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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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.

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Trade Unions: 

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Inequality and how to end it

Between fifty and sixty per cent of the population identify as “working class”. Despite the term “working class” vanishing completely from the language of the Labour Party, the proportion claiming this now-unspoken identity has been fairly stable since the 1950s.

To be “working-class”, whether you know it or not, is to be at one pole of a pair. The other pole is the capitalist class.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Debate & discussion: For a republican socialist workers' party

In a recent editorial Jack Conrad (CPGB) argues (Weekly Worker 498 October 2 2003) that "the SA could commit itself to the aim of a new workers' party. Not an old Labour mark two; rather a revolutionary party basing itself on a clear Marxist programme." As if to disprove himself he turns to the Scottish Socialist Party as his example. He says "riddled with left nationalism though it is, the SSP can nevertheless be used to illustrate what can be done". He then goes on to show how the SSP's intervention in the anti-war movement has enabled them to benefit in contrast to the Liberal Democrats in England. All this is fine except for the obvious point. The SSP is neither 'old Labour Mark two' nor 'revolutionary party basing itself on a clear Marxist programme.' Surely there is another alternative.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Class, trade unions and the workers' party

The trade unions are not only the bedrock of the labour movement. With the Blairite hijacking of the Labour Party, which had been founded at the beginning of the 20th century by the trade unions and socialist organisations such as Keir Hardie's Independent Labour Party to fight for working class interests, the trade unions are pretty much all that's left of the labour movement. Even though the number of trade unionists has fallen from its peak strength 25 years ago it is still a very powerful movement. There are twice as many trade unionists in Britain now as there were in France in 1968, when the working class seized the factories in a general strike. The work that Solidarity and Workers' Liberty does in the trade unions is the most important work we do.

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How the Bolshevik party was built

Author: 

Brian Pearce

Click here for the series on The Roots of Bolshevism of which this article is part
Between 17 July and 10 August 1903, in the course of 37 sessions, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party held its Second Congress in Brussels and London. In reality this was the first, the constituent, congress of the RSDLP.

The 'First Congress' held in March 1898 in Minsk had lasted one day and all nine delegates were arrested! The 'party' it proclaimed existed only as scattered, uncoordinated local groups and circles.

An outline history of the Party that led the Russian Worker's Revolution in October 1917

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Debate and dicussion: Marxists and the workers' party

Reformism has not collapsed

As far as I know, the catchphrase "Build the revolutionary party!" or "Build the party!" was first used as a regular slogan, directed at the general public, by French Trotskyists in the mid-1940s.

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Marxists and the workers' party. Labour: norm or exception?

Martin Thomas concludes a series on "Marxists and the workers' party" with a warning against fetishising the trade-union-based forms of "old Labour"

In 1909, Karl Kautsky, then a Marxist, wrote that moves to set up trade-union-based Labour Parties in continental Europe "must be fought with all the means at our disposal" (Neue Zeit, July 1909, Vol.13 no.7, pp.316-28).

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Debate and discussion: The Mensheviks were right

Having now completed reading the third in Sean Matgamna’s series on Iraq (Solidarity 3-63, 64 and 65), I want to return to a point he makes several times in the first of the series.

In attempting to distinguish the views of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty from those of Labour Friends of Iraq (LFIQ), Sean makes use on several occasions of the word “Menshevik”.

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Around the world: 

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'Apparatus Marxism', Impoverished Twin of 'Academic Marxism'

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

“You who have really done something, must have noticed yourself how few of the young literary men who attach themselves to the Party take the trouble to study economics, the history of trade, of industry, of agriculture, of the social formations… The self-conceit of the journalist must therefore accomplish everything and the result looks like it…" — Friedrich Engels

In post-Trotsky “kitsch Trotskyism", the tendency over decades is for “the party" and what is considered to be good for “the party” to become the all-defining supreme good..,.

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