Online pamphlets

A Socialist’s View of Religion and the Churches (1896)

Author: 

Tom Mann
"I want to expose the demoralising effect produced by the teaching that salvation consists in reflecting upon and believing in Christ’s sacrifice, irrespective of the life one leads." Tom Mann was a founder of the modern British labour movement. He died in 1941, a member of the British Communist Party.

I MAKE no apology for writing this chapter upon Preachers and Churches. In our day every institution is open to criticism, and rightly and necessarily so; and although—if this should meet the eyes of preachers—many of them will doubtless consider it presumption on my part to attempt even to deal with such a subject, let it be so. We live in England, and not in Russia—plutocratic England, it is true, but with Democracy getting a good grip.

The Working Class Self-Education Movement: The League of the "Plebs"

Author: 

Colin Waugh

In October 1908 industrial workers who were union-sponsored students at Ruskin College in Oxford founded what they called the League of the “Plebs”. Former students who had returned to their jobs as miners, railwayworkers, textile workers and engineers, supported them.

From January 1909 they began to organise socialist classes in South Wales, the North East, Lancashire and other working-class areas. Under the umbrella of the National Council of Labour Colleges (NCLC), there were, by 1926-27, 1,201 classes like this across Britain, with 31,635 students.

Between 26 March and 6 April 1909 union-sponsored students at Ruskin College, Oxford, conducted the “Ruskin College strike” (actually a boycott of lectures). In September 1909, they opened the Central Labour College.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Savage Violence in 20th Century Irish Schools: Why Did People Stand For It?

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

In his understated attack on the Catholic Church in Ireland for the sexual abuse of children, Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke also of the torture of children. In this the attitude of the 26 County Irish state itself was all-defining. This article by Sean Matgamna tells what happened when Socialist Senator Owen Sheehy Skeffington, acting together with a small group of concerned Dublin parents, who had set up "The School Children’s Protection Organisation”, tried to do something about the physical ill-treatment of children in the Church-run Irish schools.
---

The violence inflicted on children in Irish schools in the first three-quarters of the Twentieth Century is today scarcely believable. John O'Mahony examines some documentary evidence, and remembers the Ennis National School...

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

When Militant/Socialist Party suggested a "Socialist Federation of Ireland" 1994

Author: 

Sean Matgamna
In October, 1994 Militant/Socialist Party very belatedly, when the IRA war was over, suggested a "Socialist Federation of Ireland" as the way forward.

In August 1994, the Provisional IRA ended the military campaign it had started in March 1971. There would be difficulties, some bombs would be set off in England after that point, but as we can now see the war in the North was effectively over. Throughout the 23 years of war the organisation now known as the Socialist Party, and its 1992 splinter, known now as Socialist Appeal, confined themselves to preaching “Socialism is the only answer” to the conflict in the Six Counties. It was heavily a Protestant-Catholic, Unionists-Nationalist civil war, half- smothered by the British Army.

Castro and the Cuban revolution

By Paul Hampton

Paul Hampton assesses Fidel Castro’s legacy — the nature of the 1959 revolution and the social and political changes Cuba is now experiencing.

The overthrow of Batista in the last days of 1958 was a popular revolution that socialists and radicals everywhere supported. Batista had made Cuba a vassal of the US and held down the Cuban working class with repression and a compliant union bureaucracy.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

Publications: 

Trotsky's courtroom speech "In Defence of Insurrection"

Author: 

Leon Trotsky

The 1906 speech of Leon Trotsky, on trial for his life, to the Tsarist court; introduction by Sean Matgamna.


The “war on terrorism” being waged by George W Bush’s US hyperpower and its political satellites, such as Tony Blair’s Britain, poses strongly the question of the attitude of Marxists toward political violence.

Naturally, we are against, unequivocally against, both the objectives and the methods — indiscriminate slaughter of civilians — of the terrorists of political Islam, who now hold the centre of the political stage.

The 1906 speech of Leon Trotsky, on trial for his life, to the Tsarist court; introduction by Sean Matgamna.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Vladimir Lenin on democracy and dictatorship

Lenin called for the "dictatorship of the proletariat" as a great expansion of democracy.

By "dictatorship" he meant the rule of a class, not of a Hitler or a Stalin. This is an abridged version of Lenin's "Theses on Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat", adopted by the founding congress of the Communist International in March 1919. Long-forgotten contemporary references and examples have been cut.

Lenin called for the "dictatorship of the proletariat" as a great expansion of democracy.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

The ABCs of socialism today: an outline of the basics

Author: 

Max Shachtman/Hal Draper/Leon Trotsky
Thirteen pieces by the man who was second only to Trotsky as an expounder of the ideas of the early Trotskyist movement, Max Shachtman; two by Hal Draper; one by Leon Trotsky; a discussion piece on Trotskyism now, and an account of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty by Sean Matgamna.

Hal Draper: An Eye-Witness Account of the Russian Revolution

Author: 

Hal Draper

The Russian revolution was the most important event of the 20th century.

It was the most important event in the entire history of the working class. The working class took and held power in territory that covered one sixth of the globe.

That working class power was overthrown in the early-mid 1920s by the Stalinist counter-revolution, which though continuing to call itself "communist" and "working class" put in a brutal and savage state bureaucracy as a new ruling class over the working people.

An account by I N Steinberg, a political opponent of the Bolsheviks, here summarised by Draper, shows that the 1917 upheaval was not a conspiracy but a real people’s revolution.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Against the Tide: 143 Tales for Our Time

Parables
143 stories that illustrate important political issues: Lenin, Joe Columbo, Rockefeller, Shakespeare, Wernher von Braun, the Pet Pig, Hitler, Cannibalism, Columbus, Conrad Black, Clare Short, Eamonn McCann, Freud, Joe The Knife Boy, Margaret Thatcher...

Culture and Reviews: 

AWL: what we are, what we do and why we do it

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Over a period of two centuries and more, humankind has made tremendous strides in developing its power to control nature and, in terms of medicine and surgery in all their aspects, over itself. But we have proved as yet unable to break through into the higher stage of civilisation whose objective preconditions have long existed - the stage characterised by rational, human control over our society, and over nature, by a harmonious relationship with the eco-system on which everything depends.

We are still at the mercy of irrational social and political forces, even while our power to tame the irrational forces of nature, at whose mercy humankind has been throughout its existence, reaches an amazing and still increasing capacity.

Publications: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Pages