and the 'Militant' tradition
Open letter to the left from the SWP; and the AWL's reply
An open letter to the left from the Socialist Workers Party
It’s time to create a socialist alternative
Labour’s vote collapsed to a historic low in last week’s elections as the right made gains. The Tories under David Cameron are now set to win the next general election.
At a public meeting in Leeds on 1 June, ostensibly to get people to vote for No2EU, hardly any of the 40 people present, including the platform speakers, could muster much enthusiasm for the project.
Maria Exall, a member of the Executive of the post and telecom union CWU, spoke to Solidarity about the union's conference coming up on 7-11 June.
In the telecom sector conference, the big issue is “Service Delivery Transformation” for BT Openreach engineers. BT is demanding:
• A new “foundation grade” which will put all new workers on £4000 lower wages.
• A change in attendance patterns so that workers lose premium pay for Saturdays.
It is an emergency! For the 2010 general election we should recreate something like the Socialist Alliance of 2001 — a coordination of the activist left able to offer voters a third alternative, a working-class socialist stance opposed to the mainstream parties and to the racist populism of the BNP.
The fascist BNP may well win a Euro MP in the 4 June elections. With the economic crisis, and the growing discredit of mainstream politicians, it can place itself to make serious advances in next year's general election.
The expanded platform published on the website of the No2EU campaign for the 4 June Euro-elections denounces "the so-called ‘free movement’ of labour" in the EU and "the social dumping of exploited foreign workers in Britain".
Click here to download as pdf.
Among those who criticise AWL for openly proclaiming our policy on the Middle East — Israel out of the Occupied Territories; two states, i.e. a Palestinian state alongside Israel; hostility to political Islam and Islamic clerical fascism — on the Gaza demonstrations have been members of the Socialist Party.
The leaflet distributed by the Socialist Party on the 3 January and 10 January 2009 Gaza demonstrations. Click here for a critical discussion of the leaflet.
Some on the left seem to have decided that the size of the leaked BNP membership list is bad news for the fascists.
“A weak divided party exposed”, the Socialist Party headline tells us: the list “makes it clear that the BNP is a relatively small party... with just over 3,000 members classed as activists, it is welcome news that the BNP has capitalised so little on the enormous anger against New Labour, Tories and Lib Dems that exists.”
Seedbed of Today's Revolutionary Left
1959 seemed to mark a nadir for the radical left in Britain. The Tories had just won the third general election in a row. The right wing was triumphant in the Labour Party.
Download the pamphlet here as pdf (2 MB).
Then, however, the Labour leaders decided to launch an official movement. And a big movement developed for nuclear disarmament.
Socialist Party member, Tony Aitman, was arrested for selling 'The Socialist' by police in Liverpool. The 'Capital of Culture' has forced a crackdown on political and campaign stalls over the past few months, harassing activists and attempting to prevent free speech. Workers' Liberty stands for free speech and against any state action to prevent free discussion, political organisation and democratic rights.
We re-produce the following article from 'The Socialist', 2 September 2008 - see www.socialistparty.org.uk for more information:
Socialism 2007, the Socialist Party's weekend of discussion and debate, took place on 17-18 November and attracted around 900 members. The weekend was organised into three sessions of two hour debates or talks and a rally on the Saturday and Sunday. Having worked with Socialist Students in Oxford before recently joining the AWL I had bought a ticket some time ago. Furthermore, having never been at one of these events before I had no idea what to expect.
This book is a pseudo-debate between Peter Taaffe of the Socialist Party and CWI (formerly Militant) in Britain and Doug Lorimer of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party (DSP).
It is also, I guess, an attempt to check the recent rash of Castro-worship in the Scottish Socialist Party, with whom Taaffe maintains a strained relationship.
Dave Prentis clearly signalled in his conference speech that organised left activists were in his sights.
The Unison local government conference saw an attack on Socialist Party comrades from four branches who had tried to raise the issue of why Standing Orders Committee had ruled out of order so many motions. The leaflet they produced had used the “three wise monkeys” as a symbol of how their questioning of the decisions had been ignored. This was laughably deemed to be racist and an investigation is underway.
