Online pamphlets

Provos, Protestants and Irish Working-Class Politics - A Dialogue

Ireland

Author: 

Sean Matgamna
The issues on Ireland, partition, imperialism, "permanent revolution", nationalism, the Irish Protestant minority, and a programme for workers' unity and socialism, discussed in the form of a dialogue.

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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.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

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The SWP: its crisis, its history, its politics

Documents and discussion relating to the IS/SWP tradition.
  • The SWP crisis of 2013
  • The SWP crisis of 2013: weblinks to all the main documents
  • The SWP and "Leninism": response to Alex Callinicos's "Is Leninism finished?"
  • Where will SWP opposition go? (comment on ISO-USA and Socialist Alternative)


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    The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

    The political psychology of Irish Republicanism: Three events that made the IRA

    Author: 

    Sean Matgamna



    “Ireland occupies a position among the nations of the earth unique... in the possession of what is known as a physical force party — a party, that is to say, whose members are united upon no one point, and agreed upon no single principle, except the use of physical force as the sole means of settling the dispute between the people of this country and the governing power of Great Britain..."

    James Connolly, Workers’ Republic, July 1899.

    An overview of the political-ideological lineaments and history of Republicanism in 20th and early 21st century Ireland.

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    For or Against The Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba 1961: Max Shachtman Debates Hal Draper

    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: 

    Around the world: 

    Against the Tide: 128 Tales for Our Time

    Parables
    128 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.
    ---

    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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    The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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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.

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