SWP

The Paradoxes of Tony Cliff, 1917-2000: A Critical Memoir

Cliff

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

"The miners' strike is an extreme example of what we in the Socialist Workers Party have called the 'downturn' in the movement."

Tony Cliff, Socialist Worker, 14th April 1984

Examining the legacy of Tony Cliff, the chief leader of the Socialist Workers' Party in Britain until his death in 2000.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

AWL versus SWP

Material for an AWL day school, November/ December 2005, and other stuff on the political differences between AWL and SWP.

Download all the stuff for the dayschool as pdf (570 Kb), or read individual items below.

"AWL vs SWP" day school, November/ December 2005

Discussion points for the day school

1. Transitional programme vs fake ultra-leftism

Material for an AWL day school, November/ December 2005, and other stuff on the political differences between AWL and SWP.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

The first discussion in Socialist Review, 1957

“It would seem that you have altered your programme because some pseudo-socialists in Ireland are ‘unclear’ on the issue. This seems to me to be a perilously near approach to the attitude of the legendary Yankee politician who assured his hearers that ‘Them’s my sentiments, and if you don’t like them they can be scrapped’.” – P Lavin, Socialist Review, 1 March 1959

Socialist Review was the journal of the Socialist Review group, the forerunner of the International Socialists in the 1960s and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) since 1977.

In the first six years of its existence, from 1950, Socialist Review never said a word about Ireland.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

The second discussion on Ireland, 1958

In the first, October 1958, issue of the now fortnightly Socialist Review, a new round of discussion is launched:

“From Northern Ireland, George Adair writes on the need for a United Irish Republic.” This is an attempt to defend Socialist Review’s point of view, and George Adair is most likely a pen name.

A nervous introduction by the editor (Michael Kidron) explains what SR think they are doing:

In the first, October 1958, issue of the now fortnightly Socialist Review, a new round of discussion on Ireland is launched.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

The 1968-9 discussion in IS (SWP) and its consequences

At the start of the Northern Ireland crisis in 1968, the dominant conception of the “Irish question” on the British left was essentially that of middle-class Irish nationalism.

The partition of Ireland was a brutal British imperialist imposition on Ireland; it was contrary to democracy and the rights of the Irish majority; and it created Protestant-Catholic division where otherwise there would be none or little.

At the start of the Northern Ireland crisis in 1968, the dominant conception of the “Irish question” on the British left was essentially that of middle-class Irish nationalism.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

The gist of the 1969 “Troops Out” dispute

“Tactics contradict principles” — IS/SWP founder Tony Cliff (quoted by Ian Birchall, International Socialism no.127)

In August 1969, IS/SWP suddenly switched from raucous agitation for “British troops out” of Northern Ireland (on the spurious grounds that all the troops would ever do is back up the Orange sectarian regime) to de facto support for the troops as providing a “breathing space”.

The Trotskyist Tendency, forerunner of Workers’ Liberty, had criticised the earlier shallow “Troops Out” agitation, and now also criticised the de facto support for the troops.

In August 1969, IS/SWP suddenly switched from raucous agitation for “British troops out” of Northern Ireland (on the spurious grounds that all the troops would ever do is back up the Orange sectarian regime) to de facto support for the troops as providing a “breathing space”.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Solidarity with the Kurds is our first concern

Author: 

Michéal MacEoin

As fighters from “Islamic State” (IS) enter the besieged Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria, Kurds abroad have been demonstratiing in several major European cities.

In a conflict between the democratic, secular Kurdish forces and the fascistic barbarism of IS, Kurds should expect the support and solidarity of the UK left.

Over the summer, British socialist organisations were rightly a dynamic force in building demonstrations against Israel’s murderous attacks on Gaza, with up to 150,000 marching in London alone.

In a conflict between the democratic, secular Kurdish forces and the fascistic barbarism of IS, Kurds should expect the support and solidarity of the UK left.

Around the world: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

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