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  • A Marxist for our time: William Morris

    Author: 

    Paul Hampton

    William Morris is probably best known to most people these days as the creator of kitsch Victorian wallpaper designs. Morris was certainly a prominent nineteenth century artist, poet and all-round polymath, and it is impossible to do justice to the force of his personality.

    William Morris - “the leading personality of revolutionary socialism in that period”...

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  • Who Was Rosa Luxemburg?

    Author: 

    Rosie Woods

    Rosa Luxemburg was born in Poland in 1871, the fifth child born into a Jewish family. The family settled in Warsaw where the young Rosa attended school. Luxemburg was politically active by the age of 15, one of her first acts being to help organise a strike.

    This early political activity began a schooling in covert socialist activity, as the strike was savagely repressed and four of its leaders shot and killed. Luxemburg along with other Polish socialists met and organised in secret, firstly in the Proletariat Party and later the Polish Socialist Party.

    Rosa Luxemburg remains one of the key political figures in socialist history for many reasons. She was an independent critical thinker, a committed Marxist and an unshakeable revolutionary committed to working-class democracy and socialism.

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  • Why people become revolutionaries

    Author: 

    Elaine Jones discusses what it means to be an active revolutionary socialist.

    Over the last year I’ve been able to get back to political activity. I’ve been reading a lot of books and asking myself why people become revolutionaries and what keeps you being a revolutionary.

    To start off with, it’s quite obvious why. You look at the world around you and see the horrors of capitalism.

    Over the last year I’ve been able to get back to political activity. I’ve been reading a lot of books and asking myself why people become revolutionaries and what keeps you being a revolutionary.

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  • Britain: Occupations in the 1970s

    Author: 

    The following text is taken from a pamphlet produced by the North East Trade Union Studies Information Unit in June 1976.

    history and background

    In post-war Britain, before 1970, there were a number of short stay-in strikes, or “downers” in the car industry. One of the first occupations of any length occurred in Belfast in April 1958 when 6,000 shipyard workers staged a “24 hour stay-in strike” in protest against the sacking of over 1,000 workers.

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  • Yunus Baksh's smear against the AWL - An open letter to SWP members

    Dear comrades,



    At the SWP fringe meeting at the recent National Union of Students conference, in Newcastle on 13 April, SWP speaker Yunus Bakhsh accused the AWL of racism: “You don't like black people”.

    The speaker at the SWP's NUS conference fringe meeting accused the AWL of racism. In an open letter to SWP members, we respond.

    The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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  • The Bolsheviks as they really were

    Lenin

    Author: 

    Pierre Broué

    This extract is from The Bolshevik Party, by Pierre Broué (1963). It shows what Bolshevism meant, and how different it was from the "Leninism" constructed after Lenin's death in 1924.

    The Bolshevik party as it really was, by Pierre Broué.

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  • The militant working-class suffragist

    “Women do not want their political power to enable them to boast that they are on equal terms with the men. They want to use it for the same purpose as men – to get better conditions. Every woman in England is longing for her political freedom in order to make the lot of the worker pleasanter and to bring about reforms which are wanted. We do not want it as a mere plaything…”

    (Selina Cooper, Wigan Observer 1906)

    Born into a working class family in 1864 and a millworker from the age of 12, Selina Cooper was a trade unionist, suffragist and socialist in the north of England who fought for better conditions for women in the workplace.

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  • Bolshevism and democracy

    The following report by Irving Howe of a debate on the record of Bolshevism is taken from the US Trotskyist Labor Action, the paper of the Workers’ Party. The debate between Max Shachtman of the Workers’ Party and Liston Oak, managing editor of the New Leader, took place in New York on 8 November 1946. The New Leader was a right-wing social-democratic journal. Liston Oak had been a member of the Communist Party of America.

    In November 1946, Max Shachtman of the US Workers' Party debated Liston Oak, a right-wing social democrat, on the Bolsheviks and democracy.

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  • Women in the Paris Commune

    Women’s role in the Paris Commune was not limited to the morning of March 18 when a crowd of working class women put themselves between the cannons in possession of the National Guard (the citizen’s militia) and the troops of the National Assembly, led by Adolphe Thiers; the action which sparked the revolution. Throughout the 72-day reign of the Commune, women organised, argued, theorised and fought alongside men to defend and develop the revolution.


    The Clubs

    Women's role in the Paris Commune of 1871.

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  • Dylan at 70: his 1960s "Protest Songs" revisited

    This month the American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan marks his 70th birthday. In the early 1960s he was reckoned to be a “protest singer”, a direct voice of the left. His songs referred straightforwardly to political issues — the black civil rights movement in the USA, anti-militarism — and he performed at political events like the 1963 civil rights March on Washington.

    Since then he has produced a long stream of new songs, and repeatedly been charged with “selling out”, first when he used an electric rather than an acoustic guitar in 1965.

    As a tribute to Dylan on his seventieth birthday, and in an attempt to show that Dylan did not stop protesting in 1964, a brief account of some of his Sixties "protest" songs.

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  • An encounter with the shy Bishop Taaffe

    Peter Taaffe of the Socialist Party was spotted in public on 30 June, and asked whether he would debate his polemics against us on Libya face-to-face...

    The pensions demo on 30 June was exciting enough, but I felt an extra thrill at the start in Lincoln’s Inn Fields when I spotted Peter Taaffe. There he was, the General Secretary of the Socialist Party! The "legendary Peter Taaffe", as his friend and disciple Derek Hatton said of him in his memoirs.

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  • Socialist Worker (mealy-mouthedly) mourns bin Laden

    SW

    After 11 September 2001, Socialist Worker notoriously "refused to condemn" the massacre of three thousand working people in New York by bin Laden's followers.

    It tried to hold that line of "refusing to condemn" in the Stop The War movement, until finally in early 2002 it had to retreat and say "of course" the massacre should be condemned.

    Socialist Worker of 7 May shows the SWP still "refusing to condemn" bin Laden.

    "Attacks like 9/11", says SW, "in reality... are a response to oppression, not an expression of 'evil'."

    Socialist Worker equates Al Qaeda's violence against working people in New York, Iraq, the Middle East and North Africa in the service of Islamist clerical-fascist reaction with the Russian populists' violence against the Tsar and top officials in the service they hoped of political liberty and socialism.

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