Party and class

Socialism, Reformism and Democracy [a 1994 debate between AWL and former Labour leader Michael Foot]

Author: 

Martin Thomas

DO official Labour politics offer any real hope today? Or must serious socialists, and even serious democrats, look instead to the revolutionary left?

Such was the question in debate before a packed audience at London's Conway Hall last Wednesday, 9 March, when John O'Mahony [Sean Matgamna], editor of Socialist Organiser, a paper banned by the Labour Party leaders in 1990 for our Trotskyist politics, confronted Michael Foot, leader of the Labour Party from 1980 to 1983.

A face-to-face debate between AWL and former Labour leader Michael Foot - Febuary, 1994

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Workers' Liberty 3/3: Factory bulletins in the 1920s and today

Workers' Liberty 3/3 (March 2006) reproduces many communist factory bulletins from the 1920s, and discussion from that era about how they should be produced. "Workers cannot write newspapers? Really? Just tell us some news about your factory". It also includes information on workplace bulletins produced by the AWL. Click here to download pdf.

How to take revolutionary politics into the workplace.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Why we need explicit socialist organisation

Author: 

Martin Thomas

The assessment by Ben Selwyn, an English correspondent for the Canadian socialist e-letter The Bullet, is typical: Labour’s great mobilisation on 8 June “placed socialist ideas firmly back on the political agenda... let the proverbial genie of class politics out of the bottle”. Even conservative commentators interpret the Grenfell Tower fire as showing how working-class people are abused in an unequal society. The word “socialism” comes up more in workplace discussions.

Capitalism is a resilient system. Its entrenched logics cannot be conquered by a well-meaning mechanic who goes into the system, spanner in hand, assuring the people that she or he is only adjusting the settings, and yet hoping that the successive tweaks will produce a socialist surprise.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

The Russian revolution and the British left

Author: 

Chris Mathews

It is February 1917. A large crowd are gathered to hear socialists and pacifists denounce the war. As the speeches start the snow begins fall... The hundreds who assembled that snowy night, looking like a scene out of Dr Zhivago, were not in Petrograd 1917 but in Waterfoot, Rossendale.

The success of the October revolution and the experience of the Bolsheviks in leading that revolution was of untold importance to the British revolutionary left. The foundation in 1920 of the Communist Party (CPGB) was a massive leap forward for class politics in Great Britain, uniting all the major Marxist groups in Britain and both the political and syndicalist wings of the movement.

Marxist Theory and History: 

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Darcus Howe on Black Power

Long-time black and left activist Darcus Howe, who recently died, was a founder member of the British Black Panthers. In this interview from 1995, he discussed the politics of “black power”.

A new TV drama — Guerilla — tells the story of the British Black Panthers. Long-time black and left activist Darcus Howe, who recently died, was a founder member of the group and consultant for the show. In this interview from 1995 Howe discussed the politics of “black power” with Dan Katz.


DH: The Panthers have been grossly misrepresented in political circles. They were an intensely revolutionary organisation, the largest non-establishment political party ever to exist in America — larger than the Communist Party or any left-wing group.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Towards a broad-based left party?

Author: 

Traven Serge

“Opportunities for the left have been created which never existed before.”

The Sanders campaign cohered a mass base especially of young people, and showed that it is possible to connect with broad sections of the working class who desperately want a break from neoliberal policies and the two party system. But the impact of the Sanders phenomena will be limited to the degree that it fails to find organisational expression in a movement for a new political party.

Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Democracy, direct action, and socialism


There are decisive turning points in history that shape the future for many years ahead. The British labour movement was brought to such a turning point by the victory of the Thatcherite Tories in the 1979 general election and the events that came after it. The defeat of the labour movement then shaped the social, political, and ethical world we live in now. Was that defeat unavoidable? The revolutionary left argued then that it wasn’t: that if we mobilised our strength we could defeat Thatcher, as we had defeated her Tory predecessors in 1972-4.
Is direct action undemocratic? What methods should the labour movement use to defeat the bosses? Should we stick within the law? This new pamphlet discusses these issues and more.

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Trade Unions: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Leaving principles for later?

Author: 

Martin Thomas

At the Lutte Ouvriere fete on 14-16 May, we met comrades from IZAR (Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist Left), a group expelled in 2015 from the “Mandelite” (Fourth International) organisation in Spain because they called for a stance more independent from the leadership of Podemos, the new broad leftish party.

The following critique is part of a document published by IZAR with sympathisers in France, the USA, Germany, Greece, and Italy.

A critique produced by IZAR (Revolutionary Anti-Capitalist Left), a group expelled in 2015 from the “Mandelite” Fourth International organisation in Spain because they called for a stance more independent from the leadership of Podemos, of attempts to build "broad parties".

Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

The left before 1968: two contributions

Author: 

Sean Matgamna, Patrick Avaakum

13 February 2016 conference: Before ’68: the Left, Activism and Social Movements in the Long 1960s

Two contributions

1. Militancy and Solidarity on the docks in the 1960s
2. The life and times of Bob Pennington

Click here to download pdf.

Militancy and Solidarity on the docks in the 1960s; and: The life and times of Bob Pennington

Marxist Theory and History: 

What if workers ran public transport?

At Workers' Liberty summer school, Ideas for Freedom 2015, we hosted a workshop about public transport systems and the struggle for workers' control, featuring Herman Rosenfeld from the Canada's Free Transport campaign; and Janine Booth, worker on London Underground. Click the video below to play. (Audio only from 15 mins).

Recording of two speeches from Ideas for Freedom 2015 about the struggle for democratic, worker controlled transport systems.

Marxist Theory and History: 

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