a police state. Many revolutions in the twentieth
century, such as those in Eastern Europe, China,
Cuba and Vietnam, were in fact just like that.
Because of that many socialists think it more
prudent only to fight for reforms, or (as the
title of a recent book puts it) to "change the
world without taking power".

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Iran

Iranian workers briefly showed their power in the late 1970s.
The despotic Shah had ruled Iran for decades. His regime was the
strongest ally the US had in the region. From October 1977 there were
demonstrations against the Shah, culminating in a two million-strong
protest in the capital Tehran on 7 September 1978.

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Why is a revolutionary party necessary?

The most crucial lesson from the experience of class struggle over the past two hundred years is the need for a revolutionary workers' party. Workers need a permanent organisation around our general political aims, not just ad hoc coalitions that organise episodic actions and campaigns.

And this revolutionary workers' party must be very different from the "revolutionary" parties the Stalinists and their kitsch-Trotskyist imitators built during the twentieth century.

In a workers' revolution, politics dominates.

The most crucial lesson from the experience of class struggle over the past two hundred years is the need for a revolutionary workers' party.

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Three fronts of the class struggle

In What is to be Done? (1902) Lenin quoted Engels
from the Peasant War in Germany (1874) on the
significance of theory in the Marxist movement.
Lenin wrote: "the role of vanguard fighter can be
fulfilled only by a party that is guided by the
most advanced theoryŠ Engels recognised, not two
forms of the great struggle of Social Democracy
(political and economic), but three, placing the
theoretical struggle on a par with the first two."
Engels wrote: "It must be said to the credit of

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Marxism and anarchism

Marxists and anarchists have had differences throughout the history
of the international labour movement.
For example Marx and Engels criticised Proudhon, one of the founders
of anarchism, because he opposed trade unions and was virulently
anti-feminist. They criticised another key anarchist figure, Bakunin,
because he believed workers should not take political action such as
building parties and standing in elections. In fact Bakunin looked to
the long-term unemployed, beggars, petty criminals, etc., rather than

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Who was James P Cannon?

James P Cannon's father was an Irish Republican and pioneer socialist
living in Kansas, USA. Cannon himself (1890-1974) started work in a
factory at the age of 12, joined the Socialist Party at 16, and then
became an organiser for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a
revolutionary trade union movement in the USA at the time which
mainly organised transient workers.

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The AWL's history and tradition

Today the left is scattered in different groups, all fairly small. It has not always been so, and will not always be so. The fundamental reason for the left being in bits and pieces, and often very disoriented, is the malign effects of Stalinism.

A history of the AWL up to 2006.

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The student movement

Intervening and organising in the student movement is valuable work
for revolutionaries. Most people who become revolutionaries do so
when they are young; and, these days, by far the biggest
concentrations of young people are in universities and colleges. We
work to make the AWLers in every college a political centre for
mobilising and educating students on:
1. big political issues (e.g. against war, against capitalist globalisation);
2. immediate concerns (e.g. for grants, against fees, for more and
better resources);

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Who was C L R James?

C L R James (1901-89) was born and grew up in Trinidad, where he
became a school teacher and a writer. In 1932 he moved to Britain,
where he found a job as a journalist writing on cricket for the
Guardian.

But by 1934 he had become a Trotskyist. As well as being active
day-to-day, he wrote two major books, "World Revolution", an analysis
of international Stalinist policy, and "The Black Jacobins", on the
Haitian revolutions of the 19th century.

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When Vanessa Redgrave sued us

Concern for clarity and consistency of political ideas is not just
pedantry; and of that there is clear proof in the sad history of the
Socialist Labour League.

Renamed the Workers' Revolutionary Party (WRP) in 1973, it was until
1974 at least by far the biggest and most visible organisation of the
revolutionary left in Britain. It was still a sizeable operation up
to its spectacular final collapse in 1985.

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