Online pamphlets

Shachtman and Draper debate Cuba, 1961

The dispute over attitudes to the "Bay of Pigs" invasion was the first sharp break on a big world-political issue which separated the ageing Max Shachtman from long-time co-thinkers such as Hal Draper and Julius Jacobson.

This pamphlet, published by Draper in May 1961, presents the dispute.

Click here to download pdf (which includes excerpts from the contemporary press not transcribed below, giving factual background on the invasion).

Contents and note

The dispute over attitudes to the "Bay of Pigs" invasion was the first sharp break on a big world-political issue which separated the ageing Max Shachtman from long-time co-thinkers such as Hal Draper and Julius Jacobson.

Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

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Matt Merrigan on Ireland in Labor Action, 1955-7

Matt Merrigan was a member of the small Irish Trotskyist group in the 1940s, and a socialist all his life. He eventually became president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and died in 2000.

Matt Merrigan was a member of the small Irish Trotskyist group in the 1940s, and a socialist all his life. He eventually became president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and died in 2000. (Click here for a short biography.)

In the mid-50s, for a while, he wrote reports on Ireland for Labor Action, the paper of the Independent Socialist League of Max Shachtman, Hal Draper, and others in the USA.

Marxist Theory and History: 

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Against the Tide: 127 Tales for Our Time

Parables
127 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: 

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

Author: 

John O'Mahony

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.
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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...

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September 1939: Behind the Stalinazi pact

Behind the Stalinazi pact, Socialist Appeal, September 1939

I: 5 September 1939

The Hitler-Stalin pact is the most sensational news to come out of Moscow in many years.

Up to yesterday, it was the general belief that Stalin was moving heaven and earth in an earnest attempt to establish a “peace front” of the “democracies” against the “fascist aggressors”, especially against Fascist Germany.

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The Euston Manifesto

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

That’ll teach me to make silly jokes! A few issues back, in a fit of self-indulgent whimsy, I mocked some ex-comrades of ours who had abandoned socialist politics to enlist in George W Bush’s neo-conservative crusade to bring bourgeois democracy and American-style capitalism to Iraq. In a little skit, I had one of them confuse the Communist Manifesto with “the Bourgeois-Democratic Manifesto”.

The Euston Manifesto

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Socialism and Democracy: democracy, direct action and the class struggle

Was advocating extra-parliamentary direct action to bring down the elected Thatcher government anti-democratic? Are 'by democratic means' and 'by parliamentary means' identical concepts?

Socialism and Democracy: Workers' Liberty special issue (no.17), January 1994

Download the pamphlet as a PDF:

Former Labour leader Michael Foot has just died. While sending condolences to his family, friends and comrades, we republish this 1982 pamphlet, in which we debated him on whether direct action to bring down the Tories was anti-democratic.

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Libya, anti-imperialism, and the Socialist Party

WL3-34
Peter Taaffe of the Socialist Party on the "no-fly zone" in Libya; the Socialist Party on imperialism; how the proto-AWL separated from the proto-SP; and other disputed questions.

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An Solas/Workers' Republic, 1966-8

The activists of the Workers' Fight group (forerunners of AWL) in 1966-8 produced five issues of An Solas/ Workers' Republic, the theoretical journal of the Irish Workers' Group.

The activists of the Workers' Fight group (forerunners of AWL) in 1966-8 also produced five issues of An Solas/ Workers' Republic, the theoretical journal of the Irish Workers' Group.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Around the world: 

The Socialist Party and the workers: “Every sect is religious”


[This is a copy edited and slightly expanded version of the text in Solidarity.]

The Socialist Party operates as if the ideas of Marxism are fixed. Its bureaucratic sect structures prevent its members from discussing and learning from their own experiences.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Anarchism, Marxism, and polemic

Martin Thomas’s article in Solidarity 3-195, “Working-class struggle and anarchism”, has prompted a long debate on our website. We print excerpts from two contributions and a reply to the debate by Martin Thomas. The original article and entire debate can be found here.


The polemicists have invoked the Anarchist Federation as proof that my criticisms of anarchism in Solidarity 3/195 were unjust. Let’s see what the Anarchist Federation says.

Its website recommends an interview with an AF member which says:

Continuing the debate on the relation of anarchism to working-class struggle and Marxism.

Marxist Theory and History: 

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Working-class struggle and anarchism

Anarchism opposes the capitalist state. Some anarchists — primarily the anarcho-syndicalists, who on this issue have the same idea as Marxists do — identify with the working class as the force to defeat the capitalist state and create a new society; but most do not.

A review of different strands in anarchist thought and their attitude to working-class struggle.

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Poplar Council: Guilty and proud of it!

Author: 

Janine Booth

Janine Booth’s recently published book “Guilty and Proud Of It!” is a story about how a group of socialist Labour councillors in Poplar, East London, refused to bow to the “norms” of capital

Janine Booth’s recently published book “Guilty and Proud Of It!” is a story about how a group of socialist Labour councillors in Poplar, East London, refused to bow to the “norms” of capitalist economics and politics, and stood up for the working-class people who voted them in. They went to prison rather than accepting inequitable taxes.

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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.

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