Kro Bar, Oxford Road, Manchester (opposite Manchester University Students' Union)
Manchester AWL open discussion meeting.
The Falkland Islands, small specks in the South Atlantic, were annexed by Britain and settled by British people in the 1830s. There had been no previous indigenous population.
A century and a half later, in the 1970s and 80s, the islands were an odd little relic of empire. They had no huge economic or strategic importance. Their 1,800 or so inhabitants, many of whom would move on to more clement climates after their time in the Falklands, had no desire to separate from Britain.
The Hub, Liverpool Guild of Students, 160 Mount Pleasant, L3 5TR
The 20th century saw two world wars and countless others in which millions of people were sent to die. The beginning of the 21st suggests not a lot has changed. What do socialist say about war?
Search 'ideas for freedom liverpool' for Facebook event.
A couple of weeks ago my daughter, aged seven, came home from school, requesting money for a poppy. With liberal indulgence, I explained why I believe wearing a red poppy linked to those who continue to make war is wrong.
Then, with more difficulty, I explained why the pacifist white poppy is also problematic. I gave her 50p and told her to spend it wisely using her judgement.
America’s war in Vietnam, and the international movements that sprung up in opposition to it, are central events in the history of 20th century radical politics. The events of that conflict continue to cast a long shadow over the contemporary left’s understanding of imperialist war. Looking back over a distance of 35 years, Vietnam still has a huge amount to teach us in terms of the nature of capitalist imperialism, the nature of Stalinism, and what kind of anti-war politics and movement socialists should aspire to fight for and build.
1. Why and how did nation-states arise? Why does Trotsky argue that the capitalist development of the forces of production has come into conflict with the European nation-state framework?
2. What is Trotsky's bedrock argument for refusing support to any side in the World War?
3. "In the dealings between the Danube monarchy [i.e. the Austro-Hungarian empire] and the Serbian government, the historic right... rests entirely with Serbia". Why not then back Serbia and its allies (Russia, France, England...) in the World War?
Leon Trotsky once said that the small revolutionary movement he led was like the apex of an inverted social pyramid, upon which the whole weight of capitalist society pressed down. Hounded and murdered by fascists and Stalinists, the Trotskyists suffered terrible casualties during and immediately after the Second World War, all across Europe, from France to Greece. The politics of independent working class socialism, which the Trotskyists represented, was everywhere defeated.
World War Two created extremely difficult circumstances and political challenges for internationalist Marxists. In German-occupied Europe the Trotskyist Fourth International mounted a heroic struggle against national chauvinism and illusions in the democratic aspirations of Britain and the United States. Aiming to win German soldiers to a common struggle against imperialism, in summer 1943 the French Trotskyists turned to organising amongst the German troops occupying France.
By summer 1943 the Axis war machine was suffering heavy setbacks. Although Hitler had completed a total occupation of France in November 1942, and still held on to his conquests in the Low Countries, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and parts of western Russia, the Axis powers no longer looked able to win the war.
No. 1 July 1943
is proletarian revolution coming?
The Stalinist bureaucrats have dissolved the Comintern. “Warning”, declares the Axis propaganda, “this is just a manoeuvre, a chimera, playing dead”. “Hurrah!” the Anglo-Saxon imperialist press cries with joy, “our allies are not communists, they are good Russian patriots”. “Of course, it’s just a manoeuvre” is the rationalisation the communist worker still committed to the Third International despite all the defeats uses to reassure himself; they are tricking their capitalist adversaries, folding up the flag only to unfurl it again in the future.
No. 2 August 1943
German soldiers have received the Nazi press’s parcimonious news on events in Italy with bewilderment and with anxiety. But through the intermediary of comrades returned from Italy who report on the goings-on there, they know that they have been denied the right to know the truth about the collapse of this most pitiful of fascist régimes in case the parallel which jumps to mind might lead them to more clearly understand the situation in their own country.
No. 3 September 1943 (This issue is dedicated to the end of the fourth year of the second world imperialist war)
The real face of the war
No. 2 Summer 1943
[Illegible] I came back from leave a few days ago and I was amazed by the situation in Germany. What I saw is not easy to describe.
Soldiers! Comrades! A new and decisive phase of the Second World War has begun. Anglo-American capital has launched its troops on the offensive on the European continent. With 4,000 warships, 13,000 planes and half a million soldiers they have begun landings on the French Atlantic coast.
Soldiers who fought in Russian remain confused about the contradictory character of Soviet life: on the one hand great, undeniable progress in the cities, including new houses, large roads and modern and rich factories, and on the other hand miserable shacks — particularly in the countryside — peasants living in poverty, ignorance and without any comfort.
(A letter from a soldier)
By Sean Matgamna
The two month "Falklands War" between Britain and Argentina in 1982 was a freak event. It was part of no larger conflict; no issue other than possession of the islands was involved.
Both Argentina and Britain were bourgeois states. Neither of them oppressed, and neither of them was trying to conquer the other, or likely to, as a result of the war.
Download whole dossier as pdf; or read articles online:
IntroductionClass politics versus bloc politics (1982 resolution)The texts and the method (1982 article) part 1The texts and the method, part 2
This is how the "victory to Argentina" section of the WSL argued their case, in their major initial statement (WSL Internal Bulletin 7, June 1982).
"The class camp into which Argentina fits in a war against imperialism cannot change... We have to determine our position according to the basic class camps...
In 1982, the Socialist Workers’ Party, still retaining bits of a “Third Camp” (independent working class) political tradition from its old slogan “Neither Washington nor Moscow, but international socialism”, took a roughly similar attitude on the British-Argentine war over the Falkland Islands to that of Socialist Organiser, forerunner of Workers’ Liberty.
Like us, they said, in effect, “neither London nor Buenos Aires”.
The 4 April 2007 Socialist Worker rewrites their position (without saying that it is doing so), the better to square it with their current politics.
By Sean Matgamna: from
Workers’ Socialist Review no.2, 1982
Of course you know the story. A man is in the market place, and he sees Death, and Death looks at him intently, recognising him.