Democracy

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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Make May resign!

Author: 

Editorial

According to the media over the 8-9 July weekend, the argument among Tory MPs is whether to replace Theresa May now by David Davis, or to wait to replace her until the autumn. Even Tory party chair Grant Shapps has no confidence in May: “Theresa May will need to operate a completely different model to remain in power”. Getting May out will be a first step in bringing down the Tory government. Only a first step.

For the Tories in office to take a skewed snapshot vote and interpret it as a blank cheque for their policies is not democracy.

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No prosecutions for electoral fraud

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Nominations to stand as an MP in the general election have now closed. About 30 mostly Tory MPs could breathe a sigh of relief as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed that “no criminal charges have been authorised” over alleged cases of electoral fraud.

This follows investigations by 14 police forces into the use of the “Battlebus2015” in marginal seats.
The CPS accept that there is evidence that returns on electoral spending were inaccurate but these
cannot prove “to the criminal standard that any candidate or agent was dishonest.”

Tory MPs breathe sigh of relief as Crown Prosecution Service confirms that “no criminal charges have been authorised” over alleged cases of electoral fraud.

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Letters

I thought Charlotte Zalens’ article “Does £70,000 make you rich?” (Solidarity 436) was really useful, informative and thought provoking. Charlotte made three important points.

One, that £70,000 is way beyond the £22,400 median wage. Two, that a salary of £70,000 places someone in the top tenth of the population by income. And, three that income inequality at the top of the scale is far greater than at the bottom.

Taxation, the super-rich and the rest of us; Judges should be elected.

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Big cities voted against the Erdogan regime

Turkish socialists Marksist Tutum comment on the results of the Turkish referendum.


The big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Denizli, Diyarbakir, Adana, Mersin and Eskişehir, where the working class is concentrated, said no to the one-man regime in the referendum held on 16 April.

Turkish socialists Marksist Tutum comment on the results of the Turkish referendum.

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Meet the Lords? Abolish the Lords!

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Meet the Lords was the BBC’s three-part series on the inner workings of the House of Lords. At its most critical it showed how few peers bother doing anything, although a large proportion still claim their full allowance. For the most part the programme was a tribute to the work of the £300-a-day “unsalaried” parliamentarians with no democratic mandate.

The House of Lords may have recently amended Brexit legislation for the good, but any serious radical, socialist and pro-working class Labour Government would find itself forever hampered by the existence of the second chamber.

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What’s happening on 11 March?

Author: 

Simon Nelson and Keith Road

The Momentum Grassroots conference on Saturday 11 March (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Conway Hall, London, WC1R 4RL) presents an important opportunity to shape and coordinate the work of local groups after the 10 January coup in the organisation. We hope for a large turnout, with delegates representing groups from around the country.

Momentum still has a huge pool of resources and a membership of over 20,000. To walk away and squander the biggest opportunity the left has had in a generation to transform the Labour Party is wrong and should be resisted.

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A debate about Momentum: Martin Thomas answers Jon Lansman

Author: 

Jon Lansman and Martin Thomas

This explanation by Jon Lansman of recent events in Momentum was circulated in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. Since it contains nothing confidential, and is the only political explanation available from the Momentum leadership other than the article by Christine Shawcroft in Labour Briefing (Feb 2017), which we replied to last week, we reprint it here.

Maintaining the centre-left coalition

What was behind the 10 January coup in Momentum?

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The democracy of others

Author: 

Martin Thomas

“No-one combats freedom; at most they combat the freedom of others”, wrote Karl Marx sarcastically, in an article defending the freedom of the press. For a long time now, in politics, “democracy” has had the same status.

In the turmoil around the revolutions of 1848 Engels and Marx came to understand that a formal, merely-political democracy was possible, which would preserve the rule of profiteers and of profit in economic life.

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The left in France’s presidential election

Author: 

Marianne Davin

In my last letter I wrote about the far right, the right, and the almost right (the Socialist Party), but things have evolved since then. Here I will try to describe the current situation of the far left.

Les Republicans’s candidate, Francois Fillon, has had a bit of a tough time. It has been revealed that his wife, Penelope Fillon, was being paid as an assistant while he was a minister. Not a problem in itself but for about nine years she was paid first €3900 and then €7900 per month, a total of 500,000 euros (£430,000) for a job that sources claim she never actually did.

A letter from France by Marianne Davin.

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