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By Paul Hampton
“The attempt of the bourgeoisie during its internecine conflict to oblige humanity to divide up into only two camps is motivated by a desire to prohibit the proletariat from having its own independent ideas.
By John O'Mahony
For most of the 20th century, the common image of "socialism" was the USSR and the other states modelled on it, China, Cuba, and so on.
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Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) was a revolutionary in his teens and until after the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the early 1920s he became the key leader of that section of the Bolshevik Party who, under pressure of isolation, exhaustion, and the extreme poverty of Russia, were abandoning their socialist ideals and joining up with the state bureaucrats inherited from the old regime.
The AWL and its predecessors campaigned for solidarity with workers' movements in the Eastern Bloc. We've always backed workers against bureaucrats - for example in the early 1980s we made solidarity with Polish workers and supported their call for a boycott of Polish goods when others on the left hesitated.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara (1928-67) was born into a well-off family in Argentina, became a medical student, and then, after travelling round Latin America, committed himself to a revolutionary group working to overthrow the corrupt Batista dictatorship in Cuba, which at the time was backed by the USA. He became a leader of the guerrilla movement that took power in Cuba in 1959.
Socialism is probably the most misunderstood word in history. Many describe the murderous Stalinist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe that collapsed in 1989-91 as socialist. Others describe the tyrants now ruling China, North Korea and Cuba as socialist. But those states have nothing to do with socialism.
By Mick Duncan
No Sweat, the British anti-sweatshop campaign, became a national network in 2001. Since then the organisation has extended the breadth of its work, which includes drives to pinpoint against sweatshop bosses in the UK and overseas.
Antoinette Konikow (1869-1946) was a founder of the communist movement in the USA, and of the Trotskyist movement too (she led a group in Boston which was expelled before Cannon and Shachtman, and soon joined up with them).