The Socialist Party has backed Gordon Brown for Labour leader! Unbelievable? Can't be true? No, it's true.
Of course the Socialist Party's paper, or its members whom you meet on the street, do not support Brown. Indeed, they will tell you that all the goings-on in the Labour Party are an irrelevance, and they didn't even support John McDonnell's leadership campaign. Anything in the Labour Party is too right-wing for them.
“The only true prophets are those who carve out the future they announce.”
Do you support John McDonnell’s campaign against Gordon Brown for the Labour Party leadership?
When John McDonnell declared himself a candidate for Labour leader to succeed Tony Blair, you wrote:
“McDonnell is the Labour MP with the most consistent record of voting against New Labour’s anti-working class policies. Potentially a McDonnell leadership challenge could play a role in raising the profile of socialist ideas amongst sections of working-class people”. (Hannah Sell, The Socialist, 27/07/06).
It is over twenty years since the final collapse of the left-wing Liverpool Labour council of 1983-6.
Through that council, the avowedly Marxist “Militant Tendency” had the leadership of a mass workers’ movement which could have shaken or defeated the government. Arguably it marked the highest point ever (so far) of active mass influence for would-be revolutionary Marxists in Britain, higher than anything achieved by the Communist Party when it was a revolutionary party in the 1920s.
May 83 Labour makes gains in elections for one-third of Liverpool City Council’s seats and wins the Council from the Liberals (who have controlled it since 1973). Militant supporters are central in the new council Labour group.
November 83 20,000 people join a march to support the Labour council’s demand for the return of grant money withdrawn over the years by the Tory government.
This article deals with the views argued on Ireland in the 1970s and 80s by Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party and Socialist Appeal.
The Militant tendency argues that bread-and-butter trade union unity and a drive to for a Labour Party in Northern Ireland show the way to a socialist united Ireland. Why are they wrong?
Open Letter to the Socialist Party for its "Campaign for a New Workers' Party" conference, 19 March 2006.
Dear comrades: YES, WE NEED a new workers' party - a party rooted in working-class struggles; speaking up for the working class in politics; organising, and recognised by, at least a large section of the working-class activists in the unions and communities; providing a democratic and open framework to debate, develop, and promote socialist ideas.
By Rhodri Evans
The Socialist Party has launched a “Campaign for a New Workers’ Party”. It has put out a statement which says many true things about the badness of the Blair-Brown Labour Party and the need to restore an independent workers’ voice in politics (http://tinyurl.com/btaq9).
Selling Solidarity outside the annual conference, this weekend, of the George Galloway/ SWP coalition "Respect", I thought the crowd looked thinner, older, and more dispirited than at the "Respect" conference last year.
"Respect" insiders confirm this, saying that the conference is smaller despite last-minute efforts by the SWP to drum up people to attend as observers and fill the hall.
What we are and what we must become: the founding document of our political tendency - and a critique of 1960s 'Militant'. (Includes extra material as appendices).
What we are and what we must become: download as pdf. (Includes extra material as appendices).
The Russian invasion and colonial war in Afghanistan, after 1979, and a Marxist critique of Militant's support for it.
Letter from Hannah Sell, on behalf of the Socialist Party, "to the signatories to the 'Declaration for a left electoral challenge to New Labour': George Galloway MP, Salma Yaqoob, Lindsey German, John Rees, Linda Smith, Ken Loach, George Monbiot, Bob Crow, Mark Serwotka". 17 December 2003.(Note: as of latest reports to date, Bob Crow and Mark Serwotka have not yet signed the appeal. They have been spoken of by the SWP as certain to do so, and presumably Hannah Sell based her letter on those assurances).
The Socialist Party have won a second council seat in Lewisham, south-east London, through a by-election. Local AWL and Socialist Alliance members helped with the SP campaign. Read the SP's press release here.
It seems that the AWL has been a (relatively minor) victim of a scam being operated in the Ukraine by members of the Taaffe group's (CWI) section.
A few weeks ago we got an email posting from some people (with whom we have had some Internet contact) in Moscow. We have consulted with other British groups mentioned there.
It seems that the SPGB gave some substantial money to what they thought was a Ukrainian sympathising group. They funded trips etc; sent people out there, bought a computer.