Sean Matgamna locates our activity and perspectives in a longer view of history
(The author worked with Benn and others to set up the Rank and File Mobilising Committee, which for a while united most of the Labour Party left, at the start of the 1980s.)
The first thing that should be said and remembered about Tony Benn, who died on Friday 14 March, is that for over four decades he backed, defended, and championed workers in conflict with their bosses or with the "boss of bosses", the government.
Texte provenant de la brochure We Stand for Workers Liberty (Nous défendons la liberté des travailleurs) publiée par l’organisation trotskyste britannique Alliance for Workers Liberty.
Their death will be avenged.
We can say:
Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht,
You are no longer in the circle
Of the living
But you are present amongst us;
We sense your mighty spirit;
When Leon Trotsky published his autobiography, My Life (1930) aged 50, he had already experienced three periods of exile.
I see the bright green strip of grass
Beneath the wall.
And the clear blue sky
Above the wall
And sunlight everywhere
Life is beautiful
Let the future generations cleanse it
Read online (below), or download pdf (see "attachment").
Who was Lenin? He led the workers of the Tsarist Russian Empire to make the most profound revolution in history in 1917. He was the leader of the Russian Bolshevik Party, without which the workers would have been defeated.
In this study in depth, Sean Matgamna examines the political and social history of Afghanistan, especially in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century, and what the experience of Stalinism there, the 1978 Stalinist-Armed Forces Revolution and then the Russian invasion, tells us about Stalinism in history. Click here to read the article.
Many areas reported bigger picket lines than in many previous disputes. Not just die-hard union activists on pickets, but huge chunks of rank and file workers. Spirits were high.
While the ages changed and sped
I was tolling for my bread.
Underneath my sturdy blows
Forests fell and cities rose.
And the hard reluctant soil
Blossomed richly from my toil.
In 1956-7 the British Communist Party cut a figure as by far the weightiest activist left party in the country, with over 40,000 members and great influence in the trade unions and workplaces.